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  • saraboverhof

Heartbreaks and Triumphs

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

It was Sunday. My sister-in-law had left to be with her family for church and some sleep, and I was alone. I tried sleeping, but my mind wouldn't shut off for longer than an hour at a time. I spent a lot of time just staring at my love, in awe of how much I love him and thanking God for sparing his life. I prayed hard that day for him to wake up with function and feeling. I knew that with his injury full function and feeling were in jeopardy.

Throughout the day, I was blessed with so many people stopping in to say hi and keep me company. Family, friends, and even people I'd never met came up to pray with me, offer support and their love. What a blessing that was! When God's people rally, they do so in droves! The first visitor came around 10:30 and it was a steady flow until 8 that evening. The kids were also able to come up to see me, and only one wanted to see dad. I was hesitant as he was still hooked up to so much stuff, but it was important for that child especially to see him. He said it helped him thankfully. There were a few minutes I was alone where I tried to rest and sleep a little, but it was hard to calm my brain down. I headed home to by home with my babies that night to and my sister in law was able to stay with him. I called in for an update before bed. I had been awake for the majority of 38 hours at that point.

Monday morning, I woke up before the alarm. I felt like I'd slept for a week! I took a quick shower, packed a few things for the hospital and headed to the store for a quick minute and back to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, I heard 2 songs back to back that had be bawling my eyes out. Those songs were Strong Enough by Matthew West and Do It Again by Elevation Worship and to this day when I hear those songs, I am emotional and get transported back to that day.

When I got up to his room, he was awake and they were getting ready to extubate! He was confused and panicky as he didn't remember what had happened on Saturday, nor did he remember anything we had told him Saturday about the accident. He did know he was in the hospital, but not why. I cannot imagine how that must've felt for him.

The neurosurgeon came by to check on him and did a lot of tests for feeling and function. There was SO much that I hadn't thought of and it was overwhelming to think of all the function he had lost and may never get back. He did have some tingling in his legs and feet, but there was no feeling from his armpits to his hips at all and absolutely zero purposeful movement. He could feel when he had a bowel movement, but had zero control We continued to hope that as the swelling went down, more would come back, but the doctors were not too optimistic. Listening in on rounds that morning was a bit scary and eye opening. He was at high risk for a lot of different complications and all that information was tough to wrap my head around. We continued to have visitors off and on through the day, and he also had his first visits from the physical therapist and occupational therapist that work with the local rehabilitation hospital. There were also visits from social workers, a rep from the rehab hospital and other official type of people. After a while, it became a blur and my mind was swirling with all the information I was having dumped on me. He also received an NG tube for nutrition that day and it was AWFUL. It wasn't placed correctly and when he complained about it, the person that placed it brushed off his concerns. It was absolutely miserable for him in every way. Due to his surgery requiring access through the front of his neck, his esophagus and voice didn't work quite right for a while. His voice was barely above a whisper, and when he attempted to swallow, he ended up aspirating, hence the NG tube.

Through the day Monday, he was starting to crack jokes with the nurses and I loved seeing his personality shining again. His sense of humor was such a positive thing- and the doctors and nurses commented on it during rounds on Tuesday too. His voice may have been weak, but his spirit was not.

I spent the night again that night, sleeping as close to him as I could as he rested much better that way, but it still was a rough night. The nurses were amazing and I was able to get some sleep between them coming in to turn him or when they did their hourly rounds. I had family staying with the kids and helping our oldest get chores done. Our oldest was making us so proud with how he was keeping the farm going and stepping up to the immense responsibility. He still amazes me.

I didn't sleep well Monday night. I laid there listening to his snores, thinking about everything that had happened. As I was trying to process everything, I was reminded of the promptings and preparation Holy Spirit had given me for this situation. A couple months before the accident, I kept getting these HS whispers every time I drove past the road the farm is on. It was a whisper of "When Peter gets hurt, you will be OK. No need to fear the future, you will be provided for." It wasn't an "if" thing, but very specifically a "when". I thought it was anxiety the first couple times, but when I really paid attention, it didn't feel like anxiety. It was a soft, calm whisper right to my heart. When the accident happened, it all made sense. What an amazing God to prepare me like that for literally the worst thing that has ever happened to us. Because of that warning, I was able to feel peace through all the unknowns and uncertainties. What a wonderful gift.

Tuesday was a whirlwind. Although Monday night had been rough, Tuesday morning brought some progress in his condition! His morning rounds report was less scary, he was able to come off some of the medications, supplemental oxygen, and was able to sit in a chair for a while- he loved it and felt much better in a sitting position. His bed was able to be moved into a more chair-like position and he preferred to sleep like that as much as possible. He was coughing some secretions (likely from the time he spent on the ventilator) and it was much easier to do so when he was upright. He was exhausted, but so thankful for visitors, and we had many.

"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. " Oswald Chambers

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