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No more breathing tube as the sun comes up in Austin

by davesandel on June 21st, 2021

Monday, June 21, 2021                       (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

No more breathing tube as the sun comes up in Austin

When I walked into Margaret’s room Sunday morning, her nurse Addison said, “We’re going to get this breathing tube out of Margaret’s mouth in just a few minutes.” There was energy in the room. Overnight Margaret’s body grew stronger. Her “numbers” were good and she had peed enough. Oh, the water! Hope it don’t rain all day.

I said, “Are you getting a bunch of folks to help?” Addison’s helper said, “Nope, just us two.” They have guts, I tell ya. Four years ago after Margaret’s first open heart surgery, I watched that tube come out, and I didn’t want to watch it again. So off I went for about 15 minutes.

When I got back, the whole room seemed bathed in a warm glow.

Of course the sun was shining through the bank of windows, but this glow was coming from Margaret. She looked like a different person. Still with a feeding tube in her nose, still with wires attached all over her body, but her mouth was available to her once more. Her voice was hoarse, she sounded like Lauren Bacall, and for a little while I struggled to understand her. It was so beautiful!

We talked, then I set a little speaker by her bed and tuned in to Grace Covenant’s online service. The music played, Matt preached, Margaret kept talking through part of it, she was catching up. Andi came around 11:30, literally jumping up and down with joy when she saw how how Margaret looked. She looked so good! Andi couldn’t believe she had her mom back, ready to talk, ready to listen, ready to be a companion again.

Matt threw enough spiritual meat at us so that Andi was pleased and amazed that Margaret could have a theological conversation. Those kinds of talks are Margaret’s bread and butter, and she jumped right in. Her brain seems to have sharpened its edges during its three day rest.

When Margaret complained about trouble breathing, Addison suggested that she talk less. That made us laugh. But we all quieted down some after that. Andi told Mom a story about Miles and his helicopter, while she scratched and massaged her head. How warm and fuzzy is that? Margaret was melting.

We both left her in mid-afternoon. She wanted us to go; yesterday was Andi and Aki’s 12th wedding anniversary. I spent time in the backyard kiddy pool with Miles and Jasper while their parents had lunch at the Kura Revolving Sushi Bar and shopped at a Japanese dollar store. Andi brought me a beautiful, clear umbrella, which Jasper liked as much as I did. Happy Father’s Day!

Matt talked about Peter’s walk on water. His idea was simple: make friends with fear, and renounce safety as any kind of ultimate value. Follow Peter out of the boat a little bit every day, to practice living through fear. If you practice comfort every day, you’ll get better at being comfortable. If you look for something a little scary to do every day, you’ll get better at being afraid, and learn not be paralyzed by it . Like I said, simple. Just do it.

Margaret’s path in the next few days might be simple, first in ICU, then back on Seton’s third floor, then perhaps a short stint at a rehab center, following the path set out for her by this amazing, frightening, medical intervention. Her body is no longer stuck, and she can walk on down the road.

For us, this day was as rejuvenating as yesterday’s was enervating. But as Andi said to Jasper last week, “You gotta go slow when you’re walking on water.” Boy oh boy. That’s not just for the two year old. We’ll keep doing this one day at a time.

(Genesis 12, Psalm 33, Hebrew 4, Matthew 7)


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