Friday, December 17, 2004

At The Crossroads Of Hope

It was a confrontation I knew was coming and until a few hours ago I was fairly convinced I had bet on the wrong horse. Hope was racing worry and apprehension was thick in the air.

Today Amy and I went to her surgeon to determine if she should have another central line put in her body. I have been praying...praying hard...for the past week or so that Amy would come to the decision on her own that she wanted to avoid that if at all possible and try to eat enough to sustain herself. However over the past couple of days I could tell Amy was growing increasingly worried that she would fail. She was trying hard to eat; she was also trying hard to conceal her concerns fearing she would "disappoint" me if she told her doctor of her doubts.

Knowing my position, Amy called her Mom and my sister in law seeking sympathy and perhaps a little ammunition for her side of the debate. She got none. Both of them told her they loved her, but they both believed she shouldn't have another line installed.

Oddly enough Amy also found two emails sent to her while she was in the hospital which for some reason she hadn't read. These were emails written a week or more ago. They both said essentially the same thing, "Be can do it. Don't doubt God."

These emails were in truth encouraging Amy to cut herself off from her lifeline, the plastic tubes and electronic gizmos which have been responsible for delivering food and medications into her body for more than a year.

Even after reading those emails, Amy certainly wasn't brimming with hope and optimism. She was afraid.

I won't go into all the details here, but Amy and I literally debated the issue all the way to the doctor's office and by the time we got there I was convinced I had lost the argument. We did agree at least to leave it up to the surgeon; however I was certain Amy would tell the surgeon she wasn't making it and she wanted another line put in. Her doctor is a very compassionate man and I knew if she told him that, a central line would be ordered right away.

I pictured it in my mind: more feedbags being delivered, more vitamin concoctions to mix, more electronic pumps that beeped for our attention. A manmade mixture of sustenance. I couldn't help but think that what Amy really needed to sustain now her didn't come in a bloated bag of formula.

However I tried to stay positive. I assured Amy that although I might be disillusioned she'd have to endure that process again, I would not be disappointed with her at all. Her fears were certainly justified considering all she's been through and what do I know really...maybe that step was what would be best for her.

I dropped Amy at the front door of the doctor's office and went to park the car. I sat in the car for a moment and prayed. I asked God to give me strength to support Amy no matter what, and admittedly I also asked Him to somehow convince the surgeon that Amy would be better off without that central line.

Here I must mention that the first thing Amy does when she visits her surgeon is "weigh in."

When we sat down with the surgeon I said very little, I had decided Amy was able to make her own health care choices now, but I did slip in the fact that she wasn't wasting away. Her weight today was the same as it was during our last visit weeks ago.

The surgeon took note of my observation and then listened to Amy intently. Then he stated quite bluntly that there were sound medical reasons to put in another central line.

I sank down in my chair. I had lost…or so I thought.

Then the doctor said something else, perhaps the most important words Amy has heard in a long, long while.

He said, "There's a difference between worrying about what might happen and worrying about what is happening."

He lovingly told Amy that for now at least he thought she was worrying about what "might happen" not what "was happening."

It was a watershed moment as far as I'm concerned - a flat out answer to prayer.

Those were the words Amy needed to hear, from the only person perhaps to whom she would really listen.

I could see hope flowing back into my wife at that very moment. I can not adequately describe the feeling.

We have been down a long road, and it has worn us down physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. We have been battered and bruised, but I think today we were at a critical crossroad where we very well could have turned away from hope and toward desperation.

It's possible of course this won't be the final twist, but for today...for right now...I think we have found a spot on the road where we are both comfortable, where dreams are allowed to flourish, and hope still seeds the soil.

Thank you, God....once again You have answered my prayers. All it took was me admitting I was helpless without You.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. -Psalm 31: 23-25