I took the kids home on Saturday night, got them into bed with plans to drop them off with Grandma Cyndi the next morning in time for Matt’s dad Vern and I to get to the ICU at 11:00 AM. I talked to my mom for a bit, and settled in for a restless night of sleep.
On Sunday morning, I called the ICU to get an update on Matt’s condition. The nurse said he was stable, which was good news but it didn’t sound like he had improved much. We were pretty nervous heading to the hospital. I don’t remember a lot about walking into his room that day, just that he was pretty drowsy and out of it.
It was a really hard day. Matt’s condition did not improve, but it didn’t get worse, either. It was really hard to watch him stuck in a bed, too weak to even adjust his position. They brought liquids, but he didn’t take anything. By mid-afternoon, he was going to try to take a nap and told us that we could leave. So we got ready go, and as soon as Matt put his CPAP on, he projectile vomited everywhere. It was horrible. I couldn’t leave after that, so we waited as the nurses cleaned it all up. They had the best attitudes, they teased him as they wiped every inch of the ICU room.
Finally, we had to leave for the night. I picked up the kids and took them home. Once I finally got them into bed, I had a chance to cry. This was such a hard day, but two things happened to encourage me before I went to bed. I called our pastor and his wife and they prayed for me and Matt. Then I was messaging my good friend, and one of her friends texted me asking about Matt. Her husband is a doctor, and they helped me understand a few things as well as have a few questions to ask the next day. I felt much better after those two interactions.
On Monday morning, I dropped the kids off with my friend Steph. They love her and her house is so much fun, I knew they would have the best time. She hugged me and prayed for us, and I headed to the ICU again. I was a bit nervous to have another day like Sunday, so I blasted some worship songs that declared strength and victory, and I was ready to go.
Pastors Jonathan and Dan met me there, and we walked up together. Only two visitors were allowed in the room at a time, so I headed back to see if his parents were still in there. As I stepped into the room, I was shocked to see Matt’s face. The change from Sunday night was remarkable. His color was better, he looked more alert and was sitting up a bit instead of laying down. My heart leapt in my chest as I grabbed his hand. “You look so much better!” I said. I told him the pastors were coming in, and I stepped back out to eat my lunch.
After Pastors Dan and Jonathan left, Matt’s mom and I stayed the afternoon with him. I had to pick up the kids around dinner time, but it was much easier to leave on Monday than it had been just 24 hours before. I believe God healed Matt’s infection, and I was ecstatic.
My friend Steph gave us a meal as well as another friend from church, plus another wonderful friend gave us a gift card to help out. I was overflowing with gratefulness for all the blessings and care we received.
I will finish the hospital portion of the story in one more post, hopefully tomorrow.
Joshua told the Israelites to set up stones of remembrance to remind themselves and future generations of the miracle God had done for them. It builds my faith greatly to be reminded of God’s faithfulness. I will always tell the story of how God saved my husband Matt’s life, and I am writing it here so it will stand for anyone who reads it as a reminder that He never leaves us or forsakes us. Our God is faithful, and His miracle-working power is the same today as it was in the days of Joshua and the Israelites.
Matt was sick for most of the week before we went to the hospital. For a few days, it was a typical head cold. He has seasonal and environmental allergies, so he tends to get a lot of stuffy noses, cough, itchy eyes, etc. We do our part to keep Kleenex in business. Later in the week, he had new symptoms, and he ended up sleeping in the living room, telling me later that he had been up much of the night vomiting. This isn’t terribly uncommon for him, either, so I just figured it was a typical illness for him. By Friday, he had been home from work for 3 days. I picked up our older two kids from camp, and it was a busy day with their return.
On Saturday morning, Matt said he might need to go to the doctor. He said he felt dehydrated. I worked on getting ready and finding someone to watch the kids. He finally said we should go, so I got everyone ready. He asked me to help him get dressed. He was too weak to put on his clothes, which kind of surprised me. But I figured if he was dehydrated, that would be a good reason for the weakness. We dropped off the kids at Matt’s parents house, and we headed to urgent care.
I walked in to the office, and we were the only ones there so we didn’t even sit in the waiting room. The nurse who watched Matt walk in grabbed a wheelchair immediately. They pushed him back to a room, and we answered all the questions as they checked his vitals. It was probably 10-15 minutes before the doctor walked in and solemnly told us that they could not help him at urgent care and he needed to go to an emergency room. They wanted to call an ambulance, but our local ER is about 10-12 blocks away, so I signed him out and said I would take him straight there.
As soon as the nurses had helped him into the passenger seat and closed the car door, I started crying. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know you were so sick.” He said, “It’s okay, I didn’t know, either.” I just knew from their reaction that he was sicker than we imagined.
I pulled up to the ER and ran in to ask for a help and a wheelchair. Someone came out to help him and wheel him in while I parked the car. Once I got inside, we sat in a small ER waiting room for what felt like an eternity. I was just listening to his breathing, watching people walk by and joke in the hall while I was screaming inside, “We need help! Don’t leave us here!”
Eventually, he asked me to find the bathroom. I checked with someone, and they said that they would be able to take him back to a room now. They wheeled him down the hall and helped him onto a bed. I sat in the only chair as we went through the same questions we had answered at urgent care. It had been a very hot day, and they seemed to think he was overheated. I explained that he had done absolutely nothing that day and had not been outside at all. It took a little while, but finally they realized the situation was more dire than they had assumed. They tested him for COVID right away as some of his symptoms fit, but it came back negative.
One thing that stands out to me is the doctor repeating quite a few times, “You are very sick. You’re very, very sick.” They looked at his tongue and said it was very white, apparently a sign of dehydration. They asked him when was the last time he had urinated. He thought about it and answered, “Maybe 2-3 days?” I could not believe it. He had never told me, I definitely would have known that was a really bad thing. I think he was just so sick that it must not have sunk in that it would be cause for concern.
My poor husband had to have a catheter inserted, and even then they could not get any urine out. She was asking someone else to come in and push on his bladder to help. I was just sitting there, watching all of this transpire as he remained conscious, talking and regularly responding that he was in no pain. It seemed incongruous to me. How could he be as sick as they said and be conscious, talking and even joking, and in no pain? I still don’t understand it, except that maybe it was a gift from God to keep us calm and not freaking out under the circumstances.
They had a lot of trouble getting his blood pressure. I wasn’t really comprehending that as a big problem myself, but eventually I heard 70 which I know is very low. The doctor told me he had sepsis. I have watched more than enough episodes of “ER” and “Grey’s Anatomy” to know that they only mention sepsis when someone is gravely ill. I was texting his parents and mine with updates, and when I sent that, his parents answered, “What is sepsis?” I didn’t know how to define it, so I asked what to tell them, and she said it’s an infection in the blood.
They told me they were going to admit him and run a bunch of tests. That changed rather quickly, and the main nurse explained to me that his blood pressure was dangerously low. He needed a medication to raise it, but this medication is very serious and needs to be administered by an ICU nurse who would constantly be monitoring him to keep it at the right level. So it was determined he would be sent to the ICU at MercyOne in Waterloo. I know how it is with paperwork, but when people are telling you that your husband is “very, very sick,” you just expect things to move more quickly. But we still had to do some paperwork, insurance stuff, and eventually I realized it was about 6:45. The visiting hours at the ICU ended at 7 pm, and therefore I would be unable to go with Matt that evening.
It was hard to walk away as they wheeled him to the ambulance. Once I got to the car, I was in such shock that somehow I managed to get to his parent’s house, eat with them for dinner, and get the kids home and only cry once when I stepped out of the car and saw his dad standing there.
I’m going to split this up into a couple of posts so it is a little easier to read. But I promise it is worth finishing. We don’t get to see the end when we are trapped in a dark place with no light to be found. He is there, always, and this is just one of the many times in my life He has proven Himself faithful.