Thursday, October 1, 2015

2 Years Ago Today.... (my personal therapy...remembering through writing) Part 1

It was 2 years ago, today. Jon and I had just gotten home from leading worship at a conference at Hume Lake.  Well, Jon actually never got to lead worship with me.  He stayed in our room the entire weekend - with a horrible headache and throwing up.  I couldn't even turn the lights on.  He was miserable.  As we drove home though, he started to feel better.  It must have been a 48 hour flu.  By the time we got home and the whole next day, the headache was still there, but was much more mild.  No more vomiting.  

The following morning, Tuesday, Oct 1, Jon went to sit up in bed and he grabbed his head and buried it back into his pillow.  "Ow, my head still hurts!"  He laid there for a few minutes and then slowly sat back up.  He was fine.  He must have just sat up too quickly.  I rolled over and told him I would call our family doctor and get him an appointment.  He said he didn't need to go to the doctor.  I told him he should at least get checked out after vomiting all weekend.  He reluctantly agreed, and I was able to get him a 4pm appointment for later that day.  At 3:45, I received a text from Jon.  "Not gonna make my appointment.  In a meeting.  I feel fine. Please call and cancel."  Okie dokie.  I canceled his appointment and got ready for Jon's parents who were coming over for dinner to celebrate Morgan's 2nd birthday.  Having 4 kids was kicking my butt.  Our surprise #4 (Reese) was only 8 months old and life was busy - I felt like I still hadn't figured out how to do 'life' as a party of 6.  

Jon's parents arrived, Jon got home from work, we had dinner, celebrated Mo, and then Jon took Jackson outside to throw the football around.  My mother-in-law pulled me aside.  "I'm concerned about Jon.  He doesn't get bad headaches like he did last weekend.  Why don't you take him to the ER while we're here and can watch the kids.  I know he won't go if I (his mom) tell him to.  But if you can persuade him to go, I think he will listen to you.  You might as well just get him looked at."  I told her I didn't think I could convince him, but I'd try.  Jon's Pop then pulled me aside.  "Mary Ann is really concerned about Jon and how sick he was this past weekend.  And she's not going to rest until she knows he's ok.  Which means I won't get to rest either.  ;)  If you can get him to go to the ER, it would give her peace of mind."  The 3 of us broached the subject with Jon between football tosses with Jackson.  He thought it was the silliest idea.  "I'm going to the ER because of a head ache?  No way.  So lame.  Besides, I'm not spending $100 to go to the ER." (money was very tight)  Jon’s parents ended up leaving… and returning after 10 minutes. They had driven to the ATM and arrived back on our doorstep, handed Jon a $100 bill, and said, “Just go. We’ll watch the kids.”  On the way to the hospital, Jon and my conversation went like this:

Jon: What am I supposed to say when we get there?  My mom made me come because I got a headache?  
Me: Well, let’s tell them about the head ache and the vomiting. And you should also mention your hearing loss in your right ear. (For several months, Jon had noticed he had hearing loss in his right ear.  Because he wears in-ear monitors to lead worship several times a week, he thought he had blown out one of his eardrums.)
Jon: OK. I’ll tell them that.  I guess I could also tell them that for the past week, the right side of my face has felt kinda numb and tingly.  
Me: (eyeballs HUGE, freaking out inside, but staying totally cool and calm on the outside) Um, ya. I guess you could mention that too.  I didn't know about that.  (Seriously babe!? Why haven’t you mentioned that?!)  
Jon: I think I just need to eliminate gluten or dairy and my tingly face will go away.  People say that fixes everything.  

We arrived at the ER and as we walk in, Jon told the doctor how embarrassed he is for being there just for a headache…but his mom is making him come.  :)  He told the doctor of the headaches and vomiting… of the hearing loss and the numb face.  The doctor decided to do a CT scan.  Then before doing the scan, the doctor had Jon pull on his arm with each hand.  
“Are you left handed?” He asked Jon.  
“Nope.  Right handed.”  
“Hmm.. that’s interesting.  Because your left arm is stronger than your right arm.”
“There’s no way.  My right arm is definitely stronger.” Jon told him.
“OK let’s try again.”  (has Jon pull on his arms again)  “Nope, your right arm is definitely weaker.”  (then has Jon push against him with each leg)  “Your right leg is too.  Your right side is definitely weaker than your left.  I’m going to do an MRI.  No, I’m going to do an MRI with contrast.  Let’s get an IV in you and get this going.”

I snapped this pic of him in our ER room... before he was wheeled away for tests.

From there, it all happened so fast and so slow all at the same time.
They wheeled Jon back to the MRI room.  I walked behind him.  They took him into the room.  I sat in the tiny MRI waiting room.  And waited. And waited.  I posted on Facebook, asking for prayer.  I wasn't sure if I was being dramatic by asking for prayer or if I was being wise.  I'm sure everything would be fine.  I heard the technician ask Jon why he had come in tonight.  Hmm.. That’s interesting.  Maybe he didn’t see anything on the scan, so was curious what brought him in.   Jon was soon being wheeled back to our room in the ER and we sat there, waiting to be discharged.  After a little while, the ER doctor walked into our room, closed the door behind him, and sat down.  “I have good news and I have bad news.  The good news is you don’t have meningitis or a brain aneurysm.  I thought it could have been either of those  things.  The bad news is, I found a massive tumor in your brain.  You are not going home.  You are being admitted to Intensive Care Unit and you are going to be having brain surgery in the next 24 hours.  I am so sorry.”  Shock was our emotion.  Jon asked when he’d be out of the hospital.  He told them he was hosting the National Worship Leader Conference on Friday.  He wanted to know if he’d be out by then.  It was a big weekend for him, he explained.  They were gracious and gently told him he should probably cancel that.  

Can’t talk right now. Will try to call in the next 20 minutes. Please pray. Jon has a tumor on his brain. Getting admitted to ICU tonight. Probably having brain surgery in next 24 hours.”   This the text I sent to my family at 11:58pm on October 1, 2013.  

I slipped into the hallway and made those middle of the night phone calls you never want to make or receive.  Jon was wheeled up to the ICU where he was told basically to not move.  He wasn’t even allowed to walk to the bathroom.  The doctor pulled me aside. “You must get some sleep tonight.  I know that sounds crazy right now.  But tomorrow you are going to get A LOT of information.  Jon will not be able to process it all.  It will be up to YOU to listen and make decisions.  If you don’t sleep, all you will hear is “Wah..wah..wah..”  You need a clear mind.  Sleep.”  I couldn’t begin to even process what he was saying - How would I possibly process tomorrow’s information?  By now it was 2am.  I tucked Jon into his bed at ICU and drove home to gather some of his belongings.  I pulled into our driveway.  Crap.  The kids.  What will I tell the kids?  Jon’s parents were on our couch.  They said they would spend the night.  I walked up the stairs.  Jon blesses each of our kids every night before bed.  I walked into each child’s room while they slept and said the blessing.  “May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you.  May He lift up His countenance to you and bring you peace. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  4 times over. I cried each time.  I cannot do this alone.  What if this is what my life looks like from now on?  Will Jon ever make it home?  I crawled into my bed.  I had to lay down.  And I had to be here for the kids when they woke in the morning.  They had to hear it from me.  What would I tell them?  Why wasn’t daddy home?  What was going to happen to daddy?  I had no answers.