On Monday evening May 9, 2016 , we invited all of our children and their spouses to join us for a Family Home Evening and family counsel in the backyard around a bonfire. We opened with a family prayer and then Tom and I talked to them about our faith in our belief that the Lord told us Jonah would be healed. The words from Elder Holland’s address, “Lord, I Believe” are words I have stood on, “The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.” We talked of our struggle, when seeing our beautiful treasured son laying so broken and barely hanging on, to say to our Father in Heaven, “Thy will be done”. If He needed Jonah home, if it was not the plan to have Jonah here any longer, thy will be done. However, as Tom laid his hands on Jo’s head initially to give him a Priesthood Blessing the words came strongly to his mind that Jonah would be healed. It is these words that we would all need to stand on, no matter what the Brilliants and those meaning to help us by saying; “It might not be the Lord’s will to have him live”. We needed to stand together and say as Elder Holland stated in another address, “Cast not away therefore thy confidence”. It the answer came and we were told that it was the desire of the Lord, then the answer hasn’t changed despite the information contrary. It is still the answer, despite the outcome of the majority with this type of wound. Those that wanted to speak of their own personal journey with the Lord ‘s answer were given the opportunity. It was a spiritual strengthening to be together as one mind. After, we retired to the house to give any who desired a blessing,, a Priesthood blessing.
I have found that I have a little PTSD (Post traumatic stress syndrome) as I drive to the hospital each morning. By the time I park I have prayed that I would have my shoulders strengthened to bare the burden that may come that day. On Wednesday morning as I pulled out of my driveway my phone rang. I looked and saw that it was a call coming from the ICU. My heart raced and it took courage to answer. It was Jonah’s nurse, Rachel, calling to inform me that Jonah’s sputum culture had come back containing a drug resistant bacterium. The bacterium was more serious than MRSA, as they didn’t know how to treat Jo’s. She wanted me to be prepared for the new way we would have to enter and be in the room with Jo. She told me that the infectious disease doctor had been contacted and informed of the details and that he would be there to examine Jo and talk to us about this new setback. I had been warned that the worst of the worst of infections existed within the walls of the ICU and that the longer a patient is in the ICU the greater the chance of contracting one of these super bugs. My mind raced and then I prayed that we would find a solution.
Outside of Jonah’s room was a table with boxes of gloves, plastic yellow gowns and masks. We were to dress down before entering his room. I was informed that Jo was the only patient with this super bug and the infectious disease department protocol was in effect to keep the bug contained in Jo’s room only. His nurse was assigned only to Jo and was not allowed to help any other nurses with other patients in the ICU. Before leaving the room the gowns and gloves were to be thrown into the room trash, we were to wash our hands and then exit the room to remove our masks in the trash, just outside Jo’s room door.
My heart raced as I waited for more details. He has already been on some super wide spectrum antibiotics for 20 of the 25 days of his hospitalization for a bladder infection and lung infection. I worried about them finding a solution, if there was one. I was told initially that he would likely remain on another antibiotic for a 3 month period, being assured that there are many patients who have gone home with drug ports and given themselves their own medications through their ports. I asked for more details about his bug. Maybe the specimen had been done wrong. Maybe it had become contaminated. By the time I was able to talk to a doctor I had decided that I wanted him to do another test.
The Intensivist so kindly brought all of Jo’s lab results up on the computer screen. He narrowed our search to looking at just the specimens which had come back containing growth. He showed me that they first saw this bug in Jo’s urine and was it treated. Then they found it in Jo’s lungs, and it was treated. Now, they found it in Jo’s sputum, however with each antibiotic treatment the bug grew more and more resistant to numerous drugs and now the mutated bug had taken over. Again, my heart was pounding and we were all praying for a solution. The thought came to me to ask if I could swab Jo’s mouth with Doterra On Guard. They have allowed me to do this and provided me with oral swabs and cups. I now slather his feet, hands, and chest with On Guard along with the other oils I had had him energy tested for.
By late afternoon the infectious disease doctor came to examine Jo. He looked at all of Jo’s wounds and incisions for signs of infection. He had gone over Jo’s labs and noted that despite this new issue, Jo’s white cell count had decreased rather than increased and that he had not been running any fevers since the culture had been taken. It appeared to him that the bug had colonized, but not infected, at this point. The doctor continued, stating that he felt no medication was needed at this time. He wanted to watch him carefully, doing cultures every so many days and blood count to assess his white cell count regularly. If he maintains no elevated white cell and/or fever, we will continue un-medicated.
Just as soon as the doctor walked out, the physical therapy team walked in. Tom was asked to come help hold Jo up as we sat him on the edge of the bed. During therapy Jo opened his eyes wide. When we asked him “yes” or “no” questions he answered, “yes” by sticking his tongue out. We asked him to give us a “thumbs up” and he did with both hands. When I asked him if he saw me he gave me a thumbs up and, showing his sense of humor, when Tom asked him if Jo thought he was so good looking, Jonah tucked his thumbs into his hand. We all laughed and it was such a tender mercy to see Jo’s sense of humor is still there.
There have been so many tender mercies within the storm of difficulties:
I walked into Jonah’s room late on Monday night. There was no one else in the room. It was dark, however Jonah’s eyes were wide open. He was staring into the darkness and I was overcome with sadness. I felt like it was coming from Jo, despite the sadness I was feeling. As I stood there I prayed that the Lord would show me how Jonah was feeling. I asked if he was happy or feeling as sad as I felt he was. I sang to him and played some of his favorite songs. I had a prayer with him and tickled his face until he closed his eyes. I kissed his cheek and left, heavy hearted. The next day Kari brought her friend who does energy testing for Doterra products. The very first oil his body asked for was Lime. The book states that Lime helps with “grief, despair, apathy, and more - and helps regain their courage to embrace their zest for the goodness Life offers. It's an oil that couples well with the heart center, clearing trapped emotions and allowing a person to open up again.”
“In these ways it may be useful for someone dealing with low vibrational emotions, fatigue, overwhelm, or a heavy heart, and stimulate a person's personal drive in fun, healthy, and heart-focused ways.” I got my answer!!!!
One night when Tom and I were there to put him to sleep, we both sang him some songs and then I said a prayer and then Tom said a prayer. After, we asked Jonah if he wanted a blessing and if he did to just squeeze my hand. He squeezed my hand very tight. Tom gave him a beautiful blessing of peace and encouragement.
On an afternoon when we were getting little response from Jo, Chandler walked in and stood by the side of his bed talking to him. Pretty soon her belly started to jump around as her baby, of 32 weeks gestation, began to move. She asked Jonah if he would like to feel Elle Jo move and then she placed his hand over her wiggling belly. All of a sudden Jonah pushed his fingers firmly into her belly and kept it there while the baby performed for him.
Jonah has had some of the most tenderhearted male nurses, whom I call “gentle giants”. I cannot even describe their intuitive and expert care and way of communicating with Jonah. I have a few favorite respiratory therapists too. I have so much peace leaving to go home for the night leaving Jo in their care. Thank you so much, Troy and Russ!!! I’m so excited for them to meet Jonah on the other side of this experience. I can see Jonah being this same way with those he serves through his work as a peer counselor.
I have found so much strength in these words from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
“Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time. The scriptures are clear and certain about the importance of hope. The Apostle Paul taught that the scriptures were written to the end that we “might have hope.”
Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Its absence—when this desire of our heart is delayed—can make “the heart sick.”
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.
Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.
The things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow. Everyone has experienced discouragement and difficulty. Indeed, there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times that the divine principles of the restored gospel we hope in can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light.
We hope in Jesus the Christ, in the goodness of God, in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, in the knowledge that prayers are heard and answered. Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future. In times of distress, we can hold tightly to the hope that things will “work together for [our] good” as we follow the counsel of God’s prophets. This type of hope in God, His goodness, and His power refreshes us with courage during difficult challenges and gives strength to those who feel threatened by enclosing walls of fear, doubt, and despair.
Hope sustains us through despair. Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us.
With Jeremiah I proclaim, “Blessed is the man … whose hope the Lord is.”
With Joel I testify, “The Lord [is] the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”
And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.
Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.”
I am so thankful for so many tender mercies, which the Lord has given. I have learned that if I can hang on through the absolutely terrifying, dark and overwhelming times, there will come a dawn of mercy, bringing light, and joy, and peace that is as equal in intensity!!! I LOVE my boy!! #JustWakeUpJonah