"I almost went to heaven today."
That's what my dad told my sister as he lay in the ICU this afternoon. She pieced the day's events together for me after leaving the hospital tonight. I am not sure I'll be able to write it, but I'm going to try. So many of you have been calling and sending texts and leaving comments, and I am more grateful for your prayers than you will ever know.
It is clearer than ever to me that God is a God of details. Here is the story of His obvious mercies toward us today.
Dad was driving Mom home from a checkup when he turned gray and said he felt terrible. They were right by a doctor's office. She suggested he pull in. He said he should drive her home and drop her off first, but she insisted and said she would wait in the car.
Minutes later, she saw my brother Jon pulling up. She called out to him and he said that the doctor had phoned him. They had called 911 and were loading dad into an ambulance. I wouldn't find out the details of what happened before that until later.
When my family got to the hospital, nurses and doctors filled the room and my family couldn't get in to see Dad. He was projectile-vomiting blood, losing two pints in a matter of minutes. The doctors performed an emergency scope, found a bleeding ulcer in his duodenum and cauterized it, stopping the bleeding, saving his life.
He is not in much pain, but my sister said he is having some mental fog, probably because of the lack of oxygen to his brain. We're praying that this is just a temporary residual effect and that it will pass. Other good news is that they did not find any cancer. I'm sad that I cannot see him. He gave orders for me not to go home. It's hard, though, because he isn't allowed to talk on the phone. I just want to hear his voice.
As for the "passing out" that I mentioned earlier... no one knows exactly what happened. The nurse who saw him at the doctor's office said she normally seats a patient then leaves the room. But without knowing why, she changed her routine. She stayed with him for a moment, and that's when she turned and saw that he was unresponsive. They were able to revive him and then call 911. Just in time.
Had he still been driving...
Had he been anywhere but near a doctor's office...
Had my mom not insisted...
Had the nurse left the room...
For those of you who have read my book or met my father, you know the faith he has in the God who bent down to love him. If I know anything about my dad, I know he will use this experience as a way to tell other people that God loves them, too. He is nothing if not passionate about Jesus. He is probably talking to the nurse right now, telling her that Jesus wants to give her an endless hope. That's my dad. :)
I am grateful to you for your prayers, and I still ask you for them, if you are a person who talks to God.
I am grateful to God for choosing to leave him here with us a little longer... but I am even more grateful to know where he is going when he leaves.
I still cherish your prayers for my family...
Thank you so much,