Saturday, January 17, 2015

What My Parents Taught Me from Their Hospital Beds - Part VI

I'm nearing the end of this blog series, inspired by the time I spent with my courageous parents, who are currently battling serious medical conditions. I just decided that I would post today and tomorrow. So tomorrow will be my last.

The next two days I'll be brief.

After all, it's Saturday, and like you, I'm in the throes of family life. As a matter of fact, I'm in the middle of doing my daughter Joelle's hair. So while her moisturizing conditioner is getting absorbed and working its detangling magic, I wanted to share one more lesson my parents have taught me.

When I thought about the lesson today, I was reminded of a scene in the film Facing the Giants.* The scene takes place during football practice and the coach is pushing one of his biggest, most promising players to the limit, encouraging him to not give up.

I love this scene. The coach makes the player do a "death crawl" across the football field with another player mounted on his back. You can imagine the difficulty of crawling while carrying another guy on his back. While the big guy crawls, stopping and starting, struggling his poor heart out, the coach says over and over, "Don't quit! Your very best. Keep going. Don't quit on me. Keep driving. Don't quit! Don't give up!"

By the end of the scene, the player has amazed himself. He's death-crawled the entire length of the field.

He never gave up.

One of the biggest challenges in life is to keep going. To keep driving. To not quit.

I've been tempted to quit various times along the way. I bet you have too.

But as I watched my parents fight through their illnesses, being poked and prodded several times a day with needles and medical contraptions, I'm encouraged to push through the temptation to quit. My parents have been so strong through their trials, and they haven't given up yet.

There was a day while my Mom was in ICU that she had a scary setback. I entered her hospital room and her nurse informed me that my Mom had pulled out her respirator. No one could explain why. Perhaps she'd become disoriented or extremely anxious.

By the time my Dad joined me at the hospital, my mother had become increasingly distressed. She'd begun yelling in a raspy whisper, "Help me! I'm dying! Help me!"

The doctor had decided to test her lungs and keep her off the respirator for a while. But all my Mom could understand was no one would help her breathe.

This was extremely upsetting for my Dad and me to watch, but we knew she was in the best of hands. The medical staff never left her side, and she eventually had to be re-intubated.

When I relayed this scene to my husband Anthony, his words were very encouraging. "She doesn't sound like a dying woman to me," he said. "Sounds like your Mom really wants to live. Sounds like she's still fighting."

She was fighting.

And she still is.

My parents have always had this spirit about life. They've never given up during the challenges of life. They've never quit. They've always persevered. They still are.

And they've encouraged me to do the same through the challenges of my own life.

To not quit.

To always persevere.

To never, ever give up.

I hope you do the same.

* Here's a YouTube clip of the Facing the Giants scene I mentioned...

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