Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10 Highlights from the Hospital

4 weeks ago tonight, at almost this exact time on October 1, Jon and I went to the ER thinking he'd get some heavy duty headache meds and we'd be home in a few hours.  Little did we know that we wouldn't be going home that night.  Or the 14 nights that followed it.

As I reflect back on our time in the hospital, I realize that I never got to share some of my favorite memories of our time in the hospital.  Sounds funny to say I had "favorite memories" during our 2 week stay after my husband's brain tumor surgery, huh?  But like I've said before, God has a funny way of overshadowing the negative with incredible positives.  Amazing how He does that.

When my friend Emmy came up with this whole blog idea, little did I know this would become a a type of therapy for me.  A safe place to process.  A place to share some of our most honest conversations, thoughts, and fears.  It gave me a chance to share our story in real time, so that you all could be praying in real time.  What an incredible blessing.  So in addition to being able to do that, I want to share some of my favorite memories/moments in the hospital that I never posted, because there were other things to share - prayer requests, Jon's healing, etc...  In an attempt to not forget those moments, and to let you enjoy those moments too, I'm going to list some of them tonight.  :)  I'll start with 2 stories that have the "Jon Ramsay is my hero" theme.  Then I'll list a few fun things.  ;)

1) One of my absolute most favorite moments of our entire hospital stay was about 4 days after Jon's surgery.  We were on the PCSU floor (Progressive Care Stroke Unit) at the time.  At the hospital, there are chaplains and "spiritual care" people that walk from room to room, checking in on patients and offering spiritual support.  They talk to you, encourage you, etc...  We had many stop in to visit Jon and he loved meeting them.  I told you on an earlier post how drawn they all were to Jon... one wanted to be Facebook friends and follow his journey... it was really neat.  Anyway, I will never forget, I had just gotten dressed one morning and this older lady walked in the room.  She introduced herself as with the "spiritual care" department.  I shook her hand and then Jon shook her hand and I excused myself into the bathroom to put on some mascara.  :)  I knew he'd love chatting with her and I could use a minute to put on some make up.  I was in there for about 5 minutes and when I opened the door to come back into the room, the woman was kneeling by Jon's bed, weeping.  Jon had his hand on her head and he was praying over her.  I had no idea what had transpired in just 5 minutes of conversation, but I know my husband.  And he has a gift of seeing inside of a person.  Seeing their story.  The deeper story behind the story their face tells.  He was loving her.  Praying over her.  Her.  The woman that had just walked in the door to minister to HIM.  When he finished praying, she thanked him and wiped away her tears, apologizing for how the tables had turned.  She said this had never happened before.  Jon said he was honored.  She thanked him and left.  That moment will forever be etched in my mind.  What a beautiful picture of the broken loving the broken.

2) Another one of the most incredible moments was while Jon was in his 11 hour surgery.  I was in the waiting room with friends and family - lots of familiar faces - when all of a sudden a man I didn't know walked up to me.  He asked if I was Jon's wife.  I told him I was and he hugged me.  He told me his name and then told me he had met Jon at Hidden House coffee shop in San Juan.  He said he was sitting at a table and Jon overheard him mention something about his story to someone else.  Jon walked over when he was done, introduced himself, and said, "Can I join you?  I would love to know your story.  I would love to hear about your wife."  The man said he told Jon he would love to talk and so Jon sat with him and for the next hour, the man told Jon about the fairy tale marriage he had for 45 years...and how his wife had passed away just 6 months earlier and the pain and loss he was experiencing.  This man stood in the hospital waiting room and told me he had never had a stranger just walk up to him and engage him like that.  He was so blown away.  He told me he had heard about Jon's surgery from a mutual friend and he just had to be there.  He hugged me and then left.  That moment was such a gift to me, in that long stretch of waiting.  What an amazing man Jon Ramsay is.  If I'm honest, I would never do that.  Never.  I have too many insecurities.  I would be too worried that the other person would think I was crazy.  But Jon is confident in who God has made him to be.  And he is confident in the reality that people want to know and be known.  They want to love and be loved.  So offering to know and love someone, even a stranger, is just natural to Jon.  It just feels right.  I love that about him.

3) One fun memory, was when Jon decided 3 days after surgery, that he really wished he could have some guys over to his room to watch Sunday football.  He couldn't open his eyes for too long.  Couldn't stay awake for much longer.  I laughed.  He dropped a hint to some friends.  And Sunday afternoon, his life group guys showed up to his ICU room.  :)  They brought lunch, baked goods from their wives, their "lucky jerseys"... it was such a gift for these guys to come "watch" the game with Jon.  It just gave him the breath of fresh air he couldn't actually get by going outside.  It gave him a taste of 'normal.'  So thankful for good friends....

Jon had lots of special friends visit... Our pastor Jeff Pries was the first one to show up, followed by Jon's dear friend Cole Beshore... Denny Bellesi... Stan Endicott... And these guys didn't just come once. They came again and again....  Here's a favorite pic of Stan and Jon - Yes, Jon has a "flower" in his mouth while Stan serenaded him.  ;)

4) The night before surgery, our life group girls came to the hospital with a huge gift basket from my community group girls.  This was when they gifted Jon with the infamous Superman jammies.  These ladies are dear to me.  We laughed together, prayed together... It was beautiful.

5) We had some amazing staff that cared for Jon.  From the head charge nurse to the head of the rehab unit to hospital board members... Jon was being checked on by every angle and level of staff.  The Mariners community is broad and beautiful and very well connected.  We were blessed to be so well taken care of by friends, friends of friends, and strangers.  In ICU, we had the same nurse for 3 nights in a row and absolutely fell in love with her. We had some great conversations about life and God... And even after we were discharged to a different floor, she came to visit Jon on her day off!  And she brought him fun, thoughtful gifts - complete with straws with "umbrellas" on them to celebrate how well he was doing drinking with a straw.  We love you, Tory!!!  (This pic was on Jon's final day in ICU.  But here's the cool thing: Tory represents a bunch of the fabulous nurses we fell in love with - MANY of which we are Facebook friends with now!  Love you ALL!)

Here's a pic of us celebrating daddy's recovery with the umbrella straws... :)

6) Another highlight was taking this pic:

LOL!  This "selfie" was taken by me right after I saw Jon for the first time after surgery.  I got to walk alongside his bed, holding his hand, as he was wheeled from post-op to ICU.  They had to make one stop along the way - to get an MRI of his brain right after.  So I took this pic while I waited for 5 minutes outside the MRI room.  I was so thrilled my husband was alive!!!

7)  2 of my dearest friends from out of town came immediately when we found out.  Jen drove up from San Diego and Yvonne drove down from Fresno.  All they did was serve.  And pray.  Serve and pray. I didn't think I "needed" them.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  I could not have made it through those first 24 hours without these 2.  "Every good and perfect gift is from above."  These 2 are good and perfect gifts.

8) Jon's room was epic because Love was taped up everywhere.  Thank YOU!!!

9) This was the last pic of Jon before surgery.  I love it.  This side of his face doesn't look like this anymore.  It's the old Jon.   Someday Jon may look like this again, Lord willing.  But I can tell you this, the "old Jon" is long gone.  This experience has forever left its mark on his life.  And it is good.

10) Many people gathered to do a Prayer Walk at 6:40am while Jon was going into surgery.  They prayed. And sang.  And people filled the main hospital waiting room all day long.  For 11 hours.  People came and went.  They prayed.  And kept me company.  Chick-fil-A donated an amazing breakfast for everyone there.  Subway donated an awesome spread for lunch.  Friends brought Rita's Italian Ice, boxes of Starbucks coffee, and lots of diet coke.  ;)  In true Jon fashion, Jon was bummed he was going to miss seeing everyone at the Prayer Walk.  He wanted to be there.  He wanted to thank everyone for coming and praying and supporting.  So he made a video.  Yes, you read that right.  Literally minutes before Jon was wheeled away to surgery (like, after he had said goodbye to everyone except me), he held up his phone and recorded a short video just to say "hi" and "thanks."  He handed me his phone and said, "Please take this to the waiting room and play this for them.  I am so grateful for them."  Wow.  He never ceases to amaze me.  While fears of death, side effects, complications, the unknown future, etc.. are all swirling in his mind, he pushes it all aside to be thankful.  To express his gratitude.  He also made one for our kids.  That one was a bit more emotional...  But what a gift.

For those who may not have seen this but were there, or for those who prayed from their homes, this was his message to you...

Friends, these 10 things are some of my favorite memories from the hospital.  They are precious keepsakes.  I have learned so much through these past 28 days.  One, is where to put my focus.  Honestly?  I could have easily written a blog titled "10 horrible things from the hospital" and included things like Jon's nausea, the broken chair I slept on, bla bla bla..etc..etc..etc..  Isn't that so true of life?  Perspective.  How we look at things.  Where we choose to put our focus.  Jon and I want to be people who choose to see the good.  Whose eyes are focused on the positive.  The negative is too easy.  That's a slow pitch.  Anyone can see that.  But to have eyes to see the blessings?  The good?  What a gift!  May we always have eyes to see God's abundant blessings.  Because the reality is, they are there!  Oh God, help us not to miss even one!


  1. Thank you for sharing the blessings and the good things from God. I'm so glad my daughter shared your story with me. I'm sitting here right now with tears in my eyes because I think I'd forgotten the good things in my life from God. I've been a negative Nellie for quite some time, but you've lifted my spirit and my eyes to God. I'll continue to pray for Jon's healing and for you and your lovely family. If you don't mind I would like to link your story to my blog to share with others.

  2. U precious girlie, Thank you again for living out loud. I can picture the halls of that hospital wall to wall with Gods army of angel's and God right there, "I'll take care of this one myself!" His presence was everywhere in that hospital. You're husband truly is a Super Man; because, behind every Super Man is a Super Duper Woman!!!! Love u both.....

  3. Deanna, you and your blog are such a gift. What a beautiful post filled with beautiful memories. Cherish each and every one of these forever. Sometimes these memories will seem far away and the positive perspective may change during certain periods of your life, but the best part is you have an accurate description of what it was like in the moment of blessing. That, my dear, is the most precious gift of all. Xo