Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In Sickness and in Health

On December 4th of last year, I took my wife Gay to the hospital with 4 sores on her legs. Little did I know then what the next four months would be like.

Gay was admitted to the hospital, and the doctors thought she had MRSA, an antibiotic resistant form of staph. The infection had entered her bloodstream, and she was extremely ill. On December 5th at about 10:30 PM, she was taken in for emergency surgery to remove the infected areas. Luckily, after this surgery she began to get better. The cultures came back and the infection was not MRSA, and the doctors were able to change her antibiotics to target the specific infection she had. She still required one more surgery, although the surgeon told us that he did not have to do much. Gay stayed in the hospital for nearly two weeks.

All of this obviously happened during final paper and exam time at Wake, but the faculty, staff, and student body were extremely supportive. I received calls, emails and visits from those associated with the divinity school and all of my professors gave me more time to finish my work. My church, First Baptist High Point, was also wonderful. I always knew that help was only a phone call away. Whether I needed someone to sit with me during surgery, or just someone to talk to, the staff and membership were there to support me.

Gay came home the week before Christmas, but all of her wounds still required cleaning, packing, and dressing twice daily. When we left the hospital we were told that a home health care nurse would take care of this for us. On the first visit, however, the nurse told us that our insurance would not cover daily visits and I would be the one caring for the wounds.

There were four wounds that needed care. The least severe was about a 5 inch long wound on her right thigh. The second was about a 1 by 2 inch wound in her groin. The third was about a four inch wound shaped like a spoon on her right thigh. The final wound, on her butt, was about 1 inch by 2 inches but about 4 inches deep. Twice a day, I had to remove the old packing, clean each wound, soak gauze in saline, pack each wound full of this gauze and then bandage over them. Had you asked me whether or not I would have been able to do this, I would have said no. But, it is amazing what you can do for the one you love when you have no other choice.

Luckily when I came home my parents were here to help out. I was too tired to be much good to anyone and they took care of food, shopping, and prescriptions. Church folks were also bringing us meals every other day. The plans were for my mother to stay through my upcoming trip to Egypt to help out while my dad would go home. Unfortunately, on December 23, my father had a kidney stone attack that would require surgery, so my mother went home to be with him. This left Gay and I home alone for Christmas, but we tried to make the best of it.

Two weeks and one day after Gay came home for the hospital, I had to do what was, for me, unthinkable: I had to leave Gay and go half-way around the world to Egypt for two weeks. I had already paid for the trip, through a grant and some contributions, the trip was non-refundable, and I needed the credit to graduate, so there was not much choice. My mother agreed to stay with Gay for the duration of the trip, which was great, and I am glad I did it, but that did not make it any easier. Luckily the hotel where we stayed in Cairo was across the street from a shopping center with not 1, not 2, but 3 internet cafes. All of the computers were equipped with cameras and microphones, so I was able to talk to Gay every night via Skype. Being able to see and hear her let me know she was doing ok.

School was supposed to start a few days after we got back, but my first day of class was snowed out which gave me more of a chance to recover. I started back to school, but I still had a lot of work from the previous semester to get caught up on.

At the end of January, I went to Atlanta to attend the New Baptist Covenant meeting. It was a great experience (this will be yet another blog post coming up) and Gay stayed with family in Columbus while I was in Atlanta. I came back on Saturday afternoon, we attended the Christening of our second God-daughter on Sunday, and prepared to go home on Monday. By Sunday night a pain Gay had in her abdomen had become intense, and by Monday morning the area was bright red. So, we took her to a walk-in clinic on Monday afternoon. She had another infection, although this one was early on. The doctor drained it and told us to come back the next morning, which we did. When the doctor saw her again, he said the antibiotics appeared to be working and said we could go back to Winston and follow up with her doctor there. Back in Winston, the doctor put her on IV antibiotics that were supposed to be done by home health care. Well, yet again the insurance would not pay for that (and yet there are those who say there is no health care crisis in this country.) Instead she had to go to the hospital every day for the IV. Keep in mind this is in the middle of one of the worst flu outbreaks North Carolina has had in recent years. So many of days started off with me taking Gay to the hospital and dropping her off, going to class, going back to the hospital, picking her up, taking her to the doctor's office, taking her somewhere to get lunch, taking her home, and then returning to class. It was very hard to get caught up with that kind of schedule.

We thought that everything was almost over and Gay woke up one morning and the area on her abdomen was swollen and draining again. We took her to the doctor, and he told her she would miss another week of work and changed her antibiotics again.

Well, I am pleased that I can now report that Gay is doing much better. She is back at work, although she is not back at full speed. As of last week, I am caught up in Divinity School, so graduation in May should happen without a hitch. I have started the job search process, so if any of my readers know of any positions that fit me, let me know by using the e-mail address on the right. I will post some pictures from Egypt and my thoughts on the New Baptist Covenant very soon.

For family and friends, please let me know if you are interested in coming to graduation or a graduation party that will be held at FBC High Point. You can leave me a comment on this post, and I will get in touch with you. Don't worry, all comments are private unless I choose to make them public, so you can leave your e-mail address without worry.

Thanks again for those who have prayed and helped Gay and me through this very difficult time.

1 comment:

Danny said...

This is an incredible post; I'm glad she's feeling better.

Congrats on your graduation.

You are due for some good news. Hang in there.

Danny