Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I slept, I guess...

I did it. I stayed in one position for more than two hours with my eyes closed. I guess that is called sleep. Tylenol pm works way better than NyQuil. Whey I laid down in the bed yesterday my mind was whipping around like the gale force winds outside the window. A storm blew through.

Is that all this is? A storm? People keep telling me that life will get back to normal, but I don't know. That storm came and left leaving a few tousled leaves on the sidewalk. Reminders, but no real damage done. But some storms devastate. They can devastate families and entire communities. THIS CAN'T BE ONE OF THOSE STORMS!

I had a breaking point yesterday. I asked my mom to sit in the room for a few minutes so I could walk outside and feel the air, real God made air with wind and smells and feeling. In here it is cold and I've hurt so much that parts of me are numb. But not my heart. I left this hospital ward for the first time. I walked away from Harper for the first time. I looked at the sky for the first time since last Tuesday, a week ago, when we entered the hospital in Ruston. I look so haggard in my baggy gray sweats, greasy up do, tear stained face that two ladies walking into the hospital kept looking around for the nurses that should be trying to retain the escapee. But as bad as I look, which doesn't really matter at all right now, I am more worried with how I feel. I guess that the fact that I am feeling anything right now is good.

I sat on a bench outside of the hospital and tried to hold my head up to the sky. I looked for the sun to send down some warmth but he was hidden behind rolling clouds. I looked around at the scenery for a brief second, then rested my head on my knees.

I am so scared right now. This is a mother's fear. So much worse than the things I used to worry about for Harper: modesty, manners, materialism. Now I worry about CO2 levels, fluids, secretions, blood gas, x-rays, the long term effects of all these x-rays, germs, tubes, medications, magnesium, to name a few. It is just too much.

But then the voice inside of me, somewhere down deep, says, "Suck it up Mandy!" What I am dealing with is nothing compared to what she is going through. It is game time and I've got to show up ready to play. I remember from my volleyball days that there are times when someone has to make the play to win the game. Sometimes I would twist that in my head to give me fear of being the one that makes the play to loose the game.

I feel a strange variation of that when I am in there with her. Like, "Is this it? Am I going to be in here is she...?" I can't type that word. I can't give that word any power.

But then I remember that death is not stonger that our loving God. Jesus overcame the grave, He is rised! That is my hope. My strength.

Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.

Her sedation has her knocked out but she is still vaguely aware of what is going on. For example, they put a diaper on her yesterday, after inserting the breathing tube. She won't pee in it. She knows it is there and she is not a baby. Now she has a catheter to do it for her. This is just one example of how strong willed she is. A reminder to me that she wants to beat this and go home.

Go home. Part of me cringes at those words because I want her to come home with me. I can't bear to think of her heavenly home or anything like that. Just OUR home on Jessamine Street.

When I was out there on that bench I sent my mom a text, "How is she?" I waited a minute and sent it again. "How is she?" Then I called her phone and it went straight to voicemail. This is what went on in my head, "Oh crap something bad has happened and she can't answer the phone and ohmygod I'm going to walk in to craziness they are going to all be in there scurrying around her bed ohmygod I've got to run." I hesitated to peer into her room. When I looked in my mom looked up from the computer, there was only one nurse, it was calm.

Take a breath, Mandy.

"Why didn't you look at your phone! You didn't text me back." She shifted around, found her phone on the side table and said, "Oh, I had it on silent."

I crumpled onto the couch beside her, legs shaky with fear, dropped my head into my hands and cried that hard, deep cry that releases pent up emotions. "I don't know how to handle this."

I felt my mom's hands on my back. "Mandy, you've got to get some rest. You're falling apart, baby, because you aren't giving yourself any rest. I'll stay here with her, you and Nick go rest."

So I did. Leaving her side was hard. But again, I remind myself that I am not in control, at all. There is nothing I can do for her except be there for her when she wakes up, and pray. But this is what is going on in my head: is there room for fear and faith? Because I am so scared, does this mean I don't have faith? I'm her Mama, I am suposed to be afraid. Fear. Faith. Are they two separate entities or is there some overlapping area like on a venn diagram?

OK, I'm sorry. I know that anyone reading this wants to know about Harper, not me, but this is my soul purging quiet time so bear with me.

Harper is OK. I don't know what else to say. The machines are breathing for her so she can rest. Actually, they have increased her sedation because she is still trying to breathe over the ventilator and they want her to relax. Relax? She's like her mama, she can't relax. They are giving her nutrition and antibiotics through her iv, they are sucking the ickies out of her throat for her when she tries to cough, they are helping her urinate so she won't get infections in her bladder. They are doing everything they can.

Alone I can do nothing, in Him all things are possible.


  1. Dear Mandy,

    Just wanted you to know that I am praying for you today - for strength, endurance, peace, rest, and hope. And I am praying with you for healing for Harper.

    "For I hold you by your right hand - I, the Lord your God! And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid, I am here to help you.'" Isaiah 41:3

    "You are God my savior, and my hope is in your all day long."
    Psalm 25:5b

    Laura Shook
    Community of Faith

  2. I finally got to read the blog! Now I have to go put makeup on again, because I'm in the office bawling. I don't even know where to begin or what to write, and I certainly don't have your gift of pen to paper. Just know that those crisp clean sheets will be on all your beds when you get HOME!

    Love you!

  3. Praying these verses over you and Harper today...

    "God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains." Psalm 46:1-3

    "I've picked you. I haven't dropped you. Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." Isaiah 41:10

    "God, the one and only — I'll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul." Psalm 62:6

    "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Philippians 4:6-7

    Praying for you all today...

  4. Hi Mandy,
    I wanted to let you know that Eric and I are praying for sweet little Harper. And for YOU and Nick. I read your blog and my heart is broken for you. I know she'll pull through this but in the meantime, please know that we are thinking about you all.

    Please let me know if there is anything that we can do to help - I know that we live miles and miles away but we are here for you.

    Love, ashley

  5. praying for you this morning and felt led to pray Psalm 23 for you...
    THe Lord is my shepherd
    I shall not want,
    He makes me lie down in gren pastures;
    He leads me beside quiet waters.
    He restores my soul;
    He guides me in the paths of rightiousness For His name's sake.
    Even though i walk through teh valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; The rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    I love you Mandy...in Isaiah 40:11 it says "like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes"...praying that you will feel His Love surrounding you even as i write this

    praying...ashley wood

  6. Mandy,
    I'm not sure if you remember me, but I used to keep Harper and Livi at LOD. I just heard about Harper from a family member of mine. Please know that I am praying for "Harper Lou" (that's what I used to call her) and also for you and your family. Harper is one tough little girl and I am praying for a full recovery!

    May Harper be healed, In Jesus Name. Amen!

    Love you all,
    Laura Blackwelder Roberson

  7. Dear Mandy,
    You won't remember me, but I remember you from when you were Harper's age, or a little bit younger...I grew up in Jefferson, too.

    I am so sorry your precious girl is stuck fighting this fight! But after reading your blog, I see where Harper gets her fighting spirit...you have one, too. You're doing a good job, Mama, pulling on all your resources to help get your baby girl back home. I pray that that day is almost here.

    I've run across two Bible verses you'll like:
    Matthew 19:26 "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." He's on your's, Nick's & Harper's side!!

    Job 42:2 "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted."

    I am praying for a speedy recovery for Harper, and that you and Nick continue to feel God's loving presence. He is with all of you, each and every moment of this ordeal!

    With love and faith in Him,
    Amy Key Keith


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