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try, pray

graphic: Martha G. Brady

Trying harder would not have gotten me through the past couple of weeks in our house. It has been hard. Monday, July 24, at 4 AM, Ron woke up with the worst chills I have seen in a long time. He crawled under the covers and continued to shake and chatter. I knew we were headed to the ER, so I jumped up and got dressed. His skin was cold but I knew before long, he was going to be HOT!

Trying harder would not have gotten me through the past couple of weeks in our house. Share on X

I took my morning meds, dressed and got presentable looking. I fixed my bag with computer and chargers and other items I need for keeping me busy while I wait. I tossed his wallet (for ID and insurance), in my purse. took off his watch and left it at home along with his hearing aids (too easy to get lost or stolen). I left him in pj’s and undershirt, tossed on his slippers. By then the chills were a little less, even though he had vomited twice. We grabbed a towel and bowl and headed for the car.  stop

At that time of morning, the road is totally empty. The lights were totally in my favor and we were at the ER in just under 10 minutes. They took him in while I parked the car. I’m getting into a routine now. That morning I found a great spot 2 spaces from the ER.

On arrival, his temp was 102.4. After the testing was done, the outcome was that Ron had pneumonia in the lower lobe of one of his lungs. Blood cultures had already been taken, so two IV antibiotics were started and he was admitted to the hospital on the respiratory floor. A low dose of oxygen was started. He was settled in bed, admitted, had his lunch and was napping. Then I headed for home to get what he needed for the hospital.

The next couple of days were filled with my staying with him during the day, doing laundry at night and falling asleep on the couch at home. I have learned that I need to eat decently and get the rest I need so I don’t rush to get back to the hospital in the early morning.

His hospitalist was very kind and told me that if he was there and I wasn’t, he would call during the visit and talk to me then. That was very reassuring after our horrific hospitalization last time (resulting in the change to a new doctor). A week ago Wednesday, Ron was discharged with an oral antibiotic and we went home with a very simple discharge plan.

Then alarming symptoms developed!

This Wednesday, on our way to visit the doctor for our follow-up visit, Ron’s mental status changed completely! He forgot he had been in the hospital and couldn’t remember much of what had happened in the past week. He also was forgetting my answers to his questions and asking the same questions over and over. It was not only weird, it was alarming!

Needless to say, that took over the visit. The doctor checked out his lungs of course. They sounded fine. But there was the chance he could be having another stroke despite the fact that he had no weaknesses on either side, so he felt the best decision for Ron was to go to the ER and be checked out. Of course, we got in right away! They checked everything out. They ruled out infections (which often cause a change in mental status in older adults). They also checked out his head. Everything was fine. We were discharged at about 10 PM. We got home and he was fine.

I felt like a wrung out dishcloth! I still do! It wasn’t until yesterday when I talked to his doctor, that I got some insight on what happened. He thinks it had to do with a side effect of the antibiotic that can happen. Even though he was finished with them, some may have been in his bloodstream from his low kidney function. It is called antibiotic delirium. It was a fairly mild case, but with added fluids and time, he is coming out of it and gradually remembering events that he had forgotten. It seems to have been transient.

Yes, I try to stay calm when all these things happen, but the exhaustion after, tells me that it takes a toll. The encouragement I get comes when I tell people on Facebook and in person what is happening (after I text my daughters).

The prayers and kind words help when trying harder doesn’t do any good!

I get a flood of people telling me they are praying for us. It is people from our present, recent and distant past. It is very encouraging to know they are praying. In these times when I become more and more aware of my weakness and the ability to try harder just isn’t there and won’t really help. I know they are going to the throne for me. It is a support that can’t be explained in any other human arena.

It is the words from a new mother who texts you to offer her nearby home for you to come rest when you need it, or the person who offers a meal, or a young mom who tells you at church that she is praying for you and your husband every day and has a short, encouraging visit with you, along with your dear friends who text, call or the many other kindnesses that come as a result of the Facebook request. I didn’t need them all at the time, but they meant so much.

Prayer is a special and sacred connection to Christ we have as the Church Universal. Share on X

It is a special and sacred connection we have as the Church Universal. It is at times like this that we feel that connection…when trying doesn’t help…when we need the help and support of prayer…and the love of GOD’s people around us. We need the connection to Christ and His power.

 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church,
and let them pray over him….
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,
that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:13-14, 16