Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Nana

I have a special prayer request today.  Could you please pray for my family?  We lost my Nana a year ago today.  My Daddy went down to spend the week with my Pappa, and I know they are hurting today.  I miss her so terribly much, and I wish that I could be sharing all the wonderful things I have experienced and learned over the first year of my marriage.  She loved hubby so much, and she was so excited to watch us start our lives together.  I know it's selfish to miss her so much, but that is just human nature I suppose.  I know she is singing with the angels right now.  Thank you so much for your prayers for our family, I appreciate it so very much.

Below is a repost from last year - the last time I spent with my Nana, for those of you that are interested in the story.

On Friday, I got an email from my Mom saying that Pappa called Daddy and asked him to come. Nana took a turn for the worse. I do not know how to explain the events of the past 8 months, but I'll try to start with her surgery last week.

Her 7 hour intestinal surgery that she had a little over a week ago is not healing properly, and an infection set in. After the surgery, she was breathing on a ventilator, and they kept her in a coma for 5 days while her body healed and she gained enough strength to breath on her own. She was awake and breathing, but not talking. We were hopeful. It was a very difficult decision to choose to have the surgery, but she, Pappa and Daddy decided together that the way she was living was not the life she wanted. She did not want to live in a hospital bed for the rest of her life on liquid nourishment with tubes in her tummy.

Friday morning, I got the email from my mom. Daddy went to be with Pappa, at the hospital in Victoria. The doctors informed them that their was fluid around her heart. We later found out that the fluid had moved into her lungs.

Saturday morning, Mom called and said that Daddy asked her to come from Dallas to Victoria, and said that it was not expected for her to make it through the day. He asked to her go to Houston to our house. When she arrived, we packed up and drove to Victoria.

She is in ICU in a special bed that her doctor ordered her. It moves her and gives her a light massage, the same idea as a pedicure chair at the nail place. Pappa awoke her, and she looked at Mom and I with huge brown eyes. She knew we were there - and she knew who we were. I feel very sure of this. She communicated with her big brown eyes, and her head moved with the sounds of our voices. She looked at Daddy quite a bit, as if asking for answers. She tried to talk, but she couldn't. Her mouth stayed open, and her breaths were very labored and infrequent. You could hear the fluid in her chest. Her average was about 17 breaths per minute. Her blood pressure stayed pretty steady. We left her that night to rest.

Saturday morning, she seemed to be doing better. Her blood pressure was higher, things seemed to be perking up. We discussed how sometimes God does things to remind us that he is in control and to trust him. He is in complete and total control and we trust him. Completely. By the time Mom and I arrived for the 9AM visiting hour, she was not doing as well. Her body is not absorbing the liquids that they are giving her through the IVs, and it is seeping out of her pores all over her body. She is swollen and puffy. She has not woken up and does not know that we are there.

I took wedding pictures for us all to look at and enjoy. Pappa and I relived the fun parts of Jeff and my wedding day through hundreds of snapshots - with a few tears in between for the battle that Nana went through and how hard she fought to attend our wedding, and grateful tears, because she was able to be there.

The ICU staff allows us to stay with her all day - because they know the end is coming soon. Regular visiting hours are every 3 hours from 6AM to 9PM, for 30 minutes each time. The waiting room is full of weary, worried faces of people waiting to see their loved ones. I am thankful that we get to spend the time with Nana, but at the same time scared and very sad to watch her fight.

We leave the room while they change her dressings, and her bed sheets and such. You can hear her moaning with pain from the hallway. Pappa tells us the story of how they met when he returned from the Navy. He spotted her in the church choir, and said to his sister, who is that girl? Janelle responded with oh, that's Bernice, she goes with so-and-so. He said, I don't care who she goes with, I have to meet her. He got to know her by driving her home from church one day. She was 17 and lived at the YWCA, and welcomed the rides to and from church. They had their first kiss weeks later when her dropped her off after church one evening. A few months later, they were engaged. Of course, they wanted a big wedding, but they didn't have any money. Pappa said that they saved and saved for their big celebration, and in the middle of their saving, their church had a big building drive. He remembered the two of them sitting down together and discussing that they would give $25 from their wedding fund, which was a lot of money for them then.

Pappa was determined for Nana to have the beautiful wedding that she wanted. He built a little picket fence with a gate for them to walk through, and a large archway for them to say their vows under, and painted them white. His sister, Frances, decorated the structures with vines and white flowers. The church choir was set up behind them, and Pappa did not like the way that the chairs looked in the church. So, he borrowed faux grass from the local funeral home to put under the chairs to make it look more like a garden. What a sweet, wonderful man.

When we came back into the room, Nana was awake and very upset. They hurt her. Not purposely of course, but all of the activity was painful and traumatic for her. Pappa broke down - how do you watch your wife, your best friend that you made your life with for over 50 years - suffer like that? I have never, in my life seen something so moving, so sad. I will never forget how that looked, felt, sounded. He tells her how much he loves her, and how much he will miss her. He is now the only person that she responds to. This was the most heartbreaking part of my time in ICU with Nana and my family. We all told her how much we loved her, and Pappa told her that he would see her soon, and to go and hug their daughter, Brenda for him. We told her that it was okay, that we knew how tired she was, and that we would take great care of Pappa, that she could go when she was ready. The four of us held hands a prayed for her.

Her doctor came to visit and they made the decision to take her off of her medications. They are now only giving her nutrients (food) through the IV. She only responds to Pappa, and those responses are slight. Her heart rate has dropped slightly, and her breathing has gotten easier. She is breathing more breaths per minute, almost double. When Pappa leans over and talks to her, her breathing pattern becomes erratic, like she is listening or wanting to tell him something. She knows he is there.

I drove back to Houston last night, and from reports this morning, everything is the same. No changes, good or bad. We are just waiting for God to take her.

Please pray for her comfort and for our family. Thank you.


kristent1 said...

Just said a prayer for you and your family on this difficult day. Sounds like your Nana was very well loved!

Laura said...

I am lifting you and your family up in prayer, may you be at peace today knowing she is in Gods hands.

Jess said...

I am praying for you and your family today!

Candice said...

You are definitely in my thoughts today Michelle! I know how much Nana meant to you!

Laurie said...

I love the sweet story of how they met and the wedding. Thinking about ya'll tonight.

Anonymous said...

I will pray for your family. It is so hard to lose someone so dear to your heart. I pray God surrounds you of sweet memories you shared together. Your blog is so cute!

Lisa♥H said...

I am praying for you & your family! I lost my grandma quite some time ago and that was one of the hardest times that I have ever had to go through, so I can totally empathize. Grandma's are very special people! Praying that God covers you all in love, and strength.

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalm 91:4

Claire @ Completely Claire said...

I know how your heart hurts! My nanny is my hero!! Praying for you, sweet girl!

mjellis said...

You ladies are so wonderful! I cannot thank you enough for you prayers, kind words and support. You have no idea how much it means to me!!!!