Monday, 28 February 2022

Update on Mum’s Health – Sunday 27.2.2022

Dear Friends,

As we close the day at 10.52 PM, Mum is in bed, wide awake.  She called me and told me that she just cannot sleep, and asked me to pray for her.  I gladly did.  And I am so grateful because this was conversation with Mum was just not possible just 36 hours ago when Mum was glassy eyed, tossing and turning in her bed.  She still needs to fall asleep, of course, but she is increasingly self-aware, able to communicate, and gradually understanding some of the complexity of her situation.

Today was a day of much progress for Mum – and some further clarity on just how long the road ahead will be.   Thank you, every one of you, for your faithful prayers.  Mum started to drink water from a cup (albeit held for her) and also started eating some simple foods like suji, dal, and mashed banana & curd.   She was lucid for almost all of the day, and has begun expressing her desire to go home to Shanti Kunj.  

We had a stream of helpers and Mum was loved and cared for by loving hands.  It was so nice to have Stefan and Neeru and their 3 wonderful kids come to minister to Mum the first thing in the morning after Neeru and the kids had arrived from Delhi late in the night.  We are grateful that Neeru was able to stay the whole day to serve Mum.  Bison and Ruby and there 2 were also present during the day.  At the end of the day, Mum told the nurses that she has been looked after by “so many wonderful, loving people.”

The three markers of progress today for Mum were as follows.  Firstly she has started to have real conversations, recognizing people and speaking behind her oxygen mask.  Secondly, she also started drinking orally and eating some simple food orally (while she still has the naso-gastric tube in).  Thirdly, we were able to begin a process of rehabilitation for her limbs.  She is unable to lift her left arm, but can squeeze her left hand.  She can lift her right arm, but cannot ‘aim’ her hand and so it flops around jerkily.  And Mum ‘sat’ in a wheel chair for a short period too.   She still cannot even turn herself around in bed, and has to be shifted every 2 hours but we are grateful for every step in the right direction.

All told we are again so thankful for steps being made in the right direction.   We are slowly moving out of ‘life-saving’ into ‘regaining life skills’ territory.  Please pray for Mum as she starts to fathom that she will not just be able to stretch herself and walk back up the hillside.  We have still not had a conversation about why she is in the hospital, and how long she was in an altered state.  The frustrations of being largely dependent on others – at least for the near future - are just about to be tackled by Mum.  

Your prayers are cherished for this hard path. 

Today was the Lord’s Day and we met at the end of the day around Mum’s bed.  She said that she wanted us to sing “The Lord’s my shepherd” which we followed up by “Yahowah Charwaha mera” (same psalm in Hindi).   Mum recited Ps. 23 and we walked through it thankfully, seeing just how much God has taken her through the valley of the shadow of death.   Sheba shared from Rev. 1 where John sees Christ in all His glory – what a hope for us to know that He was dead, and is alive, and is alive forever more.   And that He is the Beginning and the End.  That our times are in His hands and that He loves us all very much. 

And so on to the next steps.  Thank you for your prayers, messages, and whatsapp recordings! So much appreciated.

-        Andi and Sheba Eicher  [on behalf of the far flung Eicher clan]

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Update on Mum’s Health – Saturday 26.2.2022

This morning marked 100 hours since we first heard about Mum’s fall.  I was in the middle of a wedding of two of our Asha Kiran Hospital staff in a far-off corner of Odisha when the calls started coming from Stefan and Vicky that something had happened to Mum, while Sheba was doing her OPD work at the Asha Kiran Hospital.  Somehow I managed to get back to Asha Kiran and 3 hours later we were on the road to Vizag, Delhi and then Dehra Dun.   How things have changed so rapidly.  And continue to change.  Its new territory for us all.

Each of us in the extended Eicher clan would like to say a big “thank you!” for the outpouring of love and prayers from across India and various corners of the globe.  Wow.  We really feel the blessings.  And we know that Mum does too.

We experienced the thrill of two rays of light in Mum’s condition today. 

Before we share the rays of light, we would like to remind us all that Mum is still very sick.  Though her vital signs are steady, she is completely bed-ridden, mainly non-responsive, still on oxygen support, is basically paralyzed on her right side, and has an underlying heart problem which can shut everything down in a matter of minutes.  We are so grateful for every day that is given to us, and are again aware of the amazing value of life.  And the hope for second chances.

But here is Ray of light no. 1:  Mum started recognising us today.  It began with her lighting up when Stefan and Vickey came to the room this morning.  She talked fairly clearly with them.  She knew their names.  Her eyes followed them for a short period of time.  Over the course of the day, Mum enjoyed periods of lucidity.   She was able to hold some short conversations.  Not always fully understanding, but enough to bring a thrill in our hearts.  She drifts in and out at this point, but we are so glad that she at least drifts in for some periods of time.

Ray of light no. 2: Though it looks like Mum is paralysed on her right side, with what looks like some kind of a stroke, we saw that she was able to at least move her arm a bit today.  We asked Mum to squeeze her right hand, which she was unable to do.  But in the process she pushed her whole right arm: and with some force too, given how weak and frail she is now.  We still have to shift her whole body from one side to the other every 2 hours since we don’t want her to have bed-sores (those who know her well know that she hardly has a gram of fat on her body).  And we know that even if she regains full lucidity, she will need much physiotherapy if she is to regain control of her right side – but the fact that she has some motor control on her right side is really encouraging.

Friends, we know that these steps forward are not by accident.  They are gracious gifts from the Lord, and we believe that He has chosen to give them to us as a family in joyous accord with the many, many fervent requests by His children near and far.  Thank you so much for your love.

Other highlights of the day include our dear brother Narendra Kumar arriving from Varanasi.  Narendra made his way across the country when he heard about Mum’s poor prognosis, and his journey included him taking the seat of the taxi driver who wasn’t feeling well.  Our dear Narendra ended up driving a taxi a good portion of the Delhi to Dehradun stretch yesterday!   

Mum’s dear neighbours Chitranjan and Susan Dutt visited her this afternoon while Sheba and I were getting a bath and some rest at Shanti Kunj.   When they came in Mum had a turn of being more lucid and when she saw Chitranjan and greeted him with a bright ‘hi Chitranjan!’ What a difference from yesterday!  

And so we come to the end of a week.  At 11.23 PM as I write this while on the “night shift” I can just say that it is so good that Mum has been sleeping deeply for over an hour (so far!) after three nights of various kinds of restlessness.

What lies ahead?  We don’t know the future.  But we know He who holds the future in His hand.  And we know He is good and kind.  

Do pray for us as we start exploring what the next steps should be.  Pray that Mum will come out of her altered conscious state and be lucid and able to relate to us with the same joy that so many of you know.  Ask the Lord Jesus to strengthen her so that she can make the long trip over to Odisha with us, as currently it looks most likely that we will be caring for Mum at our home at Asha Kiran Hospital – with the help of the healing community that we have there.

As the old hymn says: 

“How good is the God we adore, 

our faithful unchangeable friend, 

whose love is as great as His power, 

and knows neither measure nor end.

‘Tis Jesus the First and the Last,

whose Spirit will guide us safe home,

we will praise Him for all that is past,

and trust Him for all that’s to come.”

- Andi and Sheba Eicher  [Thanking you on behalf of Eichers everywhere!]

Update on Mum’s Health – Friday 25.2.2022

For the past 2 days Mum has been cared for at Landour Community Hospital in Mussoorie. We are in a big sunny room (when the sun shines – it thundered and hailed last night) and are blessed by the small army of nurse angels in their green gowns and masks.  The staff are all of them a blessing – and we invite a quick prayer for God to bless this amazing hospital to become known as a healing home for many new families.  We were amazed when Sunita, one of the nurses, asked if we had been at Nav Jivan Hospital in Jharkhand.  It turns out that she was one of our Sunday School students from the first year of our marriage! 

Mum continues to be very sick.  She has impaired consciousness continues to be on oxygen support.  Over the past day we have realized that Mum has probably suffered a stroke in the past 48 hours as she seems unable to move her right leg and arm, and the right side of her face has a slight ‘droop’ to it.  As recently as Wednesday morning she had been able to drink a whole cup of water on her own, so it is not a happy discovery.

But we really want to thank the Lord that Mum’s vital signs are now stable.  Her fever has stopped and her kidney functions have improved.  We were thus able to have a naso-gastric tube inserted which means that her feeding of a liquid diet is do much easier.

Since we are now aware of Mum’s stroke, we were suggested going for another CT scan to see if there is a subdural bleed in the brain since the last CT scan.  Because of Mum’s frail condition, we are hesitant to do so.  Getting a CT scan means a 1.5 hour trip down the mountain to Dehra Dun and harrowing thought of having her disappear into an ICU where she will be tied to her bed as they will not allow us to care for her as we are doing now at Landour Community Hospital.

Thankfully, Mum has not deteriorated even further neurologically.  In fact, we saw a ray of light at the end of the day.  Mum had over the past few days said things that we could not understand because of the slurred speech.  But late afternoon we understood that she was saying “Yeshu Naam ki jai, jai ho” (Jesus’ name in Hindi) and that she was actually singing!  When we sang along with her, she was able to carry on the lyrics of a number of worship songs.  The words are slurred and limited to us, but we can see that her mind is sharp and she can hear and process what we are saying.  The song that we first ‘recognised’ is especially significant as it says that “iske maar khane se mai changai hua” which means that “through Him being beaten I have been healed” (by His stripes we are healed Isa. 53.5). 

In this same time, Mum yawned, and we said that she was yawning like a cat.  And then she said “meow!” and repeated her “meows.”  We talked with her about how she used to look after the many pet cats we had over the years and she was able to give one word answers that showed how much she was understanding our conversation.

We are of course still a long way off from where we would like to be. Mum continues to be very sick and we are glad for the Landour Community Hospital which is hosting us in this crucial time.  We know she has a heart condition that could at any time be the way she is called home for good.  Her stroke means that any recovery is unlikely to be soon.  She drifts in and out.  Her eyes are still not focusing and she does not seem to recognize us yet.   Our gradual new normal is that we move her in her bed every 2 hours so that she does not develop bed sores.

And so a new set of possibilities are opening up.  If Mum survives this bit – we will be looking to a new ways of caring for her.  We are committed to care for Mum in the family and the Lord needs to guide and open doors for us. 

Thank you – every one of you – for standing in prayer for us at this time.  We are blessed to be able to play voice messages from Rudy and Premi to Mum.  And for the fervent prayers and enouragements from so many.  It is a privilege to be here with Mum at this time – along with Stefan and Vikram.  

Even as I write this at 2 AM while keeping the night watch – Mum has been saying with surprising clarity “His grace and His love endures forever.  Thank you Lord.”   This is the most lucid she has been for days.  “His love… forever.  His grace… forever.”  As she drifts in and out.  We thank God for every moment He has given us so far.  And forever.  Blessed be His name.

- Andi and Sheba (on behalf of the extended Eicher family)

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Update on Mum's health 24.2.2022

Dear Friends,

Mum had a very restless last night. But what a privilege to be with her for every minute of it, and to massage and comfort her through the hours.

In the morning we were glad when she ate a bowl of suji and drank some water by us asking her to open her mouth and swallow for every spoonful.

As the day went on, it became clear that Mum is unlikely to make a quick recovery. Though the CT scan ruled out internal injury to the brain, a when lot of other post-fall complications are happening to Mum.

Mum is actually very sick. For most of the day she has not opened her eyes. She has also developed a fever and pneumonia and needs oxygen support.  

Mum has been responding to us in a very limited way.  She is unable to answer most questions, other that the occasional monosylable.  

Over the day Mum has sometimes spoken in slurred speech from within her oxygen mask. But though we bend down to listen to Mum, we just couldn't make out the words...

And so we come to the end of the day with Mum in a  challenging state. We firmly believe that the Lord has the power to heal her ... and give her many more days of life.

At the same time, these may be Mum's final days in this life. We.must be ready to accept the answers to the many prayers on behalf of Mum: that God will do the very best form of healing that He chooses at this time. This may be taking Mum to be with Him in paradise now rather than later.

We were glad that Premi was able to talk to Mum over the phone this evening from Alaska.  Mum didn't respond externally,  but we believe that her inner person heard all that has been spoken to her. 

We are deeply grateful for all the prayers and blessings from near and far. Thank you so much.  It is so touching to hear! Your prayers for Mum's complete healing and for wisdom and discernment for us are so appreciated!

- Andi and Sheba Eicher (on behalf of the widely spread-out Eicher clan)

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Announcing the Broadcast Group

Dear Friends, 

Some of you will have heard that our mother Christa Eicher had a fall in her home in Mussoorie on Monday 21st morning.

Since then many things have happened, with Mum being admitted at Landour Community hospital (LCH) and being referred to Dehra Dun for a CT scan, and us being able to shift her back to LCH yesterday afternoon.

We have started this broadcast group to channel prayer for Mum / Oma / Aunty Christa. 

We hope to put up daily updates on her condition so that we can pray in a focussed way. 

- Andi and Sheba Eicher (for the extended Eicher clan)

Monday, 21 February 2022

Mum's Fall - Initial Prayer request

Dear Friends

This is the whatsapp note we sent out as we were booking tickets and rushing to Mussoorie from our distant part of Odisha


Requesting prayers. 

Mum had a bad fall today and has had a head wound and lost blood. She was alone at the time.  She was taken to Landour Community hospital for first aid and observation in their ICU.

In the afternoon she became disoriented and is now being shifted to Dehra Dun for a CT scan.  Stefan should be arriving in Dhera Dun this evening, and Sheba and myself are booked to fly tomorrow (22.2) to Dehra Dun via Delhi, God-willing arriving at 3 pm.  

Your on-going prayers are cherished for Mum and all of us at this time.  

- Andi and Sheba

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Radio Contact

Hello Gentle Reader!

It has been a looooong time since this blog was updated.  

If you have come here in the last 1.5 years, and seen only the last post... my apologies.

A month ago today (21st March 2022) we plunged into the latest set of challenges - a health emergency for my mother in Mussoorie.   I started a daily update which was sent out on FB and Whatsapp.  To take us through the story, I am including them in chronological order - with the odd photo illustration to boot.

Blessings from all of us!

The Eichers (of Lamtaput at this point in our pilgrimage)