Many of you know that I focus a lot on Bible prophecy and the end times. However, I sometimes write about topics unrelated to those subjects. This is one of those times because I believe I can write something that will glorify God and something that will do a lot of good for people.
I am going through a very difficult time right now. My dad’s health is not good. He has a large tumor in his brain that needs removal, but with that comes considerable risks, including the risk of death.
It’s relatively easy to write a testimony giving God glory after everything turns out good. I appreciate those who share their testimonies when things turn out well because it gives hope to others who struggle with similar circumstances. I read some positive testimonies this week in search of comfort, and while I was reading an idea came to mind…
I feel led to share my testimony about the goodness of God even when I don’t know if everything will turn out the way I hope it will. I believe God’s power and strength shows best when we come to the end of ourselves and become totally reliant on Him. I am in that situation now, so I want to show you the power and goodness of God during a very difficult and uncertain time.
I believe the best way I can give my testimony is through my writing because my articles are read by people across the world who face different struggles. Therefore, in this article, I will explain the difficult situation me and my family face and give God glory as I deal with the most severe trial of my life-a trial that could lead to me losing my dad.
Background about My Dad
My dad has endured a lot in life. He grew up not having a lot during his childhood. My dad helped to take care of his siblings since he was the oldest child. As a teenager, he worked in fields to make money to buy things he needed and to buy his siblings treats.
My dad learned on his 17th birthday that his parents enlisted him in the United States Air Force. He spent many years in Asia during the Vietnam War and has seen so many things that a historian could fill up a book with his experiences.
- For instance, my dad was at Vandenberg Air Force Base, which housed ICBM’s during the Cuban Missile Crisis. My dad told my aunt and I that the soldiers who operated the base’s nuclear weapons had no idea how to make a simple pot of coffee. In essence, the United States was placing their hopes of survival in a bunch of guys in their 20s who didn’t know how to make coffee.
My dad is not the smartest man who ever lived, but he is one of the most generous to those he cares about.
- He always treated me well and often brought home little presents for me after a long day of work.
- He would always help a family member in need. My dad went above and beyond to make sure my grandmother (who didn’t have much money) had enough food to eat until her passing.
- He always brought snacks and goodies for his coworkers, and he had A LOT of coworkers. My dad worked as a courier for a school district, so each day he would visit several schools and encounter many people. My dad’s generosity and hard work led to him to being voted district employee of the year several times during his 15+ year career.
My dad never shows off or boasts about himself.
- My dad never showed me his military service medals or speak about his accomplishments. My dad kept his awards and medals buried in a hard to reach cabinet.
- My dad also would not attend award ceremonies where he would be honored even when his coworkers pleaded him to come. He didn’t care if people recognized him or not.
My dad is a man who has always feared the Lord. As a result, I believe the Lord has always looked after my dad.
- My dad experienced several supernatural events in his life, but he was never harmed by them.
- My dad aged slower than his peers, and as a result, had naturally dark hair into his 70s. In fact, my dad looked like he was in his late 40s or early 50s when he turned 70. Like my grandmother, I believe Proverbs 10:27 applies to my dad: “The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”
- My dad never sought or took revenge against those who harmed him. Nevertheless, bad things often happened to those who harmed him.
My Dad and Me
I have a strong attachment to my dad because I spent a majority of my time with my dad during my childhood. My mother worked nights, overtime, and often on weekends while my dad worked days during the week.
My dad looked after me when I was not at school and would take me places on weekends. My dad wasn’t perfect while raising me, but he’s as good of a dad as I could have asked for.
- My dad is the reason I am a Christian. My dad made sure I went to church when I was a child, and he raised me as a Christian.
- I haven’t said a curse word in over 20 years, and the reason for this is that my dad would get so upset with me if he heard me curse that he scared me into never doing it again.
- My dad is the reason I study and write about Bible prophecy. He introduced the subject to me when I was a teenager and he was the person who I shared my ideas and findings with.
- My dad taught me the importance of being generous to those you care about. I would be a completely different person if it wasn’t for my dad’s influence on me.
The Decline of Health
My dad aged slowly during his 50s, 60s, and early 70s, but in recent years he’s battled several cases of pneumonia. A couple of years ago my dad suffered a severe case of pneumonia that required him to stay in the hospital for several days. The pneumonia was so severe that it could have killed him if we waited much longer to get him to the hospital.
The doctors discovered a large tumor in my dad’s brain during this hospital stay. We learned that it poses a serious threat to him because of its size, shape, and position.
- Removing the tumor is a risky option that could cause more harm than good, especially at his age.
- However, not removing the tumor carries risks as well because it could wreak havoc on various brain functions and could cause my dad to go blind.
Given the risks, my dad’s neurologist took a conservative approach. We would monitor the tumor to see if it grew or cause problems for my dad. We would consider removing the tumor if it became clear my dad’s condition was declining.
The tumor remained relatively unchanged over the next couple of years. At one point, it seemed the tumor had stopped growing. This brought us some relief, but we knew the tumor was serious enough that it still needed monitoring.
Even though the tumor was relatively unchanged, my dad’s health was on the decline because of it. My dad’s verbal, visual, mental, and physical skills deteriorated a lot. The tumor made my dad a shell of what he used to be. My dad went from…
- A man who loved to talk to others to a man who struggles to communicate.
- A man who spent hours each week studying Bible prophecy to a man who struggles to comprehend anything he reads.
- A man who warmed my meals each night to a man who struggles to operate a microwave.
- A man who would record 5 television shows or movies at once on the DVR to a man who struggles to change the channel on the television.
- A man who would drive miles up hilly terrain in the rain to see his mother to a man who struggles to drive straight on a road (he’s no longer driving now for his safety).
- A man who would walk miles around a track to a man who struggles to stand up.
Last week my dad experienced two multi-day episodes where he could not stand up on his own. It was a scary time because I wondered if my dad had experienced a stroke. Thankfully, my dad regained the ability to stand on his own, but I knew I had to tell the neurologist about what happened and the other things I’ve observed about my dad.
The Difficult Decision Arrives
Two days before Christmas my family went to visit the neurologist for an update on my dad’s tumor. The neurologist had much more concern in his voice and remarked how noticeable my dad’s mental decline was.
The neurologist warned us that there’s considerable risk in trying to remove the tumor from my dad’s brain, and he was uncertain whether he can remove all of it. Here’s what I gathered from the neurologist:
- My dad could end up in worse shape than he is now if we try to remove the tumor and many complications could arise from surgery.
- My dad could die if the surgery does not go well.
- However, the tumor is taking its toll on my dad now and would continue to worsen my dad’s quality of life if it remains untouched. My dad would at some point go blind if we do not remove the tumor.
- If surgery is a success, my dad could have several extra years of life similar to what he has now. His quality of life isn’t great, but it’s much better than what it may be if we do not remove the tumor.
- A small possibility exists that my dad’s health could improve if we try to remove the tumor and everything goes well.
The neurologist told us that we have a very difficult choice, but if we ever opt to remove the tumor this is the time to do it.
I have faith that God’s perfect will shall prevail no matter what we choose to do with my dad. Proverbs states:
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33)
“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)
Having faith that God knows what’s best and has a perfect plan, I voiced my support to remove the tumor. I told the neurologist that the surgery will go well if things are meant to go well. On the other hand, my dad’s condition will get worse if things are meant to get worse no matter if we opt for surgery or not. We might as well try to remove the tumor to give my dad a chance to have several more good years of life.
My mother agreed that it was best to remove the tumor. My dad also seemed to agree. With that, we decided it was time to remove the tumor.
- I later contacted my aunts to inform them about the decision to remove the tumor. After explaining the situation, my aunts agreed that removing the tumor is the right decision.
God’s Timing at Work
The neurologist told us the surgery would likely happen in February 2020. However, we got a phone call the next day informing us that my dad is having a preparatory procedure done on January 15, 2020 and having surgery performed on January 16, 2020.
My mom and I did not expect my dad’s surgery to come so soon. Instead of waiting 6 weeks, we would only wait 3 weeks. I am glad that the Lord enabled the surgery to occur sooner rather than later since I believe the surgery needs to happen.
The Lord’s incredible timing made itself known two days later. My dad had two appointments originally scheduled next week (the week of December 30, 2019).
- A general health checkup with his primary care doctor.
- An eye exam.
I scheduled the general health checkup back in June. My dad saw his primary care doctor back in October for an exam, so I wondered if the appointment in December was still necessary. A medical assistant advised me to not cancel the appointment because you never know what may happen…
After deciding on surgery, my mom and I discussed canceling both upcoming appointments because we thought the surgery could change everything about my dad’s health. We thought, “Why have my dad endure two health exams when his health may change completely in three weeks?”
I had no problem canceling the eye exam, but I was unsure about canceling the health checkup. However, I eventually agreed to cancel both appointments after talking to my mom. I turned my laptop on to find the phone numbers I need to call to cancel the appointments.
The phone unexpectedly rang moments (literally seconds) before I could dial it to cancel my dad’s general health checkup. The Caller ID showed that it was the health care provider calling. I answered the phone, but no one was on the line. I hung up the phone and waited to see if they would call back.
The phone rang a minute later with some important information from the neurologist’s scheduler. I was told:
- My dad’s surgery will begin between 7:30 and 8:00 AM PT and will last for about 6 hours on January 16, 2020.
- The neurologist really believes that the surgery needs to happen. This was precious information to me because I was not 100% sure if surgery was the right option. The neurologist did not directly tell us what option he preferred during our meeting, but I could sense he favored surgery. This new information removed all doubt about the choice we’re making.
- The neurologist will be able to monitor my dad after surgery. This was also very welcome news because the neurologist originally told us that it would be difficult for him to monitor my dad post-surgery since his main office is at a different location. The schedule works out perfectly for my dad to receive the care he may need.
- It’s okay to cancel the eye exam.
- DO NOT CANCEL the general health checkup scheduled for December 30. The scheduler was really glad that we had the appointment because there are some things that need to be taken care of at my dad’s doctor office.
I called my aunts to update them on the news, including how I was stopped moments before canceling an appointment that we need to have. One of my aunts arrived at the same conclusion as I did when she reflected on the timing of events: God’s divine hand is at work.
This Trial Is In God’s Good Hands
Everything is in God’s good hands now. It’s a difficult time for me and my family, but I find comfort knowing that God is in complete control of the situation.
- God foreknew that my dad would have this tumor. The fact my dad has a tumor that threatens his quality of life is no accident, but its presence is also meant for good. Romans 8:28 states “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. I look forward to seeing how God uses a situation that many would be horrified with for good.
- God placed my dad in the care of a highly skilled neurologist. If anyone can help my dad, I know this neurologist can as he’s helped many other patients in the past.
- God controls the length, the nature, and the outcome of this trial that we face. Through this difficult time, God will supply us the grace to endure this trial.
- God’s plan is perfect. Even if things don’t go as I hope, God has a perfect purpose for whatever takes place.
I will continue to add extra sections to this article as time goes on, so keep checking back if you want updates. I know it will be difficult to write at times because of the uncertainty of this situation. I could find myself in a few weeks writing my dad’s obituary or writing about a miracle. Nevertheless, no matter what happens I want to give God the glory for what will take place.
God is good, all the time.
Update 1: God Answers Prayer
I want to provide a bit more detail into an event I briefly mentioned because it’s a testimony of the power of prayer. Like many older people, my dad has had a bit of difficulty standing up in recent years. My dad is able to stand up on his own 99% of the time, but it may take a few attempts before he is able to stand.
A couple of weeks ago my dad suddenly was unable to stand up on his own. It was very difficult and painful for him to move his legs. My dad’s legs seem like they were frozen with how hard it was for him or me to move them a tiny amount. We tried putting pain and muscle creams on my dad’s legs to help the situation, but none of them had any effect.
My dad is not the lightest man in the world, so it is hard for one person to help him to his feet. My mother and I had to constantly monitor my dad to see if he needed help to stand up and lift him up to his feet when he needed to move.
This situation was very draining and concerning because this happened twice over the course of several days. I was very concerned because I have never seen my dad struggle to stand up, and with my dad’s tumor I wondered if he had a stroke that took away his ability to stand. I wondered if my dad was going to need 24/7 monitoring for the rest of his life.
I often assist a pastor with various things. I told him that I couldn’t come to church to help him because of my dad’s inability to stand up on his own. The pastor texted back telling me that he was praying.
Shortly after I received that text, I heard a noise from the room my dad was at. My dad woke up, stood up on his own, and began to walk. My dad was able to stand up on his own again and move his legs like normal! The prayer brought immediate healing to my dad, and since that time my dad is able to move around like normal again.
God answers prayer, and there’s nothing too small or insignificant that you can ask of Him. I often give testimony at my church of how God answered my prayer or provided something I asked Him for. Some of the things I ask for seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but God cares so much about us that He will answer prayer when it’s according to His will.
“(14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: (15) And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
I have faith that God will continue to answer prayer in the lead up and in the aftermath of my dad’s upcoming brain surgery. I draw some comfort knowing that God is in total control of the situation, knows what is best, and answers prayer when it’s according to His perfect will.
Update 2: God Lifts a Burden from My Dad and Me
December 30, 2019
I’ve been concerned with telling my dad that he has brain surgery scheduled. The reason for my concern is that my dad generally gets nervous before seeing the doctor and does not sleep the night before knowing he has to go to the doctor. I thought that telling him about brain surgery would cause him to worry in the days before the surgery.
At the same time, I’ve wanted to tell my dad about the surgery. I felt bad trying to keep this surgery secret. My dad has a right to know that something that could change his life is coming up, especially when it involves his own body.
My concern about the December 30, 2019 doctor appointment is that my dad would finally learn that the surgery was scheduled. There’s no way to keep that information quiet when his doctor and other health assistants are asking questions and running tests on him.
Before the appointment, I asked the Lord to please help my dad make it through the testing and to please not have my dad scared if he learned about the surgery.
I had to disclose to the doctor that my dad does have brain surgery scheduled in January 2020 as my dad was present in the room. My dad didn’t really react, so I wondered if he understood what was going on and what he was thinking. My dad didn’t say much as he went through the various tests.
After my dad got home, he started to mention that he has to throw “it” out. My dad often gets his words mixed up when he talks, but I guessed he was talking about the tumor because we just got home from the doctor. I asked my dad if he was talking about the tumor, and he said “yes”.
I told my dad that we are going to try to take the tumor out and that was the point of the testing he went through today. My dad wanted to know if I agreed with him to take out the tumor, and I told him that I agreed along with everyone else.
My dad’s reaction was amazing to see. It looked like the weight of the world was lifted from his shoulders. My dad was so happy to hear that we agreed with him that we should get the tumor removed. My dad said he was so glad because he feared that we would not agree with the decision.
He felt so much better and I did as well. God answered my prayers by not only making my dad unafraid of the news, but happy about the news. God lifted a burden from my dad and me. God is good!
Update 3: Speaking Out
January 5, 2020
I took the opportunity to briefly speak about my dad’s situation to the church I attend. They are praying for the situation.
I originally wasn’t planning to speak out, but I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to speak. Speaking out is an opportunity to show the goodness of God.
I have peace right now-a peace that passes all understanding. This peace is from God. Without my faith, I would be a nervous wreck right now and I would be unable to sleep or eat. However, I sleep really well and I am able to live daily life like everything is normal. The promise of Philippians 4:6-7 is so true:
“(6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
I’m so glad that God provides us peace that passes all understanding even in times of severe trial. God is good!
Update 4: Why a Miracle
January 13, 2020
I write this on Monday January 13, 2020-the week of my dad’s surgery. I entitled this article The Goodness of God When in Need of a Miracle. The word “miracle” implies that a need exists that can only be met with the help and power of God. It’s not a word that should be used lightly. I believe “miracle” is what my dad’s situation will require for things to go well.
The surgery is a challenging one. The tumor is not in an ideal place. Also, my dad’s age makes the situation even more challenging. As I type this, I don’t know if my dad will survive the surgery, and if he does, I don’t know what shape he’s going to be in.
Will he still be able to see? Will he still recognize me? Will he be able to talk? Will he be able to walk?
My dad could be worse off than he is now as a result of the surgery, which is a difficult thing to even think about because his quality of life isn’t great right now. But surgery is the risk that we must take to potentially give him a better quality of life in the long-term. Otherwise, the tumor could ruin what’s left of his life if it’s allowed to continue for much longer.
The neurologist mentioned that there’s a chance that my dad’s condition could improve as a result of the surgery. The chance is small, but it exists, nonetheless.
I don’t know what the outcome is going to be, but God has given me the strength and grace to live life normally up to this point. I learned in a previous trial about how futile it is to worry. Worry gets us nowhere. It’s a waste of time and energy. Worry and anxiety is rooted in a lack of faith and trust in God.
I immediately think of what Christ said in Matthew 6:34 whenever I catch my mind begin to think about the potential outcomes of the surgery. Christ told us to take no thought of tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself:
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34)
We only have enough strength to live for today. We don’t have strength to live for tomorrow. God will give us the strength to live that upcoming day of adversity when that day comes.
God has been very good to me because He patiently taught me the futility of worry and the importance of focusing on living one day at a time in a period of severe difficulty. I learned this valuable lesson over the course of several years as I dealt with a trial that took a long time to resolve. I wondered why I had to endure such a long trial, but now I’m glad I lived through it because I am applying the lessons I learned from it now.
Also, I draw strength knowing that God knows what is best for each us. He knows what is best for me, my dad, my family, etc. The outcome of the surgery will be in accordance to God’s perfect plan. I may not understand right away why a certain outcome takes place, but I can rest assured that God knows what’s best.
Finally, I can have hope that a miracle is possible because all things are possible for God. The Four Gospels are full of accounts of the miracles Christ performed during His First Coming.
- Christ healed the blind, raised people from the dead, healed people of various illness, and much more. If it’s God’s will, my dad’s condition will improve as a result of the surgery. The healing of my dad would pale in comparison to the miracles that He has already performed. God is truly the Great Physician.
God can perform miracles, and I would love to have one take place in this situation. I won’t say “I 100% need a miracle” because God may decide that it’s best for all of us to take my dad home to Heaven. God knows what I truly need. He knows what my preferences are in this situation, but I yield to His wisdom and to His goodness.
Update 5: The Amazing Designer at Work
January 15, 2020
One of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do was to give my dad details about the two upcoming procedures he would endure. My dad did not remember that I already revealed the dates of the surgery or how he was relieved that my family agreed along with him to remove the tumor in his head.
My dad seemed upset about the news and mentioned the possibility of leaving the tumor alone. After seeing my dad’s reaction, I asked God to give me the strength to communicate with him the need for the surgery. God granted me the grace and strength to have a heart-to-heart conversation with my dad.
After I explained the situation, my dad understood why leaving the tumor alone isn’t the best long-term choice. He understood that the tumor must be removed. I also reminded him that God is in control and has always looked out for him. I also told him that God can use this situation for great good.
My biggest concern the night before the first procedure was how I was going to get rest.
- I normally go to bed after midnight, but I needed to be up before 4:00 AM. Normally, I’m not that tired when I go to bed after midnight, so I dreaded the thought of only getting less than 4 hours of sleep (I normally get more than 7 hours).
- Also, my dad is not allowed to have food or water after 11:59 PM the night before each procedure. Therefore, I had to make sure he did not wake up in the middle of the night and have something to eat or drink.
Amazingly, my eyes began to grow very tired before 9:00 PM. By 9:30 PM I was more tired than I would be if I stayed up past 1:30 AM. Also, I found a way to make sure that my dad didn’t have access to food or water after 11:59 PM. God helped me make it through the night at wake up at 3:45 AM with a lot of energy.
The purpose of the first procedure was to minimize the bleeding from the tumor. There was concern that a lot of bleeding could occur during surgery since the tumor is large.
The doctor working on my dad said that there was a 50% chance that they would be able to treat the tumor with a fluid to minimize bleeding. The impression I got was that it would be best if they were able to treat the tumor. As a result, this was the outcome I hoped for even though there was a small chance that my dad could have a stroke from the treatment.
More than hour later the doctor announced that they did not treat the tumor. I thought this was bad news, but the doctor explained that they did not need to treat tumor with fluid and that the risk of a lot of blood loss was low. This was the best possible outcome.
The doctor reappeared to update us about my dad’s status a little bit later. I tried to get more information about what he saw. The doctor told me that the blood vessels he sees are normally linear shape, but my dad’s blood vessels are a spiral shape.
The doctor showed me a photo of what he saw and told me he has never seen anything like it in his many years of practice. I asked the doctor how this was possible, and he told me that we are all designed differently. He then thanked God for the blood vessels’ unique shape.
God is our Creator and our Designer. He foreknew that my dad would have this surgery and designed my dad’s brain in a way that would give him a better chance of making it through this surgery. This realization raises my hopes that God will take care of my dad once again as he endures this surgery.
Update 6: The Longest Day
January 16, 2020
The day that I’ve dreaded for the past two years finally arrived: the day of surgery to remove my dad’s tumor. I got little sleep because my dad was struggling a lot.
- I woke up at 1:00AM hearing my dad struggling to change clothing that he could normally change without issue.
- My dad would not respond to requests I made or seemed to not understand any question that I asked him.
My dad was not mentally aware of what was going on right up until we left for the hospital. I prayed that my dad would begin to cooperate in getting dress to go to the hospital.
I also tried to use prayer to send my dad a direct message to tell him what was going on and to ask him to cooperate (This sounds very weird, but I believe I achieved this a few days before my grandmother passed away in a dream. My grandmother’s body was failing, but her soul/spirit remained undamaged by age. I was able to tell her goodbye in a way that felt so real that I was in tears).
Moments after finishing, I heard a noise coming from the bedroom. My dad quickly got dressed and quickly headed to the car to get ready to leave (he was ready to leave 15 minutes before I was ready to leave!). The change in my dad’s behavior was so dramatic that it seemed like the prayer worked.
I had the difficult task of helping my dad get ready for surgery once we arrived at the hospital. My dad had a lot of difficulty following directions and responding to questions and requests. He was still the man that I cared deeply about, but not the man that I knew all my life. Seeing my dad struggle to ask simple questions was very hard, but seeing the struggle reinforced my belief that surgery was the right thing to do even if it cost him his life.
Despite my dad’s struggles, it was very apparent that his attachment to me, his son, remained undamaged by the tumor. The neurologist asked my dad who he was married to and he said “Wayne”. My dad kept saying “Wayne” in response to most questions he was asked. My dad also looked at me, said “I’ll miss you Wayne”, and squeezed my hand tightly when I put my hand out towards his hand minutes before he was taken to the operating room.
- I later learned that my dad kept calling the surgeon “Wayne” in the operating room.
The neurologist explained the various risks my dad faced. Despite what transpired the previous day, bleeding was still a risk. Death was another possibility. The tumor is so large that the neurologist said that it would be the largest that he’s tried to remove. Finally, the neurologist explained that the tumor has already caused a lot of damage to my dad’s brain but did not rule out the possibility that my dad would regain some of his lost functionality as a result of the surgery.
I was told that the surgery was scheduled for 6 hours, but the neurologist indicated that it would take much longer than that. I signed up for automated text updates so I would have the latest information when it arrived. Unfortunately, I did not get any texts or information for almost 10 hours.
I spent nearly 10 hours hanging out in a waiting room with my mother and my two aunts. The wait was difficult because I had no information. People wanted to know what was going on, but I had no news to provide them. I wasn’t struggling emotionally because I knew that God was in total control.
I spent much time reflecting on Proverbs 16:33, which says:
“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”
The idea of this verse is that God is even sovereign over seemingly random acts of chance-in other words, there’s no such thing as luck. The decision to risk my dad’s life and current quality of life to give him a better qualify of life in the long-term is rolling the dice. The outcome is unclear, but the outcome is not truly up to chance because God is in control. Knowing this strengthened my conviction that opting for surgery was the right thing to do.
After 12 hours of being at the hospital and in the 10th hour of surgery, I got a text saying that my dad’s surgery was finished. The neurologist came out and told us that the surgery went as he expected.
- He could not remove the whole tumor because doing so would do a lot of damage to my dad’s brain, but he was pleasantly surprised by how much of the tumor he removed.
- The remaining parts of the tumor still pose a risk to my dad because they’re located in sensitive areas of my dad’s head. The neurologist can treat these remaining parts later with a different procedure.
- Bleeding was not an issue (it could have been a big problem if it weren’t for the uniqueness of my dad)
- He has no idea how my dad will be when he awakens. The potential exists for my dad to be worse than he was before, but he could recover with time. My dad’s health remains the biggest unknown.
- As suspected, the tumor did a lot of harm to my dad’s brain. It was a nasty tumor.
I was able to see my dad briefly in the intensive care unit (ICU). My dad was asleep, but I tried to calmly tell him encouraging words and remind him that God has always looked out for him and still is. It was hard to see my dad in the condition he was in, but his vital signs were normal, and I had comfort knowing he was in the care of very capable people.
The biggest unknowns are (1) What is my dad is going to be like when he wakes up? (2) How is he going to respond in the days that follow?
Will my dad remember me? Will my dad be able to see? Will my dad be able to talk? Will my dad be better off or worse off?
The answers to these questions are not up to chance, but up to a merciful God who spared my dad’s life.
The trial continues, but I draw strength from James 5:11, which states:
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful [tender or full of compassion], and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)
This trial may last for awhile longer, but God is very merciful and full of compassion. He’s always taken care of my dad, and I believe he still is. He’s taking care of me now. God is good.
Update 7: In the Hands of God
January 18, 2020
My dad remains in intensive care and is likely to remain in intensive care for at least 1 to 2 weeks. He’s still in a very fragile state and the risk of death remains considerable. He’s showing small signs of improvement and has movement on both sides of his body, but it’s VERY early on and recovery is a long road, especially at his age.
The neurologist who performed surgery on my dad has been visiting my dad and will still be able to for the next several days to check on him. My dad has excellent people taking care of him, and I thank God for them. I don’t spend a long time visiting my dad because there’s little I can do and the people taking care of him need to work.
Everything is in God’s hands, including my dad’s life and prospects for recovery. All I can do is trust that God knows exactly what He’s doing. If you are reading this and are concerned about my well-being, please understand that I still have the peace of God that passes all understanding as I did when I spoke to my church a couple of weeks ago. God is in control. I’ve made my preferences known to God, but He knows best.
The trial continues and may not end in the near future, but all things work together for good for those who love God. I love God and my dad does as well. Whether my dad makes it or not, I know that God is good. He’s someone you can believe in and draw strength from in times of severe trial.
Update 8: The Great Physician at Work
January 21, 2020
God has been very good the past few days! My dad has made a lot of progress on the long road of recovery. My dad can see, move, talk, eat, recognize people, remember some things, and follow some commands. He’s still a weak and needs to heal, but his progress is impressive considering his age.
My dad recognized me when I came to visit him on Monday. He was able to understand some things, but he was not aware of where he was or why he was there. My dad was also irritable and wanted to go home desperately. In fact, my dad became angry when he realized that my mom and I had to leave. My dad tried to escape his ICU room in hopes that he could go home.
I didn’t feel good seeing my dad so upset. My dad was alive, but he was not acting like the person I knew. I prayed to God asking Him to calm my dad down and to give Him peace. My dad needs peace and calm to heal. I didn’t want my dad to be angry and upset because I can’t stay 24/7 with him in ICU.
The next day I found that my dad was moved to a different room in ICU. I was told that my dad did not pose a problem for the staff. My mom and I spent a little bit of time with my dad in his new room.
My dad was much more relaxed and better behaved. He said some things that reminded me of the man I knew, so I was seeing signs of progress. My dad was calm when he realized that my mom and I had to leave. I told him that I loved him, and he replied that he loved me too. The Great Physician is at work restoring my dad’s body and mind. Praise God for His progress and for answering prayer!
Update 9: A New Test of Faith
January 23, 2020
The doctors not only cleared my dad to leave ICU but to also to be discharged to the hospital. My dad was taken to a rehab facility to help him regain his ability to walk and move around on his own.
I am thankful that God has healed my dad to such an extent that the doctors believed he was ready for this big step (I actually expected my dad to remain in the hospital for a few weeks before rehab, but he far exceeded expectation). However, at the same time, I view this step as another test of faith during this ongoing trial.
The good thing about ICU was that my dad had really good care. My dad was looked after by caring nurses and received regular visits from various doctors. My dad will not get nearly the same medical attention where he was taken.
The rehab center also serves as a long-term care facility, so my dad is in a place with a lot of unfamiliar people. The people seemed nice, but you never know about these types of places.
My dad was placed on a bed without railing when he arrived at the facility. This was disconcerting because my dad could hurt himself badly if he rolls off the bed. I prayed to God that my dad would not fall off the bed that night.
My dad was also confused when he arrived at the new facility. This raised my concern about how my dad will adjust to his new surroundings.
Also, will my dad get proper care? Will he be able to take the right medications and cooperate with staff? These questions were in my mind when I left the facility for the first time.
The next day I visited my dad to see how he fared the first night. My dad seemed very tired and unaware of his surroundings. The staff told me that he’s strong, but uncooperative. He doesn’t need to go back to the hospital, but he’s totally dependent on others right now. He also seems very confused. Not the report I was hoping to hear…
The one positive development is that my dad got upgraded to a bed with some railing on the side. This should protect him from falling off the bed.
Overall, this is another test of faith for me.
- I must have faith that God, the Great Physician, knows what He’s doing by bringing my dad to this rehab facility. Some in my family wondered if my dad was discharged too early from the hospital because he was discharged less than a week after major brain surgery.
- I must have faith that God has placed the right people into positions to take care of my dad.
- I must have faith that God will continue to heal my dad and to take away his delirium. He’s still really confused, which I suppose is not unusual for elderly people to experience after surgery.
The key thing about faith is that we ought to have faith in the small things when God has proven Himself faithful in the big things. Oftentimes, we forget the great things that God has done in our lives when we need Him to do something relatively small for us.
- I had complete faith that God would take care of my dad when He had surgery and would take care of my dad the first few days after surgery. God was faithful and helped my dad during that very difficult time.
- Now, I must have faith that God will take care of my dad and heal my dad now that he’s beginning his rehab in a less than ideal condition.
Update 10: The Day of Adversity
January 24, 2020
I had a feeling that I might face some adversity today when I read Proverbs 24:10 this morning. The verse states:
“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”
I expected adversity, but I did not expect to endure the hardest day yet.
After reading Proverbs 24:10, I received a phone call from the rehab center. The nurse told me that my dad developed a case of pneumonia. I was not thrilled with the news, but I tried to stay positive since the rehab center said they could treat him. However, things changed drastically when I arrived at the rehab center.
We met a nurse practitioner from the hospital who informed us that they need to send my dad back to the hospital to get proper care. My dad had some health readings that were concerning and required immediate medical attention.
My mother and I left for the emergency room to wait for my dad. We hoped the issues were not too serious and that my dad would receive proper care. We had no idea how bad things were with my dad.
My dad was dealing with several serious health issues. He could understand some of the things we said to him and could respond, but he was clearly suffering (I could hear his shouts of pain) and confused. It was very painful to watch him suffer and it was heartbreaking to know that I can’t do anything to physically to ease his pain.
I don’t know the full the extent of the problems that my dad faces right now. I was told that my dad can recover from each of the known health issues, but recovery isn’t guaranteed. All I can do is to pray and to trust that God knows what is best in this situation.
It’s in moments like this where we are tempted to question God or to show resentment towards God. However, I refuse to do this because God is good even in times of severe trial.
- God has given my dad a very knowledge doctor who will take care of him like he would take care of himself or a loved one.
- Also, my dad has opportunities to recover. I’m thankful that opportunities exist. My dad may not have any opportunity to recover or could be far worse off than he is now if the nurse practitioner waited any longer to act.
The life of my dad is in God’s hands once again. I trusted God to do what’s best for my dad when he had surgery. Now, I must trust that God will again do what’s best for my dad as the doctors work to help him as he deals with these health issues.
Update 11: Stop Thinking, Just Have Faith
January 26, 2020
My dad was in very rough shape when we left him Friday night. I was more concerned for my dad Friday night than I was for him on the day of his brain surgery because this experience was unexpected. I heard my dad in pain and knew he had health readings that were dangerously high. His long-term health was at serious risk.
Friday night I tried to keep negative thoughts from taking control of my mind. I tried my hardest to keep faith, but I also tried to rationalize why God would put my dad through this painful situation. God allowed this for a reason…
I woke up at 3:15 AM Saturday morning unable to go back to sleep. I was still trying to not let the situation affect me, but it was affecting me.
Suddenly, a thought entered my mind that originally came from the pastor of my church. My pastor recently said that a good time to pray is when you’re unable to sleep because the lack of sleep may be from God trying to get your attention.
While in prayer, a thought entered my mind that changed my mindset. The thought was basically, “Stop thinking. Just have faith.” I then told the Lord that I would simply stop trying to come up with reasons for the situation that my dad is in and that I would just trust that He knows what He’s doing. As soon as I finished praying, extreme tiredness overtook me. I fell into a deep sleep.
I woke up Saturday morning and read Proverbs 25. I encountered Proverbs 25:2, whichs says:
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”
This verse reinforced the thought to “stop thinking. Just have faith”. There are some things that we will never be able to understand. God’s ways are not our ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). God can get glory from the things we don’t understand, so let God have the glory.
I visited my dad at the hospital an hour later. He was still in a lot of pain. He didn’t look much better than he did on Friday night. I was uncomfortable with what I saw, but I surrendered the issue to God instead of trying to rationalize what was going on. I did not let negative thoughts or thoughts of worst-case scenarios overtake my mind because I placed my faith in God. He will do what He wants with my dad and He knows best.
I had a dream about my dad for the first time in this whole ordeal on Saturday night. I dreamed that my dad came home looking and feeling much better than he did before. I’m not an expert in dreams so I can’t explain why I had this dream or if there’s any significance to it. God is in control, so I don’t need an explanation for my dream.
I visited my dad at the hospital Sunday morning. My dad was looking much better than he did before. My dad was not in pain and he was able to take medication.
A doctor walked in and told us that his health is stabilizing. He’s on the road to recovery. My dad is dealing with an infection that they can treat and not something related to his brain surgery. What a relief!
My dad mentally was the best I’ve seen him since the day of brain surgery. He’s still dealing with delirium, but he was able to locate where his cup of water was and was able to take sips out of it.
God deserves 100% of the credit and glory for helping my dad overcome this major health obstacle.
Update 12: Getting Better
January 30, 2020
My dad’s health has improved gradually over the past several days. More importantly, my dad’s mental capabilities have improved noticeably. My dad is still a bit confused and sometimes has issue expressing what he wants, but he’s much better than what he was in ICU. He can eat with a fork and can follow directions. I was told that my dad’s neurologist stated that he’s very impressed with my dad.
Today I witnessed him standing up for the first time since the surgery. My dad required the help of two physical trainers, but he managed to stand and take a couple of small steps. The physical trainers worked with him a couple of days ago and remarked that he did a much better job following commands.
My dad was so happy to be able to stand and to get into a seated position because he’s spent the past two weeks on his back. Hopefully, my dad continues to improve so he can begin walking and then begin walking on his own.
God spared my dad’s life twice in the past two weeks. God has been good throughout this entire process and continues to look after my dad like always.
Update 13: Mind and Body
February 2, 2020
The Lord continues to restore my dad’s mind. Each day I see signs of improvement. My dad at times is more coherent than he was just before his brain surgery. However, he’s still not fully aware of his physical limitations, and as a result, tries to do things that cannot be done until he’s physically stronger.
My dad’s body remains the issue that prevents him from returning home. My dad’s body is still feeling the effects of the infection that he has. He’s developed a cough that’s not pleasant for him to deal with. He still needs to regain the strength to begin walking again.
God is still in full control of this situation. He will take care of my dad and will complete His good work.
Update 14: A Change in Perspective
February 3, 2020
This trial is not over, but it’s already changed how I view certain things in life. For instance, my favorite NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers, lost the Super Bowl in one of the worst ways possible yesterday.
Before this trial, I would have been very upset and would have questioned the goodness of God (I’m serious-the outcome of certain sporting events caused me to doubt God’s goodness). I was disappointed that the 49ers lost, but I did not question God. In fact, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how good God has been to my dad during and after the game.
I’ve come to realize through this trial that God and family are so much more important than the outcome of a sporting event. Watching sports can be entertaining and a good escape from the stresses of life. However, the importance of sports pales in comparison to the importance of God and family.
I would much rather have the 49ers lose the Super Bowl and have my dad still alive than to have the 49ers win the Super Bowl and not have my dad alive. I have no reason to ever question or doubt God’s goodness. God is good. All the time.
Update 15: The Roller Coaster
February 8, 2020
The past several days have been like a roller coaster. My dad is dealing with a lot of physical issues, but one physical issue seems to be causing more problems than the others. I would go into detail, but out of respect for my dad, I won’t publicly disclose what that issue is.
- My dad becomes unruly and is unable to listen to reason when he’s affected by the issue.
- My dad is pleasant and accommodating when he’s not experiencing problems with that issue.
My dad’s doctor considered discharging him on Thursday because of how he was doing on Wednesday when he was not impacted by the issue. However, the issue returned on Thursday, and he was not doing well when I saw him earlier today. After being treated this morning, I expect him to improve, but every day is different.
I don’t know how long this roller coaster is going to last. My dad’s brain may need to still heal some more before this issue goes away.
There’s a lot of uncertainty, but what I do know for certain is that God is in full control of my dad’s situation. I know that He will do what’s best for my dad and will take care of Him like He’s always done.
Knowing this gives me comfort even though I’ve seen things the past several days that would cause others to doubt God’s goodness. I don’t doubt God’s goodness. I know that God is good-all the time.
Update 16: Life Hanging in the Balance
February 9, 2020
My dad seemed to be talking better and more alert when I saw him in the morning. His main complaint was that he wanted to use the restroom but couldn’t because no one would help him out of bed (my dad has yet to show that he can walk post-surgery, so the nurses don’t want him out of bed to risk him falling).
I found my dad calmer an hour after I first saw him. I wasn’t sure why he was calmer. I learned that the nurse gave him oxycontin to relieve his pain. Shortly thereafter, the nurse gave him some anti-nausea medication. The combination of the two medications may have caused this day to be the hardest for me so far.
My dad quickly became tired. My mother fed him lunch, but he wasn’t eating like normal. He chewed very slowly, and he looked like he was falling asleep quickly. Later the nurse gave my dad a shot on his stomach, but he had no reaction.
The doctor later came by and discussed a small procedure he would have done on Monday before he would be discharged from the hospital that afternoon or Tuesday morning.
My mother and I went home to recover and relax for the evening. Shortly after I showered, I plugged my phone in to be charged. At that moment, I saw the phone number of the hospital on my phone. I answered the phone expecting to hear from my dad’s case manager to discuss discharge plans. Instead, I heard the voice of the doctor.
The doctor told me that my dad’s condition had deteriorated a lot. She wanted to know if I wanted him to receive treatment or to let him die. My dad’s oxygen level was very low and he was unresponsive. I told the doctor to do whatever it takes to keep him alive. The doctor said that she would send my dad to ICU and asked for my mother and I to come as soon as we could.
My mother and I quickly left to return to the hospital. I was very concerned about my dad and numb about the whole situation. My dad was so close to being discharged, but now he seemed like he’s close to death. It felt surreal.
I prayed for my dad and I updated people on the status of my dad in hopes that people would pray for him. I didn’t have enough battery power on my phone to make calls to concerned family members. My dad’s life was in God’s hands again.
I ran inside the hospital and quickly traveled to the room where my dad was located. I found a team of medical people trying to keep him alive as they prepared to move him to ICU. I told one of the people to do whatever it takes to keep my dad alive after asking what should be done.
I don’t want my dad to suffer so there’s a point where I am willing to let my dad pass on. However, my dad had not reached that point, and God had done a great work in my dad’s brain recovery. I trusted that God again would take care of my dad and I wanted His goodness to shine, so I wanted to keep my dad alive to enable those things to happen.
My dad was taken to ICU. I waited by the ICU door sneaking some glances of my dad’s room whenever the ICU door opened. I was able to keep calm throughout the wait because God gave me a peace that passes all understanding. I knew my dad’s life hanged in the balance, yet I knew the Great Physician oversaw the entire situation. Nothing would happen to my dad unless God thought it was for the best.
Thirty minutes later my mother and I were taken to my dad’s room in ICU. The nurse told us that my dad had stablized. He seemed more responsive, but he looked very sedated. My dad’s heartrate was fine, his oxygen levels were 100%, but his blood pressure was a little low.
I told the nurse about the medication my dad was given earlier in the day and she remarked that he should have never been given those medications given his age. She also hypothesized that my dad may only need a day or two before he’s back to normal. However, she doesn’t really know. I don’t really know. Only God knows.
I spoke to my dad before I left. He seemed to respond with his eyes, but he still seemed heavily sedated. I left ICU with my dad’s life in the hands of God for the third time in a little more than three weeks.
I am exhausted and emotionally drained as I write this. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Will my dad become fully responsive again? Did something undiscovered happen to him? Were there long-term side effects from what took place today? How does today’s events impact our discharge plans?
I don’t have the answers, and I don’t need to know those answers tonight. I’ve learned in this trial to not question God or His goodness. I’ve also learned to not try to figure out what God is planning to do. Instead, I only need to trust God for He knows what is best and He is good. God is good all the time.
Update 17: God Saves My Dad
February 10, 2020
I did not sleep well overnight. I had the same recurring dream three times overnight where I saw my dad unable to open his eyes in ICU. However, I witnessed my dad awake and well in my final dream of the night.
The dream felt real, but I knew it was still a dream. I woke up because I wanted to stop dreaming about my dad. I woke up just after 4:00 A.M. to start my day after less than 6 hours of sleep.
Before leaving for the hospital I read the “verse of the day” on my Bible app. The verse was 2 Corinthians 9:8, which states:
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”
The verse was encouraging because it reminded me that God can supply all my needs. There’s nothing that God can’t do. This fact gave me hope that I could witness a miracle when I arrived at the hospital.
My mother and I walked into ICU at 7:30 A.M. I hoped to see my dad doing better, but I was unsure what to expect. To my pleasant surprise, I saw my dad wide awake and watching television. I looked at his vital signs and they showed significant improvement from the previous night.
My dad was alert and talking. I told my dad how close he was to dying the previous night. He had no idea what happened to him, but he was glad that he was still alive because he did not want to die.
Several doctors and medical personnel visited over the next several hours. The doctor that asked me to rush to the hospital the previous evening was very happy to see my dad alert. Another team of doctors told me that my dad was doing much better than he was the previous evening.
My dad spent most of the morning begging for some food and water. My dad went over 23 hours without food and water, and my dad did not remember my mom feeding him lunch the previous day (in fact, my dad did not remember anything that happened the previous day). My dad had to be cleared by a speech therapist before he could have food and water.
I struggled to keep my dad calm because his mind was so fixated on getting food and water. However, this was a much better problem to have than to deal with life and death decisions the previous evening. My dad eventually was given permission to have food and drink.
My dad was incoherent at times, which was unsurprising given what he had just went through. However, my dad became coherent when he brought up religion for the first time since surgery.
My dad became eloquent when he began to talk about his belief in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. My dad does not talk about his Christian beliefs to others often, but he makes sure to mention several biblical things about Jesus that he believes when he does. My dad mentioned many of the things that he normally would say about Jesus to at least three people who came into his room. I watched my dad try to be a witness to people.
I was ecstatic to hear my dad talk about Jesus. This suggested to me that my dad’s mind is even better than I thought it was. Also, this was proof to me that God did an amazing work on my dad overnight.
My aunt described what happened as a miracle. I would not disagree with that. My dad went from near death to serving as a living witness for Jesus overnight. I later learned that my dad did not wake up for 17 hours. I asked what time he woke up. I was told around 4:00 A.M. Did my dream come true?
God deserves all praise and glory for transpired. He saved my dad’s life for a third time and went beyond what I expected in restoring my dad. God is good. All the time.
Update 18: Out of the Hospital
February 14, 2020
My dad was discharged from ICU on Tuesday evening. My dad was experiencing confusion throughout Tuesday and was restless. It was a challenge trying to keep my dad from doing things that would harm himself.
My dad spent Wednesday in a hospital room. He was very tired but still restless. The big surprise was that my dad had a new doctor that would oversee his care as his original doctor got some time off.
The new doctor was very personable and very understanding of my dad’s plight. He believed my dad had endured enough setbacks and did not need to undergo another medical procedure before leaving the hospital.
The doctor diagnosed my dad with pneumonia, which made sense to me since my dad’s coughing was like it was two years ago when he was hospitalized for pneumonia. The doctor assured me that he would not rush my dad’s discharge from the hospital like before. He told me my dad needed to reach two medical milestones before he would begin to consider discharging my dad.
I was pleased with the new doctor because he understood my dad’s situation and would work with us to ensure my dad’s discharge would come when we were all comfortable with it.
The biggest concern my family had for the past couple of weeks was the (second) discharge of my dad from the hospital. We wanted to ensure that my dad would go to the best rehab facility possible after seeing what my dad endured during his first discharge.
We had two facilities in mind for my dad to get discharged to. My dad’s hospital case manager suggested we target one facility above all the others because everything about the facility is ideal for my dad’s situation. I researched the place and agreed that we should aim to send my dad there.
Our family’s main concern was securing a room for my dad at this facility. The place seemed so much better than the others that we imagined that it would be difficult to secure a room. Some suggested we reserve a room, but the cost of securing a room would be very expensive. I prayed to God to please send my dad to the best place possible for his recovery, and He answered my prayer.
The doctor shocked my family on Thursday when he said that my dad could get discharged that day if our preferred rehab facility had a room for him. My dad achieved both milestones quicker than expected and could get the rest of his treatment at the facility. My family was relieved that my dad was going to our preferred rehab facility after they confirmed they had one room available.
My mother and I visited the place to get a sense of what it was like. The place resembled a hotel with luxurious dining accommodations, state-of-the-art rehab equipment, and private rooms. We had a positive first impression of the place but looks can be deceiving. Ultimately, the quality of care is what matters…
Friday was a challenging day for my dad. My dad was confused and not feeling that well. It was tough to watch my dad struggle because he was not behaving like the man I knew. Nevertheless, I left my dad for the day with the sense that he will be fine once he gets over his confusion. That’s a positive development because I didn’t get a clear sense of that at the first rehab facility my dad went to.
God has answered prayers once again. He is in total control of this situation and is taking care of my dad as He’s always had. My dad went from near death in ICU to eating gourmet meals at a luxurious rehab facility in just four days. All the praise and glory belong to God!
Update 19: A New Setback
February 18, 2020
My dad has been at rehab facility for a few days. Each day we’ve seen some evidence of improvement.
- We discovered that my dad’s long-term memory is nearly 100% intact. My dad can remember details from long ago.
- We saw some evidence that my dad’s short-term memory is improving.
However, it’s clear that my dad has a long way to go before being fully recovered.
- My dad’s short-term memory isn’t near what it was before surgery, so he does not remember many details from recent years.
- My dad is not being fully cooperative with physical therapy despite him stating that he wants to stand up and walk.
Today my dad is dealing with a health issue that is making him repeatedly say, “I’m sick!”. He’s very tired and is unable to adequately describe what is wrong with him.
I was told by a doctor that they’ll do what they can, but there’s a lot of uncertainty.
The only certainty that I have is that God is sovereign over this entire situation. He controls the nature, duration, and the outcome of this setback. Nothing will not happen to my dad unless God permits it to happen. I know that God is good, so whatever happens it’ll work out for good.
Update 20: Restoring the Body
February 21, 2020
God answered prayer shortly after I wrote about my dad’s setback. Lunch came and my dad woke up wanting to eat. My dad said he felt much better and ate just about all his lunch.
Later, my aunts figured out that my dad may be dealing with acid reflux issues. Acid reflux is something most people in my family deal with, and my dad’s symptoms aligned with the symptoms of a person who suffers from it.
The next day the nurse gave my dad medication to deal with acid reflux after he complained of feeling sick after he ate. Within minutes, my dad felt much better. Finally, the sick feeling that my dad experienced for weeks is gone (at least up to this point).
My dad is improving each day with physical therapy. Last week, my dad struggled to sit in a wheelchair for a short period of time. Now my dad can travel in a wheelchair by using his hands and legs to move himself. Also, I watched my dad work with physical therapists to walk from his bed to the bathroom by using a walker. God is strengthening my dad’s body each day.
The largest struggle is watching my dad deal with delirium. My dad struggles to remember what happen the previous day and says things that don’t make a lot of sense. However, my dad’s love for Jesus remains untouched by the delirium. He tells people who will listen to him that He puts His trust in Jesus.
It’s hard to see my dad struggle, but I have confidence that God will restore his mind. The Bible says that God gives us a sound mind:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
God can heal all things, including the human mind. He will heal my dad’s mind when the time is right. Overall, my dad is improving and I’m thankful that God is allowing it to happen. God is good!
Update 21: Moving Better
February 25, 2020
My dad has improved each day with physical therapy. He’s able to walk over 50 feet from his bed to the nurse station while using a walker during physical therapy. He no longer requires the need for a lift machine to get him from a wheelchair to his bed.
Seeing my dad improve each day is encouraging and a testament to how God can heal the body after someone goes through so many physical challenges in a short time.
My dad’s mind is still a work in progress. He had a very good day on Monday. Watching television with my dad at the rehab facility was like watching television at home with him before surgery. However, he was dealing with major delirium on Tuesday morning.
The nurse (who is a godsend) explained that there’ll be good days and bad days with my dad’s mind. The closer my dad gets to full recovery the more swings we’ll see. The good days will become really good days while the bad days will be bad days. Eventually, my dad’s mind will stabilize and he may be back to normal.
God works in ways that are far beyond me. He knows far more about the human mind than I ever will even if I spent the rest of my life studying it. All I know that He is good and knows the perfect time to fully restore my dad’s mind.
Update 22: I’m Powerless to Help
March 4, 2020
I received a phone call at 5:30 Friday morning (February 28) informing me that my dad was sent to the emergency room after his catheter was removed inadvertently. This was a scary phone call because of the unknowns. I prayed to God that my dad would be okay and that he would be able to return quickly to the rehab facility.
God answered prayer because I received news that my dad was fine and that he would be sent back to the rehab facility when I arrived in the emergency room. I was relived. However, the news of my dad’s experience disturbed me to the point that I decided that I would try to stay with my dad indefinitely.
My relatives tried to dissuade me from doing this because of how exhausting and draining the experience would be. I committed to this task because I wanted to do all I could to help my dad recover. I thought my dad would be much better mentally with my presence and I could step in to prevent my dad from removing his catheter.
I was okay with the commitment until Friday afternoon when I finally realized the enormity of the task. I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I would always have to be alert. I couldn’t leave my dad alone. I would have to endure his unpredictability, irritability, and his wild swings in behavior. In truth, I endured far more than I expected to. Here are the highlights:
The doctors and the nurses felt that my dad could have his catheter removed on Monday morning, so at the minimum I would have to spend at least three days and nights at the facility.
Friday night and Saturday morning, I prevented my dad from removing his catheter after he went after it while he was half asleep.
My dad thought he was constipated on Saturday morning. The nurse gave my dad milk of magnesia to provide relief. My dad’s stool became bloody. I was horrified by the news and wondered if he’d have to go back to the emergency room. A nurse told me that the amount of blood lost was minor (the water made things look much worse) and that my dad would be fine. However, the event led to the nurse deciding to not give my dad anymore blood thinners.
Later that evening my dad needed to wear new clothes. A CNA who never worked with my dad tried to remove my dad’s shorts not knowing that he was wearing a catheter. My dad shouted in pain as the nurse yanked his shorts. The situation appeared bleak as I thought my dad would have to go back to the emergency room and the progress for the past 24 hours was lost.
My dad and I spent the time talking about how God may had used the blood in the stool as a blessing in disguise. The decision to stop the blood thinners may have minimized the damage to my dad when the catheter was yanked on. We prayed, hoped, and trusted in God.
The nurse examined my dad and concluded that the plan to remove my dad’s catheter was still good to go. There was no major damage to my dad and bleeding was not an issue. The blood in the stool was truly a blessing in disguise.
Saturday night was relatively quiet. However, I was feeling the effects of the lack of sleep.
Sunday was a long day, but I was counting down the hours and minutes until the catheter would be removed.
I noticed that my dad’s mind had greatly improved to the point that I believed I was talking to my dad from five years ago. He remembered things that he had not remembered in years and was able to convey his thoughts well.
I learned that my dad’s faith and love of Jesus greatly increased during this experience. He talked about how he wants to help me with my work and wants to join me in church after he’s discharged.
Sunday night went well, but Monday morning was horrifying. My dad woke up early Monday morning wanting to get out of bed to use the restroom. My dad is not fully able to walk yet so he is a great fall risk. Also, my dad desired to rid himself of the catheter to go to the restroom.
I tried to tell my dad to remain in bed and relieve himself in bed since the CNA’s would clean him up afterwards. However, my dad would not listen and became angry with me. I called for a CNA to help explain to my dad that he needed to remain in bed. The CNA explained that exact thing to my dad, but he wouldn’t listen. Eventually, this escalated to the point where 3 CNAs and the nurse tried to tell my dad to stay in bed and to not remove the catheter.
I continued to try to restrain my dad while he threw punches at my face and told me very hurtful things, including “I don’t want you in my life anymore”. We were so close to getting the catheter removed, but my dad was putting up the biggest fight he could to undo everything.
Eventually, my dad calmed down and he regained his lucidness. My dad apologized to me and expressed deep regret for what happened. We spoke of how wonderful it’ll be when the catheter is finally removed, and he shared with me memory of things he hadn’t remember in years
My dad has his catheter removed at 10AM on Monday. I was so happy that my dad was free of this ball and chain around his legs. The nurse was optimistic that my dad would not need it again. I ended Monday completely out of energy. I felt my mind shutting down on me and my body falling apart. I had given absolutely everything I could to help my dad. There was nothing more I could possibly do.
Tuesday morning brought horrifying developments. I found my dad on a floor mat while wearing nothing but a diaper. He had his catheter back in and it was full of blood. I felt completely defeated because all the effort of the past few days seemed futile. We were back to where we started at, and it would be some time before they could try removing the catheter again. I couldn’t do what I just did again.
The news got worse on Tuesday evening. A nurse called to inform me that my dad had to be sent to the emergency room because of the bleeding associated with the catheter. I wanted to collapse after this news because it proved that there’s nothing, I can do physically to help my dad who has suffered so much. I can be by his side, but that won’t heal him of his physical woes.
After consulting with family, I decided to not go to the emergency room.
- One reason is that I lacked the energy to travel there (I still haven’t fully recovered from my grueling time with him this past weekend).
- The main reason I decided to not go is that there was nothing I can do for my dad. The past few days proved I can’t do anything to help him physically. Only God and the medical team He supplies can take care of my dad’s physical woes.
I didn’t sleep well Tuesday night as I awaited news from the emergency room about my dad’s health. Wednesday morning an ER nurse told me that they would discharge my dad back to rehab facility. I am glad I didn’t go to the emergency room.
This whole ordeal has left me numb. I fully realize that I am completely powerless to help my dad heal physically. All I can do is to pray and ask others to pray for my dad. God will get 100% of the praise and glory if He chooses to heal my dad of physical woes that plague him.
My family wants my dad to be able to live without a catheter. My dad wants my dad to be able to walk. If we get those things, then my dad can finally come home.
Update 23: A Brutal Setback
March 11, 2020
While searching for help for my dad, a CNA told us about an outfit that helps to prevent the wearer for reaching the front of their pants. The CNA told us that this protective outfit helped to stop patients from removing their catheter at a previous facility she worked at.
We ordered two pairs of this outfit for my dad to wear. The outfit was effective for the first several days that my dad wore it. The staff that worked with my dad were pleased with the results. Therefore, the catheter area got an opportunity to heal a bit.
Nevertheless, last night something very wrong happened. My mom and I left the rehab facility yesterday afternoon knowing that my dad was in his protective outfit. We thought my dad would not pull his catheter that night. However, we got a phone call after 11:00pm from a nurse telling us that my dad had been sent to the emergency room after pulling his catheter again. We learned that a CNA had changed my dad into a hospital gown after my dad had used the restroom instead of putting the outfit back on him.
My mother and I were livid because the CNA had orders to make sure that my dad wore his protective outfit when we are not around. In addition, the wall by my dad’s bed had a sign that reminded the staff to make sure my dad wears his protective outfit. There was no excuse for what happened, and what happened set my dad back in his recovery. He suffered through no fault of his own because protocols were not followed despite repeated reminders.
I slept very little that night. I cried out to God because I didn’t understand why my dad had to suffer through no fault of his own. I could not see any benefit from what took place-the situation was easily avoidable. I thought, “Why God Why? Hasn’t my dad suffered enough?” I was miserable…
Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that my dad hurt himself badly. However, the event has set my dad back. I don’t know what to make the situation. I just want to see my dad get better and to come home because the poor man has suffered so much already through no fault of his own. I still try to cling to James 5:11 which says that God is pitiful and full of compassion at the end of a trial.
Update 24: Trusting God with Everything
March 19, 2020
My dad was doing better. His mind was sharp, and he refrained from pulling his catheter. He was close to having a trial to see if he no longer needed a catheter. We provided my dad access to our home phone so he could call us whenever he wanted, which he did when he felt nervous or felt lonely. He began using a cane in physical therapy, which enabled him to improve a lot. Everything look like it was heading in the right direction.
However, I received a phone call from my dad on the evening of March 18. My dad told me that he fell out of bed but managed to get himself back into bed. The nurse told me that my dad had blood in his catheter, but the bleeding wasn’t bad. The nurse determined that my dad did not need to go to the emergency room.
Everything changed on the morning of March 19. My dad’s oxygen level was low, he had trouble breathing, he continued to have blood in his catheter, his blood pressure was low, his pulse rate was high, and he had a high fever. My dad needed to go to the emergency room, and he needs to spend time in ICU.
I’m devastated over this news because my dad has endured so much and will have to endure a new set of health challenges. Furthermore, we won’t be able to visit my dad during his stay at the hospital because of the precautionary measures taken to protect patients from the coronavirus. My dad is very close to my mother and I, so not having us there will make it very hard on him. I will miss my dad greatly.
Matthew 10:29-31 tells us that God knows every detail about us and nothing will happen to us unless God allows it:
“(29) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)
I don’t know why God is making my dad endure a new set of health challenges in a time of great difficulty, but I know God has allowed it. I hope and pray that this new experience will ultimately lead to my dad no longer needing to use a catheter. The hospital staff can run trials and monitor my dad in ways the rehab facility isn’t able to do. I don’t know if God has this in mind, but that is my top prayer request. The removal of the catheter would be a giant step for my dad to go home.
I can’t visit my dad. I don’t know if I’ll be able to talk to my dad. I may have very little access to my dad for awhile. I must trust God to handle every aspect of this situation. There’s nothing I can do for my dad besides praying and trusting that God will take care of my dad like He’s always done. I have to trust God with everything.
Update 25: Snatched from the Brink of Death
March 22, 2020
I spoke to an ICU doctor on Thursday night. He told me how bad my dad’s condition was, and he was in really bad shape. The doctor said he didn’t want to scare me, but my dad could easily die from what he was facing.
I told the doctor that my dad has endured worse, and the doctor acknowledged that my dad has indeed gone through a lot.
After speaking to the doctor, I posted public updates on social media with the hope that people across the world would pray for my dad. I was physically powerless to help my dad, but I knew the power of prayer could help. I received many messages from people who were praying for my dad. Those prayers helped tremendously.
An ICU nurse called us on Friday with a question about my dad. After answering the question, we got an update on my dad’s condition. She told us that my dad’s fever broke and they reduced the amount of medication they needed to give him. He was getting better.
I reported the good news, and I received word from many people who said they’d continue to pray for my dad. I was very grateful for the help of prayer warriors because my dad was still very sick.
We heard on Saturday that my dad’s white blood cell count was beginning to decline. We heard on Sunday that my dad’s white blood cell count had declined dramatically, which was great news. My dad is still very sick, but his health is trending in the right direction.
God is so good. Thank you Lord!
Update 26: Removing the Ball and Chain
March 30, 2020
The Lord helped my dad tremendously over the past week. Each day my dad got better and better. Now my dad is in a hospital room instead of ICU.
The biggest development is that the hospital staff removed my dad’s catheter Saturday at 5:00 PM to see if he could function without it. The last time my dad’s catheter was removed it had to be put back in place in less than 24 hours because he had major retention issues and hardly any output.
I spent much of my Saturday evening praying, listening to sermons, and asking others to pray for my dad. The catheter has weighed everyone in my family down like a ball and chain:
- It’s responsible for my dad’s many visits to the emergency room during the past two months.
- It’s responsible for many sleepless nights for my family.
- It’s limited my dad’s ability to move around because we’ve been so concerned about pulling it.
Freeing my dad of his ball and chain would be such a huge lift for my family.
People who viewed my dad’s situation from a secular perspective betted against my dad being free from his catheter. I was told by several medical people that my dad may need to wear a catheter for the rest of his life. In fact, one person implied that I was dreaming to think that my dad could live without a catheter.
I told doubters that I was a person of faith. With God, all things are possible, so He could heal my dad if it is His will. I spent my Saturday night petitioning God to free my dad of his ball and chain. So far, everything looks positive!
Up to this point, my dad has had no issues emptying his bladder and no retention issues! Several nurses assigned to my dad told me that they do not anticipate the need to put a catheter back in my dad. God is so good and deserves all the praise and glory!
My dad mentally has had issues getting accustomed to his hospital surroundings. I received reports of him being very agitated. In fact, the nursing staff had to put restraints on my dad to keep him and the staff safe.
My mother and I decided to call my dad today to calm him down. The phone call went very well. The nurses were thankful that we called, and they noted a major improvement in my dad as the call went on. They encouraged us to call often. My dad is very family-oriented, so we hope and pray that the contact will help my dad regain all his faculties.
My dad still needs prayer because there’s still much to overcome, but he’s getting better. I have faith that God will take care of my dad as He’s always done.
Update 27: Watching My Dad Dying
April 3, 2020
My dad was discharged from the hospital on Thursday and returned to the skilled nursing facility. My dad was free from his ball and chain, but he struggled mightily with delirium after spending two weeks in the hospital.
He was very agitated when he arrived at the skilled nursing facility. My dad wanted to go home and was unable to understand why he couldn’t go home yet. Delirium is a terrible thing. He was completely different mentally two weeks earlier.
My dad didn’t last 24 hours at the skilled nursing facility. His breathing deteriorated rapidly on Friday. My dad was suffocating to death as he struggled to get oxygen into his body. It was a terrible sight to see. I was watching my dad die in front of my eyes.
The ambulance came and rushed him to the emergency room. I finally got some information about my dad four hours later. The doctor told me that my dad was very sick and that he definitely has a breathing problem. They’re unsure what the cause of the problem is, but they’ll run more tests, including a test for COV-ID 19. The doctor told me that it’s crazy for my dad to be back like this just after being discharged yesterday.
My dad will need to spend time in ICU and have a breathing tube. He will have to wear a catheter again and have lots of medicine put into him to keep him alive. Once again, my dad’s life is hanging in the balance.
The past two times God has used my dad’s visits to the emergency room for good. I have confidence that God will bring good from this situation. Perhaps the doctors will finally solve the mystery of why my dad has struggled to breath when he engages in physical activity.
I just feel so sorry for my dad. All my dad wants is to be home with my mother and me. He doesn’t crave money, power, or fame. All he wants is to be around his family. He’s endured 2.5 months of hospital stays and near-death experiences. He’s endured so much pain and suffering. He’s endured so much emotional stress.
I am still hoping and praying that God will show my dad the mercy and compassion he showed Job when Job’s trial finally came to an end. I still trust in God and His goodness. These are the only things I know I can hold onto in a world where even tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
Update 28: At a Loss
April 4, 2020
I need to purge my feelings in the only way I know how…in writing.
My dad remains in ICU and is likely to remain there for a while. The medical report on my dad isn’t good. He’s dealing with multi-focal pneumonia that was likely caused by aspiration pneumonia. He’s on a ventilator and has a chest tube. He needs blood pressure medication to keep his blood pressure stable.
I learned that my dad had to be revived last night after his heart stopped beating. My dad fractured several ribs while the medical team revived my dad. My dad is very sick. He could die from all this. He’s also dealing with heart problems as well.
I’m experiencing great sorrow now. I care deeply for my dad, and it really pains me to see what is happening to him. He’s innocent in all of this, yet he’s suffering so much. I thought he was near the end of his trial because all our prayers concerning his return to rehab facility were answered and he was free from the catheter. Now, we’re back to where we began in just less than 24 hours. This is a monumental setback.
Matthew 10:29-31 teaches us that God is sovereign over all things, including the smallest, insignificant details:
“(29) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)
God has permitted my dad to experience this new round of suffering. I don’t know why… I can’t comprehend why my dad needs to suffer after almost spending two weeks in the hospital and nearly dying there. This is the fifth time that my dad has been near death in the past 2.5 months. What is the purpose of this new round of suffering? How much more suffering is required before this trial will end?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. All I know is that God is GOOD-even when He permits extreme amounts of suffering to take place. God has a purpose for this, and that purpose is good:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Although I have no idea how much more suffering there is to come, I know that God will put an end to this suffering and will be full of compassion and mercy when it’s over:
“(31) For the Lord will not cast off for ever: (32) But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. (33) For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” (Lamentations 3:31-33)
For Job, God gave him back everything he lost and more:
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)
I know that God promises that all things will work together for good and that there’s a great, beneficial purpose for this suffering. I just have no idea how this is going to work out yet. The Spirit in me holds on tightly to the promises of God while the human side of me battles the emotional pain of seeing my dad endure so much suffering. The dissonance is overwhelming to someone whose Spirit and body want to see dad well again and see him live his remaining days happily.
In the meantime, I must endure recognizing that I may not get an answer to why this is happening. God’s ways and thoughts are well beyond me:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)
God is good all the time. I must hold onto His promises.
Update 29: I Apologize to Everyone
April 5, 2020
My dad’s health situation remains unchanged. He remains in ICU. He’s in a lot of pain. He’s still very sick. He’s suffered so much and is still suffering now. All he wants is to be at home with his family. Keeping him alive to fight for his life may give him that opportunity. Whether or not he gets to experience what we all desire is up to God.
I just purchased a book called Trusting God When Life Hurts by the late Jerry Bridges. Life hurts right now. I need to continue to trust God no matter how much life hurts. As I read the book, I come to realize how important it is to grow and mature from trials. If you’re not growing from hardship, you’re wasting an opportunity. God wants us to grow and become more like His Son.
I must confess that I was far from a prayer warrior before this whole ordeal began.
- I never raised my hand when people asked for prayer requests.
- I did not pray for others like I should have.
- When I prayed for others’ urgent requests, I rarely told them that I prayed for them.
I was stoic, full of pride. I never shared what I was feeling or thinking with others. I kept it all inside. I did not feel much stress or anxiety, so I felt like everything was okay and acting the way I did was acceptable. I’ve learned through this ordeal that my entire approach was wrong.
This trial has put me in a situation where I am physically powerless to do anything for my dad. I can’t treat him. I can’t heal him. I can’t numb his pain.
The only thing I can do is to pray for my dad and to get others to pray for him because it is only God who can treat my dad. This reality has forced me to break out of my shell. I must wear my emotions on my sleeve to convey the seriousness of my dad’s situation and to ask for others to help pray for him. This is a major reason why I post frequent updates and make frequent appeals for prayer on social media.
I appreciate everyone who has prayed for my dad. It helps lift me up each time I receive a comment or message from someone who tells me that they’re praying for my dad. I didn’t realize the value of telling someone that you’re praying for them until now. Now I know that it’s extremely valuable: it’s solace in a time of heartache and uncertainty.
People need prayer in times of trial. Not praying for someone who expresses a need is cruel. I was cruel. I don’t want to be that person anymore. Now I know the pain of someone who is in need and know what prayer can do.
Prayer is a form of worship. Prayer shows trust in God. Prayer uplifts people in pain. Prayer makes a difference. Prayer is our best weapon for any challenge we face.
I want to apologize to everyone who I have let down all these years. I should have done things a lot differently than I did. I’m sorry for my callousness.
I also want to apologize to God for not using prayer enough in my life. I tried to rely on my talents to overcome problems too many times. I tried to be self-reliant instead of dependent on You. I didn’t depend on You enough or seek Your help enough. I failed to utilize your help as often as I should, which means I’ve come up short in reaching my full potential since I didn’t have your power to enhance own power.
Finally, I want to apologize to my dad. I’m sorry dad that you’re having to deal with so much pain, suffering, and anguish. I wish I had learned these lessons much sooner than I did. Maybe things would have been different for you if I had learned these lessons sooner, but your son can be a slow learner at times. It breaks my heart to know that you’re suffering, but perhaps God is using this heartache and pain to teach valuable lessons. God knows what He’s doing. He knew what He was doing with Job. He knows what He’s doing with you, and perhaps like Job, God will show great mercy and compassion for you when this trial ends.
I don’t know what God has in store for my dad. I hope and pray that God will show my dad great mercy and compassion. As I wait, I must continue to share my heart publicly. It doesn’t matter to me if you think less of me after this confession. Pride doesn’t matter now. Pride is a hindrance.
Update 30: Trust in God. Not Prognoses
April 6, 2020
My dad’s condition has improved significantly in the past 24 hours. He’s able to follow commands and is no longer relying on blood pressure medication to help his blood pressure. My dad possesses a strong will to live. In fact, he tried to bite off a tube with his mouth and chipped a tooth in the process. His white blood cell count has returned to a level seen in normal adults.
In addition to reading Trusting God When Life Hurts, I have been learning more about the life of George Müller, who relied on God to accomplish much. I draw tremendous encouragement about the power of prayer and faith from one of his most famous stories.
One morning Müller assembled 300 orphaned children for breakfast and thanked God for the meal He provided. The amazing thing about this act was that Müller didn’t have any food or drink to give the children nor any money to purchase some. He only had faith.
Shortly after thanking God, Müller got a knock on the door from a man who said he couldn’t sleep the previous night because he felt the children may need bread. Then, a milk cart broke down in front of the orphanage, and the milkman offered his milk to the children for free. God provided everything that Müller and the children needed.
- Müller’s life is full of stories like this.
As I read about Müller, I thought to myself, “I’m about to get a phone call from the doctor”. Immediately, the phone rang. The doctor on the phone.
The doctor asked a few questions and updated me about my dad. He told me that there’s a good chance that my dad will die from what he’s dealing with. He will do what he can for my dad, but my dad is dealing with a lot of challenges.
After the phone call, I did not feel well as I thought about what the doctor said. I went to my knees in prayer asking the Lord to show my dad mercy and compassion.
Shortly, afterwards, I gained a sense of peace when I realized that the doctors don’t truly know what will happen and that I can petition directly to the One who will determine what will happen. God is in complete control of my dad’s situation and has the power to help my dad to overcome his challenges.
He’s the One who I need to focus on instead of focusing on various what-ifs and prognostications. It’s in God’s hands and I know He’s good.
Update 31: Looking Past Circumstances and Appearances
April 7, 2020
I woke up, listened to a sermon, and prayed that the doctor would call with encouraging news. As I ate breakfast, I thought to myself, “The doctor is going to call me now”. Moments later, I received a phone call from the doctor.
The doctor told me that my dad did not pass the breathing trial. He did fine for 2 to 3 hours before he began to fail the trial. He said that my dad was quite weak and still faced an uphill battle to survive. He suggested that my dad have a tracheotomy to help him breathe better. The doctor said the tubing from the tracheotomy would not be long-term-perhaps he would need the tubing for a month.
My mother and I wondered how this added complication would impact my dad’s hospital stay and discharge. The doctor told us that there are special places where they can send my dad to help him recover. These places would enable him to heal from the tracheotomy, provide him physical therapy, and enable him to heal his ribs.
I felt better hearing this news. The difficult decision about what to do with my dad after the hospital stay basically was taken out of our hands. God will determine where my dad will go. He has infinite wisdom, power, love, mercy, and compassion. I have faith that God will place my dad in the best place for his recovery-if my dad’s recovery is in His will.
I’ve come to realize in this part of this trial that we need to stop focusing on circumstances and appearances, especially when things look bleak. Appearances and circumstances can be deceiving.
- Proverbs 31 tells us that favor is deceitful and beauty is vain. These attractive qualities can be deceiving.
- 2 Kings 6 records the story of Elisha revealing to a scared servant that they outnumbered the enemy when the servant thought the enemy greatly outnumbered them. Indeed, God supplied a heavenly army and chariots of fire that only few could see.
Instead of focusing on bleak circumstances and appearances, we should focus on Almighty God, who has power over all our circumstances. God possesses limitless power to alter our circumstances and to determine their outcomes. In my dad’s case, the circumstances don’t look good, but God has the power to enable my dad to make it and recover if it’s in His will.
I focus on God who has infinite power, infinite wisdom, infinite love, great mercies, and great compassion. God is in the driver seat of this entire ordeal. He’s permitted things to unfold in this way for a perfect reason. May God get all the glory for what will transpire for I have faith that He will do what is best.
Update 32: Only Have Faith in God to Heal
April 8, 2020
I don’t have an update on my dad’s medical condition. However, I received a phone call from my dad’s case manager telling me about the possibility for my dad to go to a long-term care acute hospital.
There are not many of these facilities where I live. I tried to do some research on our choices, but I did not find any facility that stood out. The nearest facility has mixed reviews ranging from patients who experienced full recovery to patients who died during their stay.
I quickly came to the realization that I’ve wrongly placed too much faith in health care facilities to take care of my dad and not enough faith in God to care for my dad.
- My dad spent several weeks at one of the best equipped and furnished rehab facilities in my area. I raved about the place to my family and felt very confident about the place’s ability to help my dad to make a full recovery. Nevertheless, my dad nearly died two times during his time there and would have died if the Lord did not enable me to be there. Twice, I had to call for medical attention when my dad was clearly dying.
I’ve put too much faith and trust in medical facilities. My faith should only be in God to heal my dad. He is the One that will heal my dad. He’s the only One with the power to accomplish it. God can use medical staff in the healing process, but He deserves all the glory for bringing the healing.
We frankly put too much faith in leaders, institutions, and others to look out for us. The Bible warns us to not put faith in man:
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8)
We should place all our confidence in God to protect us, watch over us, and to take care of us. He’s the only One we can truly trust. Anything else besides God can let us down. I am placing all my faith in God to take care of my dad as I am unable to do anything for him except to pray and to ask others to pray for him.
Update 33: Needing to Praise God More
April 9, 2020
God answered prayer by allowing my dad’s tracheotomy to go very well. The surgeon and the ICU nurse both described the procedure as going “very well”. My dad is stable in ICU.
I realized today that I failed greatly by not praising God enough in the good times of my life. I lived many years surrounded by many blessings, yet I did not thank God enough for the blessings He gave me in public or in prayer. Even worse, I sometimes became dissatisfied with how my life was going, which means that I was dissatisfied with the blessings that God provided.
I was very foolish. Now, I realize that I need to be much more thankful and appreciative for the things God has provided me.
Appreciate the things that God has given you. You may not have as much as what someone else has, but God knows what is best and cares for you. God’s word encourages us to be thankful in all life’s situations:
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
I am thankful for the many blessings that I still have in my life. My dad may be in intensive care, but I am thankful that my dad is in the care of a loving God who has infinite mercy and compassion.
Update 34: God Still Answers Prayer
April 10, 2020
My dad had a feeding tube placed in his stomach during a procedure today. This is to make it more comfortable for him to get food and medication. The procedure went well and he’s stable in ICU. Lord willing, he may get discharged from ICU to an acute facility in a few days.
I want to acknowledge that God has been answering prayer throughout this entire trial. He has answered nearly every prayer request I’ve had for the past 2.5 months. The prayer requests that have not been answered yet can still be answered in His perfect timing.
I’ve reflected on my dad’s near death experience a week ago. God answered prayer throughout my dad’s previous hospital stay until his return to the rehab facility last week. Then my dad nearly died 24 hours after his return to the rehab facility.
My dad’s near death was shocking, but it was not shocking to God. Psalm 139 indicates that each day of our life is recorded in God’s book-suggesting that God foreknew what would happen to my dad and knows what will happen to him and all of us.
“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)
God knew my dad would nearly die last week. Yet, He’s kept my dad alive for a purpose and He hasn’t stopped answering prayer about him. I don’t know what God has in store for my dad, but I take great comfort that He’s still answering prayer concerning him. I also take great comfort that God is full of mercy, compassion, and goodness.
Update 35: A New Beginning
April 16, 2020
My dad was transported to a new hospital that specializes in long-term acute care. Before leaving, my dad also had to get a feeding tube inserted into his stomach so he could receive medication and nutrients. The new hospital specializes in taking care of my dad’s trach and other items that require an extended hospital stay.
Before transport, I asked God to send my dad to the right place for His long-term recovery. I learned to not put my faith in a facility or its staff to heal my dad, so I did not have a big preference about which place my dad would go. Therefore, I asked God to not let my dad go to the nearest facility if it was not the right place for his recovery. However, God allowed my dad to get a spot at that facility.
I was able to talk to my dad via Facetime on Thursday. He was focused for the entire 8-minute session, but he was unable to speak. I believe he could recognize me, but I don’t know how much he understood. The visual I had of my dad was much better than what I saw 13 days ago when he suffocated as he was put inside an ambulance.
The nurse later told us that she and the doctor believe he improved greatly vs. the previous day. He is alert, following commands, and able to communicate with them when something is bothering him (by making banging sounds with his hands). I praise God for that because my family’s prayers have focused on the restoration of his mind.
My dad has a lot of challenges. My dad has a trach, a feeding tube, and fractured ribs. Before leaving the hospital, I asked the ICU doctor to remove the catheter they placed on him when he was admitted into ICU. I prayed that my dad would be able to keep the catheter off, but my dad did not last long without it. He retained too much fluid, so the new hospital inserted a catheter into him for the time being.
My dad may have a lot of challenges, but God is greater than these challenges. God has the power to help my dad overcome all these challenges and return home. I have not lost faith. I have not stopped praying. All things are possible with God. I will keep praying and asking others to pray for him. It is all I can do because I’m 100% dependent on God to take care of my dad and to heal my dad.
Update 36: Talking Again
April 21, 2020
God continues to answer prayer with regards to my dad. My dad continues to improve mentally and he is able to be free of restraints.
My mother and I were concerned about my dad being unrestrained. My dad has a history of trying to remove various medical equipment when he is unrestrained.
My mother and I pleaded with the nurse and with a doctor to restrain my dad. However, the doctor refused to listen to us and strongly felt that my dad should not be restrained.
The unsuccessful effort to restrain my dad proved again how dependent we are on God. God is 100% control of the situation, so I had to just trust that He gave the doctor and nurses the wisdom to treat my dad. Thankfully, my dad has been fine without restraints.
A nurse called us on Tuesday morning to inform us that my dad was able to sit up in bed and do some grooming. This was great news because my dad had been laying down for nearly 3 weeks, which is a long time.
The nurse called us again later with a big surprise. She said that my dad wanted to talk to us, which shocked us because my dad has not been able to talk well due to his trach (apparently, they adjusted his trach so he could begin talking again).
My mother and I spoke to my dad for about 5 minutes. He told us that he was fine and hanging in there. He knows that we can’t visit and he admitted that he was really sick. I listened to him follow commands, heard him interact with the nurse, and heard him answer questions from the nurse.
The phone call was a huge blessing from God because it had been nearly 3 weeks since I spoke to my dad. I was able to tell my dad that I loved him, which was something I wasn’t able to do when I saw him suffocating back in early April.
My dad still has a long way to go, but God continues to take care of my dad. God is good!
Update 37: One Day at a Time
April 28, 2020
Applying Proverbs 17:22
My dad’s condition changed a few hours after my phone call with him on April 21. My dad began to try to pull out his trach. The nurses had to stop him twice before he succeeded with ripping it out.
The next day we got reports of my dad’s blood pressure being elevated and his heartbeat being irregular. Medication was given to alleviate the issue, but something did not seem quite right. My dad was in restraints because they were concerned about him pulling out his trach.
We got a phone call late on April 22. The nurse told us that my dad’s blood pressure had spiked and that he was running a temperature of 100.1 degrees. The nurse said that they had to give him medication and put him back on a ventilator. The nurse told us that they were running various test to see if anything was going on.
The nurse called us back the morning of April 23 asking permission to begin administering antibiotics. My dad’s temperature increased to 101 degrees. She indicated that they were doing more analysis to see if there was anything going on.
This news was hard to take because my dad has endured so much already. My mother and I had a video chat with my dad scheduled later in the day. I began to debate whether it was a good idea to have a video chat with my dad if he is quite sick. I prayed for wisdom.
I reflected on the situation and my own experiences battling fevers. I concluded that it probably was not a good idea to hold a video chat for various reasons:
- My dad may not be aware of what is going on, so we might be wasting time or taking away from his treatment.
- We had another opportunity to speak to my dad on Monday (just four days away) when he could be feeling much better.
- I did not want to put my mom or I in a situation where we took credit for helping my dad overcome this fever by talking to him.
However, I was leaning upon my own understanding, which is something the Bible discourages us from doing.
I prayed to the Lord and thoroughly explained why I thought it may not be a good idea to hold the video chat. However, I was stopped near the end of my explanation as a verse from the Book of Proverbs about the power of a merry heart came to mind:
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
It did not take me long to agree to hold the video chat after this verse came to mind. I believe God was telling me to have the video chat because it would help to make my dad glad (to see us), which could then help him battle whatever he is facing. The honor, praise, and glory would still go to the Lord because He’s the One who is using various means to heal my dad.
The video chat went fine. My dad was tired, but he could hear what we were saying to him. I’m glad the Lord changed my mind because it allowed me to see my dad again.
The medical staff discovered that my dad had pneumonia again, which is common for people in his situation (relying on a ventilator and bedridden). Thankfully, he was given antibiotics as a precaution, so he was already battling pneumonia when they diagnosed him with it.
My dad’s condition slowly improved over the weekend. My dad’s fever broke, but the doctor told us that my dad was confused and agitated. He definitely was not as well as he was the previous Tuesday. We were told it was common for patients in his situation to have good days and bad days. We are now definitely taking one day at a time with him…
Don’t Boast About Tomorrow
I read Proverbs 27:1 on the morning of April 27, which warns us to not to boast about tomorrow as we don’t even know what the present day will bring. This is verse was a great reminder of the situation my family is in:
- My dad has good days and bad days. He makes great progress but then has setbacks. My dad’s healing is a process as the trials we endure in life are a process. The goal of each process is to get better, but there are obstacles along the way. God is sovereign over all these obstacles and He ultimately controls how long each process lasts.
I had no idea that Monday April 27 would bring us pleasant surprises.
We had a video conference call scheduled with my dad on Monday afternoon. My mother and I were surprised to see my dad looking much better than he did previously. He was awake, alert, and understanding what we told him.
My dad could not talk, but I knew he understood us. We told him about his situation, how we loved him, and about how he needs to listen to the people around him. We also told him that there are people who are in far worse shape than him at the hospital. I immediately saw him react in a way that I’ve seen him react many times when he’s surprised. I knew that my dad was acting like himself when I saw that.
This video conference call was a great blessing because it was the first time I got to see my dad looking relatively well in over a month. He looked much better than what I saw back in early April.
A couple of hours later my family learned that my dad was transported out of ICU and placed in a regular room. He will need to adjust to his new surroundings, and I am praying that he will adjust well to them and that the staff will have the wisdom to take care of him. My dad can be a challenge as demonstrated by the fact that he learned how to take off his restrainer mittens on Tuesday.
Waiting on God
My dad has been afflicted for over 100 days now. The thought of the physical, emotional, and mental anguish he’s endured hurts my heart. I feel so sorry for him. I wish it were me dealing with what he’s endured instead of him. Throughout this process my family has asked the Lord to allow my dad to eventually come home (his earthly home), which is where my dad wants to be. He’s come so close at times to coming home, but then something happens to set him back. It’s by the grace of God that my dad is still alive after all He’s gone through.
I think of John 11 when I reflect on my dad’s situation. Mary and Martha asked Jesus to help heal Lazarus when he was ill. Jesus heard the plea, but He delayed answering their request. The delay perplexed everyone, but Jesus. Jesus indicated that the situation would unfold in a way that would give glory to God.
The delay led to Lazarus’s death, but Jesus used that development to raise Lazarus from the dead. God received glory from how the situation unfolded.
I know that God hears the pleas of my relatives and me. He knows what we desire. The delay in allowing my dad home exists for a reason, and surely it is for the glory of God.
We are in a situation where we are our powerless to help my dad. Only God can heal my dad of the various things he is dealing with and only God can make the way clear for him to come home. For this, He will get all the honor, praise, and the glory. None of these things belong to me nor anyone else.
Update 38: Continuing to Trust
May 5, 2020
We’ve received updates about my dad’s condition from the hospital staff each day.
- My dad appears to have adjusted to his new hospital room.
- His vital signs have remained stable, and he’s being restrained for his own good (which we encourage because of his history of pulling things).
- A couple of times, including today, my dad has gone to the gym for his physical therapy. Afterwards, he sits at the nurse station, which is good for his body.
I continue to pray for my dad several times a day. I ask God to:
- Keep my dad from harming himself.
- Help my dad sleep well at night
- Help my dad to remain calm
- Give wisdom to the hospital staff
- Heal my dad’s body
God is the only One who can heal my dad, and I am glad He is the One who can:
- God is faithful, compassionate, and full of mercy. He does not inflict pain willingly, and He does have compassion for those who’ve suffered.
- He’s sovereign over every aspect of my dad’s situation, including his broken ribs, bladder, lungs, respiratory system, mind, stomach, and much more.
I have not inquired about the status of my dad’s catheter. Previously, I would ask about it each time I had an opportunity to ask. Instead of asking, I have decided to trust the Lord with my dad’s catheter.
I will trust that He will know the perfect time to remove it (if it hasn’t already been removed) and will give the hospital staff the wisdom to know when it’s the right time to remove it. I have surrendered the catheter issue to the Lord. He knows that we want my dad to be free of it, and He’s shown us that it is possible. God will remove the catheter when the time is right.
It’s surreal. I am completely powerless to help a loved one who has gone through a lot in the past 100+ days. Yet, I have peace about the situation because I know that God has this whole situation under His control. No need to worry. Instead, trust in God with all your heart. God is good!
Update 39: Much Like His Old Self
May 16, 2020
God did a great work healing my dad’s body over the past ten days.
- My dad regained the ability to talk, and he has talked a lot since that time to the hospital staff.
- My dad was freed from his foley catheter on May 8 and had no retention issues. This news was a huge relief to my family, and it shows how trusting God’s timing is always the best way to go instead of trying to force the issue.
- My dad now can sit in a chair for an extended time and is able to tolerate physical therapy at the hospital gym (when he’s not confused). He is getting closer to standing and walking again,
- My dad can breathe on his own again without the assistance of machines.
My mother and I had a video conference call with my dad on May 14. My dad seemed like his old self for the 25 minutes we spoke to him. My dad’s behavior and talking reminded me of him when I spent time with him back in February and early March:
- He was caring when it came to his family’s well-being.
- He talked a lot and asked questions.
- His long-term memory is completely intact.
- He’s not fully aware of what’s going on. He doesn’t remember a lot of recent events, but that does not have me concerned. The Lord showed me what my dad is truly capable of under certain conditions.
At the conclusion, the case manager told us that she’s impressed with my dad’s progress. She spoke about the possibility for my dad to get discharged within a couple of weeks. However, it’s still too early to know what will happen. Only God knows what will happen, and He is in control of what will happen.
I’ve provided updates to my dad’s siblings each day. I am pleased to report good news, but I try not to overact. This trial has taught me that today’s successes don’t guarantee tomorrow. Don’t boast about tomorrow because you don’t know what the Lord has in store:
“(13) Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: (14) Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (15) For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:13-15)
I often now say “Lord willing” when I speak of future events involving myself or others I know. I learned how quickly things can change in early April when my dad nearly died after being discharged from the hospital less than 24 hours. Today’s victories don’t necessarily bring victories tomorrow. Everything is subject to the Lord’s will.
God spared my dad’s life and is enabling him to heal. I praise Him for His goodness. I just hope and pray that tomorrow and the coming days brings more healing. God is good!
Update 40: A Daunting Challenge Remains
May 21, 2020
My dad improved enough that he had his trach removed on Monday. This was a major milestone in his recovery. However, I learned on Thursday that my dad still has a long way to go in his recovery.
I had a video conference with my dad on Thursday afternoon. My dad looked very tired and delirious. He reminded me of how he looked on April 2 when I saw him after being discharged from the hospital. The sight was not pretty. He looked terrible. It was hard to understand what he said.
The video conference only lasted for 5 minutes because my dad wanted to sleep. I don’t think he will remember this conference based on how tired he was.
I spoke to the case manager about how my dad is progressing with therapy. He’s done some work with physical and occupational therapy, but he’s still quite weak. He may be deconditioned after weeks of being bedridden, and his confusion is not helping things. He is unable to stand or walk and requires the assistance of two people at times for certain tasks.
Right now, he’s not a good candidate for being discharged to a place that excels in intensive rehab. He’s not a good candidate to receive care at home. He could get sent to a skilled nursing facility like the place he’s stayed at before, but he is not ready for a place like that yet.
My preference is for my dad to receive care at home if it is safe to do so. Right now, it does not look good for that option. But there’s still time and God is in control. Therefore, I petition to God that He will change things so that sending my dad home is a safe choice.
Ultimately, my dad will go where God wants Him to go. There’s no point for me to weigh all these “what-if” scenarios. Proverbs tells us that we can devise all sorts of plans, but the counsel or wisdom of the Lord will stand:
“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)
My dad’s recovery is a daunting challenge, but with God all things are possible. He can do an incredible work in my dad to enable him to overcome this challenge.
Update 41: God Doesn’t Have to Provide Answers
May 28, 2020
I learned that my dad has made little progress with physical therapy over the past month. My dad has been unable to focus on rehab because he lacks a general awareness of where he is at. My dad has difficulty following directions when he loses focus because he becomes fixated on one thing to the point of obsession.
My dad is a victim of the restrictions placed by the government on hospital visits. The restrictions deprive patients of their families-the people who comfort them, the people who help them fight for their life, and help them keep grounded in reality. I was told by a doctor that these restrictions have slowed my dad’s recovery substantially.
I can’t bring myself to reflect on the mental health problems my dad is enduring because of these restrictions. Would those who put these restrictions in place keep them if their loved ones were affected?
My dad tends to respond well to my voice and to my mother’s voice. He listens and follows our words even when he’s confused. Therefore, I tried to reach out to physical therapy to come up with a way for my mother and I to talk to my dad while he’s at physical therapy in hopes he would begin to better follow instructions.
I wasn’t sure if the plan would work, but I thought an effort had to be made. I had problems contacting the right people, which was a sign to me that the plan may not work (perhaps God was resisting the plan). Despite this, I asked God to help me to connect to the right people so that a plan could be made-even if it didn’t work. I wanted to know that I did everything I could to help. I was happy to leave everything in God’s hands if the plan didn’t work. I just didn’t want to have “what-ifs” floating around in my mind.
I eventually connected with the right people and a trial run was put in place to see if the plan would work. Before my dad went to the gym, my mother and I spoke to my dad and told him that he needed to listen to the people working with him and that he would get to walk if he listened. My dad said “okay”, which led us to thinking that the plan might work.
We got a call less than an hour later from one of the physical therapists working with my dad. He put us on speaker phone so we could listen to what was going on. It became clear to my mother and I that our efforts did not make a difference. My dad could not stop obsessing over wanting a drink of water.
Everyone explained to my dad that he could not have a drink of water yet (he needed to be tested by speech therapy). My dad didn’t listen. He started screaming and became difficult to control.
The physical therapist told me that he cannot work with my dad anymore with him constantly acting this way. My dad would be put on a reduced schedule but could go back to a full schedule if he started showing signs of progress. Our plan totally failed.
I received a phone call from the nurse on the afternoon of May 27 (the same day our plan failed) telling me that my dad got a visit from a speech therapist. The speech therapist cleared my dad to begin a liquid diet, which was huge news for us since my dad had not tasted food or water in the past seven weeks.
This was such a big development because my dad loves to drink liquid and to have soup. He could have that with a liquid diet. We were told that my dad was doing well, so I was pleased with how the day went despite the failure of our plan.
However, one day’s victories do not guarantee the next day’s successes. I received a phone call from the hospital on the morning of May 28 with awful news. My dad developed an infection overnight that required him to go back to ICU for close observation.
- My dad has a low-grade fever.
- My dad had low blood pressure.
- My dad’s white cell blood count spiked to 26.
We tried to do our weekly video chat with my dad, but he was completely out of it. He looked terrible. He couldn’t focus. He was too sleepy. He’s clearly battling an infection that’s requiring all his strength to fight.
I now know what Job felt when he cried out to God for answers after he endured so much hardship. The feeling consists of intense frustration and helplessness. My frustration boiled over to a point where I exclaimed “God needs to show compassion for my dad!” when I shared the news on the phone to an aunt. I lost it.
I was wrong. I sinned in that moment. I knew it as soon as the words came out. I sought forgiveness for my sin. God doesn’t have to be compassionate with anyone. He can do whatever He wants with anyone. I didn’t create the universe. I didn’t set the laws of nature. I am nothing compared to God. I deserve nothing.
I have no answers for what is taking place. God doesn’t have to give me answers. It is His right. The Bible tells us that God is compassionate, full of mercy, and does not afflict anyone out of pleasure. God doesn’t lie, so these characteristics of God are true. The pain I feel in this situation makes it difficult for these truths to sink in, but I must continue to remind myself of them. Expressing faith sometimes requires you to constantly remind yourself of something even when it’s difficult to accept in the pain that you feel.
My dad makes progress. Then he has a setback. He makes progress. Then he has a setback. This has continued for the past 4+ months. This trial remains relentless. I have no idea when it’s going to end, but again I don’t deserve answers or deserve any compassion.
I will just take one day at a time and try to cling to faith that God will restore my dad fully so that he can come home. All things remain possible with God in control. Job can attest that God can bring great restoration after much suffering and hardship.
Update 42: The Struggle to Recover
June 5, 2020
God spared my dad from having to wear a foley catheter again. It looked 99% certain he would require one, but his body “woke up” in time to avoid needing one.
I was able to talk to my dad twice on May 29-one day after learning about his infection.
- The first time via telephone in the morning. My dad’s mind was better than it has been in a while when we spoke to him. However, my dad’s mind would not stay that way…
- The second time via Facetime in the afternoon. My dad was more delirious during this chat. I watched him try to remove his restraining mittens even as I begged him to not do it. He also talked about getting out of bed and going home, which is bad idea when he has all these wires attached to him.
Despite the mental ups and downs, my dad was making progress medically. My dad’s fever broke very quickly, and his white blood cell count returned to normal in just a couple of days. His body responded to the antibiotics and the prayers quickly.
Everything looked like it was moving in a positive direction for a few days in a row. However, I was informed by a nurse on June 2 that my dad was having problems clearing out mucus from his chest. His weak cough made it hard for him to clear out his mucus. The presence of the mucus impacted his ability to breathe.
I also learned that the infection my dad had was in his lungs-a form of pneumonia. I was devastated because he has dealt with pneumonia so many times in the past four months. However, it is a common illness for patients in his situation to endure.
My dad was moved out of ICU on the evening of June 2 to a private room. My dad seemed to do well on June 3, and my mother and I were looking forward to wishing my dad a happy 77th birthday on June 4 via Facetime. However, we did not get that opportunity…
A Different Type of Birthday Present
The hospital allows us to have one Facetime call with my dad each week. Our regular call was scheduled to take place on my dad’s birthday. Beforehand, I prayed that our call would go well and that I would have the right words to say.
My mother and I noticed that my dad was not his normal self at the start of the Facetime call. My dad was very tired. He ignored the voice of the case manager and our voice when we tried to get his attention. He was very sleepy. The case manager offered to return 90 minutes later to see if my dad would be awake for a Facetime call.
The case manager restarted the Facetime call 80 minutes later. My dad was still unresponsive. He was too tired to interact with us. As we pondered what to do, my dad’s nurse called us for his daily update.
The nurse informed us that my dad did not sleep well the previous night and that he had a bronchoscopy to remove the mucus stuck inside his body. He was sedated, so there was no way we could talk to him on his birthday. The nurse offered to have a doctor call us to explain what they did to him during the procedure.
A lung specialist called us a couple of hours later. The specialist explained that he removed a lot of mucus from my dad’s body in just 10-minutes. He also added:
- My dad tolerated the procedure very well.
- The mucus could have been building in his body over a long period of time (at least the past several days and possibly over the course of months, which may explain why my dad tired so easily when I watched him in physical therapy back in February and March).
- This procedure could have a lot of long-term good for my dad.
- My dad’s mind is better than many of the patients at the hospital. He’s been around my dad when he’s lucid.
- The key to my dad’s recovery will be to get him physically active again.
My mother and I could not do anything for my dad for his birthday, but it seemed like my dad got a nice birthday “present”. I contacted the case manager to see if we could have a Facetime call with my dad the next day when my dad might be alert.
The case manager contacted us on the morning of the next day. She said that my dad was finishing up with therapy and was awake. She offered to start a Facetime call in 5 minutes, which we gladly accepted.
My mother and I were greatly disappointed when the Facetime call began. My dad seemed very tired and not able to focus. Everyone in the room tried to get his attention and we tried as well, but he was ignoring everyone. My dad was too tired to chat with us.
The occupational therapist told us that my dad only participated in 10% of the day’s activities and was agitated during the process. This was bad news… Furthermore, the case manager said that she could not continue to recheck my dad’s room to see if he’s awake because she has to let other families communicate with their loved ones, so we would have to wait until next week to Facetime with my dad.
I noticed my dad wearing a high-powered oxygen tube around his nose. I was disturbed because I was told that he did not need one a few days earlier. I called my dad’s nurse and asked her about it. She told us that respiratory therapists put a high-powered oxygen tube on him shortly after the procedure to remove his mucus.
I received the daily update from the nurse that afternoon. The nurse told me that respiratory therapists are trying to reduce the amount of high-power oxygen they’re giving him, but he struggled when they lowered it to 35% from 50%. He’s at 40% now, but he’s not breathing as well as he did a few days ago when he did not require high-power oxygen.
The nurse handed the phone to my dad so I could speak to him. My dad was unusually quiet because his voice hurts (a side effect of the procedure). The nurse indicated that my dad understood what I told him, but I could just tell that my dad was not himself. Several factors are contributing to my dad not being himself, but God knows and is in control.
My dad is physically weak, agitated, and is dealing with delirium. The hospital staff sympathizes with us because they know it is hard for families and patients to not be together. It slows down the recovery process and prolongs the suffering.
Nevertheless, God is in control of all of this, and He knows what He is doing. He is fully aware of all the suffering my dad has endured and knows how this situation will play out. He has kept my dad alive despite all these obstacles and setbacks for a perfect reason.
I cannot know the ways of God. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. I don’t know why things have unfolded in this manner, but I am in no position to challenge or to question Him. Nor does God have to give me any answers to why events have transpired the way they have.
All I can do is to trust in God, pray, and ask others for pray for Him. I am physically powerless to help my dad. God created my dad, so it is His right to do whatever He wants with Him. God has appointed a certain number of days for my dad to live. My dad will not live any fewer or more than the days appointed. God knows what He’s doing and what He’s doing is going according to His perfect plan.
Update 43: Needing a Miracle
June 8, 2020
My dad continues to have breathing problems because of an inability to clear mucus from inside his body. The respiratory therapists are clearing out mucus manually, but that has unpleasant side effects. My dad struggles to talk and his voice is hoarse.
I received a phone call around noon. The call was from the hospital doctor. He told me that my dad is not making much progress because of his inability to clear mucus from his body. My dad has a very weak cough and that he may need another tracheostomy if the situation does not improve soon. The manual clearing out of the mucus is unsustainable in the long-term.
I eventually got a complete sense of how difficult my dad’s situation is. My dad can hardly communicate and he’s tired. It’s easy to tell how much he’s struggling to cough out the mucus. He’s weak and has seen much better days in the past. My dad bleeds each time they manually clear mucus from his body.
I later learned that getting a second trachestonomy could have devastating consequences on my dad. My dad’s prospect of full recovery so that he no longer requires a trach in the future is low. In other words, he may need to wear a trach for the rest of his life. This would be a terrible situation:
- My dad would never be able to eat again.
- My dad would never be able to talk again (unless he has a speaking valve).
- My dad would never be able to come home again.
- A family member would have to be by his side 24/7 and know how to care for the trach.
- My dad would constantly have to battle pneumonia, and the trach would not fix the underlying issue of his cough.
I know my dad would not want to get a trach again if this is what his life would be like. My dad loves to talk, eat, and be with his family. He’s a simple man with simple enjoyments. Not having these things would be horrible. We would not really prolong his “life”. We would prolong his suffering…
My mother and I agreed that my dad would not want to live life under the conditions of a second trach. I called my dad’s siblings, explained the whole situation, and they were in total agreement. We all oppose a second trachestonomy because it would just prolong his suffering. We rather let my dad go be with the Lord instead of prolonging his suffering.
I later uncovered my dad’s Advanced Healthcare Directive. Reading it strengthened my belief that my dad would oppose the trachestonomy. He does not want his life prolonged if there is no prospect of long-term recovery or that the burden of treatment far outweighs its benefits.
My dad can still recover from the situation he is in. The hospital staff are doing everything they can to avoid giving my dad a second trachestonomy. However, the doctor is unsure why my dad is struggling to clear his mucus. He’s tried everything and nothing has worked yet. He thinks that my dad’s mind may be a big cause of the problem. The doctor said that my dad’s mind seems to be in another world right now.
My whole family has prayed for the restoration of my dad’s mind the entire time he’s been at this hospital. We know that the mind is closely connected with the body. If my dad’s mind recovers, his body will recover. We have yet to see an answer to this prayer, and we desire an answer soon or it might be the end of the road for my dad.
My dad needs a miracle. It will take a miracle to change the course my dad is on. The Lord has the power to provide that miracle. I’ve asked everyone I can to pray for my dad and for a miracle because without a miracle from God I may lose my dad and my mother will lose her husband.
Update 44: One Final Opportunity
June 9, 2020
I knew my dad was in big trouble when I fully learned about this condition on Monday. I was preparing myself for the possibility to make an end of life decision.
Unsurprisingly, I received a phone call at midnight from a hospital doctor. He told me that my dad had to be rushed to ICU after his vital signs crashed from him suffocating on his mucus. My dad had to be intubated and placed on a ventilator. The doctor said that they would run various tests to see what is going on. He agreed that putting a trach on my dad a second time would not be a good idea.
We received an update from the nurse on Tuesday morning. My dad’s vital signs stabilized and he is opening his eyes at times. He’s being sedated to ease his pain from the intubation.
The doctor we spoke to yesterday afternoon called us to provide an update. The doctor said he feared my dad would need to go to ICU, but he didn’t expect it to happen so soon. He explained that my dad has fluid or secretions rising up parts of his body-causing him major respiratory problems. My dad would require another trach if things continued to progress, but the consequences of that would be terrible for him.
I told the doctor that my family does not want him to get a trach again given the consequences of it. I also explained that we have an advanced healthcare directive that outlined what my dad’s wishes are in a situation like this. Together, we came up with a strategy.
The medical staff would work to get my dad breathing on his own again and see how he does.
- If he does well, then my dad is on the road to recovery again.
- If he begins to fill up with mucus again, then we move towards providing compassionate care for him. My family does not want to prolong any suffering for him, and my dad does not want to suffer at the end of his life (per his advanced healthcare directive).
God will do what He wants with my dad.
- God can heal my dad completely of his ongoing issues. God has done greater miracles than what my family is asking God to do now.
- God can take my dad at anytime if it is His will to do so (and I pray that it’s not His will for my dad to go).
We’ll take everything day by day.
My relatives have prayed for wisdom for my mother and I at this critical juncture. I explained our stance with the doctor, and he said that we decided on is “very wise”. This is God providing us wisdom at a time of great stress and heartache.
This is the final opportunity for my dad to pull through. I don’t know what will happen. I constantly pray for God to perform a miracle and save my dad’s life and allow him to recover so he can go home to be with the family he loves and the family that loves him so much.
It’s hard to put into words how hard this situation is right now. I have been very close with my dad my entire life. A huge part of me would be missing if he is unable to return. I am typing this while crying buckets of tears. He’s such an incredible man-a person anyone would love to be around and live with. He’s so generous, kind, and loving.
I’ve had a long-held desire for my dad to meet his future grandchildren. I want them to know the man I’ve known all my life. Here is a recording of my dad and I when I was a child. He is an incredible father and he will make an incredible grandfather.
Anyone who knew my dad could never say anything bad about him. If I am ever 50% of the man my dad is, I would have done well. I love you dad.
May the Lord work a mighty miracle for my dad. May He give my dad more time with his family on Earth before He goes home to Heaven.
Update 45: Only God Can Save My Dad
June 10, 2020
We learned Tuesday afternoon that my dad’s struggles coughing had a neurological component to it. My dad’s brain is not telling his body to cough when mucus is present inside of him. A person can get him to cough, but he needs constant help and encouragement to cough.
After hearing this, my mother and I made a passionate plea to the hospital to let us help watch my dad to make sure he coughs. My dad listens to us. He always responds to our voices. However, our efforts were in vain because the hospital will not let us visit due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
- I could go on a rant about those restrictions since I believe they are harming the mental and emotional well-being of sick and elderly patients. However, my rant won’t change things, so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself…
We learned on Wednesday morning that my dad has leakage inside of his body, which is likely to cause him to aspirate again. This news was very sobering because this is the scenario my mother and I discussed when contemplating an end of life decision.
We don’t want my dad to experience chronic aspiration and pneumonia for the rest of his life. We want his remaining time to be full of happiness with his family. Prolonging my dad’s life for the sake of prolonging it while knowing that he will be constantly suffering is not something he wants nor is something we want.
I could tell from the voice of the medical official I spoke to on the phone that my dad practically has no prospects for recovery from a medical standpoint. After finishing the call, I knew that only God can save my dad. We need a miracle that stops the leakage, restores his mind, restores his cough, and restores his body.
We’ll continue to follow the plan made yesterday while hoping and praying for a miracle. I won’t give up asking for a miracle from God. I will be relentless in asking God for one. I’m taking Hebrews 11:6 and Luke 11:5-13 to heart:
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
”(5) And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; (6) For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? (7) And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. (8) I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (9) And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (10) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (11) If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? (12) Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? (13) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
I will ask the Lord constantly to bring us a miracle. I will not give up. I love my dad too much and have too much faith in God’s restorative healing powers to give up.
May the Lord prove the hospital staff wrong. May the Lord get the hospital staff to believe in His power. May the goodness of God shine forth when in need of a miracle.
Update 46: Importunity
June 12, 2020
I spoke to my dad’s ICU nurse on Thursday afternoon for an update on my dad’s condition. The nurse gave us a grim assessment of my dad’s health situation.
- My dad’s blood pressure was very low. His readings were in the 70s.
- My dad’s heart rate was in the low 40s, which is very low.
- My dad’s urine output had ceased, so they placed a foley catheter back in him.
- My dad would become very agitated if awoken from his sedation.
My dad’s nurse could not leave his room because of how delicate the situation was. She desperately tried to strike a balance between sedation and raising my dad’s blood pressure and heart rate. I could hear the constant alarms beeping in my dad’s room from the machines measuring my dad’s vital signs as I spoke to her.
I said to the nurse that it sounded like my dad’s body was failing him. Nevertheless, I did not have a clear sense that it was time to place my dad in compassion care. We would still take things day by day in hopes that God will bring us a miracle.
I watched many healing testimonies on Thursday evening and I frequently begged God to heal my dad. Luke 11 suggests that praying with importunity (or fervent persistence to the point of annoyance) can lead to answered prayer. Therefore, I continue to pray fervently to God asking Him to bring a miracle.
The same nurse gave us an update on Friday morning. She told us that she was very worried about my dad on Thursday evening because of how bad his vital readings were. She eventually found a tenuous balance that helped my dad survive the evening.
- My dad is on a small amount of sedation, and he will wake up if you take him off sedation. He becomes very agitated when awoken, so he needs to have some sedation.
- My dad’s heart rate is around 56, which is still low.
- My dad’s urine output has resumed, but it seems on the low side.
- My dad’s blood pressure is 119, but that’s due to the effects of medication to boost it.
- My dad’s white blood cell count is around 11, which is down from 16 on Tuesday (16 indicates some type of infection). He is not taking antibiotics now.
- My dad’s kidney function is fine.
The nurse could not determine if my dad’s condition improved from yesterday. The situation is still very delicate. The nurse advised us to not talk to my dad by phone because that would wake him and cause him to attack the tubes he has in his throat. She wants him to be as calm as possible.
I told the nurse that my family appreciates all her efforts and that we are praying for her. I also told her that we will not blame her if anything goes wrong. This nurse is under so much pressure that I wanted to let her know that she has our support.
The nurse appreciated the words and told us that she would be my dad’s nurse again on Saturday. I thank God for her because she is the best nurse I’ve encountered in the many months of this trial. She is the right nurse for this critical stage of the trial.
My dad lives another day. I will not give up. I will continue to pray for a miracle. God has healed people of much greater medical challenges, so I know He can heal my dad. He’s the only One who can.
Update 47: Growing Bolder in Prayer
June 13, 2020
I believed God will grant me the wisdom to know what to do, even if it is to make the decision to place my dad on compassion care. I’ve read my Bible to learn more about Heaven recently at the suggestion of my pastor. Heaven is a wonderful place-much better than the world we live in now-but I don’t have the sense that it is time to send my dad there yet.
I also read various passages about prayer, including the following passage from Matthew 7:
“(7) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (9) Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? (10) Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? (11) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?’” (Matthew 7:7-11)
As I reflected on this passage, a childhood memory came to mind:
- I asked my dad to make me a weird meal consisting of eggs, spam, hot dog, pancakes, sausage, and syrup on a Saturday afternoon when I was around 7 years old. My dad did not complain or say no to such a strange request. He did not tell me to wait until dinner. My dad made me that meal immediately, and it was the strangest meal I ever ate. My dad made me that meal because he loved me.
- God is my Heavenly Father. I am making requests to my Heavenly Father when I pray. God loves me even more than my dad loves me. If my dad was willing to grant even my strangest requests, how much more will God grant me my boldest requests?
Furthermore, Romans 8:32 states:
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
My importune prayers to restore my dad are not too demanding for God. God sacrificed His only Son for me. He already showed His willingness to do anything for me out of love. He can heal my dad as well out of love as that is a far lesser price than the price He paid to sacrifice His Son.
My prayers have become far more specific and bolder because of my meditation on the Word and on the nature of God. I now ask for:
- The complete healing of my dad’s respiratory system so that there’s no evidence that my dad ever struggled with pneumonia over the years. My dad has battled pneumonia several times over the past few months and on occasion over the past 15 years. God can heal my dad’s respiratory system so that it can be like pneumonia never occurred.
- The restoration of my dad’s cough and the stop of the leakage inside of him.
- The complete healing of my dad’s brain so that there is no evidence that a brain tumor ever damaged my dad’s brain. This request also encompasses the elimination of the remaining parts of the tumor in his head now.
My earlier prayers concerning the recovery of my dad’s heart rate and blood pressure levels have been answered already. The ICU nurse told us this morning that my dad’s blood pressure and heart rate are back in the healthy range without medication.
I will never give up praying for a miracle. I know God can bring us a miracle. I know that God is a loving Father who is willing to give us all things. I know that God will answer my prayers for a miracle if I continue to ask with boldness and with importunity.
Update 48: God Answers
June 19, 2020
I spoke to my dad’s daytime doctor on Sunday morning to get an update on how he was doing. The doctor told me that they still plan to take things day by day, but they have not been able to take him off the ventilator because it was unsafe for him.
I was praying for a miracle throughout Sunday. However, I got a shocking phone call near 8 p.m. from the hospital. The evening doctor told me that my dad somehow managed to remove the ventilator tubing from his body. As a result, my dad was no longer on a ventilator, and they would need to monitor him closely.
I later learned that my dad somehow, someway sat up on the bed and managed to remove the tubing despite being heavily sedated and being restrained. Hearing this, I knew that God had something to do with this because there is no way my dad could do this on his own…
The doctor and I discussed my dad’s prospects for another tracheostomy. Again, I felt that my dad should not get the tracheostomy because his quality of life would be poor.
I called the hospital after 11:00 p.m. for an update. The nurse told me that he was doing fine, but they would monitor him closely.
I called the hospital after 9:00 a.m. on Monday for an update. The nurse told me that they had to put a special mask on him to help him breathe because his CO2 levels rose overnight. This was a repeat of what happened last week when they had to put my dad in ICU. Learning this news, I knew my dad was not doing well without a ventilator.
I got a call at 10:40 a.m. from the doctor. The doctor explained that the hospital has been reviewing my dad’s advanced health care directive and concluded that my dad would not want the treatment they were giving him. I had a different view of my dad’s wishes, so the doctor and I agreed to meet at the hospital to come up with a consensus.
My mother and I arrived at the hospital after 11:30 a.m. The hospital staff let us into ICU to see my dad. My dad was laying in bed looking like he was sedated. However, my dad was not sedated, but feeling the effects of the CO2 buildup inside his body.
My mother and I spoke to my dad and told him how much we loved him. He did not respond, but we believed he could hear us.
15 minutes later several hospital staff members gathered in a meeting room to speak to us about my dad. The doctors conveyed to us that my dad’s long-term health prospects were practically nonexistent without a miracle.
- My dad’s respiratory system was broken down, and a tracheostomy would not bring relief to the situation.
- My dad would have no quality of life with another tracheostomy.
- My dad should really go to comfort care because anything to prolong his life would prolong his suffering.
My mother was emotional, so she left the end of life decision to me. God gave me the grace to make the decision in a calm manner. The whole point of keeping my dad alive the past week was to see if God would work a miracle and to learn more about my dad’s long-term health prospects.
My dad did not want his life prolonged if there were no long-term prospects for recovery. I was not told that my dad had no long-term prospects until our meeting. The doctors and I agreed that my dad made his choice known to us by pulling out the ventilator tubing himself.
After making the hard decision, my mother and I returned to ICU to visit with my dad. We spoke to him some more, but he still was not too responsive. We were preparing to leave when the hospital offered us a chaplain.
I did not feel I needed a chaplain, but I thought it would be good for my mother to meet one. I spoke to the chaplain about my Christianity to get a sense of the chaplain’s spiritual leanings. Thankfully, God sent us a strong Christian chaplain to us.
A few minutes later, a couple of hospital workers tended to my dad. I noticed my dad begin to stir a bit, so I told my mom to talk to dad again in case he could respond to us.
My mother and I poured our hearts out to my dad. We told my dad many of the things we already told him. We noticed that my dad’s eyes were a tiny bit opened and that his hands were moving around. My mother and I touched his hands, and he grabbed onto our hands tightly.
We continued to talk to my dad, and I will never forget revealing to him something I have kept largely to myself. I told my dad that I would name my future son Wayne Croley III in honor of him. My dad’s heart rate jumped up a lot (by at least 20 bpm) immediately when I told him that. I think he was excited because I would pass on the gift he gave me, his name, to the next generation.
The chaplain and I discussed Heaven and we spoke about whether our loved ones could watch us from Heaven. We brought up different verses when I noticed a smile appearing on my dad’s face.
I knew my dad was listening and could understand what we were saying. He was pleased with what he heard. At a couple of points, I think my dad tried to communicate, but he could not make a sound with his voice.
The chaplain had us form a circle around my dad and prayed for him. The chaplain remarked that the end of life experience with Christian families is completely different than with other people…
I went back into ICU alone to tell my dad that I would see him later, either when he wakes up after God performs a miracle while he’s in comfort care or when we’re resurrected.
The next day my mother and I visited my dad to see if he would wake up one last time. We found my dad resting peacefully. My dad was sleeping like he would normally be sleeping at home. However, he was in the process of dying. I watched my dad’s oxygen saturation rate and blood pressure levels decline to critically low levels.
My mother and I poured out our hearts to him again and informed him that we got him a gravesite that he will like. I again told him that I will see him later and gave him a final wave goodbye… for now.
My dad passed away peacefully at 6:32 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16. I received the news at 6:35 p.m. I informed my dad’s siblings of the news and shared the news on social media.
I didn’t break down in tears following the news. Oddly, I was quite calm. I knew my dad was in a much better place and that there was nothing more I could have done for my dad in the past 5 months of this trial. God determines how long we live, so my dad would pass away on June 16, 2020 no matter what I had done.
The pastor of my church informed me that he was going to build his Father’s Day message around the relationship between my dad and me. I was also encouraged to speak in front of the church about my dad, so my focus for the past few days has been preparing to speak about my dad.
Ultimately, God answered my prayers to restore my dad’s mind and body. He will restore my dad’s body when the resurrection of the righteous takes place. God will grant my requests for a “miracle”, but I will have to wait.
Update 49: Speaking to My Church
June 21, 2020
The pastor of my church gave me the opportunity to tell the church about my dad as part of a special Father’s Day service. Here is the video from my talk (click the video twice if it doesn’t play immediately):
Update 50: Choreographed
July 8, 2020
My dad told me on many occasions as I learned about Bible prophecy that spiritual events happen in a choreographed manner. The past couple of weeks has given me a stronger sense of how the Lord shaped events in a special way.
My dad passed away on June 16. June 16 was one day before the 60th anniversary of his enlistment in the U.S. Air Force. I remember telling my dad’s siblings on June 16 that I expected him to pass away the next day given the day’s significance. However, my dad passed away on the evening of June 16 for reasons unknown to me… until now.
I recently went through my dad’s military records and discovered an incredible fact. My dad had two honorable discharge certificates showing June 16 as the date of discharge (each for a different year). Furthermore, my dad’s list of military assignments showed that most of my dad’s tours of duty concluded on June 16. In other words, June 16 signified the date that my dad’s assignments would end.
My dad’s tour of duty on this planet ended on June 16, 2020. My dad’s earthly assignment and service was complete, so he was honorably discharged from Earth to come home to Heaven.
I also came to realize that my dad may have visited Heaven on April 3 when he experienced cardiac arrest. I believe my dad got a preview of Heaven not too long before his passing because of these key details:
I listened to my dad interact with physical therapy while on the phone back in late May. My dad kept bringing up the names of family members who passed away to the therapist. I was perplexed by why my dad spoke about dead people, but perhaps he saw them while having his near death experience…
I actually saw my dad in person on June 8 because of his declining condition (see Update 43). My dad could not talk, but he was alert. My mother asked my dad if he wanted to go home. My dad always said “yes” to this question for the previous 4+ months, but his reaction was very different this time.
My dad had an agitated look on his face and tried to whisper “no”. My dad then pointed up to the sky and looked upward. My dad would never give the answer he gave under ordinary circumstances. He’s always wanted to go home (to the point he’s tried to escape from his bed on various occasions).
Something changed to make my dad want to leave this world. My dad must have saw or experienced something that completely changed his wishes. I believe that something was a preview of Heaven.
I want to add that my dad had a very peaceful look on his face when I left him on June 8. He smiled as he slept. My dad got an opportunity to see his family after more than two months. He must have been relieved to see his son and his wife before he would leave this world…
That same day, the doctor told me that my dad’s biggest challenge was mental. He literally told me that my dad’s brain was in “another world”. My dad’s mind must have been focused on the next world instead of this current world…
Conclusion: God is Good
This is probably my last update to this article. I want anyone who reads this article to understand that God is good, even when the result of a severe trial is the loss of someone who meant so much to you.
My dad would’ve passed away on June 16, 2020, no matter what happened during the past several months. He would have passed away even if he could return home in March without a catheter and fully regained the ability to walk. My dad would have just died in a different way-probably a much worse and traumatic way.
- My dad could have contracted COVID-19 from my mother or me.
- My dad could have died after tripping over something at home.
- My dad could have aspirated at home and died before he could get to ER.
God spared us from having to see horrific moments that would constantly replay in our minds. Our last moments with my dad were observing him sleep.
God spared my dad from having to endure radiation therapy. My dad still needed radiation therapy because the tumor remained near the areas of his brain that affected his vision and other key functions. The radiation therapy could have done horrible things to him, which would then adversely affect my family.
My dad’s passing happened in a way that minimized the pain for my mother and me. My mother and I grew accustomed to not having my dad around during the five months of the trial. We miss my dad dearly, but we adjusted to his absence to a large degree.
God spared my dad from having to live the remaining years of his life confined to a wheelchair or lacking the ability to enjoy life. My dad’s knees were becoming so bad that he was struggling to get up from sitting positions and struggling to get dressed. I often thought to myself, “This is no way to live” when I helped my dad put his socks on because he was unable to.
God choreographed events where He used my dad’s situation to grow me and prepared me for life without my dad in a very gentile manner. I truly believed I would be an emotional wreck without my dad, but God has given me so much grace and peace that you would probably have no idea that my dad recently passed unless I told you.
I miss my dad dearly. I would gladly trade all my possessions for more quality with my dad. I look forward to seeing my dad again in Heaven. I know my dad will be the first or among the first to greet me. That reunion will be special.
Until then, I must work to please God and try to make my dad proud.
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