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From The Heart: Memories you can’t erase

As this month is nearing its end, it grabs and pulls at my heart at the same time. There are times in life when we are faced with something so devastating that we wish we could un-live it. I was faced with one of those times 3 years ago and my gosh, it wasn’t easy. It still leaves heaviness on my heart as I had to face something that literally had me scared to pieces. A racing heart. A faithful soul that tried to doubt, but yet I knew I needed to stand strong. Uncertainty. Fear. I was a mess inside, but on the outside, I stood strong with God by my side. And today, its all a memory. A memory that I can’t erase.

Three years ago, my mom had to have surgery. During the surgery, when it was just about over, she started to slip. I have had a few surgeries myself, and I guess, I never put into consideration the complications that can come with being put under since I never had any complications. I also had not heard many, if any stories about this sort of thing, other than from trauma patients. There is absolutely nothing like waiting in the waiting area for the doctor to come in and to tell you devastating news. Your heart literally stops. You are breathing, but you can’t breath. Your world starts to spin, uncontrollably. You notice your family about to lose it and your heart feels like it is ripping into a million pieces.

Here is part of my story and my mom’s story that I carry in my heart.

NOTE: THIS IS A LITTLE LONG – MAY MAKE YOU CRY. I have tried to write this here many times and cut it short, but I believe that I must share it all. It has to get out and I have to share it ๐Ÿ™‚

On June 19th, 2013, my mom was admitted into the hospital for a severe infection in her left foot (she was a diabetic). She had become weak a few years prior to the infection due to many other complications and pains here and there – not believing in her self that she could ever regain strength. We knew her foot was infected about 2 weeks before the surgery, but she had seen other doctors and they had her scheduled for a process that would expedite healing. It was for a type of oxygen treatment that would help the healing process, but before it could happen, insurance had to approve it. The doctors put her on some strong antibiotics to help keep the infection at bay so it wouldn’t spread. When she finally got her appointment for the oxygen process, it was too late. The infection had just taken over her toes and part of her foot and she didn’t think to just go into the hospital as she saw that it was getting worse.

The doctors said there was no solution other than to amputate and oh my, I just felt so bad for her. Those days were not easy, they were just flat out hard for us! Mom was trying to be strong as strong as she could and just as we were trying to be just as strong for her. I was so confused, a little angry, and I just wished there was something I could do. We prayed and prayed for healing. The doctors went ahead and scheduled surgery, but she wanted to rely on her faith because she knew our God is able to do anything!

Mom was scheduled for surgery on a Monday, but she told the doctors that she was going to hold off and wait on God a little longer. We prayed like no other, expected greatness, called it done – just did everything that we really knew how to do. Wednesday came fast and nothing changed, so we just had to go through with the surgery.

My mom was one that always has a smile on her face and she never wanted us to worry about her, so she told me to just go ahead and go to work on Wednesday because she would still be in surgery when I got off and to just come when I got off. Half way through my shift during my lunch break, I just got this feeling – a sad feeling. My boss noticed and just told me to leave and go be with my family.

On my way out, I get a call from my dad and he is telling me to go ahead and come to the hospital as he didn’t think I was off work yet. “What’s going on”, I asked him. “There has been some complications. I will tell you when you get here” he said. My mind starts racing! I didn’t know what to think. On my way to the hospital, I turn my music up blasting, singing songs of praise, praying and racing to the hospital expecting God to show up and make everything okay.

When I arrived at the hospital, my sister and a family friend was pulling in too. We meet up with my dad and by that time, the surgeon comes in the room and tells us what is going on. He goes on to tell us that surgery was going well and they were about 90% complete…..And then my mom’s heart STOPS – she flat lined! At that point that was about the 2nd time her heart stopped after they brought her back before that. MY.HEART.DROPPED.

The doctor informs us that are doing everything that they can to keep her stable. They leave and come back again to tell us that she is probably not going to make it and that is when my dad started to lose it. He starts getting pains in his chest – probably really close to being on his way to a heart attack. I had to dig deep and find strength from God to stand strong and bring him down. I grab him by the arm and said “LOOK AT ME! Stand for what YOU believe. The doctors are just doing their job of informing us with what they see from their natural eye! WE have a spiritual eye that can see past what they cant see! WHO do you believe in? STAND STRONG, we can do this!! BELIEVE that she will come through!” The words started to sink in and his chest pains fade away and he becomes better.

We start praying together and believing for a miracle! The doctor comes back in again and wants to let some of us come back to “see her before she goes”. My dad was supposed to be first, but after feeling like they were weak right now, I asked him if it was okay if I went back first. Everyone in the family agreed that it was okay. In my heart,ย  I had this burning sensation and a feeling that I could do something! I truly had NO idea of what the next second would bring, but I was believing for something great to happen. My heart was pounding. I was shaking. I was digging deep, praying for my God given strength. I was scared to pieces, but at the same time, I knew who was going to carry me!

As I walked toward her room in the ICU, its covered with nurses and doctors! The surgeon walking back with me informs me that this past round of CPR was their 8th attempt to bring her back but she keeps going back out. EIGHTH time bringing her back??!! My mind was RACING and so was my heart, but at the same time, I am trying my absolute best to stay focused – my heart is on FIRE because it feels like there is something that I have to do!

I remember standing at the front of her doorway – not knowing what will happen. Not knowing what the end of the day would be like for us. Not knowing what tomorrow would bring. One doctor turns to me and says “I am so sorry, but I don’t think she is going to make it”. Hearing those words in my ear, stab me in the chest, but I managed to turn to him and reply “of course you don’t (its not normal for them to see a patient make it after being brought back once), but I know who the One that knows that she will” and pointed toward the ceiling/heavens for our God. I was literally shaking. It felt like I had a band of people going into that room with me, even thoughย  in reality it was just me.

I walk in (the ICU) and she is on a ventilator – she is breathing on her own but its not strong enough. The picture that was painted in front of me was one of the worse things and hardest things that I have ever experienced! No one ever wants to see their mom and best friend in a situation like that. I grabbed her hand and just started talking to her in her ear. “Mama, you are strong! You are a fighter. You can pull through – catch hold of my voice and fight! Grab on to my strength and fight! You can do this, Mama!” I told her.

I heard before that when someone is unconscious, they can sometimes still hear you. I kept repeating that to her, sobbing between tries. More family started coming in the room and my emotions flair up even more. From the looks on faces, everyone else is looking scared, but I know and feel something will change. I threw my hands up to the Father and just prayed – calling out to him and falling to my knees crying out to God! And I regained strength and went back to speaking in her ear!

THIS WAS SOOOO HARD for me, but you know what from the time I walked back there, she stayed stable ever since! Day by day she kept making tremendous progress. Waking up, getting off the ventilator, getting off the sedation medication….. Her memory at first was extremely foggy and she suffered from short term memory loss – it was to be expected, but were not sure how long it would last or if it was permanent. She kept forgetting where she was and the surgery that she had. Those days were pretty tough considering that she had an amputation on top of everything else that happened. She also had quite a few broken ribs from all the CPR attempts, but she had always been a strong woman!

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Low and behold GOD IS SO GOOD – she was out of the hospital and into rehabilitation within a week and a half!! I knew that God had a plan for her and I kept encouraging her and inspiring her to keep pushing forward. By the time she was ready to be discharged from rehab (about 2 weeks after that), she had come so far in such a short amount of time, but her memory was still just a tad bit foggy.

She was able to come home with therapists and went from using a lift to get from one thing to the next, to using her own strength to stand AND her memory came back completely!! She even walked again at 65 years old with a prosthetic leg.

My mom actually stayed with us for 6 months after that and went Home to be with the Lord that December, but I hold on to this and even though its one of the memories I can’t erase, I am able to use it for God’s glory and give others hope.

What I say to every one of you is this, WE have strength to over come anything. Life may get tough and we may have some trying times, but through it all, we can lean on the Father for everything. We can have faith that will move mountains. We can call out to him and ask for help. He will cover us and comfort us through it all. He gives us everything that we need, we just have to know its there and use it.

Sorry it was a long post, but I hope it gives you hope!

Much Love
Crystal Keefer

 

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