Monday, May 01, 2006

How to Feel

I'm lost somewhere between feeling too much, and not feeling at all. My friend, Barb, coded tonight in the E.R. They brought her back, but she is in critical condition, nonresponsive and on a respirator with septicemia and cancer and ???

Something inside of me said, "Go see Barb Saturday" and so we did. I took some cards, and just had a brief visit because she was feeling ill and weak from her first chemo treatment on Wednesday. After we left, she told her sister-in-law, Pam, "I just KNEW they would come today." I'm glad we did! Because tonight at church we heard she was at the E.R. with dehydration, infection, and low blood pressure. We had a special prayer service tonight (which had already been in the works for a couple of weeks, to pray for several things on the hearts of our church family, including Barb). After church we went to Wendy's with our class members, and found out Barb was worse. We rushed to the hospital about 8 p.m. and not even two hours later she had coded and they were administering CPR. More phone calls were made, and before we knew it, there were over 30 of us there.

Russ and I stayed until almost 1 a.m., and by then his contacts were glued to his eyes (he is NOT a night owl). She was stabilized, but still in critical condition. So we came home, but I can't sleep. I can't feel, but I feel too much. I'm numb, but I hurt. My eyes are parched, but they are tear-filled.

How to pray in a time like this? "Father knows best." I don't want Barb to suffer any more, and don't want her to stay here on earth because of our selfish desires for her to be with us. But I don't want her to go, and miss a special friendship. She has a new grandbaby due in the next 3-4 weeks. So much for her to be around for. Fifty is too young.

The woman I saw in the bed tonight wasn't Barb. It was the illness. It was the cancer. It was the fever and the fluid retention. It was some chemo-laced cancer color between yellow and orange. It wasn't Barb. But I've seen great miracles happen. In three days she could be off the ventilator and on the mend. It all depends on how much the cancer has ravaged her body.

So odd, to go from a special prayer service, where we spent the entire hour praying for special needs in groups of prayer topics, to hardly knowing how to pray or what to say. Simple prayers now. Just like taking a breath in and blowing it out.

"God, help us. Help Barb. Help Greg. Be near to the family. Lead and direct the doctors and nurses. Keep her with us just long enough, but take her to you when it is time. Let us not prolong that homegoing, but let us not give up on her if she is still fighting to live." Such a paradox.

Only trusting, trusting only
In the One Who understands
Lead and guide in all things knowing
What is best, Thy will be done.

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