Saturday, November 7, 2009

we thought it was a migraine

it began as a headache.

he couldn't get out of bed

had to have a dark room tv

lots of liquids and excedrine migraine

didn't help

we tried everything

he just agonized in pain

slept when he could

we were miserable

did everything i could

brought him medicines, waters, cold compresses

made chicken soup

worried endlessly

begged him to go to the doctor

googled migraines

bought more meds and herbal remedies

friends brought over migraine drugs

nothing worked

that's when we knew

something was wrong

driving to the ER

i was scared

he was dying

the doctor listened to his symptoms

and said "i don't think this is a migraine"

i felt relieved to have answers

but afraid to hear what they were

doctors came and went

scribbled on his chart

he had to stay there

more tests

specialists were called

we would not be going home

tears in our eyes

hands gripped in prayer

this is going to be hard

i had to go home

and wake the kids

called kelly on the way

"please give me the words"

we practiced together

i woke them from a peaceful sleep

sat their sleepy bodies up on jordan's bed

looked into their innocent eyes

and searched my heart for how to say it

to tell them daddy is very sick

but the doctors are taking good care of him

and he will be fine

but inside i wasn't sure

putting on a calm brave face for them

was the hardest part

lots of questions

i wasn't prepared to answer

they wanted to see him

was that the right thing?

i had no idea

was just clinging to instincts

but i brought them

to his bedside

katie stared and played with her hands

she gave him her sacred pooky bear

the bear she sleeps with every night and never lets anyone hold

jordan ran into his arms and laid his body across his dad's chest

tears streaming down, not saying much

it was like a scene out of a sad part of a movie

but it was us

it was real

they broke my heart

but i was glad they saw him

brought the kids home

calling family

they swooped in

kelly took over my mom duties

dad stepped in

mom and molly dropped everything to come over

family by my side

was never needed more than now

i brought his clothes home in a bag

because they had rushed him by ambulance to ft myers

the familiar scene and scents of home

were now a stinging reminder

of what would no longer be

for a while

gathered what i thought he would need at healthpark (??)

the drive to ft myers

i cried

the whole way

finally could let it out

i walked into the beautiful lobby

plants, waterfalls, piano playing in the distance

still wearing sweatshirt i wore to bed, teeth not yet brushed

red bulging eyes, asked the sweet-faced elderly volunteer man at the desk

"can you tell me the room for james briggs?"

clicking away on his keyboard

his eyes scan the computer screen

he carefully writes the numbers down

and gently explains that this is an icu room

and do i know how to get there?

my tears begin again, legs go weak

do i know how to get there.

i don't even know how i am standing in this lobby right now.

he directs me to walk through the lobby, over the bridge, under the lit sign, turn left after the set of wheelchairs, and the elevator is on my left...go to the fifth floor

it was like charlie brown's teacher was speaking


i mumble "but i didn't know he would be in icu"

he asks sympathetically if it is a heart problem

i can only shake my head no and point to my head

he looks like he wants to come around the desk and hug me

i wander through the lobby

frantic to find him

scared of what was happening to him

clinging to the paper with his room number

i make it to the elevator

push button number 5

people on the elevator take one look at me and then look away

it's not pretty

the doors open

to stark white walls

hallways in every direction

i don't know where to go

a random woman in scrubs asks me if i need help

i can only nod and show her the paper

she walks me the whole way, through endless hallways

and says in my ear, "it's going to be ok, he is in a good place, we are here for you"

i love that woman for that

a nurse stops us and asks me to wait in the family waiting room while she checks with his doctor

i sink into the vinyl chair and hold my face in my hands

fearing the worst

another family is in the corner discussing their loved one, but glancing nervously at me

it was the longest ten minutes of my life

finally i can see him

he is hooked up to everything

lights and beeps everywhere

looking pale



and in intense pain

my husband

my sweet husband

my friend

my partner in life

their daddy

fighting for his life

against a burst brain aneurysm

i hold him for a long time

we are scared

but we will get through this

we have to

in the midst of all the tubes, lights, beeps, monitors...

i notice something in his hand

i ask him what it is

he holds it up high in the air

it's katie's bear

i smile weakly

and somehow know

God will bring us through this

and He did.

after 13 agonizing days of pain, waiting, praying, testing, diagnosing, treating, angiograms, ct scans, mri's, medications, meetings with doctors, IV's, tubes, monitors, beeps, blood draws, sodium checks, worrying, planning, tagteaming with family and friends, phone calls, emails, texts, 45-minute car rides, bonding forever with doctors and nurses, depending on family and friends more than we ever have, and...above all...making this somehow ok and bearable for jordan and katie...

He did. Thank you God. Your blessings upon our family have never felt so sweet.

Hold your loved ones tighter than is precious...

...and thank you from the bottom of my heart for two weeks of endless love, support, kindness, generosity, thoughts, prayers, and GOODNESS bestowed on our family.

Our hearts are full of gratitude for the human spirit, and for God's grace in times of need.

God calms the storms in our lives
and sometimes he just rides them with us.

Thank you, God...

and Kelly and Molly and Mom and Dad...

and more than a hundred dear friends, near and far...for riding this storm with us.

God Bless,
Jennifer, Jamie, Jordan, and Katie