Skip to comments.Times Like This, Even I Need Prayer [Update at #292]
Posted on 01/24/2007 10:24:26 PM PST by mhking
As most of you know, my time is generally not my own these days -- I am a web producer for the NBC station in Atlanta, plus at this time of year, I'm also a tax preparer for H&R Block. Plus I always keep a side-hustle of some sort or another (I've been doing a lot of mystery shopping the past year or so)...
In any event, sometimes God reaches out and rattles the cage to remind me who's truly in charge.
I received a phone call yesterday that truly rocked my core.
My 42-year-old younger brother had suffered a stroke. My dad called me at work with the news, sounding so much older and weary than I had heard him in many years. He and my mom were at the hospital in Chicago, along with my sister-in-law and her entire clan.
Thankfully, I had enough presence of mind not to jump behind the wheel, realizing that I was in no condition to try to go home. After a silent prayer, and a rushed phone call to my wife, I threw myself into my work, trying to get through the night.
He has no movement on the right side of his body. He cannot speak. But, my dad says, he has recognition of those around him. He's able to nod and shake his head yes and no.
The doctors say that with what they called aggressive rehab and therapy, that he should regain the vast majority of what he's lost. They say that his age is in his favor.
A good sign is that he has been fighting to try to move his right foot and hand.
A CAT scan today showed no blood or fluid buildup in his brain. An MRI tomorrow will look a bit deeper, to be sure.
The physical therapist came in to see him today, and said that Rick was trying to pull himself up with his left arm, and using that arm to pull his right arm across, which, too, is a good sign.
I'm in Atlanta, and my sister is with her husband in San Francisco. We figure we'd be in the way if we tried to go home now, so we are waiting a bit -- perhaps until he comes home. We figure there will be more of a need for us to help out then.
And while I'm praying real hard for him, I can always use more hearts praying for him. And for myself for that matter. I'm not being selfish; I just need to have more strength to endure and be strong for everyone else.
Our family -- blood and extended -- is a strong one, and we're all there for each other. I just know that extra prayer is always in order. I thank you all in advance, folks. And God bless each and every one of you.
My prayers go out to you and your family.
Excellent report! Will be praying! May the Lord bless you and your family today!
Your faith in the face of adversity is truly touching. Heavenly Father is aware of your needs, and He is with you in this trying time for you and your entire family.
I'll add my prayers to those already on their way.
Putting our hands & hearts in His is the way to Peace!
"He who trusts in Him shall not be disappointed." 1 Peter 2:6
Thanks for this positive news.....Prayers continue for your brother, Rick.
Teddy Bruschi of the Patriots came back from just this situation. You tell Rick he can too.
Glad to hear he's doing better.
God bless each of you, and may the good news just keep coming!
Im glsd to hear that Rick is making progress, The fact that he is cognizant and responsive makes me hopeful for a strong recovery
Well, I never thought I'd be making a remark about a kinky catheter, but
So glad to hear he's coming along. Prayers that by when you arrive he's even more animated!! You could walk in wearing a shirt from his LEAST favorite team and see what kind of reaction you get !
May God continue to bless him, his, you and yours.
Thank you for the update, Michael. You, your brother and your entire family remain in our family's prayers. May God keep you and bless you.
Prayers for your brother, you and all of your family. May God bring you peace, comfort and strength during this trying time. You'll be in my thoughts.
wow... in times like these, you think of Job. :-( "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be his name."
I'm so sorry you are having to go through all this. May the Lord be your comfort and sustenance.
Hi Michael, just catching up after some time away...prayers up for your brother Rick...safe travels to CHI-town and place your trust in The Lord to heal his body, and just k-e-e-p o-n p-r-a-y-i-n'!
You and your brother (well, your whole family) are in our thoughts and prayers, Michael.
Oh our Gracious God bless you in your travels and anoint you for this service to your brother, because Jesus LIVES, amen!
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
~1 Peter 5:7
Thinking of you and Rick. Praying continues.
Our God is an awesome God. He is the Great Physician and Healer, and he heals hearts, minds, bodies and souls. And I thank Him and praise Him and go to Him in prayer each and every day.
In these last two and a half weeks, I've prayed harder than I've prayed in my entire life. I've asked for the prayers of others everywhere to join with mine.
And our prayers continue to be answered.
When I got to Chicago last Thursday morning, I expected the worst. Rick was still in intensive care, and I could see that much from the hallway. Tubes went everywhere, he had multiple IVs in his arms, and he looked out of it. That is at least until I entered the room.
Where he was listless before, he started trying to talk to me, and became very animated over the course of the conversation. No words, mind you, but he kept trying, nonetheless. Courtney had told him he sounded like "Young Frankenstein," and that was an apt comparison, though not quite as gravely as what everyone said he sounded like earlier in the week.
My folks and I sat and watched, and talked to him. Once in awhile, he'd get this real vacant "Where am I" type of look. My mother would immediately try to soothe him, telling him not to worry. I just watched.
During one of these episodes, he became very animated, gesturing to her and then pointing in the vague direction of the chair next to the bed.
"I'm fine," the gesture said (at least from what I could see). "Stop worrying about me."
I stood up behind my mother, reached over and patted Rick's hand. He looked at me.
"Cool it," I said. I pointed at my chest. "I've got this covered. She'll be fine. She'll get some rest. No worries."
He nodded wearily, and dropped his head back onto his pillow. My mother looked at me quizically, but didn't say anything. She sat down in the chair next to the bed and rested her head on Rick's arm.
On Friday, Dad and I made Mom go to work. Something to get some kind of mental rest (as if teachers get a mental rest).
When he and I got to the hospital, Rick was finishing breakfast. A veritable pantheon of doctors and nurses came in over the next few hours, including both his lead doctor, and a diabetes specialist. Dad and I were schooled in the mechanics of testing Rick's blood sugar and giving him insulin. Among the prognoses, as you'd might imagine, was full-blown diabetes.
Dad and I got to feed Rick his lunch. He surprised us by reaching up and grabbing the cup out of my hand and drinking from the straw himself. Of course, I had to keep him from going too fast. The liquid was thickened, so to make it easier to swallow.
Diagnosis-wise, Rick had what amounts to a perfect storm of maladies that came together to create the stroke. Rick was damn-near 400 pounds at 6'3". Those of you who remember us together will remember that he has always been a good hundred pounds (or more) bigger than me over the years.
In any event, in addition to the newly-diagnosed diabetes, he's got a measure of high cholesterol, some hypertension (though the doctors think that may be directly related to the aftermath of the stroke), and his weight, the doctors found a couple of blood-borne disorders that may have contributed to the stroke itself. In particular, he's got a genetic disorder that causes sticky platelets, and is apparently related to lupus in some form. The doctors there said that my parents, my sister and I need to be tested for that (my appointment is tomorrow morning), plus if I'm found to be a carrier, my kids will have to be tested. They said that since my sister and I are relatively health, if we're found to have this same disorder, we most likely will only have to take a baby aspirin each day -- and of course watch our weight (more an admonishment to me than anyone else).
Rick improved so much that on Sunday, he was transferred from the hospital to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), which is adjacent to, and affiliated with Northwestern Memorial. According to a number of surveys and bits of information I was able to glean from the web and elsewhere, RIC is renouned around the world for their work with patients in general, and stroke patients in particular.
Since then, they have worked him quite a bit. They get him dressed each morning in a t-shirt and workout shorts, and are working wtih him to regain his mobility and other skills. On Sunday, once they had gotten him settled in his bed, he was trying to scratch at his catheter (the one remaining tube). I grabbed his left arm and pulled it away. He wasn't happy; he gave me a look that would have withered most people. And I suppose rightly so. I've been on the business end of his left hook before. But I stood my ground.
He finally rolled his eyes at me (a good sign in and of itself) and huffed. I said, "You're gonna cuss me out when you get a chance, aren't you?" He nodded vigorously.
The doctors and my parents commented on the non-verbal level of communication that we have in general. They said that they had noticed it throughout my stay there. I just shrugged. That's what siblings do.
By the time I left Chicago, he had been able to get a few words out, with great effort: "Hi," "Yes," and "All Right." The doctors say he'll be able to speak again, pretty soon, and say that some of his first words will probably be profanity-laced. They say that is normal in cases like his. His appetite had come back, too. Of course, he's still on soft food only.
My parents made it over there yesterday (Wednesday), and while there, he moved his RIGHT leg while they were trying to help readjust him in the bed. He said he's got some pain in his right arm as well. This is a Godsend, considering that when I was there, he had no feeling on that side at all.
I've still got a bit more to do and get for him on this end -- he wants a ballcap, and in particular one from a black college. We had talked about that before. I'll pick one up from Clark Atlanta or Morehouse either tonight or tomorrow. He also wants me to read to him on tape or CD. I've got a book on the Negro Leagues that I had reviewed last year that I was going to give him for Christmas; when I suggested that to him, he smiled and nodded.
In any event, he is well on his way back this way, and with prayerful hope, I watch and smile at each baby step that he's taking. This has been a life-changing event for all of us. And all the repercussions are not over and done with yet, I'm sure. God is not done with us yet.
For now, it looks like he'll be coming to live with my folks once he gets out of rehab, which is good; their house is mostly on one level, and has wide doorways that can accomodate a wheelchair or walker, if necessary. Plus with my dad retired and my mom about to retire, they have the time to spend with him. Rick's wife seems to be okay with this, since she's working long hours, and they have stairs in their home.
Many of our other relatives have been passing through and calling and e-mailing like mad. Once we get a handle on everything, Courtney and I will both be headed back home at varying points to lend a hand where we can.
My mother has asked that anyone with any cards, to please send them to Rick in care of their address: c/o Mr. & Mrs. Howard C. King, 8330 Doubletree Drive North, Crown Point, IN 46307.
Thank you once again for all the prayers, well-wishes, thoughts, calls, e-mails, and cards. We all truly appreciate them. Please keep up the prayers, for God is able!
I'm so glad to hear this, friend.
We'll keep you in our prayers. And take care of YOURSELF; this cannot be easy on you.
Continued blessings to you.
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