At the Residence Inn during November or Northwestern Memorial Hospital during December…
10. He spent hours creating an entertainment center (basically getting the Apple TV, Xbox and internet FUNCTIONAL)! It was his mission. From NetFlix to HBO Go, iTunes, Pandora, Amazon Prime, and dozens of Breaking Bad DVDs, we pretty much had every show/service anytime. (Can we say #breakingbad #scandal #prisonbreak #greysanatomy?)
It didn’t make things a ton “easier,” but did make time pass more quickly. And gave us plenty to laugh about. Also got our FaceTime working well enough so we could chat with friends/family while we were there.
9. He’d switch places with me in the hospital room when I couldn’t stand being in the electric hospital bed anymore (typically once a day). I’d take a break by moving to the visitor’s chair and he’d grab a spot on the bed.
8. Keith hates the cold, and every morning he’d walk through the snow and ice from the hotel to the hospital, and then back while I fell asleep. It was a particularly awful Chicago winter.
7. I discovered Oceans, by Hillsong UNITED, released two months earlier. This became my anthem, and he’d play it for me as much as I wanted. I’d sing, cry, hug him, lay back down.
Dr. Burt loved when Keith would play guitar, particularly old-school Bon Jovi. We were the soundtrack of the 15th floor.
Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
6. He still found a way to bring in the Redskins. He’d listen to 106.7 on the line since he couldn’t have it in the car. He included the Skins game when writing the schedule for me on the hospital room whiteboard. See it there, in the middle? Same day as starting Neupogen injections again.
5. He’d help me find whatever I was looking for. Of course, things couldn’t have gone far when you’re in one room for a month, but he was never too busy nor tired to get up and help me in my stir-crazy search for whatever, without me even asking.
4. He was determined to master the mini bagpipe Morgan sent him in a husband/wife combo care package from him and Tamara. He was super out of breath every time he played it. Hilarious. Best care package item, ever.
3. He slept in the hospital room until I insisted otherwise. The rooms basically have pull-out cots, but he ended up getting terrible sleep with how often nurses came in to change the stuff I was hooked up to. So after the first couple times I insisted he go back to the hotel at night. He agreed after a little convincing.
2. He made sure I had all my meals, and would walk all over the place to switch it up for us. Panera, Chipotle, Einstein, Belgian Breadmaker, Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux, Chic-Fil-A, Giordano’s, Au Bon Pan downstairs, hospital cafeteria, general groceries—you name it.
1. What he did beyond take care of my food, sleep, medicine, supplies, entertainment and curiosity was supported and loved me through my many emotional breakdowns:
He participated in a couple work meetings per week via FaceTime when we were here from November–December. Those were tough during November because I was alone in the hotel room for a few hours each time (wasn’t admitted to the hospital until 12/4. There was so much anticipation about everything that was to come in December that I sometimes couldn’t handle it. He came back to the room several times and found me crying.
I know, I could have done something to keep myself cheerful, but it was important for me to be present in the reality of my true emotions. One time in particular, EVEN THOUGH I was careful about what I read, I came across a post titled about how a woman tragically died during her similar hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) hospitalization in India.
Knowing I’d be in the same stage of neutropenia that caused her death in only a few weeks was frightening, so that’s when I had my cry session about potentially dying. (They’re not shy about telling you it’s a possibility in all the literature you have to read/sign, but I don’t think it really hit me until hearing about a real person, and being here in Chicago away from home, surrounded by the unknown.)
When Keith would get back to the room and find me crying he’d hurry to comfort and encourage me, and find out what was going on.
0. The greatest thing he did was kept it focused on Christ. Rather than letting either of us rely too heavily on him, the doctors—or on the healing that was happening day after day—we prayed and thanked God for his provision, knowing we had our dreams and expected outcomes, but confessing we needed His power to keep our hope focused on what we already have in Jesus, and not in how our circumstances play out. That was FAR from 100%, but we tried. And only tried sometimes, I’m sure, but that’s part of the deal about giving your life to Jesus—that when God looks at US, he doesn’t see our failures and shortcomings, but he sees the perfect, flawless image of Christ.