Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Count Your Blessings

Today was a good day.  Actually it was beyond good, it was stinkin' awesome!  Today after more than 3 weeks, my friend Brandi came off the ventilator and finally got the tubes out of her throat.  Tonight after visiting hours, they were going to remove the tube that has been in her nose helping to feed her.  When I got the text from her mom letting me know just after 4 o'clock today I let out a "whoop!" in my empty car all to myself.  I got a little teary at about the same time as the perma-grin arrived on my face.
This is the turning point so many of us have been praying for.  Last week she couldn't breathe on her own for more than 15 minutes and today she is breathing entirely on her own.  Last week there were a few days that were kinda gut wrenching.  The kind where you feel horrible because you know she feels like garbage, and you feel bad because there is nothing you can do but just be there for her, and hold her hand while she lies next to you, miserable.  The days as she was coming out of sedation were like that.  Those were the days that my tears seemed to be on a faucet that somebody has twisted to the on position and I didn't know how to turn them off.
When my sister Tara and I came to see her on Saturday, I cried tears of a different sort.  She was the most alert I had seen her yet.  We could read her handwriting, and her sentences hardly had any missing words. And then she flirted with the male nurse who was attending to her.  That's when I knew my girl was on her way back! She saw my tears and pointed to the frownie face she had drawn and asked me if I was sad.  I was sad that she was in the hospital and still would be for a while, but no, these were happy tears.  Happy to see her so much more like herself.  Today when Jeff and I came to see her she was clearly exhausted, but again such a marked difference from just two days before.  There was color in her cheeks and her face had its usual shape to it.  Again the happy tears came.
Last week when I shared Brandi's story on my blog and posted a link to Facebook, I had no idea what I was starting.  That blog post was shared on Brandi's wall, and then again by 9 other people, mostly from Michigan, on their walls.  Brandi's sister Breigh was one of those 9 who shared it, and at least 15 of her friends shared it from there. Since then I have been inundated with messages, calls, texts, and facebook comments from people asking how they could help and letting me know that they're praying for Brandi.  Several were from friends of mine and even one from a cousin who I haven't seen in a few years, all of whom have never met Brandi, asking if there was a fund set up to send donations to.
It brought me to tears yet again as I was so strongly reminded of the experience I had just a few months ago when Brynne wrapped up her soccer season, and went in for her eye surgery.  The kinds of experiences that bring us to our knees pleading for peace, assurance and healing, things beyond our own control, these are the times He so often blesses us by earthly angels.  These are the times that the general goodness that lies in each of us is stirred into action to help however we are able.  I have been humbled and amazed to see so many people come together to offer prayers, physical and monetary assistance to a dear friend, a mere acquaintance, or a perfect stranger. Being a witness to these events is a gift and a blessing and fills my heart with a renewed hope in mankind.
The blessings have continued to pour in.  Jeff, as Brandi's attorney, and at the request of her mother when we let her know of these generous offers, set up a fund to help assist Brandi in covering her medical bills.  I added the link to my blog post at then another on to Facebook.  To date, that post has over 2,600 page loads, and we have raised almost $4,000.00.  I am confident that the heavens have been bombarded with prayers in her behalf and I am equally confident that those prayers are being answered now.
When any of us are hurt or scared somehow Mom is always the person who we want and need by our sides.  This has been true of Brandi as well.  Judy has been tirelessly advocating for her daughter, and by her side for weeks now but another one of the biggest blessings in Brandi's life right now is her step dad Miles.  I am beyond impressed with the way he loves and cares for Brandi's mom, the way he can put a smile on all of our faces in the most somber of circumstances, and has kept a level head through such an emotional time. As reliable as all of these things have been, the best by far is to watch him in the hospital room with Brandi.  He is tender and reassuring, explaining to her whats going on and encouraging her to do what she needs to do.  The love he feels for her is so apparent. One of the messages she wrote to me last week said "I heart Miles. He loves me. He makes me calm.  He got caught in here at 3am watching me sleep so I wouldn't be alone."  Again the tears flowed, hers and mine.  
Another blessing that has come from this experience has been perspective.  I couldn't even begin to tell you how many people after hearing what Brandi is going through, have responded with almost the exact same words," Wow, it really puts everything into perspective and reminds you about whats really important in life doesn't it?"  Indeed it does.  This is a reminder that is good for all of us to have on occasion.  I don't want to waste my days with things that don't really matter in the long run.  I want to always have a heart full of gratitude.  I want to spend my time with the people I love and be sure they know how cherished they are.  We never know what lies ahead for any of us, better to spend our days counting our blessings than our regrets.

*Donations to Brandi's fund can be made by clicking here

1 comment:

EricaW said...

Well said Jen! Tears running down my cheek as I read what you have out into words that so many of us here in Michigan feel. Brandi was my coach in high school and a role model to do many of us! We've been praying and feeling helpless 2000 miles away. Thank you for this! Mommasitis as we called Judy also our coach was wonderful and will always be! Miles the football coach a big teddy bear. Thanks for this wonderful update!