Friday, April 17, 2015

Miracles in the Making: Jessica's journey

From the moment that Dan called me, I had a sense of calmness about the situation. Really, it was peace. I didn't know the answer - but I knew that we would be taken care of.

The first thing I did, before ordering a plane ticket, was contact a few family members to pray for Dan. In that same vein, I contacted my two 'medical consultants' - my aunt Barbara and cousin Valerie, who are some of the wisest medical practitioners that I know.

...and then I wondered if I should buy a ticket. ...and I wondered if I should do a direct flight or have a layover. After consulting with my dad who said it wouldn't matter if I got to the place 2 hours later, I decided to do the layover - so that I could fly out of Tucson. If I bought a direct flight, I'd have to drive to Phoenix and even though I had peace - I knew I couldn't make that drive.

So, my flight left Tucson for Dallas at 6am. I planned ahead and thought that I'd have plenty of time to get there. But, it's really hard to pack for a trip when you don't really know how long you'll be there or what you'll need. So, even though I thought I'd have plenty of time, I was pushing it.

...and then I took route to the airport with road construction. Upon arriving at the airport, I realized I didn't really know how to get to the long-term parking lot. ...and then I made two wrong turns. ...and the clock just getting closer and closer to 5:30 - which is about the time they say, "That's it - you're done!" and don't let you check in for the flight.

I got on the shuttle begging God to let me get on the flight. I bought my ticket through US Airways, so I got off the shuttle at the US Air ticketing place. I got up to the agents (thrilled there was no line), who promptly informed me that I needed to check in at American because my flights were on American. [shit!]

So, I ran to the American ticketing agents - which is on the other side of the terminal. [I'm super thankful that Tucson is NOT a large airport!]

...and then got in line (because of course there was a line!) I was starting to freak out. Then a woman asked if anyone was on the 6am flight. "I am!" She looked at me and said, 'oh, I'm not sure their still accepting passengers.' But - she put me at the front of the line.

At this point, the tears started coming. I knew it was my fault I was running late. I know I should have done more research to figure out where I was making that turn and just stopped trying to pack one more "just in case" item...but I couldn't take those choices back now.

The sweet ticketing agent called me forward and asked, "How are you doing today?" Choking back tears, I said, 'I don't know.' She immediately called the gate folks and made sure I got on the plane. Security was a breeze and I got on the plane - and wasn't even the last person.

*Sigh of relief*

I arrived in Dallas two hours before my flight to Houston. I found my gate and then found a Starbucks, since I hadn't even had my morning coffee, yet! I called Valerie; we had a great conversation and it came time to board.

I was in the last group. I waited my turn, handed my ticket to the agent, and she said, "UM - you're not on this flight."
"YES, I am."
"UM, you're going to Houston Bush - this is going to Hobby." [SHIT!]

The terminal screens in Dallas were so confusing to read, that I just found the flight going to Houston on my airline and at my departure time and assumed that was my flight!

SO, I ran back to the screen to find the terminal were my flight was departing. I was in B; my flight was in D. So, again, I ran [thank God I started training for a marathon] to the tram; waited; and then ran to the gate.

I arrived 4 minutes before departure time - knowing it was too late. I asked the woman at the gate anyway, "Have you already closed the gate?"
"Well, can you get me on another flight to Houston, then?" [She started working] "I didn't even realize that there were 2 flights heading to Houston at the same time; I've been waiting at the gate for the flight that was going to Hobby. I had no idea."
"Next time, you should look at the numbers."

...and then, the tears started coming. You're right, ma'am. Next time I should look at the numbers. This isn't my first time in an airport, but I happen to be a little distracted today because my heart is in another place and concerned about my person; my other; the one my soul loves.

She got me on the flight leaving 2 hours later.

...and then, I sat down and bawled for about 20 minutes. Right in sight of that agent who treated me with so little compassion.

Until this point, I had felt that flood of peace that surpasses understanding. I had been able, by the literal grace of God, to just focus on the moment - on what was known. ...and, now, the intensity of the last 18 hours flooded me.
My husband was in a hospital.
They might do surgery.
We don't know how long he'll be there.
My husband is in a hospital.

So, I cried it out.

Then, I treated myself to a delicious "Irish" dinner at Bennigan's - roast beef, potatoes, and cooked veggies. After all, it was St. Patrick's Day. It really was like eating my Irish grandma's Sunday dinner. Dan loves Bennigan's. They were playing classic rock - which reminds me of Michigan. Combined, this was reassuring *hug* - a connection to our loved ones; a reminder of God's care in the 'random' details.

Just like Grandma makes....

Everything turned out fine. Brianne, my wonderful host (and Dan's second cousin), picked me up two hours later than scheduled, and we got to see Dan that night. Adrenaline, and God's provision, saw me through that day.

Miracle in the Making: Dan's journey (Day 1)

So, it's been exactly a month since Dan found himself under the care of physicians at Houston Methodist and I was working my way to Houston to stay with him. I've had some requests for his story - and people wanting to know how he is doing, so I'll do my best to tell the story & give you an update.

Why in the world was Dan in the hospital?

Well, Dan got a sinus infection while on the trip. He left on Wednesday morning; Thursday evening when we talked, he was already congested and sounded miserable. Two days later when we talked and he'd had some good rest, he sounded a lot better. (yea!) ...then, he had two nights of poor sleep coupled with the stress of getting his students ready for their last contest and traveling around to different ranches and sleeping in different hotels...and by Monday (the day of the contest), he was pretty wiped out.

He took the students to the contest that morning, and proceeded to sleep for a few hours on folding chairs. His upper lip area (the part under the nose) was extremely swollen and a blister had developed on his lip. When he awoke, his fellow coaches said, "Dan, I think you need to see the doctor." He said, "Yeah, I think I'll go to Urgent Care." They responded with, "Um, you have gotten whiter as the day has gone on; you should go to the hospital."

So, he Googled a hospital near the grounds and drove himself to the ER. That hospital, Houston Methodist, happens to be on the largest medical campus in the world (shared with several others) and is one of the best. [Miracles in the making...]

The doctors at the hospital were immediately concerned with what they saw/found. His white blood cell (WBC) count was very low. When bodies fight infections, like his was, those numbers should be higher than normal. Dan's were the opposite. His face was very swollen - his left sinus area, upper lip, and around his mandibular gland. Initially, the doctors thought he had an abscess which would require surgery.

When Dan called me that Monday, I just knew that he was calling to tell me he was in the hospital. However, I assumed it was because he had a seizure...not all of this. I did not expect talk of surgery or for them to have no idea when he might be released.

Dan just wanted to be released. His journey was long and he wanted to be home. He wanted to leave the next day with his students. He wanted to come home to me. The doctors were against this.

So, I did what made the most sense to me: I came to him. I bought a ticket that would leave the next morning at 6am, and we would figure this out together.