The Life is in the Blood: Consultants
Drawing battle lines and building encouragement with Dr J, Dr M, Dr C.
My first face to face encounter with a consultant during Alan’s hospitalisation was with youngish doctor who professed to be “in charge” in a manner I found full of self-consciousness, so I didn’t believe him.
At that point I was battling feelings of stress and despair, without giving in to either. I feel for that doctor, as I look back, because I was intent on blocking any words of defeat, any proclamations of the possibility of Alan not surviving. I was not rude, but I was tough, and that — I expect — is not what he expected.
I had many telephone conversations with doctors over the 10 weeks of Alan’s hospitalisation. Doctors would ring to give updates. Whenever I had a call from a junior doctor I knew all was well. To me, it meant the hospital staff were confident regarding Alan’s condition. Sometimes I rang to speak to a nurse and a consultant answered. Each was always willing to discuss Alan’s case with me. At no time did I ever feel rushed.
I had two particular face-to-face encounters with consultants which were particularly noteworthy, for those of you reading who are tracking my level of confidence in Alan’s healing.
My first visit to ICU after Alan was put on a ventilator followed a rather testy time with the youngish doctor whom I will call Dr J. I had been invited to visit and expected to see Alan. There was a delay, followed by a doctor introducing himself as Dr J. That conversation, in fact that entire day is best kept vague, as I was in a haze.
A week later, I went to the hospital again, this time straight in without meeting with anyone. Alan was of course still unconscious. I stood by him, whispered to him, prayed for him, had snuck in anointing oil which I delicately and sparsely put upon him in no places of vulnerability. I even sang (very softly) to him one of his favourite songs, “Indian Love Call” by Slim Whitman. I was with him for 30 – 45 minutes before a friendly doctor I’d spoken to on the phone came along and said the consultant would like to sit with me. We were next to Alan’s bed.
The doctor had passed on my request that Alan have his vitamin D boosted.
The consultant Dr M and I had a lengthy conversation throughout which I was standing on God’s word to me that Alan would recover. Dr M did his best to answer various questions, confirmed that Alan could have his vitamin D boosted as it would do no harm, but attempted to persuade me that we really didn’t know if Alan would survive. I began, “If…” Then quickly interrupted myself with, “When… Alan is revived will he remain in ICU until he leaves hospital?”
He had nearly brought me to a point of weakness or confusion, but he hadn’t quite managed it.
These consultants want to do their due diligence, their duty of care, both to patient and family. Most won’t understand faith at all. But for me, to stand on the truth of GOD was most important, for Alan’s sake, and I suppose for my own mental and spiritual health as well.
The next week, after a phone conversation or two with Dr C I was invited to visit the hospital again. This time I actually met Dr C who said it was special to meet a family member in person because with Covid, it was rare, just as visits themselves were rare.
I was guided into a pleasant private waiting room. This hadn’t happened before so I asked if there was a particular reason I was drawn into a room with Dr C, as well as with another woman who did not give her name nor her role. Both assured me Alan’s condition was stable and to discuss anything in a private room was for my comfort and no other reason.
Dr C was warm and pleasant, as was the woman with him. We spoke for 15 – 20 minutes before I would see Alan. Dr C wanted me to know Alan’s condition was “on a knife edge”. I said with absolute confidence, “Alan will recover” and intimated I was saying that for his benefit, to encourage him. It was not for my benefit.
This doctor encouraged faith and ventured to say “hope is a good thing”. That’s as far as he could go.
Doctors’ views versus my own
I think the longer Alan was in ICU in a horrible medical state, whilst I was praying at home with all vigour and a network of believers, the more confident I became that all would be well. And so I had the capacity in that meeting to have compassion on this doctor who was doing his best for the patient and also for the family member sitting in front of him.
I did not doubt.
And when Alan came to consciousness some days later, I so would have enjoyed meeting this doctor again. I never did. But I do pray that he somehow recognises that Faith is real and powerful and worth living out through Jesus.
Although Alan did not survive, he did revive. I am not playing with the LORD’s word to me. He did say, “Alan will recover” and Alan died. I don’t know what happened in between that led to Alan’s death, but I do know it was not for lack of faith of thousands who stood in the gap for us both.
As time passes, I want to be sure I am composing and posting this general journey of Alan’s hospitalisation to those who are interested. I’d so value a comment or email which gives an indication. If no one is reading, that’s absolutely fine. But if there are those reading, I want to continue the story.