On A Wing and A Prayer


My daughter and I were quiet, deep in our thoughts as we were making our way to the hospital for the third day in a row. We had almost 30 miles to think, worry, wonder, hope, and pray. Pretty much what we’d already been doing. I know we were both tired, not having had much sleep over the last few nights.


My mom is in ICU, fighting for her life. Due to her health issues, she is prone to getting pneumonia. The scary part is she can be fine one part of the day and the next thing you know, she’s incoherent and extremely ill. 


When we arrived at the hospital the first day, my dad was in the ICU waiting room. My world sank and disappeared when he told us he was told my mom only had 10-15 minutes to live. I can’t even begin to remember all the thoughts that swirled through my head. All I kept thinking is I want to see my mom. I want to be with my mom. And why are they taking her for a CAT scan if they are saying she only has a few minutes left to live? We didn’t wait long before 2 ICU nurses came to get us when she came back. The news wasn’t good. She isn’t going to make it through the night was the message. 


That’s what you guys think, I thought to myself. You don’t know my mom. And you’re underestimating God. 


When my mom is this sick, she isn’t awake, partly due to being sedated. But I talk to her anyway. My mom is German and although my German is rusty, I always talk to her in German. There’s a silly phrase I learned as a child that I repeat to her in between other things I say. I know she hears me from the movements of her eyes and when her hand moves in mine. 


We’ve become experts in reading the machines. We know her blood pressure is too low, her oxygen level is too low, and the machine is doing most of the breathing for her. And she looks so little and vulnerable hooked up to the many tubes running into her body. We also know my mom has been bad off before and comes through.


But this time, I’m hearing she’s not going to make it through the night. And the  nurses are saying this in front of her. This makes me bristle. My mom can hear what you’re saying so watch what you say. I tell my mom, “Don’t listen to him. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”


I know it’s serious by the movements of the nurses and the looks on their faces. She has several doctors due to her many health problems. I know they’ve all consulted and don’t think the outlook is good. 


I know better. I know my mom. I know what a fighter she is. I know how tough she is. I know she wants to see her second great-granddaughter who is due to join us in August. The great-granddaughter who will share my mom’s middle name. My mom has made plans with my daughter when she turns 21 in three years. 


I know the doctors base their information  with all the modern gadgets and machines that read numbers and levels of what’s going on with my mom’s body, but what the doctors don’t have is the power of God. I understand they have to tell us the cold, hard facts. I get that. And I get that some of the looks I’m getting are of sympathy, like I’m in denial. I suppose to the outside world, it might look like that.


But as one nurse said to me just yesterday, “First, there’s God. Then there’s the physicians.” She’s right. 


My mom’s blood pressure has improved and her oxygen level has improved. We’re still dealing with her only working kidney not functioning right. That does have me concerned but I’m also putting it in God’s hands. Only He knows if my mom will stay here with us or go to be with Him. 


Today will be day 4 of going to the hospital. I’m hopeful that I will see her kidney is getting better and her blood pressure and oxygen are holding their own. Mom is sedated so I don’t look for her to be awake just yet. But I am looking forward to the day when I walk in her room and she’s sitting up and talking. 


Like I told my daughter yesterday, “We’re on a wing and a prayer right now, baby.” And we are. 

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