The statement you will hear my grandma make if you spend any time talking or listening to her. It truly sums up the past 3 weeks of my life.
February 24th my dad, his girlfriend Jamie, my sister, and I headed out to Sun City, Arizona to visit my grandparents who winter there. We arrived late Thursday night, exhausted after a 26 hour drive. Friday morning I was the first to awake from our crew to be greeted by my grandparents. I LOVE THEM. (I know every kid would say this about their grandparents, but seriously. They both played a strong roll in my life growing up with many great memories. Our family has always been incredibly close, still getting together on the major holidays and having 25+ people at their house) It was so great to see them considering they'd been gone since the beginning of December. The rest of Friday was spent just hanging out and resting from the journey.
Saturday morning my dad and his girlfriend left to go visit one of her relatives. They would come back early afternoon and the 6 of us would go site see.....or so we planned. God's plan was different.....
I can't explain how, other than the Holy Spirit inside of me, but I was on high alert of something 'unplanned' happening while we were there. I was blow drying my hair when I thought I heard something. I turned it off to hear my grandma saying "Gary.........Gary....." It sounded faint, but I thought that was because she was in the opposite side of the house. I went to check out what was going on to see that my grandma was no where near my sound asleep grandfather. I immediately turned back around the way I had come and took a turn into their bedroom. Where much to my surprise I found my grandma laying on the bed heaving for air. "Grandma I'm here, I love you" was out of my mouth before I could fully comprehend the moment. I got my grandpa up and convinced them both that we needed to go to the hospital. I phoned my dad to give him the heads up and we headed out. (Wish I had a picture of this event with my sister aiding in the effort straight from the shower in only a towel, but due to the circumstances.... no such documentation exists, you'll just have to trust me!)
I knew the situation was serious. But no part of me ever thought 'I should call 911.' We arrived in the ER of Banner Health Hospital, where they took one look at her and we were nearly whisked off to a room, arriving there along side 6 nurses who began to poke needles in all kinds of places and ask me lots of questions. 'Wait, hold on. I'm on vacation. This isn't supposed to be happening. I have no idea what you just said. Can you repeat that. I'm gonna have to make a phone call for that answer' is all floating through my thoughts.
My Aunt Kathy used to be an RN, and out of our entire family she is the most capable of listing off all of grandmas medical history without referring to paperwork. I called her. I didn't want to, simply because I knew she'd be worried about the urgent need, but I knew she was my best option. Then I called dad and said I was sorry but I thought they should head back, and pick up my sister at home alone.
The day unfolded in a whirlwind of emotions, tests for her to undergo, and lots of just sitting by her side stroking her hair, and holding her hand. By evening we had discovered she'd thrown 2 blood clots to the lungs, had a urinary track infection that they suspected went septic (into her blood), and her heart was in arterial fibulation. That sounds like a lot for someone like me to overcome, let alone my tired and now very weak grandma.
We let dad's sisters know and although they were sad to not be there to see her and be with her, none of them made plans to head down. Sunday evening, into Monday morning, things to an immediate turn for the worse and with the grave outlook at that time, all my aunts booked flights and flew in.
We spent the remainder of that week in AZ; 9 people in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, and 2 cars for commuting....its a good thing we're close :) ; and by Friday it was decided to air ambulance her back to Ames, IA Mary Greeley Medical Center. So her and 5 of us got on flights, while the other 4 hung back, closed down the house and drove the 2 cars back. PRAISE GOD we all arrived without any glitches to the system.
I sit here in the hospital room watching her rest as we come upon her 4 week mark of hospitalization. I had to check the calendar as I typed that to double check the accuracy of the statement! These weeks and days have been filled with many highs and lows as one can only imagine.
I've learned much in these weeks, and I know that I'm not fully aware of all that I'm being taught!
1. I do desire to get married. Somedays that desire is more prevalent than others. Watching my grandpa care for my grandma, check all of her monitors, watch over her, caress her hand, kiss her, and check all of her monitors again to make sure he didn't disturb anything, BLOWS me away. They've been married going on 57, and while I'm fully aware that marriage isn't always a walk in the park, they have fought through it all, and there love for each other is evident! Talk about bringing truth to the 'in sickness and in health' vows.
There love has encouraged me to think not only about a marriage relationship, but showing love and my care for those around me always without fear over guarding of my heart.
2. My grandma is definitely where I get my stubbornness! She is full of it :) Having some is definitely not a bad thing, I'm confident its a lot of what has pulled her through this whole fight. Every time you ask her how she's doing "fat and sassy, mean and nasty" comes out.
3. Family and friends are vital. God gave us a need for community. It broke my heart when we were at Banner Health when the nurses would cry simply at the fact that there were the 5 of us there for my grandma, and when we told them my aunts were flying in they broke down again. A few of them told us that often people are left there to fight their battles alone. I watched as nearly everyone of her nurses broke to rules of visitors in my grandma's room at a time. I watched as the nurses came back on shift from their day off, and although my grandma wasn't their patient again, they made it down to see her and us 'to check in'. I know for a fact that I saw each one of them cry, and I'm pretty sure I hugged each of them too. People matter.
I don't even know the extent of all the people that know about the happenings in the Maxwell family lately . But I do know that prayers are being lifted up, and answered!
my favorite picture from the trip, that without the hospitalization.... would not have been captured. Thank you God for allowing me to see Your Love through this.
She's awake. Says its time to watch the news :)