When communication between a couple is daily, no matter the distance, and that is abruptly interrupted, it’s hard. At least I found it hard.
The first day Alan was in hospital, he found it hard to speak, so we texted. I took his lead so as not to trouble him or tax his strength. When I mentioned pneumonia to Alan he was surprised. They’d told him he had Covid but no one had mentioned pneumonia. He found it a bit agitating, I think, to hear from me that he had pneumonia.
In hospital the first few days, communication was sporadic. I found the silence heart-breaking but I put my trust in GOD’s sovereignty and remembered continually His word to me that “Alan will recover” and that carried me through the scary days, as I experienced a sense of powerlessness and a feeling like being in a washing machine — constantly turned and twisted, having very little air or peace.
Each day I’d speak to a nurse who would give me Alan’s oxygen level (which I only understood relative to ‘normal’ or the level told me the day before) and his blood pressure.
“What is he receiving the oxygen through?” I’d ask, wary whether it be a C-Pap or a light mask.
“A light tube” one nurse would say. One night, overnight, they lay him on his stomach and he didn’t need oxygen support at all. That’s a good sign, I thought.
When someone is in hospital, moving back and forth from a high intensity ward to a short term unit and back again, it’s impossible not to read into every change something significant, even though it’s all guess work from a family member’s point of view. With no personal visitation allowed due to the Covid pandemic, and very sparse comment from Alan, every word a stranger said was filtered through my analytical brain and taken to GOD with prayer, hope and a seeking as to what to do next.
I had told my son in person, then my step daughter by phone, and lastly Alan’s siblings by group text, that first day, after Alan was admitted into hospital with Covid. No one panicked, probably in part because I didn’t panic, because the LORD gave me wisdom, assurance and faith to hold on, trust Him and remain calm.
Looking back, in spite of huge effort on the part of the hospital to be vigilant towards Alan’s recovery right from Day 1, I think the lack of communication contributed to the increase of illness and ultimately, to the end of Alan’s life. Had I known some things sooner, I could have prayed more effectively. Had doctors learned from me sooner about Alan’s disposition and personality, they may have read rather than misread some signs and perhaps medicated less vigorously. But do I suggest lack of communication caused his death? Not directly, no, I don’t think so. Rather, communication and visitation would have given Alan better quality of life while in hospital, and I may have had more influence upon doctors perhaps, and sooner. It is my view that a patient’s family should have more voice in their treatment because they know the patient best and can focus on this one patient when doctors are devoted to many all at once. A family member can detect things perhaps better than doctors when they are with the patient in person. But in the final analysis, the circumstances were as they were, and GOD orchestrated a fine symphony which brought to the attention of all parties involved, His power and presence in the life of Alan and me. He brought the entire team of medics to the point of focus on Alan’s definite recovery just days or even hours before the LORD released him back to Himself. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
I began to share with close praying friends the situation with Alan: Covid pneumonia, in hospital, needing just a little air support. I told the pastor, who shared with the church. I didn’t share on line — it was a private matter and Alan is known in the Christian community; I sought prayer but not panic or rumour or distracting phone calls. I believe GOD led me each step, as to with whom to share the news and to whom I would request prayer support. Each person I told was vigilant, I believe, and keen to pray for Alan’s recovery.
And so began a purpose-driven strategy to pray Alan back to full health and home.
*Photo courtesy of Revelation TV