The stories we tell often have a cut beginning and end. Our minds are finite, and we need to organize things with starts and finishes. It’s the way we are. But God’s above that. The stories He tells, He writes, He plays, run together meshing our lives with those around us.
The story He’s been telling me doesn’t have a clear beginning. It might have started in 1998. It might have started when I was born or when my father was born. Actually, it might have started way before that, I don’t know. But I’ve reached a climax, crisis or whatever one calls the high moments of suspense. We’ve reached a point in which nothing from here on out can be the same again. And a decision is made.
See, my daddy’s heart has always had a problem. One of his valves doesn’t work right and his thyroid is off, etc. He was born that way, but he didn’t discover it until he would keep my momma up at night because he was shaking the bed with only his heartbeat. In 1998, his heart stopped beating in rhythm for the first time. Momma rushed him to the ER and they shocked his heart back into pace, no problem. It just shook them up a bit and started daddy on yearly cardiologist visits. In 2009 it happened again with the same results. When we moved to Africa it was one of the concerns we had that we just trusted to God to take care of. And He has… in His own way.
On May 11, in the middle of the night, his heart went into arrhythmia for the third time. Daddy had spent the week on the island, where he doesn’t sleep well and the food is different as well as the less extravagant accommodations cause stress. The next morning I woke up to find my father up and sitting on the couch at 7 am on a Saturday morning, which basically never happens. When I asked what was wrong and learned, I sat down to give him a hug. But never have I given a more painful hug—as I leaned my head on his chest all I heard was “bum bump…bum bump bum! bump…bum….bump bum!” And that’s not a comforting beat to hear.
He and momma hired a driver to take them to Kampala, the big city, to see a trusted doctor there. The boys and I hung out with friends and expected a renewed father to return that evening. The instructions from the doctor (which we later confirmed with our American cardiologist) were to take blood thinner and wait three weeks before shocking. Those three weeks were very different from our normal life. If you take one member of a working family out of that family, there’s a gap that’s left to fill, chores left to be done and it affects the actions of the rest of the family. Momma was driving around town more, doing things, the boys were home more and I was out and talking to people more. And daddy? He was resting A LOT more.
Ever since that day he has not been able to walk more than across the house without a rest. He can’t stand more than 10 minutes or sit up straight more than an hour. Seeing him that way stressed all of us. But we all were counting the days until he would “get better.”
On this past Wednesday, daddy, momma, a friend of mine and her mom and I all were driven to Kampala for a couple different appointments. One was my dad’s for some blood tests. He got numbers low enough to go ahead with the operation and the doctor scheduled the procedure for the next day. Oh, daddy was so relieved. I started planning on being at church the Sunday after and the boys and I went to spend the night at some friends’ house.
But it wasn’t in the plot diagram, I guess. God didn’t write that in the story. Instead, He had the nurses shock my daddy twice, neither time being successful. Instead, He had us kids reeling with questions back home while our parents were gone and we heard snippets that daddy wasn’t “fixed.” Oh, the turmoil.
I think the next event in this story is our whole family going to Nairobi, Kenya for more advanced treatment. We’re gathering all our clothes, schoolwork and anything we might need for possibly the next two or three weeks to leave as soon as our money gets wired in to the country. We have no idea how long this will take. If Nairobi can’t fix it, the next logical step would be a cardiac aversion or pacemaker. But like I said, we’re not writing the story.
I just know the current status of it is “To Be Continued…”