Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

A couple weeks ago my mom called to tell me that my dad had been admitted into the hospital in the small town where they live.  He had not been feeling well, had no appetite and was in a lot of pain for a couple days.  So on a Monday he went to the doctor and was sent over to the hospital to be admitted.

***A quick disclaimer!  Some of this information is second and third hand and even many days old.  Much has occurred in these last couple of weeks so I may not have the terminology correct or even the dates.  I certainly have no medical training and don't have a clue about most of it, other than what we are being told.  However, the purpose of me even posting this information is because there are so many people who care about my dad and our family that we cannot possibly keep everyone up to date on a daily basis except through this blog.  My prayer is that WHEN my dad recovers he will not strangle me for doing this!!!***

A diagnosis of pancreatitis was soon determined and the treatment/testing was to do several blood tests to determine what the pancreas was doing and how the digestive enzymes were functioning. As this was going on the fluids in his body were building up. This went on for most of the week until he was tranferred to the hospital in the next biggest town for more testing and with increased pain and now a fever.

After a couple days in this hospital his condition continued to deteriorate as the fluids continued to build up, including fluid in his lungs.  He was having more trouble breathing and was on oxygen.  One evening his breathing became very labored and his heart rate went really high and was irregular.  That got him a pretty fast trip to ICU.  However, after a couple hours the medication worked and his heart rate was back down and his breathing was much better. 

Over the next couple of days there was improvement and seemed that he was improving, enough so that I had decided not to make the 2000 mile trip home.  But then on Saturday they determined that there was some pnemonia in his lung and went downhill very quickly from there.  By Monday night he was completely sedated into a medically induced coma and placed on ventilator. 

They are now saying that not only is there pnemonia in his lungs but they have used the term ARDS or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.   Basically the breathing machine and the sedation are so that his body and lungs have a chance to rest and recover.  For the last couple of days they have slowly been trying to wean him off of the ventilator and bringing him out of sedation.  He needs to be breathing on his own and fully alert before they can take him off of the ventilator.  We have no idea at this point how long, or even if that will happen.   All we can do is pray.

My trip...
So I am sure that you are wondering about that 2000 mile trip home that I mentioned earlier.  Well, it is about a 5 day trip from our house in North Carolina to my hometown in Saskatchewan.  Certainly not a trip that you can make without a bit of planning - both if travelling by vehicle or by flying. 

The first week or so that my dad was in the hospital was not overly concerning.  Certainly not to the point where I felt I needed to rush home.  Although, for lack of a better description, it really really sucks to be so far away in such a situation.  Then the night that he was put into ICU was the night that I suddenly felt the need to be home.  But it is just not that easy to get home.  Flying is very expensive and driving takes 5 days.  On top of that Sam's passport was expired.  Although I soon learned that if we were travelling by vehicle he could cross the border with only a copy of his birth certificate.

The couple of days after he was sent to ICU were more positive and I made the decision that I would not go home at that point.  Besides the 5 day drive I knew that hubby would have to be away for work for a few days at a time so there were the critters to take care of - two dogs, the new puppy, the cat, and the 19 chickens still in my living room!!!  So with my dad improving I was comfortable not going.  Until the next day when they found pnemonia.  I started to pack and left Monday morning, which was the same day he was put on the ventilator and I was wishing I had left on Saturday when I originally had planned.

Anyway, I was on the road and headed home.  It was an interesting trip but the most amazing was how well the kids did.  Of course there was complaining and fighting over toys, but generally they settled into the routine of driving and making short stops.  The first couple of days I also stopped at Walmart (love GPS) and they each got a new toy, including Leapster and Tag, which made it possible to switch toys throughout the day.  However, the most exciting part of the day for them was stopping at the hotel rooms!

However, it was not a trip without problems! 

Day 1
I was only 10 miles from home when I blew the fuse to plug in the cooler.  So now we had no cooler to keep milk and drinks cold.  Thankfully our van has 2 plugins so I was still able to have the GPS.  Later that day I realized that I had forgotten to bring my debit cards and Canadian credit cards, not a serious problem - just inconvenient and will cost me more in bank fees...sigh...

Day 2
Driving through West Virginia was beautiful and the kids were so excited to see mountains!  They were bouncing in their seats yelling things like "OOOHHH mountains!  OHHH look at that one!  WOW that is the hugest mountain we have ever seen.  Oh Mama this is the bestest adventure ever!"  Hahaha
Then it started to rain and rain and rain.  It rained through the entire state of Ohio and most of Indiana!  Close to the end of the day we were fairly close to Chicago and I wanted to be on the other side of the city so that I did not have to fight traffic in the morning.  Great plan until it the torrential rains started.  Not great driving conditions! I didn't even want to take my hands off the wheel to try to find a hotel, so I just stayed in my lane and drove and tried not to jump to much when the thunder cracked!

Day 3
Wasn't long and we were in Wisconsin and it started to snow.  Our first stop that morning was a bit uncomfortable as I was having to walk through slushy snow in my flip-flops!  I knew where my other shoes were - at the bottom of my suitcase under a bunch of other stuff!  It would take too long to dig them out standing there in snow in my flip-flops - I kept driving!  By the time we got through Minnesota I was wondering where all the flooding was and if we would be in that path.  We did see some flooded fields but there were no road closures and we made it to Grand Forks that night.

Day 4
A few miles into the day and we were detoured off the interstate due to flooding.  The kids kept asking me "Is that the ocean?  Can we go swimming?"  Entire fields were completely under water!  Soon we were at the border crossing and after answering many questions - I can't remember all of them, but here is a sample of the questions he asked me...
"How many are travelling with you?" - my three children
"I need you to open that side door" - ok (so I did)
"Why are you coming to Canada" - Dad is in the hospital
"Where do you live?" - North Carolina
"You are Canadian?" - yes
"Your children are US citizens?" - yes
"Is their father travelling with you?" - no (and I gave him the notarized letter from hubby stating his knowledge and permission for me to travel out of the country with our children - sheesh)
"Who owns this van?" - I do
"Why do you live in North Carolina and have California plates?" - husband is military.  
"Why do only 2 of your children have passports?" - one is expired.
"Where is this one's original birth certificate?"  - with the passport application
"How long are you staying" - I have no idea (which raised his eyebrows and I got quite a look so I quickly added) - it will depend on what happens with my dad.
"Longer than 2 days?" - yes
"Drive safely ma'am"

whew!  We got in!!!  I grabbed my phone to call hubby and friends who were praying that we would get in.  As soon as I crossed into Manitoba I had no cell coverage!  I now had to drive all the way to Saskatchewan before anyone would know that I was actually still driving and not detained at the border!  I did find a payphone to call hubby but who knows what that will cost.

A few hours later I got to Saskatchewan and was able to use my phone again.  And a short time later we  finally arrived at Papa & Mimi's house.  I phoned the hospital to get an update on my dad and then talked to my mom.  Of course she had no idea we were coming - no need for her to worry about us!! So I asked when she would be home and told her that there was a special delivery waiting for her.  She thought I sent flowers or something!  HAHA you can imagine her shock when she walked in to see three little kids saying HI MIMI!!