Note to readers: If you don’t like to read about hospitals and death or near-death, and feel it may bother you, I won’t be offended if you skip this one.
I may leave out a bunch of details but I am really kind of tired. On the other hand, I want to keep my commitment to you, Gentle Reader. Yesterday, (I think, my days and times are kind of running together) we took my 89, soon to be 90 year old mother-in-law to the emergency room by ambulance for an exacerbation of COPD and pneumonia. About one o’clock this morning my daughter came to my room, “Dad, mom says we have to get to the hospital now!” My wife is not a frantic person and will usually keep her head until after the situation is over. She had tried to call me but I slept through my ringer and so she called daughter. My wife is one of the most level-headed people you will ever meet, so when she says an emphatic, “NOW,” there is trouble afoot.
I drove and daughter and I made it to the hospital in record time, found our way to Grandma’s room to find it in a state of controlled chaos. I couldn’t count how many personnel were in there. I watched in awe as one little guy was doing deep chest compressions while another was administering twelve liters of Oxygen through this large bulb-like thing and others were hooking up various monitors and calling off numbers and measurements and while this was going on there was another woman over here who had a large black magic marker and a sheaf of papers (the only materials at hand) writing down the info that was being called out.
Grandma had “coded”, meaning she was “Code Blue” or rather that her heart and breathing had stopped and these people were working with an intensity and a passion I have seldom witnessed before, to get her back. “I’ve lost her blood pressure!” “Her pulse is gone!” Give up? Not so fast with this team. “Do the compressions deeper!” “I have a blood pressure back, but it’s faint!” “There’s a pulse!” This and that and back and forth and woman with marker scrawling on page after page and shouting until, at last, “Her heart is beating!” “She’s breathing!” Getting a tube into her lungs to keep the air flowing while they prepared to move her to the Intensive Care Unit.
I have seen such things portrayed in movies and television, but they really don’t show the whole reality of it. I don’t know if the world’s greatest actors could perform a scene like that with the same intensity and passion. Plus it is different when it’s someone you’ve known and loved for over forty years. No, if you ask me, the scene I witnessed was pretty intensive care. I hope it doesn’t sound crass or vulgar, but it was a thing of beauty to behold. Orchestrated, controlled chaos. Beautiful work, done by passionate people. Of course, we were praying all the while for God to guide their efforts, knowing that the real decision is with Him, anyway, but faith without works is dead and did these folks ever work.