“I’ve been thinking about you coming up here…and I think it would be better to come sooner, rather than later.”
I was sitting in a waiting room, about to get my blood drawn for a routine gestational diabetes test, when I heard these words over the phone from my mom.
My grandma was in the hospital, in ICU. She has leukemia and had recently undergone a procedure to discover the cause of swelling in her stomach. After the procedure she had developed pneumonia, which her body couldn’t fight due to her depleted white cell count.
I had been debating flying to Washington state from my home in Southern California, but wasn’t sure yet if that was the right choice. When someone is dealing with a critical illness everyone tries to stay optimistic to the last. This is fine when you’re living in the same state as them, it’s quite another thing when you’re far away.
I was worried. My grandma and I have always been close and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity of saying goodbye — but I also didn’t want to believe that it was time for that.
My mom’s words shocked and scared me.
Four hours later, my 18-month-old son and I were on a plane headed toward Seattle. We arrived after midnight, so a visit to the hospital would have to be postponed till morning.
Walking into the hospital I tried to prepare myself for what I would see. I had heard that she looked bad — weak, groggy, a mask on her face helping her to breathe. My heart raced with worry that I would distress her in my reaction.
Machines, alarms, and monitors crowded the halls of the ICU floor as I followed my aunt. I used one of the many hand sanitizer dispensers to prepare myself to enter her room.
Relief washed over me when I saw her. She didn’t look as bad as I was anticipating and she seemed alert. I didn’t know if I was allowed to hug her, so I just walked over and rubbed her arm. Strangely, it didn’t seem like a big deal that I was there. She seemed unfazed that I had flown overnight at the spur of the moment to see her.
So as not to tire her, my visit was short. Also, my mom was anxious to return home, having spent the previous 29 hours in the hospital.
As we left the room I felt encouraged that Grandma was sitting in a chair eating clear broth.
No longer was I afraid that this was a trip to say goodbye.
Yesterday I returned to the hospital to find even more signs of improvement. Grandma was sitting up in bed, mask free, awaiting the arrival of fish and chips and chocolate cake.
Although she was only able to eat a small portion of it, her desire for regular food cheered me. Even better was the report that for the first time in 6 months her body was producing some white cells.
Although she’s still not out of danger regarding her leukemia, God has performed a miracle in my Grandma’s life once again.
Four days ago, she heard a doctor telling my aunt that the family should be alerted. She was scared, we were scared, but we all knew her life was in the hands of someone more knowledgable and powerful than her doctor.
Thank you to all of you who prayed!
We are continuing to pray:
…that she would be able to leave the ICU floor.
…for the month-long intense chemotherapy treatment her doctor plans for her.
…for the bone marrow transplant ahead of her.
The fight is not over yet, but repeatedly we’ve seen God perform miracles and beat the odds in her favor. We are trusting Him above all else.
My grandma was moved out of ICU on Monday before I headed back home. She is continuing to produce bone marrow and white cells.