As the days went on at UAB, daddy continued to improve. It seemed like every day another tube was removed and before we knew it, daddy was moved out of ICU and to a regular room on Thursday. Mom would spend the night in the room with daddy most nights, and then Sara and I would go around 8 AM each day to relieve her to go back to the apartment to sleep. She would pop back in around lunch time to give us a break, and then she would continue resting until the early evening before coming back to relieve Sara and me. I also must mention that some of daddy’s sister and various other family/friends were there part of the time at UAB and were wonderful! While Aaron was still in town, he bought an electric razor, and he and Kyle got daddy shaved and cleaned up really nicely. He was really starting to look like himself again – minus the hospital gown and head to toe bruising the covered his entire body.
Throughout the duration of his stay at UAB, the biggest hurdle was that daddy’s right leg just didn’t work anymore due to nerve damage from the stent procedure. Also, due to all the trauma/swelling that had happened in his throat, he could not pass the required “swallow test” to begin eating food again. He was receiving nutrition through a tube in his nose, and he hadn’t had anything to eat in over 3 weeks. We tried our best not to eat or drink in front of him. I would hide snacks behind the chair and try to eat when he fell asleep. I found out later that he knew every time we snuck in a bite! As daddy improved, Sara and I knew that we were going to need to get back to “real life.” We both cried when we left, but mom and daddy understood that we needed to get home to be with our babies. Sara and I left UAB on Labor Day, which was about 17 days after the heart attack. My parents would go on to stay there about 2.5 more weeks, as daddy needed to gain strength and eventually have a feeding tube inserted to continue his feeding at home until he could swallow again.
Daddy was finally discharged and spent some time at a rehabilitation facility back at home before really getting to go home. Although he still hasn’t regained full use of his right leg, he is doing exceptionally well now. At every follow up appointment, the doctors and nurses have all expressed their astonishment that he is alive after all he went through. We know without a doubt that we witnessed miracles unfold over those weeks. My daddy has always be an outstanding man of faith, but since the trial he went through, he has said that he will spend the rest of his life telling anyone who will listen about his testimony and how good God is. I still think back on all of these events often and wonder if all of that really happened to our family. I have experienced seasons of fear over the last year. For example, if a family member calls my cell phone during the middle of the day when they know I’m at work, I immediately think the worst. A year later, I’m still learning to turn that fear over to the Lord and let Him replace it with His peace. When I have those anxious thoughts, I have learned to just speak the name of Jesus and I immediately feel better. There were so many meaningful songs to me that helped me through all that we went through, but one of the most meaningful has to be Your Great Name.
All the weak, find their strength, at the sound of Your great name
Hungry souls, receive grace, at the sound of Your great name
The fatherless, they find their rest, at the sound of Your great name
The sick are healed, and the dead are raised, at the sound of Your great name…
If you made it all the way through Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 as well, thanks for sticking with me through this story. I’ve had all of these thoughts in my head for the past year (and this isn’t even HALF of my memories), so I just needed to get them out somewhere. My hope is that the story of what our family went through this past year will encourage you to believe in God and the power of prayer.