“Because of your injury, you’ve suffered a stroke.”
I’ve started this post nearly six times. The first time I attempted was the Wednesday my ears first heard the above spoken to my brother by the neurologist. My emotions were too raw to type out the words.
The third time I tried was two days later when my brother’s heart decided to race out of control. The look on the doctors’ faces and tone in their voices that morning made my heart tremble. He was moved to the Intensive Care floor. Again, the words wouldn’t come.
The fourth time was when I could see God answering the prayers of many on my brother’s behalf. His heart went back into rhythm on its own, and healing of his body was slowing taking place. God’s goodness overwhelmed me, and I again was at a loss for words.
It’s been a long few weeks.
But, today is a new day. Today the words are flowing. Today, I can share hope and promise.
My three brothers and I are close, not only because we all live within 20 minutes of each other, but also close in relationship. Life has a way of keeping us busy, but I feel we do pretty well at staying connected with each other. Our parents instilled in us the importance of family, and now as they are deceased, we’ve carried on with that same attitude and mindset in their absence. What affects one of us, affects us all.
I won’t share all the lengthy details here, but as I write this, three weeks have passed since it all began. My brother, Steve, was taken to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms the night of his and his wife, Kelly’s, 26th wedding anniversary. After a late-night transfer to another hospital and numerous medical tests, they discovered he had torn an artery in his neck, most likely from baling hay.
Steve (in the plaid shirt) is a 52-year old farmer. He also works full-time at a local manufacturing company. He and his family have a successful hay business, so all summer long they bale hay. This injury was quite a surprise, especially since he was unaware of it happening.
Two days later he was released from the hospital, and within three days, he was admitted again. Steve had suffered a stroke, due to his injury.
Life changes with the word “stroke.”
And, life for us all seemed to come to a halt. Especially for Steve, Kelly, and their grown children.
The stroke caused a number of issues… abnormal heart rhythm, his inability to swallow, uncontrollable hiccups, difficulty with his speech, and sensory complications.
Our father died in that same hospital 17 years ago, and it nearly took my breath away that morning to hear Steve say he wouldn’t be making it out of that hospital alive. We all lived through the horror of watching our dad struggle there in his declining health. Even though the situation was different, Steve was reliving it all over again, this time in his own experience.
After days in ICU, receiving the care he needed, surgically placing a feeding tube, getting the hiccups under control, and his heart going back into rhythm, Steve was moved to a closer hospital for rehab a week ago. Praise God!
He’s making great progress, with the hopes to be released soon. Doctors say he should make a full recovery. That is our hope and our prayer.
Throughout these weeks I’ve caught myself wondering what would we do without the hope we have? Without the eternal, deep-rooted, lasting hope that I clung to when the news was startling, and the outcome looked bleak? This hope carried me through. It carried us all through.
We visited Steve again yesterday. His laughter and smile are priceless to me, and I was able to witness them more than once yesterday in his hospital room. I couldn’t help but thank God for allowing Steve to be a real-life recipient of the hope He so freely gives. Yes, Steve still has a journey of recovery ahead of him. But in my book, he’s nothing short of a living testimony of hope.
Thank you, Jesus.
I’ll update again soon.
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