Monday, April 21, 2008

God's Powerful Touch

We have had quite an interesting week in the Willis house! All is well now, but we had a couple of scary days. But God is good and we are aware and in awe of His hand in all of it.

Let me start at the beginning...

Last Sunday, I got back home from a weekend trip to Birmingham where I had joined my little sis Cynthia for a college campus visit. When I left Memphis on Friday, Lance was suffering from a bad cold/cough. He had actually missed work on Thursday because of it... but was feeling a bit better. When I arrived home on Sunday afternoon, he looked (for lack of a better word) awful. He said he had basically been in bed all weekend, trying to recover from whatever he had. We both knew that there was no way the meds they had given him at the minor med clinic on Thursday were working - so I told Lance he needed to go back and see what else they could give him. Thankfully the clinic was open late on Sundays... so Lance went, hoping for some more medicine for his sore throat.

As we know now... this was God's way of getting Lance to see a doctor. I received a call from him saying that the doctor needed me to come pick him up immediately and get him to an ER. His blood pressure was extremely high - dangerously high - and the doctors were very concerned that he could have a stroke. I got there as fast as I could, and we made it to the ER in record time.

Thankfully, there was only one other person in the waiting room - and we were able to be seen very quickly. Lance was immediately put on an intraveous medicine to get his blood pressure down. The nurse quickly guesstimated that the reason his blood pressure had gotten so dangerously high was because he had been taking over-the-counter decongestant. He said for someone who already has high blood pressure (which Lance had been told before; he had just never seen a doctor for treatment) that kind of medicine could literally kill you. He said that Lance can never take it again. It was obvious how serious the nurse was... and I think Lance was surprised because obviously he had never been told of the potential combination before. The doctors also told Lance that he had pneumonia, on top of everything else. They poked and prodded him, took lots of blood, and got him chock full of meds.

Lance was treated and given several prescriptions - and we were released in about 5 hours. The doctor told us in no uncertain terms, before letting him go home, that if his blood pressure went above 160/100 we were to come back immediately to the ER. I dropped Lance off at home, went to Walgreens to get his meds, then came home to get some rest. We both rested the next day, and made an appointment with a doctor to get some long-term treatment for his blood pressure. Lance felt good.

We had been told to keep monitoring Lance's blood pressure ourselves, so about 2:30 that afternoon, we went up to a local grocery store's pharmacy to have it taken. We were both completely shocked that the number was almost where it had been at the clinic the day before. We immediately ran home to pack a bag (I was convinced they would keep him overnight this time) and were back in the ER again. This time, we had to wait about 30 minutes before being taken back. They "upgraded" him to a Major ER bed, where the most serious cases are seen. He was plugged up to lots of machines and they drew more blood (poor guy... he has bruises up his arms and in his hands from all the bloodwork this week!). The doctor who came to see us said that he thought it would be best to keep Lance overnight so they could continue to give him meds... but when we told him that we already had an appointment set up for the next morning with a doctor who would be giving him long-term treatment, he called her and they agreed to let him go with the explicit instructions to report to her first thing in the morning. So once again, we found ourselves leaving the ER (after about 4.5 hours) and heading home.

We went to the doctor Tuesday morning - where they did an EKG, took more blood, did a urine test, etc. The doctor is doing a full work-up to monitor his health for any other problems. She adjusted his ER meds a bit, and added one more blood pressure pill to his regimen. She also gave us a recommendation for a blood pressure cuff that we could keep at home, and gave him instructions to keep a record of his blood pressure every couple of hours - at least for the time being.

This wonderful doctor is intent on closely monitoring him and keeping him as healthy as possible. We have faith that all is well now... luckily (as all of his doctors said) he is an otherwise very healthy, young guy - and with lifestyle and dietary changes, it's possible that someday he could be off blood pressure meds entirely.

He has already completely changed his eating habits - I think we've eaten more fruit this past week than either one of us had eaten in a couple of months! I'm so proud of him for taking this seriously and keeping an eye on things.

This was certainly a wake-up call to both of us... it's amazing how easy it is to take your body for granted and think "Oh, someday I'll get in shape". We've both discovered that now is the time to get started. I think overall, this will be a blessing for us both.

We realize how scary this could have been... without God's powerful touch, this could have turned out very differently. God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him... and we give thanks to Him for our blessings!

And this experience has also made us realize how many amazing people we have in our lives. We received countless emails and phonecalls from friends and family, telling us of prayers they had lifted up in Lance's name. Every single prayer was felt - and we are so thankful for each and every one of them.


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