The first time I saw him in ICU, I had a panic attack as memories of our own motorcycle accident 15 years ago flooded back to the forefront of my mind.
I held it together as we talked to his family and stayed calm while nurses and various caregivers came in to add tubes, move his feet, legs, arms, prop him up, and softly talk through each process, all the while he lay there in a coma, and no one knew if he was aware of our visit. All the monitors beeping and displaying graphs and spitting out reports, it was haunting.
I fell apart when we exited the hallway heading to the elevator. I remembered how little strength I had when we wrecked our motorcycle in the Washington D.C. area in 1997. So far from home, Russ in a coma, family and friends driving the 650 miles to visit, and the support and help we received. But I also remembered the pain Russ was in, I was not injured as badly, but had to be transported and have continued therapy and was in a wheelchair the first few weeks visiting him in ICU. I had so many questions for God, "Why," was the largest that crowded out all others.
With our friend, Jeff, this last month, Russ has been able to sit in ICU through the day or evenings while his wife returned to work. Each time Russ came home from sitting with Jeff, I found myself dreading asking him about Jeff's condition, because the improvements were so minimal. I was losing hope, and the stress of Jeff's prognosis was wearing both of us down.
Last night we visited Jeff again 4 weeks after the wreck. He is in a rehab hospital. And although he's not totally recovered, the nurse announced he had guests, and asked Jeff who we were, and he said, "Oh, a couple of preachers."
These were the first words I've heard him speak since the wreck. I nearly cried right then, held back the tears, but my heart jumped to my throat and a huge, "Praise the Lord," came to my lips. Oh that hope revisited us. I had mentioned this term earlier in the day about another situation in our lives. Then as we sat with him in his little rehab dining room, while he ate his delicious meal of a thickened protein shake through a straw and took pills embedded in bites of applesauce, I saw a hope returning to our friend, also.
When we asked Jeff if we could bring him anything, he said, "Just your visits, that's all I ask."
God is in control as Jeff heals. Please pray for him as he has huge hurdles to overcome in rehab, but God's healing hand was displayed before our eyes. And for that we are so grateful. The healer remains among us.