Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day by Day

The day to day routine went on and my friend Shearl and I finally got our haircut from my friend Shirley’s daughter.  We sat up shop in the waiting room bathroom and she did the best she could.  They brought in the robber that that had been shot five times while holding up a credit union.  His mom had come down from Michigan and I got to know her pretty well.  She loved her child unconditionally and I felt so bad for her.  The people there weren’t very nice to her and the police sat outside his door 24/7.  She was just a mom who loved her child no matter what he had done.  . Mike and Shearl were still there, the doctors had brought their son Mickey  out of his drug induced coma.  I would watch Mike and Shearl talking at night and be so envious because they had each other, but their son was so hurt I would immediately feel bad because I knew I would not want my daughter to be in that ICU.  But I was very lonely and I missed talking to my best friend. Dennis had taken really good care of me for 26 years and now I was pushed to be making all the decisions.  The waiting room continued to be a very exciting place for people that live in rural Oklahoma and believe me, we were not in Kansas anymore.                                 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Prayer

The days went on and if it were not for my close friends and the Word of God I think I may have given up.  I was digging in the scriptures like I had never dug before, wanting to hear that God’s promises were true and somehow that always gave me the peace that passes all understanding.  I emailed some preachers and teachers that Dennis and always listen to.  One was Kenneth Copeland Ministries and I had them put Dennis on the prayer list.  I emailed Jesse Duplantis Ministries and Kenneth Hagin Ministries.  They always wrote back, but one day I got a phone call from the Kenneth Copeland Ministry prayer line and a girl on there said she had read my email and wanted to pray with me.  It was very touching and meant a lot to me.                                                                                                                                                                   

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Psalms 30:5

The days went by in a blur.  Dennis had a trachea put in when it became apparent he was not going to breathe on his own.  He wanted me to play the CD player we had there for the other patients so they could hear the Christian music we had.  He was in so much pain, but  most of all he just wanted to go home, go back to work and everything be ok.  My heart broke for him and what he was going to have to face and I started having doubts that God even knew we were there.  But it seemed like every time the doubts would sweep in, one of my friends or just some random person would come and say exactly the right thing or phone me the exact right scripture and God would give me the strength to pull myself up and start again.  I read a scripture during those long evenings and it became my favorite verse to go back to.  It’s Psalms 30:5 “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”  Every night I would read that scripture and somehow found the strength through His Word to start again the next day.

Strange

Strange things always went on in the hospital.  My new friend Shearl told me her husband and a couple  Mickey’s friend was in the hall at 2:00 one morning and they saw an Afro-American man standing in the hall.  Mike asked him if he could help him and he told him he would like to pray with him.  He said 5 miracles had happened to him here at OU Medical Center.  They all held hands and started praying and then  he stopped and said, “ somebody here doesn’t believe in God and needs to step out of our prayer circle.”  Mike started to assure him that wasn’t true when one of the boys said no, I don’t.  He stepped out of the prayer circle and he finished his prayer.  After he was done he told them he had been shot 7 times in the neck and then he got in the elevator and left.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

psychosis

We continued to have many visitors, although they rarely got to see Dennis and I felt like I wasn’t much company, but I think it makes people feel better just to be there. I still couldn’t eat, I didn’t really even think about it.  My friends would take me out to dinner and it would take so long I would almost have a panic attack.  I got to know OU Medical Center very well and didn’t leave much. I would go out to the pond and read on some slow days, (until the sprinklers came on).  I would walk around the gift shop just to try and get my mind on something besides what Dennis and I were facing.  I would go to my cousins in the morning between 7:00 and 8:00, during shift change because you couldn’t go into the ICU trauma wing.  At her house I would take a shower and relax a minute then go back.  Dennis got what is called ICU psychosis, where they mix days and nights up.  He wasn’t sleeping and he was talking crazy from all the drugs.  I think that was my loneliest time, when he wasn’t talking coherently and I was alone.  He had to have surgery where they fused the C 1 and C2 vertebrae.  They told us that Dennis had a small spinal column, which was hereditary or it may not have been as bad as it was.  But he came through the surgery OK and that was a blessing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Singing

  Day 6 was very emotional.  Dennis told me he was ready to go.  At first I was open to the idea of letting him make this decision but the longer it went on I could tell he was not capable of making any decision let alone one of this magnitude.  I tried to reason with him and I told him to give it some more time.  Was he sure he was ready to check out on me and our daughter so soon?  He was just going to give up?  He looked at me so funny and said “I’m ready to go up in the bed, I have scooted way down.”  He also started crying and he told me he was so sorry for putting me through this.  I told him it was not his fault, it was an accident and we would get through this together.  In my heart I just couldn’t think God would let this happen to Dennis, he was such a servant and no one had a better heart than this man.  Dennis asked me if I would sing to him.  Now, I have never in our 26 years of marriage sung to Dennis, so this was a big clue that all was not right in Dennis land, but I did. We had a good laugh in the waiting room after I was finished.  I’m sure they had a good laugh at the nurse’s station as well.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Living arrangements

 Every night Whitney and I would make our pallet in the waiting room and try and sleep.  OU Medical Center is in a very bad part of OKC and you have to be very careful going to your car and also sleeping in the waiting rooms at the hospital.  People walk in and take your purse or whatever they can find.  Plus we always fought with the staff about sleeping there.  Then one day a very large local family came in to be with the matriarch of the family who had a heart attack.  They were a very large family and some were not so nice.  My best friend’s daughter Haley, was trying to save my seat in the waiting room and the crazy sister went off on her.  I went to security and it just so happened that my cousin Robbie was security there.  We had the situation handled, but Haley always had to be walked to her car. One evening Mike and Sheryl Ewing, my cousin Denise and I were sitting around the table and a man came in asking for money.  He was very shaky and seemed pretty out of it.  I told him we didn’t have any money but we had plenty of food and he was welcome to it.  He didn’t want the food and he left without incident.  It seemed like there was always something going on there, which in its own odd way was a life saver for me because  it kept my mind stimulated and focused on different things.  Whitney and I finally got thick pallets from target to sleep on and Terri brought us a computer.  I have a great set of friends who seemed to be there every other day and it made the time go faster. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Consults

I did not want to participate in any doctor consults, I didn’t want to, plus I just didn’t want to hear what I knew they were going to say, so I left that to Dennis’s family.  The trauma waiting room was still hopping.  We had a credit union robber who was shot 5 times, the Daniels and Conway lawyer who shot his wife three times and then himself, and of course this was the time Brad Henry of channel 9 had a heart attack and died.   I couldn’t eat and I sure didn’t want to think about what was going to happen in the future.  My future as I knew it was over and my heart was breaking for my husband.  Then of course, we had “THE” consult.  We had to do it in Dennis’s room because they wanted him to hear everything that was being said.  We didn’t find out till a long time later Dennis was in a world of hallucinations and didn’t know what was going on anyway.  I asked Max and Mike to be in there with the family and of course, they told us this was permanent and he would never walk or possibly breathe on his own again.  Our doctor was so young we called him Doogie Houser and I remember thinking, it must really suck to have to learn your skill this way.  The whole time he was delivering the bad news I was right up in Dennis’s ear whispering Psalms 112:7, “He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord.”  The doctor looked at me like I was crazy and I probably was at that point in time, but I didn’t want Dennis’s spirit to hear any negative statements. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our new home.

Chapter two:  OU Medical Center, trauma unit.
 There is nothing in life that gets you ready for staying 40 days and nights in a trauma waiting room, you just hang on and try to survive the ride. The second day was a jumbled up blur for me.  My friend Jana and I drove to my Cousin Vicki’s house and took a warm shower and changed our clothes.  I had sent Whitney home with her friend Caleb to make sure the dogs were OK and lock up the house.  She came back the next day and along with about 29 other people.  I know that having that many people there helped me to not  have to focus on what was going on.   I also met a family that was to be my saving grace during the next 70 days.  Shearl and Mike Davis from Blair, Oklahoma.  Their son Mickey was in a terrible auto accident.  He had suffered head trauma and was in a medically induced coma.  My faith and their faith mixed together got me through some of the worst times in my life.  We also met Shirley and her husband Smokey.  Smokey was herding buffalo when one turned on him and turned over his ATV.  We met a woman named Debbie and her sister; a drunk driver had hit her son, Tony.  Will, whose dad had an ATV accident. We also met the Friesens, whose son had been in a head on car wreck. We found out they were relatives of our Fairview Freisens. I found out very fast the trauma unit is not a happy place.  It has its high moments, but most are lower than low, that's why it's called trauma.  I didn’t write anything on day 2, 3 or 4, and I’m not sure why except that I was sure Dennis was going to come to any minute and walk out the door.  Yes, I was still in denial.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Total Denial

We had the E.R doctor come and talk to Max and I and then Max asked to pray with him.   I finally got to go back to where they had put Dennis but I don’t think he knew I was there.  He had no feeling in his legs and I remember thinking its ok, God will fix this.   My friend Jana, Max and Mike Ewing stayed the night in the trauma waiting room and the next day I had reality staring me in the face and I went in to complete denial.   I’m talking about the "sticking your head in the sand" kind of denial.  My fairy tale life was awesome and surely God would not allow such calamity to come in to our lives.  This man was a true servant of God and loved Him with all his heart.  This could not happen to us.  I liked living in denial….

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Heading to OKC

I packed a bag and Max, Debbie and I headed for the City. I had to call my daughter who she was in the middle of softball practice, so I couldn‘t reach her. My brother Scott went to the field and got her and she called me sobbing. I told her to have Jessica and Caleb drive her to OU medical center and I would meet her there. My sister in law Gretchen was in the City and she was there when the helicopter landed. We got there and Max and I had a meeting with the Doctor. The prognosis was not good. When I went back out to the ER waiting room there were more and more people trickling in. I looked at Debbie and said “I can not be Dana Reeves” she replied, no you can’t. Little did I know that I would be just like her and more. We had 39 people in the ER waiting and room and everyone held hands including two men who we didn’t know, but the wanted to join our circle. We went around the room and and anyone who wanted to pray could do so. The little man that I didn’t know had a lovely prayer and you could feel God’s presence in the waiting room.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Best Friends

The moment that sticks in my memory as the worst was when Dennis’s best friend Max Carlisle broke down in the waiting room.   I had never seen Max cry before and he was so drained from just saving Dennis's life and then getting him to safety.  It was almost more than I could bare because I knew that if he broke down, it had to be bad. Little did I know that if it weren’t for Max, Dennis would not be alive today. They let Max and I see Dennis before the helicopter took him to OKC. As we watched the helicopter fly off,  I remember holding on to Don, Dennis’s brother, once again telling him that I could not go on without Dennis.