Exactly a week ago I was sitting on the couch, still in my pajamas, ready to clean house and then take my girls to Canton the next day. At 10:30 AM the phone rang and Jack’s cell phone number came up on our TV (I love caller ID on the TV)! I answered like I have a thousand other times when he is on the road. I did not even say hello, just picked up the phone and said “what’s going on?” LIFE CHANGED IN THAT SECOND.
Instead of Jack, it was a member of the Life Flight crew about to load him in the helicopter and they were calling to tell me he had been found in his hotel room, they felt like he had a stroke, he was alive and they were taking him to Dallas to one of two hospitals. I am too tired tonight but one day I will tell you the entire story and the GOD stops that happened within the first few hours. I know much more about it now than I did a week ago as Jack remembers every detail of what happened, plus I have been able to talk at length with the hotel staff. That is another story.
I was thinking about a post earlier and I realized that I had 100 posts from this last week. It is a week I never want to repeat but a week I witnessed miracle after miracle. I saw a strength in my kids that I had no idea they had, and if I ever doubted we were a village, I know now that together we can do this. It has been a week that everyone of us has had to step way out of our comfort zones. We have learned that laughter even in the storm, will get you through the next few hours. I learned that Amanda is stronger than I ever dreamed and her glass is always half full, even with tears running down her face. I learned that Greg and I are even more alike than I thought.. I learned that Dana and Micah are team players and will do whatever needs to be done and that Pop is loved by them as much as his own kids. I learned that Amanda and I could live with far less clothes than we thought..(as in we had very few with us)! Thank you Target for being close by…and to all those that were in Target the night we were, thanks for not stopping us as we walked around the store crying. It just happened to hit us as we walked through the door. I learned that Doctors that have taken Bed Side Manners 101 make life a lot easier when you have a major problem and are away from home. I learned that some people that went into nursing should have pursued another career, maybe one where you did not have to deal with the public. On the other hand I learned that a great nurse MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. We had both. I relearned something that I had learned when my parents were sick. EVERY PATIENT NEEDS AN ADVOCATE. PERIOD. I learned that if you have a friend that is a doctor (and I know that is not the case for everyone) and he is at your side…you get a different level of respect. (Roger I owe you big time. The fact that you were in town was a miracle in itself)
I learned that Jack touched the lives of more football players in his 30 plus years of coaching than I ever dreamed. They appeared at the hospital door from near by and some that had to drive hours after someone called them or they read it on FB…and that's a post I cannot go near right now for fear of bawling my eyes out which is not the best medicine for a cold. So today, 7 days later, I am smarter than I was this time last Saturday. I am humbled, I am grateful, I am amazed at the goodness of people, nice still exists. I know far more how to help others in a similar situation in the future. I know what makes a difference and what gives hope. I know what it means for someone to say, “let me know if there is anything I can do” and someone that says, “Tell me what you need done that will make a difference”! I learned that as HARD AS IT IS for me to accept help, I am going to have to.
Now for the update after all those words! We are back in Shreveport. We were able to move Jack to an acute rehab center here in OUR TOWN, last night. Dr. Elizabeth Rice-De,(she wants to read the blog to keep up with Jack) your picture should be next to the word doctor in the dictionary. I almost called you Elizabeth as Amanda and I felt like you were a lifelong friend when we left yesterday. Your sweet smile, your care and compassion sets you apart and makes Baylor hospital look good. I am going to make sure they know it…and I will help you plan a Disney trip anytime. And one day Jack is going to walk back in the hospital or we are going to meet you for dinner for you to see how hard he has worked. I know the decision you made yesterday was probably not what everyone would have done, but I also know that you trusted us and actually listened to us. When you said we were the most pro-active family you had ever seen, I had to laugh. That was the highest compliment you could have paid us. And when you looked at me and said you thought he would totally recover, you gave me hope. When you looked like you were about to cry every time Amanda and I did, I knew how much you cared. I really believe that God chose you for us. And then to get beautiful too, was just an extra…
Back to Jack. He is settled in the rehab center. The doctors we had chosen were waiting on us when we arrived. He does have pneumonia, which we knew when we left Dallas, but feel like its a result of aspirating some fluid when he was on the floor for four hours after the stroke. So that is our biggest prayer request now that the next few chest X-rays will show that it is responding to the meds. The other cause of worry would be that there will be no heart issues while he has to be off two heart medications for 10 days because of the bleed from the stroke. He has movement everywhere. His left hand was the last to come back and he is lifting it up and down over and over…His speech improves everyday…It has not been slurred, it just sounds monotone and like he is hoarse. He has not lost any memory…he can remember things I can’t, and its only been a week. He has cracked some jokes everyday, but I am not going to paint a picture that everything is fine. I want the man that left on a trip on Thursday back and am going to do everything in my power to make sure he gets the best rehab. If he recovers 90%, I will be thankful, but my goal is for him to be totally well. I think he will walk in the next few weeks, maybe sooner…He is just weak and the best part is he wants to start rehab NOW. He said if they wanted him to do three hours a day, he was going to do six. That’s the old coach in him.
He had breakfast with all four little's this morning. He has called me several times to find out how I was feeling (same personality, still taking care of me)…I am not going to take a chance on giving him a cold so until I am better I am going to stay home.
I have no idea what the next few months hold…we have been told that sadness and tears will come when we least expect them, that there will be days we see no progress, days he is depressed and days we are..so as much as I would like to pencil it all in on my calendar, STROKE does not pencil in. As I walked up our sidewalk last night alone last night, I don’t have to tell you what was going through my mind…would we ever walk in together from a movie or a dinner, would he ever pick up the kids from school or leave to run errands. Would I ever be able to call him from a house and tell him we were having light problems and could he come help and how in the world would I get the Christmas lights up that he is so particular about because he knows how happy it makes me, how would I ever open our storage because the lock only works for him, would I ever see him sitting in the recliner reading a book while I blogged, or would he ever drop me off at the door at Target and tell me to call him when I was ready. Would he ever run to Circle K and get ice cream late at night just because I was hungry for some and on and on. I am just going to admit it…I have not put gas in my car or washed it in years….I rarely go to the grocery store…He likes to and I don’t. I have not picked up a prescription or been to the Post Office in a LONG TIME. The dog minds him, she NEVER minds me. You get the picture.
That was a lot of words…Sara, I am going to write you, but I want you to know that your message to me last night was the sweetest words I have heard. I had no idea that I had ever made your day, but you sure made mine better last night. I just happen to read it right after I had all the feelings I just wrote about.
Back to some Theraflu and sleep. To everyone of you that has written, eventually I will get to personally thank you. For the next few weeks I have to be in tree mode…BIG TIME. My holiday blog will have a new look in a day or two and Terri is going to help me keep it up…If any of you can tell me how to transfer a video from my iphone to my blog in very simple steps I would love it…I think I have taken so much medicine that simple things have become complicated. Thanks for walking along on this journey with me. Life can change in a moment.