Part II - He's not dying or anything, but I think you shold come now...
I couldn't wait until Monday to deliver Part II (below) of the story, 'He's not dying or anything, but I think you should come now.' (You can find Part I here)
Peg, my stepmother, met me at the airport. We talked about trivial things as I grabbed my suitcase from the baggage claim carousel. When we reached her car, I threw my suitcase in the trunk, hopped into the front passenger seat, and asked about Dad.
"Dad is very weak," she said. "Now he's developed a bad sore throat or something that makes it difficult for him to talk. I don't think these doctors are doing anything to help him. He's been in the hospital too long. He needs to come home."
I listened. It was easy to read between the lines. The prognosis wasn't good when Dad was diagnosed with advanced bone cancer several weeks ago.
It was dark when we arrived at the hospital. Peg parked the car and as we walked toward the entrance, she spoke again. "Thanks for coming," she said. "He will be glad to see you. I think it will be good for him."
We entered the shiny hospital lobby, rode the elevator to the 8th floor, and exited. "Follow me," Peg said, motioning to a room on the right. "That's his."
I walked in first, my heart pounding. "Dad," I called. He sat up in the bed, opened his arms wide and said, "Deb!"
Instantly he leaned back, against the pillows, and closed his eyes. No, he didn't die. He appeared to be resting. To say he was weak was an understatement. That was the only word I heard him speak the whole time I was there.
Although informed by the oncologists, Peg refused to acknowledge Dad's critical condition. Maybe she didn't want to see it. Maybe she couldn't handle the truth. Maybe she was still hoping for the best. Whatever the reason, she honestly believed he simply had a sore throat, needed a new doctor and should come home from the hospital.
Knowing I'd traveled a distance, the nurses invited me to stay at the hospital in Dad's room. I was thankful for that. I couldn't leave him. I wanted to be with him. This was where I needed to be.
Peg headed home.
After she left, I kissed dad's forehead. The only response I received was a flutter of his eyelids. I offered a few prayers and slipped into the cot the nurses set up for me. I was glad to be there.
The next morning, Peg called. She had busy plans for the day. She invited some family to come to the hospital and visit. She wanted to interview new oncologists. She wanted to find a way to bring dad home.
Peg wasn't there when Dad's physician made his rounds that morning. I listened patiently as the oncologist explained the spread of Dad's cancer and the bleak prognosis. He mentioned that Peg was unhappy with the care, but assured me they were doing all they could.
I looked the doctor in the eye. "Don't worry about that," I said. "The problem isn't you. I'll talk to her. She loves Dad. She just doesn't want to lose him."
At Peg's bidding, some family members did come visit that afternoon. Dad never really acknowledged their presence, but it was nice to have conversation and laughter in the room. They left around dinnertime, and then, promising to arrive first thing in the morning, Peg went home for the night.
I stood next to my dad's sleeping form, also exhausted and grateful for the quiet. Again, I kissed his forehead. Then I climbed into my cot, pulled the sheets up to my chin, read from my devotional and fell asleep with the book in hand.
The next morning I woke, wished Dad a good morning. I stood at his bedside for an eternity. The best I could get from him was a flicker of his hand. No words. No expressions.
I prayed, opened my Bible and read aloud to him. I don't even remember the verse I chose or if it was just a random passage. I just remember reading from the bible. In subtle ways, he seemed to respond...was there movement in the eyes? A twitch of the wrist? I'm convinced he recognized the readings.
I headed downstairs, as Peg was meeting me in the parking lot at 9:30 am. She planned to pick me up so we could handle the process of finding a new oncologist for Dad, work on getting him discharged from the hospital, and rent the proper equipment he'd need when he came home.
The morning was overcast, kind of chilly for a spring day. While waiting for Peg, I entertained myself by walking along the curb, pretending it was a balance beam. First dip a foot on one side, then the other.
As I did so, I couldn't shake the feeling that Peg needed to spend the day with dad. Forget changing doctors. Forget renting equipment. Just spend the day with him.
Gosh, how I dreaded that. Peg was outspoken. She was strong-willed. That might make her angry. After all, she had her plans. I wanted to support her, not anger her, right? Shouldn't I keep the peace and just go along with her?
But that nagging inner voice persisted. Tell her. She needs to forget her plans and spend the day with him.
Finally, I paused in the midst of my mock balance-beam act and threw my hands in the air. "Why me?" I called out. "God, why me? She'll get mad at me. Why doesn't someone else tell her?"
But the nagging inner voice calmly insisted. Tell her. It has to be you.
Okay, I thought. I'll do it. I looked skyward. You'll just have to help me.
Help me, He did. God never lets us down when we agree to do His work. And I know it's His work when I resist, but the call persists. Of course, I also know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that is the right thing to do. Love is the driving force.
The right thing to do....not the easy thing to do...
I hopped off the curb and looked up. There, rounding the corner of the hospital parking lot, was Peg's gold Volvo. She spotted me, headed my way, pulled over and stopped.
As I opened the car door, a knot formed in my stomach.
"I'll tell her, but please..." I whispered, "help me, God."
Thanks for tuning in! More to come!!!
Click here to listen to I Could Sing of Your Love Forever by Hillsong. Great prayer! Great song! Enjoy!