when spring turns to winter: pneumonia and the ICU.
I sit here on my bed, nausea sending darts of upheaval throughout my body. Not again. I can’t stand that I get so sick and anxious when something happens to Florence. I feel weak and useless. I cry more from the bouts of nausea, as they make me painfully aware of my humanness and low capacity for stress.
My nerves are shot.
Florence is lying between my legs watching a movie on the iPad, one of the only things that will distract her when she’s sick.
And she is sick again. Just when I thought the season of sickness was over. I got a little cold and now she seems to have fluid in her lung and a cough. I am tired of this. I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to enjoy the sunny day, not be derailed by fear and sickness and potential hospital admittance.
We are in the ER. They take one look at her and go into action. I feel faint and my knees give way. They exchange words, each person responsible for something. I stand back, watching the hands flutter, the wires, needles, oxygen.
By the end of the night, we are utterly exhausted and our adrenaline has died down. We sink into a deep sleep, grateful for a small room with a bed and a couch. It seems to be the only room of its kind and we are blessed to have it.
She has been intubated, has an NG tube for feeds again, and there are wires of morphine and antibiotics and other liquids. She is so sedated she can barely open her eyes. She smells like band aids and sweet Pampers and the starchy linens seem too rough against her peachy, soft skin.
I feel so helpless. This is not my girl. I imagine her dancing with Jesus, running through soft grass to see her Creator, playing with Him as he covers her with his wings. I picture her having an out of body experience. This gives me comfort.
My eyes always seem to be browner after crying hundreds of tears. I’m startled by their intensity, by the shimmer, the way they stand out against my blonde eyebrows and smattering of freckles.
I want to see her eyes so desperately, I want to gaze into them, and shine my love on her. But she barely opens them.
Florence: You are my beloved child, and I will never give up on you. Though your body is weak and your strength seems to be waning, I know you have the strength of Christ in your bones. You are a princess, my child, and nothing can take that away. Florence, our hearts are grieved to see you this way. I yearn to take you home, make you laugh, give you a bath, nurse you to sleep. But I cannot go into despair. There is a necessary detachment that seems to take place in the belly of this hospital. The ICU is a mess of curtained rooms and hallways, where shock and sorrow live. There is so much of it down here.
You will get through this, this pneumonia that has caused you so much trouble. You will breathe again, unassisted. You will recover and soar and flourish.
They say your muscles could get weaker, you could need a tracheostomy (which means you wouldn’t be able to talk), you could need a G- tube. They always give us these worst case scenarios because they’ve seen them happen.
There is an army rising up and fighting for you. We feel the strength of hundreds of people who know your story, who have been captivated by you. You visit them in their dreams, you have been placed on their hearts for a reason. Some have never met you, and yet they pray and they wage war and send their love.
There is a village raising you up, my child, a village that carries you. And us too, when we feel too weak. They carry us with their love and food and prayers and words.
*Follow us on my Facebook page for more frequent updates on little miss Flo. So far we are just 24 hours into this and have anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks of hospital time ahead of us.*