Friday, May 6, 2011

Continuing our story

To read the beginning of our story, click here and here.

Doug arrived at Grady hours later, after an ambulance pit stop at the gas station for some Gatorade – can’t you just picture that scene?? Doug looked so much better once he arrived in Atlanta. You see, while in Montgomery he was suffering from shortness of breath and sleep apnea and his body was extremely swollen. This bothered me often and I would ask the nurses about it, but they just kept saying it was the meds. Sure enough, it was the meds because Doug is highly allergic to penicillin and he was given it in Alabama! The nurses in Atlanta detected this mishap, changed his medicines and he immediately began to look and feel better. I was so furious about this, but was thankful that he was now in better hands at Grady Hospital. Ironic, huh? I had been so worried and concerned about the care at Grady and they were the ones that detected the medical mishap!! On a side note, Grady Hospital is actually the very best place to be for trauma! They know their trauma!

After sleeping in my bed at home that Wednesday night and spending some sweet time with my girls and my Mom, I was driven to Grady Hospital on Thursday morning. Doug had been placed on an awesome ICU floor with amazing nurses and the very best care.  Because Doug had been a transfer patient, they just had to give him whatever ICU room they had available and it just happened to be the newest part of the hospital – I believe the Lord had His hand on this small detail too. We also were very blessed to have one of our friends, Richard Pittman, with us at Grady. He is a member of our church and an internal medicine doctor at Grady. He kept in constant contact with us and the doctors. We are so thankful the Lord gave us Richard during that crazy time at Grady Hospital.

Not only did the Lord provide us with Richard, but also, my friend Corrie, a pharmacist, who constantly gave us great feedback and advice on medicines. She also spearheaded the care calendar organization, which helped with sign-ups for meals, childcare, errands, and visits to the hospital. The Lord also provided us with Stephen, a workers compensation lawyer to make sure Doug was getting all the medical coverage allotted by his company. Then there was Melissa, a dear friend of mine who kept the girls all day every Thursday to give my Mom a break. And of course, our pastor Walter and his wife Anne, were just amazing sources of wisdom and encouragement to us both. Another huge blessing from our church was a group of young single guys who came and worked on our house by painting, pressure washing, and taking care of small needs around the house. Larry got busy taking care of our yard needs. Eric would come and sit with Doug and watch football and he took care of manly jobs around the house. Philip and Erin helped in so many ways. I had numerous friends come sit with me at the hospital and bring me care packages while waiting at the hospital. Every single one of these people belong to our small little church on the Westside of Atlanta and every one played such a huge role in taking care of our family. The body of Christ really can and does work so well together! And of course, my parents were a huge help! What a sweet gift that my Mom had retired and could come and live with us. She spent many many days washing clothes, cooking meals, and taking care of the girls. My Dad made many a trip up I-20 just to sit with me and comfort me while we waited at the hospital. My sister and brother in law came from California to be with us too. We couldn’t have made it through this tough season without our family and friends!

When I arrived at Grady early on Thursday morning, we were told that Doug’s body was not doing well and there was no blood flow to the leg. Therefore, he would be having an amputation surgery at 11:30 am. This made me very anxious and scared. Doug and I both really wanted to meet with Dr. Moore, the surgeon who would be performing the amputation, to discuss details of the surgery, but it appeared as if that was not going to happen. This made me extremely apprehensive and I my body began shaking again. I immediately started praying quietly for myself and for Doug. Minutes later, a young surgeon came into Doug’s room with paperwork for us to sign and asked if we had any questions about the surgery. The paperwork was a consent form for Doug’s leg and it had to be signed saying that it was ok to take his leg, above the knee, if that was needed. I again felt so sick to my stomach because of the stress and anxiety. I asked the young surgeon why we had not seen or been able to talk with Dr. Moore. He chuckled and said, “I am Dr. Moore, Dr. Moore, Jr. I am the son of Dr. Moore and will be performing the surgery with him.” The Lord immediately gave us a little relief and then about an hour later, Dr. Moore Sr. paid us a visit and assured us that he would do everything he could to save Doug’s knee. So, me, my dad, Walter, and Carson all gathered around Doug and just prayed. Doug was crying profusely and was begging for God to save his leg. I could tell that he was scared, which in turn just broke my heart and made me even more scared. Then, Doug was taken away for the surgery. I didn’t know what the outcome would be but I did know that we had just signed his leg away and it was completely out of my control as to what would happen to Doug.

Around 2:00 that afternoon, I received a phone call from my pastor, Walter, and he excitedly told me, “they saved his knee, Jenna, they saved his knee”!  I immediately began jumping up and down and yelling at my mom and dad about the news. I think we all started jumping and smiling and hugging. It was such amazing news and we were so thrilled with the Lord for saving Doug’s knee and answering our prayers. We had been told that keeping the knee would make for optimal recovery and placement for a prosthetic leg. 

There are many other stories of the Great Shepherd taking care of us while we were at Grady and providing exactly what we needed. For instance, after Doug was moved from ICU to a regular floor, the nurses were not taking adequate care of Doug. He asked me to stay with him for several nights in a row because he was afraid to be alone. One night in particular was a very painful night for Doug and we spent most of the night praying together, singing hymns out loud, reading scripture and just hugging each other tight. It was such a hard night and when morning came I found myself so exhausted, crying and feeling so alone. You just won’t believe what happened - in walked a friend of mine from college as Doug’s occupational therapist. As soon as I saw her, I ran to her, started crying and hugging her tightly. Looking back now, I know that the Lord sent her to me that morning to comfort me. 

During those hard nights at Grady we continuously prayed through those verses that Anne share with me in that email. Isaiah 40 became a favorite for Doug – “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.” I remember reading those verses and picturing Doug soaring on the wings of eagles. That picture and promise from God’s Word brought great comfort to us many times and continues to do so today.

After 10 days at Grady Hospital, we had endured all we could! Doug was going to be transferred to Piedmont Hospital and we were so very excited. Doug was placed back into another ambulance and was given a short bumpy drive through the city. Once Doug arrived at Piedmont, he was placed in a temporary transfer room. We waited and waited and waited. I immediately began to wonder if we made the right choice by moving. My body began to shake again as I was scared and apprehensive. You see, while at the hospital, Doug had to be given constant fluids, medicines, and pain killers. His left leg had to be attached to a machine that drained the fluids. Doug only had a small amount of time to be "unhooked" from all of these machines and that time was quickly running out. The pain was beginning to overtake Doug's leg and he was burning up with fever. I began to panic and none of the nurses seemed to be in any hurry to help us. So, we stopped and prayed because we didn't know what else to do. Within a few minutes, Doug's new doctor, Dr. Dalton, finally appeared. He saw Doug's condition and immediately got him moved to his new room and hooked back up to all his machines. Within a few hours, Doug began to feel and look much better. 

I don't really remember many of the details after the move to Piedmont. So, I am going to sit down with Doug and try to think through them before I post any more. I do know that we still had lots of support from our family and friends during the next 10 days of his stay at Piedmont. Our girlies were able to visit him a lot more, which was very comforting for them and Doug. I was also able to get a little more sleep at home because the nursing care at Piedmont was superb, which was a tremendous answer to our prayers!