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  • Writer's pictureMaureen Diaz

The Most Wonderful, Terrible Thing - Part 3

Wednesday evening the hospital staff allowed all our family, along with friend Dwayne, to gather around George’s bed to sing and pray over him. I know now that none of the staff had ever expected My Beloved to survive this thing, to wake up and walk out of this hospital. All were solemn as son Peter led Amazing Grace (Oh my, I thought, we always sing this at funerals-will George be aware and wonder if he’s gone?!) We prayed, kissed him goodnight, and everyone headed out to get some sleep before the big day.

It was Thursday, the 13th of June, the 5th day, and it was time to wake up.

God had answered one prayer after another, seen to every little detail, but now was coming the most critical hour of all.

First, the respirator needed to be removed. I wanted to be with George while this was being done, but his boisterous nurse assured me that she wanted my husband “all to herself”; she didn’t want to be picking me up off the floor and having to deal with two patients-this was difficult and sometimes traumatic. And so I exited and waited with our family in our room down the hall.

The deed done, I returned to be with him. His heart had weathered this last insult and he was resting, still sedated.

The most critical time was now: George needed to wake up, and he needed to do so within a short period of time. At about 1 pm his nurse began backing George off the sedation. If I recall correctly (so much is a jumble in my head), it was imperative that wakefulness come within 15 minutes or he would likely never wake up again. Also, we wondered: if he wakes up, would his brain be ok?

His mother and I on either side of the bed, we began speaking soothingly to him, assuring him that he was ok, we are here for him, we just need for him to wake up…

And he did! George began rolling his head slowly about and then-gasp!-he opened his eyes looking directly into mine, puckered up for a kiss, and reached for me. He was here! He was alive! And he was ok!!!

George’s face lit up as our daughter-in-law, Sarah walked into the room. He couldn’t remember her name or even exactly who she was, but he knew that she was fun and that she makes him smile!

One by one (or three by ten, I don’t know…) each of our family members came in to greet him. His father and step-mother, sister Christie, each of our children and grandchildren. We cried tears of joy, we praised God, we hugged, we were elated!

Even as I write this now, tears flow. The joy of that moment has never left me. God had answered our prayers in the biggest and best way possible!

George was weak and confused, but he was with us and he would be coming home! First he needed to gain strength, hit a few milestones, recover to some degree.

Getting nourishment was the first thing: George would require a feeding tube, but I knew that because of his previous gut damage and dietary restrictions that not just any food would do. No “Ensure” (no one should be consuming this stuff anyway!), no “regular” liquified nourishment would be ok as it would cause massive inflammation and we might well be back to square one. But herein lies another of God’s divine oversights: this hospital had many choices for feeding tubes including organic, no sugar, and (nearly) grain-free! And so George began taking in foods to nourish him back to health.

George’s adrenal glands had ceased functioning years before (recall, he wasn’t one to get sufficient food or nourishment) and so daily he requires hydrocortisone to help control inflammation and help keep him functional. Once informed of this the hospitalist prescribed IV administration but, not realizing how this works, he spread the doses out evenly over the first 24-hour period instead of how I had described: double dose in the morning, single in the afternoon. George had a very fitful night’s rest; early the next day he described how he was “building houses” all night long. Cortisol, the “get up and go” hormone, kept him up and working all night long in his head! After a chat with the doc in the morning, this was remedied.

So now he’s awake, he’s taking in good food (albeit, through a tube), he’s doing well.

George with granddaughter Abigail

Next step was to move George into a regular room and continue his progress. After a couple more days he was given solid food, bland of course and without salt or fat. Because, after all, don’t these cause heart disease? No, I assure you, they do not*. Chronic inflammation, stress, lack of rest, industrialized “heart-healthy” seed oils, smoking-all contribute to such; but dietary saturated fat and cholesterol are super important to the functioning of the body and without this not only will food not taste good, our bodies grow weak and tired.

George’s holistic doc in PA to the rescue: it turns out, Dr. Busko’s son and daughter-in-law were both physicians in Bangor, having previously worked in the same hospital. I was put in touch with them. They came to pick me up to take me to the farmers’ market where I was able to purchase raw butter, raw milk, and a few other things. These were tucked away to be secretly added, along with the Celtic Sea Salt which I always carried, to George’s meals.

Meanwhile our friend and client Judy (the MD whom I previously mentioned as one of the owners of the Lubec property where George was working) flew back to put her eyes on George and review his medical program. She came into the room at lunchtime, asked what he was having, and told me to put some butter on that skinless, boneless chicken breast and broccoli. I lifted the lid to his tray and we all enjoyed a chuckle…

As George was getting stronger and discharge approached, he was fitted for a “Life Vest”, a wearable device that constantly monitors the heart and acts as a defibrillator when needed. At $3000/month rental fee, George would need to wear this nearly 24 hours a day, save for showering or swimming. This was his lifeline, or so we thought, and thus the device was delivered and fitted a day or two before we expected to leave the hospital.

Before his expected departure an EKG and other tests were run to see if George was fit for discharge, and here is where we see even more of God’s oversight: the cardiologist came to discuss test results and give instructions. The conclusion? George’s heart was perfectly normal. Normal! No anomalies, good and strong, no sign of problems, just normal. How this could be he had no explanation, and shrugging his shoulders he informed us that not only could George leave the hospital, he would not need that expensive, cumbersome Life Vest!

I stated that I could explain what the doctor could not: we are praying people, and all over the country, even other parts of the world, Christians were praying for George. “No”, he said, it was simply medical technology. Right…

And with that we packed up our things and headed for a nearby hotel where we would stay for a week, just to be close by his doctors if needed. We were grateful, we were overjoyed, we were walking out of that hospital!

We said goodbye to all of the nurses and others who had been so good to us, those who had kept my husband alive and brought us to this point; there were many tears and much thanksgiving.

There are a couple of other really neat things that happened during those 10 days, and the ensuing week spent nearby.

*First, in that Critical Care Unit during George’s crisis, not a single other patient died. Not one.

*The families of other patients, along with hospital staff, witnessed the fierce love and devotion of an entire, rather large, family. It was a love and devotion for our beloved husband/father/son/brother and friend. But it was also a deep and sincere love for our Lord, our Creator, the Master Healer. What a testimony!

*We made an impact upon several who were staying at the same hotel in Bangor, one of whom I still keep in touch with. They were an encouragement to us, and we to them-just the way it’s supposed to be!

Before we made the long drive home we stopped by the hospital one last time to say goodbye, and thank you. To the nurses especially, and to others who were so incredibly helpful, accommodating, encouraging, consoling, and wonderful to all of us. I wish I could remember their names, but I don’t. But the faces and deeds  firmly remain in my memory and I will eternally be grateful for every single one! If you are reading this and you are one of those people, please reach out to me; I’d love to reconnect!

And now here we are, 5 years later. Still alive and living a full life. Still working way too hard. Still needing to rest and eat more. Sill thankful for every deed. Eternally grateful for a God who sought to teach us a few valuable lessons, even if through The Most Wonderful, Terrible Thing.

*For more about the role of cholesterol and saturated fat, the problems associated with statin drugs, as well as what actually causes heart disease, please peruse these articles on the Weston A. Price Foundation website.

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