Friday, July 22, 2011

Finally An Update

July 22, 2011

The last month (almost 2 months now!) has been absolutely insane. I still haven't processed everything that has taken place, and when I think about it too intently I get really sad so I'm taking my time to digest and dwell on the things that have unfortunately happened. The last time I posted we were getting ready to jump in the car to take a very last minute road trip out to see our family in Oklahoma. We left Friday morning and drove over fourteen hours, stopping in New Mexico for the night. Saturday morning we got up bright and early to spend another twelve or thirteen hours in the car and headed straight over to the hospital where my Grandpa was being taken care of. 
Story of what happened...
Thursday morning at 2:30 am my Grandpa got up to let the dogs out when he started to lose his balance. My Grandma happened to notice and asked him he needed help, he said yes. As she was getting over to him he fell over the dresser while my Grandma grabbed a chair and once he was seated slumped over against the wall and became unresponsive. My Grandma immediately called 911 and they quickly responded within 5 minutes and rushed him to the hospital. Once my Grandma got to the hospital the doctor told her immediately that he had a massive stroke and probably wasn't going to make it.... This was the only news I was given when I received a phone call at 3 am... I was completely heartbroken and devastated. My Grandpa was a completely healthy 75 year old who had never been sick a day in his life! He was supposed to live until he was 100! That's always how I imagined it would be.... the thought of losing him hadn't ever crossed my mind. 
Later that morning Papa became responsive and able to move both sides of his body, he was even cracking jokes like he always had. We were very hopeful that he would actually recover. By noon he had fallen fast asleep without being able to be woken. At first the doctors told us that he had a urinary tract infection that was causing his sleepiness and after some antibiotics he would wake up and be fine. The antibiotics were administered and we saw absolutely no changes. We knew he could hear us but he could barely respond and absolutely couldn't open his eyes. We played his favorite old hymns at his bedside, he would tap his hand to the music, we would pray for him over and over, my Dad would read scripture to him, and we were constantly telling him how much we loved him. We were hopeful that he was going to eventually wake up and start the recovery process. Saturday we started noticing periods of apnea that he was having and that they were slowly getting longer and more frequent. We told the doctor and he looked over the most recent CT scan that they had done and he found new strokes in his brain stem which was causing the inability to wake up. Monday morning they let us know that there would be no hope for a meaningful recovery for him and he would remain in that exact state for the rest of his life. We knew without a doubt that my Papa would not want to live like that. It was a terrible decision to have to make, that if his heart were to stop beating we would do nothing to get it going again. The thought of losing him tore us all apart. We transferred him to a hospice house that Tuesday and sat with him everyday praying for him and reading him scripture. The hospice doctor assessed him when he got there and told us that it would probably take up to three weeks for him to pass away because all of his vital organs were strong and healthy. He went to be with Jesus exactly a week later. We were so incredibly thankful. The thought of him going through this for another week absolutely broke our hearts. As much as we wanted to keep him here with us, he was not the same Papa that we had always known. He had never been sick and wanted nothing more than to be with Jesus. We had to lay our selfishness aside and do what we knew was best for him.
He was one of the most incredible men I have ever known and I feel so incredibly honored to say I was his granddaughter. I know how much he loved and cared about me and the entire family. 
The moment that will stand out to me the most about the entire experience...
I was standing next to his bedside watching him sleep when he reached up to try and touch my face... I grabbed his hand and said "I love you Papa" and he turned his head and mumbled "I love you"... I burst into tears because he wasn't able to communicate much with us and that was the most he was able to say. It meant so much to me that he could hear me and that he put forth so much effort to let me know in return that he loved me. He squeezed my hand so tight and didn't want to let it go. I cherished every last moment.... 
I still don't think that it has fully sunk in that I won't be seeing him until I get to Heaven, but this entire experience has given me an incredible longing to be there and I absolutely cannot wait. I pray harder everyday for my boys that they would come to know Christ and join us all in Heaven someday.... what a day of rejoicing that will be.
How incredible is it that he is spending time with Jesus???? I still can't get over that... Much more has happened since we've gotten back but for now I'll leave it at that. I'm sure I left stuff out and forgot some things the entire 2 1/2 weeks we were there felt like an entire year had gone by and we felt like we had no concept of time... a very surreal experience to say the least...
Please pray for our family as we continue to heal from the loss of an amazing Grandpa, Father, Husband, Uncle, and friend to SO MANY people! He was definitely loved by many!

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