Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Lessons in the ICU

Stefan and I met Dad this evening.  We had taken off our shoes to come into the Intensive Care Unit of the Bethany hospital and moved to bed no. 6.   The hum of monitoring equipment and the constant beeping that registered heartrate and other vital signs formed the background sounds to our encounter with Dad.

Dad was horizontal.  Eyes closed.  But as soon as we came close, his eyes opened a sliver and then he croaked "more angels have come."   Croaked, because Dad's mouth is very, very dry - making it hard for him to speak.

What a joy to have Dad speaking.  He was horizontal - strapped in and all manner of tubes and wires coming in and out of him.  And then he surprised us: "They made me walk" he said with a mock tragic voice.  "Walk? You must be joking?"  But he wasn't.  The nurses had actually had him do a small walk today.  He said he could sit up but that the tubes and wires were taped to the bed...

The good news is that Dad is largely pain-free.  Largely, that is, other then periodic short waves of pain that wash through him.  We asked how often these come, and he said that he gets about 3 an hour - but that as soon as they are over there is no more pain.   We saw Dad go through a number of them during our short time with him.  He would become quiet, close his eyes and let the pain pulsate through him.  Then he would open them and the familiar crinkly smile was there.

"I have learned two big lessons" said Dad.

"Lesson No. 1.  Whenever someone now will ask me to 'pray for so-and-so because they have a heart problem.  Or are admitted in hospital.  Or whatever else.  I now really know what they are going through and I will really be able to pray for them.  Normally we just 'say a prayer' and then get on with things - maybe eat lunch or something.  But now I now what it is like and I will really pray - just as people have really been praying for me."

"Lesson No. 2.  I always wondered what doctors and nurses do.   You see them in the halls, wearing their uniforms, but what do they actually do? Now I really know.  I have been cared for and monitored and looked after by these dear ones.  What a privilege to be here."

Dad went on to say how happy he is to be in the place where he is and to have had the surgery at the right time.   We reflected his happyiness.  Holding his hands.  Talking to our dear father as the vital signs monitoring machines beeped at varying frequencies in the background.  We were able to tell him the names of some of the folks who had sent emails or phones.  Smiles on Dad's face.

We know that there is a challenging road ahead.  One that is very new for us as a family.  But tonight - after 24 hours of ICU - we are swept with waves of peace and thanksgiving.  Another big thankyou goes out to God for all our dear friends who are sustaining us through these days of grace. 

pictures courtesy of Stefan Eicher of course!


  1. Thanks for the update. Continuing to pray for all of you guys. God bless.

  2. God Bless you all -- Shalom of God rest on Ray at this time.

  3. Thank you for the encouraging update. Your father's color looks so much better already. Praise our Blessed Lord!!

  4. Praise God. Blessed by the Lessons. Praying for complete recovery.

  5. Definately God has proved his faithfulness ...to his people by answering prayers.

  6. May God continue to heal Ray and radiate His glory through his humility, peace and love. We are very thankful for Ray, Christa and their family in the lives of our family.

  7. Andi, just heard about uncle Ray's illness and have been catching up through your blogs. So many major happenings in a few short days! It's been a shock for me to hear about this. Praying for uncle and the Eichers as you battle through this together! Praying for healing and recovery. Blessings. Pravin