Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Accepting blessings through trials

That brother of mine has been gone from us on his mission for three weeks.  Three weeks doesn't even make a dent in two years, but, it's three weeks closer to having him back home.  It's been tough having him gone.  The first few days were really sucky, but as with most things in life, it gets a little bit easier.

Sunday dinner is pretty rough.  My boys sit at the kids table by themselves and we don't hear the muffled laughter that they had with their uncle.  They just quietly eat and then ask to be excused.  It's different.  Not bad, but it just will take a little bit more getting used to.

I've heard said countless times, that for the young men and women who serve full-time missions, they and their families are blessed beyond measure.  That the sacrifice of 18 - 24 months reaps rewards in heaven and on earth.  And that, while these courageous and strong youth are out serving the Lord, that as long as they and their families are righteous, rewards will be reaped.

I've always believed that.  It makes so much sens.  But, this week my family has experienced those blessings and "missionary miracles" first hand.

On Monday, at lunchtime at "the yard", my grandpa set out for his daily constitutional around my uncles t-shirt shop when he fell.  He fell forward and he fell hard.  He's too old to really brace himself and he smashed his face into the concrete floor.  My uncles got him up and his face was bloodied, but he was conscious and coherent and was able to get himself into the bathroom.  He agreed to get checked out by a doctor because he was in pain, and, headed to an emergency room.

While there, things were not good and though he was "okay" after some tests and scans and x-rays, it was realized that my grandpa's fall had caused him to break the top two vertebrae in his neck.  The vertebrae that hold his head up and are dangerously close to his spinal cord.  It was decided to transfer him by ambulance to another hospital where a surgeon could do more tests and figure out the best way to help him.

At that point, the prayers started pouring in.  Family and friends prayed.  My grandpa was given a priesthood blessing.  His name was put on the prayer rolls of several temples.  By Monday night, the surgeon felt the best option for my grandpa would be surgery to put him in a halo neck brace.  The kind that gets screwed into your skull.  This apparatus would probably be attached to him for at least three months and because of the nature of the device, he wouldn't be able to care for himself.

More prayers and blessings.

Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

More prayers.  More prayers.

Yesterday morning, after checking him out, the surgeon decided that a halo would not be necessary, that it would be better for him and his recovery, to fuse my grandpa's broken neck to his shoulders.  He'd completely lose the ability to turn his head for the rest of his life, and would have to relearn a lot, but it wasn't a halo.

More prayers and blessings.

Surgery for the fuse was scheduled and my grandpa was wheeled into the operating room.  My mom says that they had him on the table, on his stomach, to do the surgery and when they got his neck open, the bones were not broken like they had been on the x-rays the night before.  In fact, the neck to shoulder fuse wasn't going to be necessary.  A call was made from the operating room to the family to change my grandpa's surgery  - they needed permission to flip him to his back, and fix his neck through his throat (icky!) - and all he needed was a solitary pin and the vertebrae in question fused to one that wasn't broken. (If I have all my details correct).

Can you believe that?

 I can.

I texted my mom last night and said that I was so happy my grandpa got to be a miracle.  And that the blessings of my brother being a valiant missionary, even if it's only been for three weeks, and the strength of us on earth and my grandma in heaven, healed my grandpa enough to help him be okay.  To sustain himself through the procedure.  To renew our faith, and maybe even restore the faith in a few others.

I so believe in faith and God and the power of prayer and miracles.  My grandpa has a long road to recovery ahead of him and it will be one of the bigger trials of his life.  But through faith, great works happen.  Through our trials we get stronger.

After something like this the last couple of days, I just don't know how you can't believe that that there is someone, something out there watching over us and protecting us.

I'm so grateful for my brother.  And that my grandpa is going to be okay.

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