These notes of the day are written… at night. And after a fairly good sleep on Wednesday night, yesterday’s version was one where Mum was restless the whole night through.
The Bible tells us that “He gives His beloved sleep” and we know how precious rest is. Will you please join us in praying for Mum that tonight’s sleep will not be like yesterdays – drifting off into small naps – but waking up again agitated. What thoughts and half-ideas are pressing in on her now? We know that she is frustrated to not be able to move around at will. Is she fitfully drifting in and out because she doesn’t think she will be able to walk again?
Amazingly enough, we have come to the end of our stay at Landour Community Hospital. Yesterday Mum did not use oxygen during the day or the night. Her last dose of antibiotics went in intravenously in the morning and in the afternoon the drip was stopped. We have been ‘sitting’ her up in her bed for her food. She sips from a straw to drink and we are encouraging her to use her left hand to guide morsels to her mouth.
What a blessing to have been ministered to by our ‘green angels’ – the hard-working LCH nurses and nurse-aides whose normal white uniforms are swathed with COVID-19 protocol green smocks and of course the ubiquitous masks. We are grateful to Drs. Alem, George, Raja, Alam and Shibin for their wise counsel and curative arts. And to the support staff as well. Sheba and I camped out in the hospital room where Mum was for the past 9 days – and we were so well looked. Meals brought up with a smile, cleaning staff sweeping in and out twice a day, coffee available from the on-duty watchman even at odd hours of the night. And the many, many prayers we received from staff and the stream of visitors who came to be with Mum. Food from Neeru and Stefan for Mum. Our brother Manoj showing up yesterday unannounced from Nepal. We are so very grateful.
And so this morning we started packing. Mum was going to be discharged and shifted back to Shanti Kunj.
Then the big event: 12 days after she had her fall, we brought her back to Shanti Kunj at noon today. Sheba cradled Mum in her lap on the drive up to hill. It was then surreal to be carrying Mum down the path from Sisters Bazar on the same stretcher she was taken up on a dozen days earlier. Thankfully there was no crowd this time, just 4 carriers and Sheba and our dear Paul Hamilton who drove us up from LCH in his jeep. We had heated up Mum’s room before-hand and so we navigated the stretcher through the beauty of plants and antiques of Shanti Kunj. Before we knew it, we were able to lay Mum back down in her own bed.
Mum had her lunch – we were able to ‘sit’ her in a chair (with support) and feed her rice and vegetable curry. It was good that Pritam, Mum’s physiotherapist, arrived promptly at 2.15 PM. He did a short session with Mum – who was quite tired – esp. after her restless night. Mum then took a nap and we unpacked and tried to get ourselves grounded for the next few days.
Our current plan is to spend a few days helping Mum orient herself and begin the hard work of rehabilitation using physio-therapy exercises. We are hoping that she will join Sheba and myself on a trip to our home at Asha Kiran Hospital in Odisha on Thursday next week.
There are no easy steps for Mum as she begins this new phase of her recovery. She has clearly had a stroke. Besides the initial fall that we assume was stroke-related, Mum has lost power and control of all 4 limbs – but thankfully it looks very possible for her to regain her strength over time and with therapy and grit (and prayers of course). But due to the fall she lost a lot of blood and also spiralled into a serious acute illness storm, where her kidneys were not functioning well, she had a pneumonia, was drifting in and out of consciousness, while also having an enlarged heart which points to a long-term heart failing. And did we mention that her psychiatric meds also needed a revamp?
Tonight, in the quiet of Shanti Kunj, we are thankfully out of Mum’s initial crisis. She has come out of the valley of the shadow of death. We now request your prayers for Mum as she moves to the next level of care. That the Lord will give us His patience and wisdom about how best to help Mum heal and flourish.
Sheba and I told Mum this afternoon that she had suffered a stroke. She was shocked. She has a long way to understand the implications. A few minutes after arriving she asked if she could go up to the ‘prayer room.’ Sheba and I looked at each other. We gently had to tell Mum that the only way up there now was for us to carry her there. Oh, she said.
Mum needs so much help for her to recover all levels including:
1) healing from trauma and fear linked with her fall and subsequent events,
2) understanding her current situation as a person who is at least temporarily paralysed, and not giving into despair,
3) growing in strength and muscle coordination to enable her to do her activities of daily living,
4) learning to adjust to upcoming changes to a fairly independent past 5 years of her life,
5) understanding what our loving Jesus is telling her about how she can minister to Him in this phase of her life.
I just peeked into Mum’s room – and it looks like she is sleeping. We so much hope she will sleep through the night. It’s a whole new world for all of us– and urgently ask prayer for the entire extended family. Pray to be given wisdom, good humour, patience, insight, hope, and discernment of what God wants us to do – and how we should do it!
- Andi and Sheba Eicher (on behalf of the Eichers world-wide)