The past few weeks have been stressful, but they are looking up. I'm thankful I can say that. So very thankful.
Two weeks ago, I called my mom on a Thursday morning to see if she wanted to go thrifting. My Dad answered the phone and told me he wasn't feeling too good. My mom was in the background telling me to tell him to go to the ER. I drove over to their place and by the time I got there, Daddy had decided he'd go in.
For the past 6 hours, he had not been able to stand up without almost passing out. He was weak, dizzy and scared. His worry-wart tendencies were amplified.
I drove my parents to the hospital, and thankfully they saw him quickly. After he was given a rectal exam and it was discovered that he was bleeding, the doctor determined he might have a bleeding ulcer.
A while later, he was taken for an endoscopy. The doctor came out to my mom, brother and me in the waiting room and informed us that he had found a mass in my dad's stomach. It was hard to tell just how big the mass was or whether or not there were in fact any ulcers because there was still quite a bit of food in my dad's stomach. They determined they would put my dad on a no-food diet and try again tomorrow.
In the mean time, my dad's blood level (hemoglobin count) had dropped from a normal 13 to a 7 (or 8; I can't remember which). He was started on a string of multiple blood transfusions.
In the middle of the night, 2:30 am, to be exact, my mom called me crying and said, "Martha, your dad is acting really strange and I don't know what's going on. There are a bunch of people in here. You might want to come down here to the hospital."
I got so scared, jumped out of bed and threw on some clothes. Just as I was about to leave, my mom called again and said not to worry, that he was better. He had sat up too quickly and almost passed out. His heart rate had gotten extremely high and his blood pressure had dropped at the same time. She assured me he was was ok, but I still drove to my brother's house to spend the rest of the night. My brother only lives about 5 minutes from the hospital, and my house is more like 25 minutes away. I wanted to be close in case my mom had to call again. I didn't get much sleep after that, but thankfully she never called again.
The next day, my dad had his second endoscopy. This one took about twice as long as the first one did. The doctor told us afterwards that the mass was about the size of a golf ball and firm as could be. It had a very small ulcerated area on it, which had been the source of my dad's blood loss. The doctor cauterized that spot to stop the bleeding then tried to lasso the mass in half to remove it. This is when he found out just how firm the thing was and that it was not going to budge for him. So the doctor settled for some biopsies. He reassured us that the appearance of the mass was very smooth, which led him to believe it was benign. Still, there was a lot of old blood in my dad's stomach which means he had been slowly losing blood for who knows how long.
My dad was in the hospital until Sunday morning. He had a total of five transfusions up to that point.
The next Wednesday, I went with my parents for the follow-up doctor appointment to get the biopsy results. My dad was still super light-headed and weak and couldn't walk down the hall without needing to sit down. They drew blood again to check his levels and we got the confirmed news from the doctor that the tumor was in fact benign, but he still wanted it removed for further testing.
The next day, my parents got a call that my dad's blood count had dropped again and that he needed to come in for two more units of blood. He was in the hospital for another 24 hours or so then released.
This is where we are now. We are so grateful to God that my dad's tumor is benign. His blood count seems to finally be stabilized, and we are simply waiting to hear from the doctor about when my dad will be admitted again to have the mass removed.
Praying all goes well during and after that and that the Lord continues to bless us as He has been throughout this whole process. It broke my heart to see my parents suffering, but my love and admiration for them both has grown so much throughout all of this. My dad is so kind to all the nurses and keeps them laughing. He has kept a positive attitude throughout it all and my mom has stuck by his side every night he's had to stay in the hospital. I'm seeing a change in my dad; he is realizing all he has been taking for granted and wanting to live life more.
I do believe the trials we go through here on Earth bring us closer to God, allow our faith to be strengthened, and teach us to view life in a way we never would have before.
Trials ultimately give us a chance to praise God in the midst of a storm. What an amazing way to worship.