Before Matt died, I was completely ignorant on how powerfully grief affected one's immune system. In fact, I might have even thought that the extent of grief physically was that it made one very sad, and maybe depressed. Little did I know how extremely hard a hit one's body takes when it suffers the loss of a loved one.
Our family has been sick with various illnesses off and on for the past six months. Exactly one week after the visitation, we were all hit with the flu, with the exception of Tim. The flu was followed by various colds and coughs, which remained for several weeks. Right on the heels of that, the three boys came down with the chicken pox. Shortly after recovering from the pox, a few of us ended up with strep throat. On top of all of this, there has been the constant lack of sleep.
Most recently, just when we were finally getting a break and sleep patterns were returning to “normal,” Sweet Stuff got strep throat for the third time, and I noticed blood in my urine. A week and a half after that, Uncle Flu returned and Miss T.T. got a nasty case of hives. But lest it all be about sickness, I must add that Dh's wallet was stolen (or misplaced) last Wednesday.
February barely begun, we received a call on Thursday that Tim's dad was not doing well and were advised to say our goodbyes. We packed up on Friday and headed out on the road. We left much later than we usually do, after noon, but still anticipated arriving before 8pm. Drama boy had just gotten over the flu and was doing well, so I was thankful not to have to worry about that while driving. Mr. Monkey had gotten the flu first and so was fine. I had been praying fervently that no one else would get it. All was well until about 4 1/2hrs. into the drive when I realized that the nagging pain in my back on the left side had suddenly become excruciating. I think for an hour or two before that, I was in denial, thinking that I was just imagining the pain in my side. Feeling a bit of nausea, I told Dh that I wasn't going to make it to Fargo. I wanted an E.R. and I wanted it now.
Thankfully, Fergus Falls was 10min. away and I was seen immediately. Long story short, I had a 6mm kidney stone, an infection (most likely bladder or urinary tract), and am anemic. The Dr. wanted to admit me, but after explaining our situation and promising with my life to follow up with my own doctor on Tuesday, they discharged me with four prescriptions and iron pills.
No sooner had we left the hospital and gotten on the road when we quickly realized it was going to be slow going. The roads were covered in dense fog and visibility was poor. After only about twenty miles, the fog had increased and was now joined by freezing rain. It was after 10:00pm and we decided it wasn't worth driving another hour and a half in those poor conditions. We found a hotel and, luckily, got adjoining rooms.
Just when I thought the drama was over, however, morning came, and with it, Miss T.T. puking. The hotel was gracious enough to consent to our taking an ice bucket and even gave us several bags to line it with. I was beginning to think this was the trip from hell. I called a few friends and asked for prayer and had a prayer chain sent out via email throughout our church.
We finally arrived Saturday afternoon at the nursing home where they had transferred Dad back to. Unfortunately, he had the flu and was quarantined. Any visitors were under strict orders to suit up with shoes covers, face masks, gowns, and gloves before entering. And children were strongly discouraged. Grandpa had been unresponsive the night before, but began talking Saturday morning. When Tim, Grandma, and I entered the room, he stayed talkative for about an hour. He even gave the kids a thumbs up sign from his bed to out in the hallway where they were standing.
After seeing grandpa, we went to grandma's apartment where several of the relatives were visiting. Tim returned to the nursing home later that evening, but grandpa was unresponsive again and hasn't spoken since Saturday afternoon.
Anticipating grandma's apartment being full, we had planned on staying at the farm, so we headed out there. Miss T.T. was still feeling ill, but by the time we got to the farm, she was doing great and even wanted to eat supper. I have no doubt it was due to the prayers on our behalf.
We were able to attend our “church away from home” on Sunday morning and were blessed with a wonderful time of worship and praise. After church, we went back to the nursing home one last time. This time, we let the kids decide on whether they wanted to suit up and go in to see grandpa. Three of them suited up. Grandpa wasn't responsive, but we will be forever grateful we got the chance to say goodbye.
We are on the road headed home right now and I haven't had any pain since Friday evening and all the children are doing well health-wise. We are being carried by the prayers of so many. We don't know how soon it will be for our return trip, but are trusting God in the details.