Thursday, May 19, 2011

Teach us to number our days...

My Dad enjoying some sunshine...
Easter Sunday night, well, actually early Monday morning around 12:40, my medical alert rang! I dashed down the hall, stumbled down our stairs, and ran to my dad's bedside. He was suffering an heart attack. After several nitro-glycerin pills, a call to 911, and a house full of paramedics, we rushed to the VA hospital.

The rest of the night was spent waiting on the hard ER chairs!
Dad was calmed with nitro-glycerin IV's and Oxygen. As normal, I went into the ER to stand by his bedside, full of concern and watching each gasping breath from his frail old body. Each moment that passed made it evident that my Dad was really struggling to hold on to life.
Napping in the sunshine...
Yet, in the struggle, he still had some humor for the concerned doctors when he quoted what his deaf ears thought they said. He even took time to tell them of his faith in Jesus Christ and how ready is he to go to his eternal home when his Savior calls for him!

But a couple weeks before, while resting in his wheelchair, my Dad suggested we buy a patio set for his entry porch (below my deck). He thought it would extend his place to the outside, and be a wonderful place to watch my grandchildren play this summer. Hopes of many visitors sitting around with him also prompted this wish.
Neglecting the hinted urgency that elderly years give, I allowed busyness to prevent a shopping excursion. In the ER, while I totally focused on monitors and his wheezing breath,  he opened his eyes to look at me between pains of angina, and said tearfully, "Sorry, girl! We forgot to buy the furniture!"
I couldn't believe his thoughts were on furniture at such a time!

Standing at his ER bedside, I regretted that busyness! I had forgotten how quickly life vaporizes, and I pushed his little desire to buy this gift for me out of my mind. I realized as I watched his breathing, chances to meet his request were distant, and even possibilities of seeing his enjoyment seemed dim.
What Dad sees from his recliner...

My dear sweet husband heard Dad's regret. So, four days later, when Dad was discharged from the hospital and brought home, his entry was fully furnished! He was welcomed home with an inviting outside living space!
It was so awesome!
Now, as he regains his strength, I know I can't just hang over him. I am finding sweet peace in puttering around his living space. Just outside his bedroom, his outside living space has added color with placed pots of flowers. The lattice walls and the flowers give a pleasant sense of homeyness.
Yesterday, we enjoyed a sunny bright day, warm enough for Dad to slowly make his way out his door. This time, he hobbled out of his wheelchair and enjoyed one of the stuffed chairs with his feet on the ottoman, quite content. A cursory glance at the flowers and furniture caused him to comment with pleasure. Around noon, friends brought his favorite Culver's hamburger snack pack and joined us for our first picnic. Then Dad enjoyed a couple of hours of conversation, full of childhood memories and antics!

I'm quite pleased as I journal this wonderful day for my Dad. As I tucked my dear Dad in bed, he patted my hand with a "This was a good day!" He loves his new patio, his health is edging its way to "good" again, and I'm so glad his life was extended long enough to enjoy his furniture gift.

Thank you for all your prayers for my Dad's lingering days here on earth with us. His 89+ adventurous years of life have been full and he will leave a legacy of how to "walk by faith"  when he is called home to his beloved Savior. Until then, let this little story encourage you to make the most of every day with dear loved ones, and squelch that interrupting busyness when it threatens to rob you of precious time spent with them!

1 comment:

  1. Debi,
    Having been there, done that and continuing on, I can say with confidence that God intended for us to honor our parents. As difficult as this can be at times, I know it is also one of the most rewarding times in my life. As you know, there are no regrets when you share so freely what has been already bequeathed to you. I shall continue to pray for you and your precious Dad. What a privilege!