On April 12, 2013 a close relative of ours took ill and was rushed to the hospital. Within two days he was moved into the ICU, place in an induced, artificial coma, and hooked onto a ventilator. What started out as influenza, turned into pneumonia and eventually SARS. Further complications required repeated kidney dialysis, gall bladder drainage, and insulin shots. To drain the fluid out of his lungs, for nearly three weeks this relative had to be strapped into a rotating bed; the same kind that is used for bird flu.
While still in the ICU and on life support, our relative is now back in a regular hospital bed and no longer artificially paralyzed, though still sedated. He has a lot of inflammation in the lungs, his breathing is insufficient, and he is not ‘out of the woods’. However, should he recover, it will take a long, long time for his lungs to heal. It will take faith, hope, strength, endurance, and a lot of support.
When a life or death situation as this occurs, life as one knows it will cave in for the person that is ill as well as for his family. All regular activities, which usually seem so urgent or important, abruptly take on a lesser role. A large portion of every day needs to be set aside for the support and care of the ill loved one. Inevitably, one is confronted with questions about the purpose of life and of death, and one finds the validity and foundations of one’s beliefs challenged.
It is interesting to see the reaction of the community of more distant relatives and friends to a situation such as this one. Some jump in and offer to help every day, others stop by and visit occasionally as times permits it, and yet others stay away and say, “let us know when things are better”.
These are only some observation I have made thus far. There are many more that I am still sorting through.
Today I pray for our relative and all of those with severe illness that they may recover and fully regain their health. I pray that they will get another chance at life so that they can see the azure, expansive skies, feel the warmth of our radiant sun and the silvery glow of our moon, hear the bubbling water in a creek or the rushing waves in the ocean, listen to the wind whistle through gaps in doors or rustle leaves of trees or tall grasses in the field, watch butterflies and bees collect nectar and pollen from colorful flowers and birds soar high in the sky. I pray that they may be able to complete all that they were meant to in this life.