An Unexpected Homecoming

It’s been a long week. Last Saturday, Ray’s sister was visiting when he had a bout of “seizure like activity.” On Monday, just as I was getting ready to leave the rehab hospital to go pick up the kids, I noticed that Ray’s breathing was labored. One thing led to another, and it turned into another “seizure-like” episode. Next thing you know, we’re back at St. Vincent’s hospital for testing.

An echocardiogram, CT scan, EEG, and MRI later, we were all set to leave St. V’s Friday afternoon.

However, we could not return to the same acute rehab hospital we had come to know and love. The average stay there is 14 days. Ray had been there for 49, and the insurance wasn’t ready to pay for more. Tuesday had been set as his discharge day.

I had prayerfully considered bringing Ray home, but the doctors and family and friends strongly discouraged it. He is very impulsive, extremely shaky on his feet, and recognizes neither. He should use a walker or wheelchair, and needs a spotter, even with the walker. But he doesn’t remember that and, without a second thought, will hop out of bed, a chair, or even a wheelchair and eagerly want to help me, grab an imagined item, or go to the bathroom. How could a mother with five young children, including a baby, handle that? The answer is… she probably can’t. Plus, at a subacute rehab, he would receive two hours a day of therapy, whereas if he were at home he would only get three hours a couple days a week.

I toured three subacute facilities, and said I would cut off my right arm before putting him in two of them. However, there was a third that I was very comfortable with. Unfortunately, there was a mix-up and miscommunication, and that facility denied him admission. We were expecting to get that figured out early next week, so we decided to put him in one of the other cut-off-my-arm-subacutes in the meantime.

On the way to his new "home away from home"
On the way to his new “home away from home”

I figured he’d survive a few days in a poorly decorated geriatric facility, and then we’d get him to the better option.

We left the hospital around 4:30, and finally got to the new facility at five. After waiting 20 minutes for someone to bring a wheelchair, we were finally shown to his room. Walking through the halls, I was reminded of why I wanted to cut off an arm before sending him there, and when we walked into the vintage eighties room, boasting two beds with nasty, mismatched comforters and not much else, I wanted to cry. It was only for a few days, though, so I thought we could handle it.

But then I noticed that the bed had no rails. And the tech informed me that none of their beds had rails – that’s considered a restraint, and they can’t have restraints. So I asked about a bed alarm. And he said that, no, they didn’t have those, either. That was considered a restraint too.

And I said, “He can’t stay here.”

Which left only one option. Bring him home.

Thus, last night, with no planning and zero preparation, I finally brought Ray home, after

Home at last
Home at last

over two months of hospitalization. My full time job has now switched from hospital visitor, rehab supporter, and medical advocate. I am now 24/7 caregiver, not just to five kids, but to one adult man as well. Fortunately, I had been trained in walking with him, helping him to the bathroom, and transitioning from wheelchair to car. Unfortunately, we left the hospital with no training on his medications, no medical equipment, and a house that needs rearranged to fit our new needs.

It’s gonna be an interesting few days, but it’s good to have him home.

A Single Bead is Finally Here! (A Belated Announcement)

Seriously. What blogger has a new book release and doesn’t even get around to blogging about it until more than two weeks after release?

Ummmmm. This one.

A Single Bead CoverI was all excited back on November 18th to do my cover reveal. I set up a Rafflecopter giveaway, posted the cover to Facebook, and wrote a long blog post about how the book came into being. I had great plans for posting the cover to my blog the following day, tweeting, posting to the Books for Catholic Teens Facebook page, etc. etc. etc

I was also scheduled to spend three days at the National Catholic Youth Conference, right here in Indy, which ran from November 19th to the 21st. I was even going to be interviewed for CatholicTV’s “This is the Day” program while I was there. Ray had taken time off work to watch the kids so I could be at the conference.

But God had different plans. Instead of spending his vacation watching the baby, Ray spent those few days essentially comatose following a heart attack. Cover reveal forgotten, A Single Bead was placed on the back burner, as our family dealt with realities that would have been unthinkable only a few days before.

God works in mysterious ways, though. Because of those disrupted plans, Ray had a whooooole bunch of religious sisters from the Daughters of St. Paul praying for him, along with the people from CatholicTV, and goodness only knows who else, that would have otherwise not even known who he was.

And, even as I walked through the worst of this difficult time, I was able to recognize how writing A Single Bead, which explores the power of faith to bring us through the most challenging of circumstances, had actually prepared me for this experience.

In the sixteen days since it was released, I’ve been blessed to hear from many people who have read the book. Many of them never would have even heard of the book if the “Pray for Ray” mantra hadn’t spread across Facebook. What a blessing to realize that a book that had been pigeon-holed as Catholic, because the story revolves around lost rosary beads, has inspired and blessed people from many different faiths and backgrounds!

In her review, author and grief coach, Jeannie Ewing, says, “If you are hurting over trauma or tragedy, or if you know someone who is, purchase A Single Bead.” Ruth Anne Holloway at Holloway Family North said, “The book does a great job of “showcasing” the power of prayer in a simple and easy to follow way.” Barb Szyszkiewicz at Franciscan Mom called it “compelling” and “refreshing.”

If you haven’t ordered your own copy yet, you can click on the picture below to order it from Amazon. It is available in paperback and electronic formats. If you’ve read it and enjoyed it, please consider writing a review, and telling your friends about it. Thank you!