Thursday, April 30, 2009

Monday,April 13th - Thursday,April 16th

Okay, I am going to fast forward through the rest of the week. As you can tell from my previous posts the family tension was horrible, and made everything worse. However things are starting to work themselves out, and I really don't want to talk about it anymore. This will be a long post, but it will be the last about the wreck and the incidents following it.

On Monday morning at 5:45 we were back to see Loyd. I loved those first morning visits. It was usually just me & Charlie, and maybe one of our kids if they woke up that early. We tried to let them sleep till the second visitation because it was always 1 or 2 in the morning before the rest of the family went home and we could all try to go to sleep. So, that morning just a little after 6 the neurosurgeon came in and told us that at sometime over the weekend Loyd had a stroke. His was unable to feel his left side, and had become unresponsive to commands. Meaning that he would no longer squeeze your hand and then let go when told or open his eyes on command. He could still squeeze your hand but he wouldn't let go. The doctor said that was a muscle reflex and not because he wanted to. Again his right side was the only side where he could do that at all. As we talked to the doctor, Charlie started talking to his Daddy. The doctor gave him a few exercises that could make Loyd respond. He taught Charlie how to get him to lift his eyebrows, wiggle his fingers and toes. In the matter of just a few minutes he was responding to Charlie's voice commands, but he still wouldn't respond to the doctors or nurses. His responses were always a little unusual; like from the beginning he would respond better to my daughter Elizabeth than anyone. He would try to lift his entire arm up when he heard her voice. He would lift his eyelids a little when I would sing, and then when our old Pastor came in to talk to him he tried to lift his right hand like he wanted to shake his hand. We could tell by these acts that God was still in control.

Then the lung doctor came in. All of this during that first AM visit. Believe me Monday was a most eventful day. He told us that even with the ventilator he was not getting a full deep breath. They were very concerned about the continued path and what the children should decide to do. The children had all already told him that no other methods of life support could be done. Meaning, no cutting, chest compressions, heart support, or brain support. The lung doctor wanted to insert the tubes via a trach, but he knew the circumstances. He basically told us that morning that if we weren't going to do anything else than we needed to just remove the ventilator completely. We were just prolonging Loyd's suffering. Yes, his pain was getting worse everyday. They were giving him more and more morphine everyday which also slowed his responses to anyone. The doctor asked Charlie to sign a DNR so that the hospital would have the information in writing. Charlie explained that he couldn't and wouldn't do that without talking to his siblings first. Charlie always wanted them to be in agreement before anything was done, but most of the time when the doctors came by we were the only ones there.

At about 8am, the nurses came running out. Loyd's right lung had collapsed and there was a 4cm tear in it as well. They wanted to do a chest tube. Charlie got his 2 oldest siblings on the phone and told them the news. Remember no one wanted Loyd to be cut on. He talked to them about 5 minutes and they couldn't come up with a decision. Finally Charlie said "Well I am the one here, and it can't wait. I am telling them No, and I am signing a DNR otherwise they will do a full code and we don't want that" He told them both that he loved them, and then went in with the nurses to do what he'd said. Basically he was just putting in writing what they'd all verbally agreed to anyway, but this caused a little friction. His brothers & sister finally arrived at the hospital that afternoon. They weren't happy but they understood why Charlie had to do what he'd done. They didn't want the chest tube either, but they just didn't want to put anything in writing.

Monday evening, Tuesday & Wednesday came and went. We only left the hospital for the visitation at the funeral home and then the funeral on Wednesday. Charlie wouldn't stay gone long because he didn't want his Daddy left alone. If the doors were open then he wanted to be there, so we went to visitation between visiting hours. This upset the other siblings a little bit because they thought he should be at the funeral home with them. What they didn't understand was everyone who was at the funeral home had already been at the hospital at least once, and we already felt like we'd had enough visitation.

Before the funeral on Wednesday the doctors had talked to Charlie and recommended that if we weren't going to do any other treatment that Loyd be taken off the ventilator. Charlie asked the doctors if they would meet with all the siblings on Thursday morning. He explained the funeral situation, and asked that they just let them all get through the day. After the funeral Charlie asked all the siblings to meet him at the hospital to talk to the doctors at 8:30 Thursday morning.

On Thursday morning everyone arrived as requested, but you could tell they weren't all happy campers. Charlie began by giving them all copies of something that his Mother wrote. It basically said that she always wanted her family to be peaceful and that the circle be unbroken. She never like bickering of any kind. Charlie told them that he didn't want any fighting, and that he just wanted to honor the life that his Father had lived and his requests. He asked them to be open minded and listen to the doctor. Charlie then asked them if the Pastor could pray with us all. Well, needless to say we never had prayer. Each of the brothers had something to say to Charlie from he was rushing it because we needed to get back to work to we were greedy. His sister never said anything at all. It was very ugly! They all believed that Loyd could get better, and come home. They even were talking about home health etc. Finally the doctor came out, and explained. He told us that Loyd couldn't live with the tubes down his throat, and that he would have to be on a trach. No one wanted that. He told us that Loyd would never go home. If we did decide on keeping him on the ventilator via a trach then he would go to a nursing home where he could have 24 hour nurses care. He would always be exactly like he was now, unless he had another stroke which could further restrict his ability to respond. Charlie never said anything because we had already heard this all. They all had something to say to the doctor, and really berated him. One brother said well when God is ready for him to go then his heart will stop. The doctor said well if you believe so much in God's will then why do you have him on the ventilator anyway? He said, why don't you take him off and then if it is God's will for him to continue to live he will, and if not then he'll go. After about 30 minutes the doctor finally said he had to go to surgery and to call him if we ever made a decision.

The day went on. About 1pm Charlie, me & the kids left. I needed to do laundry, and we wanted to get something to eat besides snack food. I couldn't believe Charlie wanted to leave but he said if they left his Daddy that way then he couldn't stand it and that we would probably leave Friday morning for home.

I need to preface what happened that afternoon with something else I haven't told you. There were times that Loyd would be in a lot of pain, choking, and they couldn't give him anymore morphine. The nurses would call Charlie in to pray with him and the pain would subside. None of the other children had witnessed this. That morning all the children went in together and this happened. Charlie didn't pray immediately because he wanted his brothers & sister to see the suffering that he was going through. Finally one of the brothers looked at him and asked him to please pray. He did and the pain & choking subsided. So, about 3:00 we were at the laundromat and I received a phone call from one of the granddaughters. She said her Mother, Charlie's sister, was asking Charlie to come and pray for Loyd. Well, we couldn't be there that quickly, and within 5 minutes she called back and said that her Mother had decided to remove the ventilator. She couldn't take seeing him suffering.

We started back to the hospital immediately. We almost didn't make it in time. When we walked in we realized that the entire family was in the waiting room but the door was open for visitation. We just walked straight back to Loyd's room. The nurses were there removing the tubes. He
only took about 3 or 4 breaths once the tubes were removed and he was gone. He never gasped, choked, or anything that they'd prepared us for. Charlie was his only child in the room with him when he passed. I was there, my children, and 3 of the granddaughters.

It was a very sad passing. I think I reacted the worst because they had prepared us for the worst which didn't happen. They told us that he might last several hours to days, and that he might even be able to communicate with us. I wasn't prepared for him to just pass so quickly. However, I was and am very happy that he no longer had to suffer.

He lived a very full and happy life. He was a wonderful, strong man and very loved by his entire family. He loved to work and sometimes I think he lived to work or worked to live. When he couldn't work he would get sick. I miss my in-laws greatly. They were both inspirations to me. I was never counted as a daughter-in-law. They always told me I was their daughter. They had other daughters-in-law but I was the only one they ever said that to. So, I think that makes me special! I am special to have been loved by people so great! I am going to share more stories about my in-laws but they will be reflections of their life and my life with them.

Thank you all for your prayers! We have definitely needed them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saturday, April 11 & Sunday, April 12

Saturday began with Loyd's blood pressure & heart rate being extremely high. They started him on a heart medication to bring down his blood pressure & pulse. It worked to some extent. His heart rate & blood pressure came down but it was still high by normal standards.
We met with his family doctor and the lung specialist sometime on Saturday afternoon. They began by telling us that there wasn't much hope for his survival. Dr. Bedgood, his family doctor, asked if we knew Loyd's wishes about life support. Charlie & I said yes. He asked us what they were, and we told him that Loyd didn't want to be on any life support. Then he said that is what he told me too. He asked why we placed him on the ventilator? Charlie's oldest brother explained that he was told that it would give him a better chance of survival. Dr. Bedgood just kindly smiled at him, but he never returned the entire time we were there, his PA did the rounds. Dr. Bedgood was my family doctor when we lived in Dalton. He explained to Charlie & I after the family left that he couldn't be part of his treatment because he knew Loyd's wishes weren't being carried out; however there wasn't a living will so our hands were tied.

Saturday afternoon we finally left the hospital, but only for a few hours. We went to the funeral home to make funeral arrangements for Lethia.

On Saturday night or should I say Sunday morning about 3am, Charlie decided that he would like to go to church for Easter. I had been talking about making a trip home to get more clothes. We decided that we would visit with Loyd at the 5:45am visitation and then we would all leave for church, our church! We made it home about 8:00am. We all ran through the shower, unpacked and then packed the right clothing for our trip. About 9:45 we left for church. We had a great time, and our church family welcomed us with open arms. I don't think we could have made it through the week without the church service that morning. We made it back to the Dalton ICU in time for the 5:30pm visitation. The four of us went straight in and began to tell Loyd about the service that we had. We told him about the songs that were sang, the sermon that was preached, and the spirit that we were able to feel. He would lift his eyebrows, and try to squeeze Charlie's hand.

We again spent the night at the hospital. Sunday night was the fourth night we slept in the recliners, and on the benches.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friday, April 10

Charlie & his Dad in February 2009

Thursday night was the first of seven nights that we spent at the hospital. Friday began at 5:45am, the first time that "the door" opened for the day. For 7 days we ate, slept, and plain lived by the opening and closing of "the door". This was my first time to see Loyd since the accident. For me to tell this story accurately I need to tell you that Loyd was dropped as an infant, and his back was broken. He lived his entire life with a hunchback. I had never seen him laying on his back until that morning. I was immediately concerned because I knew that this was causing him considerable pain on top of the pain he was in from his injuries. He was having trouble breathing, and with each exhale he would say "Oh Lord". I couldn't keep from crying. Charlie was able to hold him up a little and that would relieve some of the pain. It was so sad to see Charlie holding his daddy like a little baby. He would wrap his arms around him and then just pull him up to him. It was like he was giving him a big bear hug. The first time that Charlie did this Loyd looked at him and said "I Love You." Of course, this had us all crying. At 6:30 we had to leave the room to return at 8:30. When we returned the nurse told us that Loyd was having considerable trouble breathing. The respiratory nurse said that every breath was hurting him because of the pressure from his back and from the fractured ribs. He was breathing very shallow, and couldn't get a deep breath. They were concerned about pneumonia setting up in his lungs. They recommended that he be put on a ventilator. Charlie explained to the nurses that he wouldn't do anything until all his brothers & his sister arrived at the hospital because they needed Loyd as alert as possible so they could tell him about Lethia's passing. The nurses then placed Loyd on a CPAP to assist his breathing. Within minutes he seemed to be breathing easier.

When the siblings arrived Charlie explained the situation. Charlie also explained a conversation that we had with Loyd the first of February when Charlie's uncle was placed on life support. Loyd was adamant that he never be placed on life support. He told us, Lethia, and Charlie's sister, Tiny. Of course we never thought that we would placed in this situation. At 11:00 they let us back in to see Loyd. All the siblings gathered around his bedside and told him about Lethia's passing. We weren't sure if he understood or not. He was on morphine for the pain, and that caused him to be very sleepy. He was able to talk, and he said "Oh Lord, Thank You Lord, I Love You Lord" He didn't stop between statements.

The nurses left him on the CPAP machine until later that afternoon. Then around 5:00pm they came out and said he was still having considerable trouble breathing. They again recommended the ventilator. Charlie was adamant about following his father's wishes, but his other brother's didn't hear Loyd say it so they wanted to go ahead and place him on the ventilator. The respiratory nurse said it could help him breath, and that would give him a better chance of recovery. So, at 5:30 they placed him on the ventilator.

We visited with Loyd at the opening of "the door" throughout the rest of day but he was no longer able to communicate with us. We were told that it was because of the morphine that they were giving him for the pain, and the fact that without enough oxygen he was becoming very lethargic.

**I am still having problems with my home computer so my daily entries won't be daily but as I have access to a computer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday, April 9th

This Thursday was similar to many other Thursday's since December. I went to work at 7am because I needed to get off early to take Trevlyn to the doctor for his 4th ultrasound. I have a great boss; as long as my work is done, and I work my allotted hours than he is fine with making my schedule flexible. Trevlyn's appointment was at 2pm. It didn't take long and by 2:30 we were at Home Depot looking for material so that I could make a sign for the Easter Festival at church. After leaving Home Depot we stopped by Hobby Lobby. My to do list was long...Our church Easter Festival was scheduled for the following Saturday, and I still had many last minute things to do. While I was searching for Easter Egg Dye, candy & prizes, Trevlyn was talking on the phone to my brother Corey. That Thursday night our church was starting a revival, and it was going to be the first revival that Trevlyn had ever spoke in. He was very nervous, and Corey was giving him a "hard" time. It was all in good fun. We were laughing and just enjoying the beautiful day. Little did we know that at 3:42 our lives would irrevocably change forever.

We decided to go home after leaving Hobby Lobby instead of going to Party City. Trevlyn really was getting very nervous, and a little sick to his stomach! We were almost home and I received a call from Charlie. I knew that something was wrong as soon as I answered because he was crying, sobbing was more like it. He asked where I was, and then he said go straight home, and pack us some clothes. We are going to Georgia because Mama & Daddy have been in a wreck. I asked him if he knew how bad it was and he explained that his sister had called him from the scene. His parents had just left their house, and less than a mile from their home a vehicle passed a car in their lane hitting them head on. The ambulance had already taken his Mother to the hospital but they were still getting his Dad and brother out. The truck was completely caved in and all three had to be cut out of the truck. At that time no one knew exactly how bad it was, but by the appearance of the wreck his sister didn't think any of them would make it.

An hour had passed by the time we all arrived home, packed a few outfits, and were ready to go. By that time we had received another call letting us know that Lethia, Charlie's mother, had been airlifted to Erlanger in Chattanooga. His Dad & brother were in ICU at the Dalton hospital. At that time we knew that Loyd, Charlie's dad, had 8 fractured ribs on the right side, a fractured vertebrae in his neck, and a cut on his left hand. Joe, Charlie's brother, had a broken wrist, and his right leg was crushed. Lethia was in the worst shape. She had internal bleeding. Her left leg was crushed, her right leg was broken, and her pelvis was broken. Before airlifting her to Erlanger they were having a hard time getting her blood pressure stabilized.

We arrived at Erlanger shortly after Charlie's sister and niece arrived. The nurses explained that Lethia was taken straight into surgery. We waited and waited and waited. More family arrived. Charlie's family is huge, and I think a member of every one of Lethia's siblings was present. Finally a nurse came and took us to the ICU waiting room, but we were turned away because our family was too big. They said only 2 people could be in that waiting room. We were told that visiting hours were from 8:30-9:00, and then they took us to the CCU waiting room because it was bigger. The nurse explained that they would call us when it was time for visitation. We asked when we would have a chance to speak with the doctor and she told us that as soon as the doctor was able to get cleaned up he would be by. At this point it was about 7:30. We thought everything was fine. Of course we knew that she was critical because she was going to ICU, but we thought we were going to be able to see her shortly. We even began to talk about getting Loyd & Joe moved to Erlanger so they could all be in the same hospital. About 8:15 the doctor comes out and ask to speak with the Singleton family. He takes us into the hallway. Then he begins to explain..."When Lethia arrived her blood pressure was very low, and not stable. She had internal bleeding, and many external injuries to her lower extremities. We were able to get her blood pressure stabilized. We found that her internal bleeding was from where her bowel had come loose. We were able to get the bleeding stopped, and the bowel reattached. Then her heart just gave out." The way he was explaining we all thought that everything was okay, but then his last sentence just about stopped our hearts! After about an hour they let us back to see her. She looked like an angel. Lethia's skin is olive toned and her hair is white. Laying on the bed she looked like an old Indian woman. She looked like she was sleeping. We all said our goodbyes and made our way to Dalton.

Upon arriving to the Dalton ICU we found out that Joe was still in surgery. Charlie's other 2 brothers didn't want them to tell their Dad that Lethia had passed until they could tell Joe. Joe didn't get out of surgery until after midnight and by this time it was too late to tell Loyd. They made a decision not to tell Loyd or Joe until the next day. They didn't want Charlie to go back and see Loyd either. They were afraid that he would tell him about Lethia. Thursday was the last day that his Dad was fully conscious.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Grace is Sufficient for Thee

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (King James Version)

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Valerie's sister shared the verses above. As I read the above I thought about how the Lord prepares you for things even when you don't realize it. A couple of weeks ago Charlie and I were making plans for the months of April & May. We were trying to find a weekend to come down and spend a weekend with Loyd & Lethia, Charlie's parents. We had something going on at church every weekend until we go on vacation in May; however our plans were to spend the weekend of Mother's Day with them. Yesterday we were coming out of the funeral home and Charlie said "I bet God was laughing when we were making plans a few weeks ago".

I started this post on Saturday, April 18, but due to computer issues I was unable to finish it. I think that I will let this be the start of a few posts dedicated to my wonderful husband's parents. I will try to write a post about them each day. I will tell you about the events that led to their painful death, and other posts about how they've impacted my life.

Monday, April 13, 2009

God is in control

What a week!! I don't even know where to begin, but I guess the week starts with Monday so here goes... Last Monday I found out that my brother's first wife; the Mother of my niece & nephew was still in the Dalton Hospital's ICU. She had been admitted with pneumonia and had steadily gotten worse. The doctor's couldn't find out what was wrong with her, and where all the infection was coming from. The diagnosis hours before her death was that she had contracted an infection from an IUD. She died early Tuesday morning. She was 38 years old, and the Mother of 2 teenagers. Her funeral was planned for Friday at 2pm at Ponder's Funeral Home with visitation on Thursday night at 6pm.

Also on Tuesday morning we found out that my step-father's brother had a massive heart attack. His heart quit beating and he was gone for 25-30 minutes. They were able to shock his heart and revive him. Today he is doing great. He didn't have to have surgery and this morning was sitting up in the bed eating.

Some of you know my son has been sick since December when he contracted mono. His spleen has been enlarged now for 4 months. When we went in March for the ultrasound the test results said that his spleen was twice the size that it should be, and that he would still be unable to participate in any sporting activities. We all know that sports is Trevlyn's life, and this has been very hard for him. On Thursday afternoon we went for another ultrasound. We should receive the test results back later this week.

Then about 3:30 on Thursday afternoon I received a phone call from my husband. He was crying, and he told me to meet him at home; we were going to Georgia. I know that something was bad wrong. I finally got it out of him that his Mother & Father had been involved in horrible head-on collision. His brother was also in the car with them. When we first received the call we were told that they were all in horrible shape and had to be cut out of the truck. I immediately started praying for God's will. They airlifted my mother-in-law to Erlanger in Chattanooga TN for further treatment while my father-in-law and brother-in-law stayed in ICU in Dalton. Some of the family stayed in Dalton & we met Charlie's sister in Chattanooga at about 5:30. By 8pm the doctor's came out from surgery and told us that his Mother didn't make it. Her heart was unable to survive the trauma. We left Erlanger and came to the hospital in Dalton to see my father-in-law and brother-in-law. By Friday afternoon my father-in-law was unable to breath on his own and was put on a ventilator. My brother-in-law had multiple injuries; his right leg is shattered, his left wrist is broken, and his right knee had to be reconstructed. We don't know if he'll ever walk again.

Today is Sunday, well actually since it is 2am I guess it is Monday. We've now been here since Thursday night. The good news first...Joe, my brother-in-law, is improving day by day. They've been able to sit him up little by little. He is fully awake, other than the pain meds they give him, and able to communicate with us. My father-in-law is not improving. The doctor's told us that he had a stroke sometime between Saturday morning and today. He is in unresponsive and hasn't talked to us at all since Thursday when he arrived at the hospital. Of course he couldn't talk if he wanted to because of the tubes in his throat. We have seen him try to squeeze someones hand and he grimaces his face, but the nurses say that doesn't count because he can't respond on command. We've been told that it doesn't look good for him to make it.

My in-laws have been my parents for almost 19 years. I love them with all my heart. I've never had those horrible mother-in-law stories that many people talk about. My mother-in-law was truly an angel. She was such a Godly woman. My father-in-law is also a Godly man. He is a deacon in our church, and at 81 he has served his church for many years.

I would ask that you pray for our family. We are in desperate need of God! I know that he is in control, and when he is ready to move then he will. Thank you for all of you who have already posted about the accident. You'll never know what you prayers and thoughts mean to us.

My mother-in-law is now a star in her local town too. I think we could have done without this type of stardom though. You can click on the link to read the story that was featured on the front page of the newspaper.