Thursday was a rough day. Robbie went into a small hospital as an outpatient to have his feeding tube replaced. He is no longer fed through the tube since he is eating regular food now, but we still give him all his medications and extra fluids through the tube, and it is there sort of as a safety net in case we go through another crisis with him again. The g-tube he had was beginning to deteriorate, so last week his doctor decided it was time to replace it and lined up a time and place for the procedure.
All was well until the anesthesiologist came in. He and all the nurses were as nice as could be, but for some reason the anesthesiologist seemed rather timid—perhaps even scared?—of putting the IV in for the anesthesia. He hemmed and hawed around for several minutes and finally tried to get the needle in Robbie’s hand. He missed but continued to poke around, trying to place the needle in the right spot. He finally decided it wasn’t going to work, but rather than removing it, he held it there for several minutes while he waited for a nurse to bring him something.
In the meantime, Robbie was getting agitated and more and more apprehensive. The anesthesiologist apologized and said he would have to try again. By that time there were seven people gathered around the bed—five nurses, Bob and the anesthesiologist. He stuck Robbie again in the same hand—and again dug around with the needle trying to get it in correctly. Robbie was frightened by then and the other six people tried to hold him still. The anesthesiologist gave up finally. “We’ll give him an injection in the arm of a sedative called katamine to relax him,” he decided. “It will only take a couple minutes before Robbie will doze off a little and we should be able to get the IV in the other hand.”
Two or three minutes went by, but rather than sedating Robbie, the katamine had the opposite effect. His body began contorting horribly and he began screaming. We have never heard Robbie scream like that in a panic and almost delirium. He was wild and thrashing about and Bob was doing all he could to hold him and comfort him. Now, we have seen Robbie have many, many very awful grand mal seizures throughout his life, but this was worse than anything we had ever seen.
I fled the room, crying and praying. A nurse came out to the waiting room nine or ten minutes later. When I asked if he was any better, she shook her head no. “How long will the katamine affect him? Will it wear off soon?” She replied that it would, so I continued to pray—and yes, cry some more.
Finally, I could wait no longer. I went back to the room. All was quiet and most of the people had cleared out. Robbie was lying on the bed, playing with his Winnie the Pooh pillow—and acting a little drunk! Bob was still standing next to our boy. When I asked what had happened, he said that the anesthesiologist had tried a third time to get the IV in the other hand, and when that failed, Bob told them they either had to give Robbie gas to put him to sleep or find someone else to put in the IV. A nurse came and put it in his foot with no problem.
We breathed a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanksgiving. We were trying not to blame the anesthesiologist for his three botched attempts at placing an IV (although, really? He’s a doctor and that is supposed to be his specialty.) And no one could have foreseen the adverse reaction Robbie would have to the katamine. They came in a few minutes later and whisked Robbie off to have his procedure done. The worst was over.
Well, yes—that was the worst of it, but we weren’t quite through with the bad. It seemed like no time at all that they were coming out to tell me that it was over and Robbie was in the recovery room and I could go back there with him. (Bob had left to run home for a paper the hospital needed.) The doctor came in a few minutes later to tell me all went well, Robbie did fine, and oh, yes—they had to put in a saline balloon tube instead of the g-tube he has had for the last nine or ten years.
“A balloon?” I repeated. “But you know that will only last three months or so and then we’ll be right back here again having to replace it!” The stomach acids eat through the balloon holding the tube in place and when it bursts, the tube falls out and has to be replaced immediately.
“Yes, I know,” he said, “but that’s all they had here. So long!” He quickly left.
I was not happy, but when Bob got back and discovered they had used the wrong g-tube he was really, really upset! Bob is very protective of Robbie, and he had just been through an awful experience with him. To think that we would have to put him through this all over again in just a few months was dismaying. At that point there was nothing we could do about it, so we gathered up our son and things and left the hospital.
Robbie had not quite forgiven us for the trauma he had been through earlier, but a stop at McDonald’s for a very late lunch quickly made his world right again. When we got home I prepared his seizure medicine to put through the new tube—and discovered the port was not quite big enough to insert the syringe enough! Aargh! Somehow I managed to get the medicine in without spilling it all over.
“I’ll put an adapter valve on it before his next medicines,” Bob promised. He and Robbie lay down to take a long, well-deserved nap.
The first thing Bob did when he got up from his nap was get the adapter valve and scissors to cut off the plug that was on the end of the new tube. He had done this many times before, so did not think twice about it. The next thing I heard was, “What?! Oh, no!”
“What happened?” I asked in alarm.
“When I cut off the plug, the saline filling the balloon inside leaked out! The tube is falling out. We’re going to have to go back the hospital and get a new tube!”
My heart sunk. By that time it was 8:00 PM. It had been a hard day. We would have to go to the ER, which meant hours of waiting—not to mention putting Robbie through even more. We quickly taped the tube to Robbie’s abdomen to keep it in place, got dressed and headed to the hospital—our regular hospital this time, not the little podunk hospital where the procedure had been done that afternoon. We didn’t even know if they had an ER, and after our experience there earlier, we weren’t willing to find out.
Our time in the ER at Community Hospital went much better. Robbie was relaxed and unafraid. No one was poking him or trying to hold him down. The ER doctor was very knowledgeable and understood exactly what had happened and why. Eventually, after several hours of back and forth between doctors and hunting down the correct materials, he was able to place a new g-tube for Robbie quickly and easily while Robbie lay back with his hands behind his head. Unfortunately they had to use another saline balloon-type tube since it was after hours and anything else was locked up and no specialist was around to do it even if they could have found the correct tube. The ER doc was experienced and comfortable with placing the balloon tube, though, as a temporary measure to get us by until his regular doctor could do the other kind.
We got home a little bit after midnight. As we talked over the day’s events, I tried to soothe my husband’s aggravation with the problems we had encountered. I have rarely seen Bob so upset over something, but the fact that most of what had happened could have been avoided with a little extra care by the professionals really irked him. “Bob, what we went through today, except for Robbie’s reaction to that sedative, is so minor compared to what we have been through in the past. And what we went through is very, very minor to what millions of people go through every day! Let’s just let it go and praise the Lord!”
Praise the Lord anyway! Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” It is easy to praise the Lord on a beautiful day, when all is well, and we and all our loved ones are healthy, safe, comfortable, and have all that we need. It is when our circumstances darken, when things don’t go as we had planned, or when we are afraid that it is more difficult to see the praise in every situation.
But praise the Lord anyway! Praise Him for who He is! Psalm 104:1-3 says, ”Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind…” Go on and read the rest of Psalm 104 to see a picture of the awesomeness and majesty of our God! And that does not even begin to describe the character of our good, loving, faithful Father.
Praise Him for what He does! We praise Him for who He is and what He does—in our lives and in the world. Psalm 9:1-2, 11 tells us, “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.” What he has done, what He is still doing today, and what He has promised to do in the future—how could we ever begin to count His blessings upon our lives? “Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.” (Psalm 40:5)
Praise is a matter of Trust. Because we have seen who He is and what He does, we can know beyond a shadow of doubt that our God can be trusted, not only for the here and now, but for whatever lies ahead. Habakkuk 3:17-18 reminds us, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” We may not see what He is doing in our darkest times as we walk through trouble and trials, but we can trust Him, knowing that He is working for our good—and when we are trusting Him, it is easy to praise Him. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.” (Psalm 28:7)
Praise is a Testimony. How can we not share all the wonderful things God is doing? The easiest form of witnessing is just sharing with others what the Lord has done for you. Psalm 40:3 says, “He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” Praise is a testimony and a teaching tool, as well. Psalm 78:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” When our children and grandchildren and all those around us hear us praising the Lord it will touch their lives and their hearts, hopefully drawing them to the Savior and a closer walk with Him.
Praise is a matter of Thanksgiving. Praise is rejoicing in all that God has done and who He is. He fills us with joy as we see Him working in our lives. We ought then to turn that joy around into an attitude of gratitude and giving thanks and glory to God. Psalm 100:4 tells us to, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Praise and thanksgiving go hand in hand. “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God.” (Psalm 147:7) “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” (Psalm 95:2)
Praise is Therapeutic. Praise not only blesses God’s heart—but it blesses our own, as well! How can we go through life disheartened and depressed when we are concentrating on praising God? Psalm 147:1 says, “For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.” I would far rather see life through the lenses of praise than discouragement, wouldn’t you?
Praise Him all the Time—all day, every day and forevermore! Praise should be on our lips—or at least in our hearts—from the moment we get up in the morning until we go to bed at night. “From the rising of the sun to its going down The Lord’s name is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:3) The Lord wants our praise continually throughout our lives. “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 104:33) Our praise will not end then, when we breathe our last breath! We will be praising Him for all eternally! “But we will bless the Lord From this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 115:18)
Our life’s journey is never easy. We all bear burdens of one kind or another; we all go through the deep waters of testing, and sometimes through fiery trials. Let us, though, go on that journey with a song in our hearts of joy and peace, trust and thanksgiving—and praise the Lord anyway!
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised.