Wednesday, February 7, 2007

What you Ask For Vs. What You Get!

Or, be careful what you ask for; you may get it!

Tuesday morning I awoke with the weatherman's warnings ringing in my ears: Snow. Lots of Snow. All Day. OK, I can handle that, I figured. But as I was brushing my teeth and encouraging Sweet Girl to get her clothes on, I groaned to Champs, "Oh, I don't want to go to work today!" Roughly three minutes later the phone rang; it was my mother-in-law, who we call Grandma Dee. She explained that her tracheostomy had become clogged and she had to remove it. In order to get it reinserted, she needed to see her Otolaryngologist in Springfield - 85 miles away. Guess what? I didn't go to work, but I also didn't curl back up in bed like I really wanted to do.

Since we had to wait for Grandma Dee's doctor to get out of surgery, we didn't need to leave until 10:30. All the while, the snow was blowing and piling up. I picked up Grandma and off we went. Now, I am a Minnesota girl and snow doesn't faze me, but this was amazing! For the first hour of our trip, we were in white out conditions. As we hit the highway, I prayed that God would give me wisdom as I drove, help us to arrive safely and keep our wheels on the road.

Within a few minutes, I was smack dab behind two semi trucks which added to the whiteout problem. They had the outside lane to themselves, while the left inside lane was covered in blowing snow and ice. I had no choice; I had to pass the trucks on the left if I wanted to be able to see anything. I tried for at least 15 minutes, but I couldn't seem to get past them. Finally, I dropped back. I couldn't see the trucks ahead of me or any vehicles behind me. Another car came up and braved the left lane and I went right behind, following their ruts. It was hard work; the car was vibrating with the wind and snow. My muscles got so tight, but finally I got past them. The difference was amazing; I could see!

We continued on the trip and the snow thinned out as we neared Springfield. I passed two tankers and was in the left lane. Thankfully, there were no other cars near us. That's good, because about three miles out of town, I suddenly hit a patch of black ice. In an instant, I went from driving to ice skating. The car spun 180 degrees to the right, careening across the highway. Just as we neared the right shoulder, the car turned and spun to the left, this time going a full 360 degrees. The whole time, Grandma Dee was whispering "JESUS!" (since screaming won't work when you have a temporary treacheostomy in your throat) and I was silent, just doing my best to steer into the skid and hold it together. We flew across all the lanes, back and forth as though the car were hitting invisible bumpers and bouncing off. After about 1500 or so yards, we finally came to a stop, facing forward, on the edge of the highway at the left shoulder. The car was fine. We were fine. Amazingly, we didn't go into the ditch. After a few moments of just breathing and thanking the Lord, the two tankers went by and honked as if to say "good show!"

Grandma Dee broke the silence by reminding me, "well, you prayed that He would keep your wheels on the road. He did." Yeup. I got what I asked for - kind of. Next time I'll pray that, in addition to keeping my wheels on the road, He keeps them going forward! As I eased the car back onto the road, we marveled at how we had been protected. I drove around a bend where we could see a horrible sight; a state trooper and a tow truck were flanking a van resting on the right shoulder with the side completely crumpled in and the door ripped off. Truly, we had no words. We shook with gratitude, fear and wonder the rest of the way to the hospital, knowing that the hand of God had kept us safe.

When we got to the hospital and clinic, I had the car parked by valet parking (a very nice service for patients) and we went up to see her doctor. We got in right away, but the doctor explained that, in order to insert the proper trachea tube, she would have to put Dee under general anesthesia; surgery - and not until sometime after 4:00. Ugg! With the weather we were facing, I had wanted to be back on the road home in daylight. No way that was happening. I called Champs and we decided that, rather than heading back home in the dark and bad weather, I should stay in Springfield. I hadn't brought anything for an overnight, but oh well. I made a reservation at a local hotel and planned to stay with Grandma through the surgery.

Now, this part is a bit complicated, but basically, prior to yesterday's issue, Grandma Dee has needed to have a new special type of trachea tube inserted. The surgery was planned for some unspecified time in the future. I asked the doctor if, since Dee had to go under anyway, she could go ahead and insert the special tube - kind of a "two birds with one stone" approach. The doctor agreed that this would be a good idea and planned for it. Problem: that tube is a special order, costing over $1000.00. The surgical staff scoured the supplies for the special Montgomery tube. They thought they finally found one at a nearby hospital, but it turned out to be the wrong tube. You guessed it: No surgery today. The doctor could have put in a different tube, but then she would have had to operate again anyway to put in the special tube. By the time the decision was made, however, it was nearing 7:00. The doctor admitted Grandma to the hospital to await surgery on Thursday and to monitor the condition of the temporary tube. See, there it is again. Be careful what you ask for. Now, I know the doctor would have figured it out herself, but I am the one who asked her to use the special tube and you see - I didn't get exactly what I asked for! Thankfully, Dee understood that the wait will give a better return in the long run and was able to deal with the delay with a great attitude.

I called Champs and told him I could come home then or wait until morning. I explained that I would have to go to CVS and buy some toiletries and a tee shirt to sleep in. He said that was fine; in the end, it was better to spend some money and get home safely than it was to risk coming home in the dark - especially after my double-donuts experience earlier in the day. He told me to go to the hotel, crank up the heat, say my prayers, get some sleep, and come home to him in the morning.

And that's exactly what I did.

And here are some comments from this post:
Star said...
Thank goodness you are okay. That whole experience must have been frightening.

Geekwif said...
I didn't realize from your text messages that it was that bad! I'm so glad you made it safely!

Linda said...
God comes through when we least expect it...
and He always gives us what is BEST for us...not what we want, but what we need.
Glad you're safe...hope you and Grandma Dee don't have any more problems....

kenju said...
WHOA! You are much braver than I am. I stay home in snow and ice, so as not to stress God out with incessant praying...LOL

Pat said...
Your Grandma is blessed to have a dear grand-daughter like you. But you shouldn't have to go through an ordeal like that. I have had some experience with tracheostomies and there should be a closer emergency facility. I'm assuming you are in the States?
Anyway you are a brave girl. Well done!

Madame Courtney Whiny Complainy Pants, Esq. said...
There's a comedian, Brian Regan, who has a bit about how hospitals should have valet parking. He'd be pleased to know that one exists out there.
Glad you made it through the snow. Hope Grandma's ok. Here via Michele.

Paul said...
Holy cow!
That's the kinda weather we had here in Pancake Flats, which is only a few hours from Springfield. It's Tuesday. We got 5 - 8 inches of snow last night. No fun on the roads this morning, but there's been so much wind today that the roads are almost dry. Go figure. It's brutally cold!!! Where's my coffee???
I'm glad you're home safe with your Champs. God bless.

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