In Sickness and In Health

May 16, 2013

My Facebook status this afternoon said, "If the amount of stress one is under is directly proportionate to the amount of a coconut cream pie one has consumed in a 21 hour period, then I am at roughly 75% of my maximum stress load." I'm probably much closer to overload, or at least I was this afternoon.  Thankfully my pie has saved me. The end of the school year is  tough.  Every organization tries to cram an end-of-the-year banquet or concert or other event into the time left which means busy evenings.  I suppose these are those moments I'm supposed to treasure, but frankly I'm wearing thin.  My last day of school is next Friday and I am so very ready for our break. 

I managed to finish grading two pretty involved assignments this morning while my PreAP kids were working on their digital portfolios. This afternoon I ran myself ragged trying to help my English II kids get theirs together.  When we use technology at school I am struck by the great divide between kids who obviously have had access and experience with something other than a cell phone and those who have not.  It is frustrating to me.  I take for granted that all kids have an email account that they access regularly because they actually use it, that they can send an email that contains a link they've copied and pasted, and that they have the keyboarding skills to type and maneuver their way around easily.  My big girls have had email accounts since they were in third grade and even Lilah can follow the cues on a website well enough with her limited reading ability to function almost independently on several sites that she visits.  I hope that we'll do more as educators, especially in the elementary years, to provide access for all children and develop their tech-literacy.  OK.  Enough soapbox.

Today marks one week of my dad's latest hospital stay and it doesn't look like we can expect him home anytime soon.  He had been sick for about three weeks before he finally allowed Mom to take him to the ER.  She had suspected that he'd had a small stroke the week before and her suspicions were confirmed.  It was good to have some answers, but we also thought there might be something more.  Turns out, Dad has a fungal infection that has spread throughout his body.  He is positive for a form of meningitis that is associated with this fungus.  I'm not going to spell it out here because I'd rather not come up in someone's Google search for information about it, but it is very common in this area as it is spread through bird poop.  Lovely.  Supposedly 90% of us have inhaled a spore of this fungus and it is living in our bodies, but because we have healthy immune systems we don't have any issues with it.  Dad's immune system is still compromised because of the transplant, so he is now fully infected by this fungus that has likely been present in his body for years and years.  Dad's nephrologist has been practicing for 40 years and has only ever treated about 10 cases of this.  It's extrememly rare and that make it extrememly scary.

They found spores on an X-ray quite by accident, and I think that's just an example of God's hand in this.  To really make a long story short -- we are faced with two possibilities:  try to save his donated kidney which is already losing function due to the infection and the meds, or aggresively fight the function and begin dialysis again once the kidney is no longer functionable.  Clearly, we'll fight the infection.  Of course, the seriousness of this and the likelihood that Dad will be getting dialysis in a center this time instead of at home opens up lots of questions about how to move forward. 

Mom is one tough cookie and she has done a great job of managing to be in two places at once all week.  Her school year ends tomorrow and she's had to wrap everything up, get report cards ready, attend a field trip, and take care of all those other miscellaneous duties teachers are faced with.  She hestitates to ask for help, and she doesn't like to be absent.  As I'm getting older, I'm seeing that her quiet strength is something else. In my family we don't just fall apart when life gets tough.  We get up and face the next day.  Unfortunately, mom has "faced the next day" in the hospital way too many times in the past couple of years. 

For several days, Dad has been extremely confused, even hallucinating at times.  Mom has been so good with him and has been able to keep him calm and reassure him. She's washed his face and rubbed lotion on his arms and legs.  She's held his hand and done other things to help my dad that, really, only someone who vowed to love in sickness and in health can do. 

So, prayers for my dad are coveted right now.  I am specifically asking that you pray for protection of the kidney function that is left -- that somehow the kidney would survive the strong meds and that he would be healed from this infection without having to return to dialysis. Thank you :)

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