Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Circling Storm

I have always loved the Bible verses about Jesus calming the storm, and as life and it's circumstances change I find that old familiar loved passages take on new nuances and comforts.

Jesus Calms a Storm
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
Mt 8:23-27

For the past few days this passage has been going through my head. I feel like I am standing in the middle of Dorothy's tornado, instead of seeing houses and things flying by there are glimpses of blood, drugs, rushing nurses, swelling, a future without John in it, hopes for him getting better, it's so easy to get sucked into the whirlwind of despair and yet in the midst of this storm is Christ. Just as with the disciples He has not gotten off the boat and promised to care for us from the shore, He has not told us it was our fault for being in this boat, He has not chastised us for our fear, but comforted us with His Word right here in the midst of the storm that rages around us. No matter where this boat finally comes to shore, with John in it or with him up ahead of us waiting we take comfort that right here in the midst of our fear and our doubt and our pain is Christ, in His Word, in His Sacraments, in His people who reach out to us and hold us and encourage us. Every time we feel that we will be swept away by the turmoil that surrounds us one more time Christ holds us tight in His hands never letting us slip away.

John's medical news is good and not. I hate to use the word stable as I am afraid that people will get the wrong picture, so let me explain that if stable is a country far far away, John has now traveled closer in that direction than he previously has, he still has many miles to go and many dangerous mountains between here and there, but he is traveling on the road mostly in the direction of stable.

Today we are watching what feels like a miracle, instead of monitors beeping and people running trying to figure out a way to get John's blood pressure back up the monitors are beeping and people are coming, not running thankfully, but coming to take away some blood pressure medicine and go up on the dialysis machine and such trying to keep his blood pressure down.

We also sit with a paradox, the little portion of his bowel that pokes out from his new ostomy is today actually pink and healthy looking, up until now it looked like a little glob of hamburger in there. At the very same time they came and did a scope on his bowel and took some biopsy's and the mucosal layer looks a little unhealthy and they aren't sure if it is a result of his messed up clotting factor numbers or if there is some rejection going on. So again we wait, 24 hours for the results of the biopsy and news of what they can or can't or need or don't need to do.

John's little liver is hanging on, admittedly for dear life, but hanging on. His ALT and AST numbers which indicate the enzyme functions of the liver are in very near normal ranges but that means nothing because instead of meaning things are going well it more likely means that so much of John's liver is dead that there is just this small amount of enzymes that it can produce. John's bilirubin was continuing to climb, last night 25.1 this morning 25.7, but this noon's number was 25.4 so we are hoping and praying that this is the plateau, if it can hold on, there is some hope that it will be able to heal when the other issues are settled. John's clotting factors are holding steady though and that is another indicator that the little liver is holding on and fighting for dear life in there.

John's white count is coming up, one more time he has klebsiella pneumonia, probably from somewhere in his own gut. They have the appropriate antibiotics on but with his body still trying to mount a defense they are worried that a pocket of it is in the abdomen where blood flow doesn't touch. John is not running a fever and he is recovering in other ways so at the moment they are waiting to determine if they need to take him down to surgery for a wash out and to change out all his lines this evening or tomorrow. I had mental images of a wash out that I won't share with you, suffice it to say this does not resemble a car wash but they do open John's incision back up, pour sterile saline solution in there and then get in there with their hands and move things around and basically wash his guts. The lines they are wanting to change out are all his picc, central, art and dialysis lines, basically every piece of plastic stuck in the child's body that could be holding on to this infection.

As the sun is starting to set here in Omaha we cannot help but hope that the night will bring more improvements with the same hearts that fear what biopsies and another trip to surgery and all those things could mean. We hold tight to John's hands and feet and anything else we can reach, we are excited to see him breath above the vent from time to time and so hope that that tiny little liver continues to work in there. This storm still rages around us, the fear and the doubt come and go but always there is Christ and we take refuge in knowing that nothing can separate us from Him.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39


Susieqtpies said...

Thank you so much for your detailed post. I hold you and lift you up in my thoughts and prayers. Susan B.

Dakotapam said...

Praying fervently.

Rob Jacklin said...

Gina and Mark-
Thank you so much for continuing to keep us updated. I am glad he is where he needs to be, but wish it was closer so I could visit or come sit with him while you took a break. Please know that you are all on my mind daily, and we are all praying for you. The girls have their classes at school praying, too. Your family holds a special place in my heart. Give John hugs from me!


Anonymous said...

I have been exactly where you are with my wife, but not with my child. My wife spent that time in the company of Christ and did not remember anything but His perfect peace during that time. Our prayers will continue to be with all of you for the perfect peace of Christ and a speedy recovery.
Kent & Janie