While Mary Ann lay in the hospital bed on or about Day 15 of the beginning of her journey, I sat with her, just off to her right side on a chair. Up until about 10 PM on the evening of March 7, 2014, we talked while Mary Ann had a strange feeling that she did not share with me.
It was the last time that she would see me completely from that vantage point.
The next morning when I came back to her room, she told me that something was not right, that she felt strange, and could not see well. I was concerned and summoned the nurse.
As a result, we discovered that Mary Ann had suffered an occipital lobe stroke. Physicians were called, examinations were performed and our suspicions were confirmed.
The stroke affected short-term memory and vision.
I remained at the hospital that night and a second night. During that time, Mary Ann had discomfort, but we did not know to call a night nurse to tell her of the symptoms that Mary Ann was experiencing. We had never been dependent upon the medical system, had not been hospitalized and did not know that we should bother a nurse.
My previous experiences in the hospital in the 1970s were of nurses and physicians who were too busy and dismissed the non medical. These were not pleasant people. I saw my grandparents and other older adults being mistreated in medical facilities due to incompetence, under staffing and other problems. I was determined to not allow Mary Ann to enter a nursing home, as had been threatened earlier in the stay.
While the nurses and physicians at this hospital were very nice, and the services excellent, I took charge of Mary Ann’s care, making certain that she was comfortable and received what she needed. I retrieved her pillows, blankets, water, applied creams, turned her and did everything needed to make certain that she came home in good condition.
So, having been trained and conditioned to be totally independent, I never called for help. After all, would 911 call 911? Of course not. Other people called me. I never ever called for help. I was “911”.
Of course, I did rely upon God, as we had had a conversation on Tuesday, Day 5, when I gave it up and allowed God to handle my concerns. That is another story.
But, in my day-to-day life, I was 911 and did not comprehend the weaknesses of others. I helped but was never really compassionate, as I had no understanding of compassion at that time.
So, how would I know to ask for help from a nurse. And after living with me for over 40 years, my wife did not know how to ask either. We needed to be trained how to be patients and how to become dependent.
The last 19 or so months, God has been teaching us many things. Mostly, I am the one who has needed the education. I am learning to become interdependent with others, not independent of everyone.
I have learned that I was an advocate for my wife before God, that I must ‘Stand in the Gap’ for her. God showed that to me on Day 5 of her ordeal. It was then that I realized that I had been a ‘Burden Snatcher’, and a ‘Willfully Self Centered Person’. More on those topics in another post.
God was using my wife’s circumstances to get to me; to change me, to make me more like He wanted me to be.
Have you been the 911 in your life? Have you been so Independent that you have believed ONLY in Yourself? Have you discounted Jesus Christ because you did not want to be seen as weak? Did you know that “Control is an Illusion?”