“…but afterward you will understand”
John 13:7…the inked scripture peeked out from under the latex glove cuff on the hands of the young Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). She was methodically working on aiding the blood that was seeping through the three chest tubes make its way to the collection container. I stood there beside Marta on the other side of the hospital bed watching her work hand-over-hand along the tubes. The scripture played a sort of peek-a-boo with my eyes as the movement revealed and then hid the letters behind the cuff. I asked her,“What does it mean?” She replied, “What I am doing you may not understand, but afterward you will understand.”
We had last hugged a teary-eyed Mario at 8:40 that morning as they wheeled him away to begin the operation. Marta had since been on the verge of tears all day with episodic and completely normal break-downs scattered throughout. The C4C team had not left her side as we waited for updates throughout the day. Now, as I stood next to her, our eyes and ears tried to process what was happening on the other side of the bed. The lights were bright, dings and beeps filled the air, two IV poles full of pumps lit up, and Mario laid before us disoriented, with pacing wires, draining tubes, and IVs flowing out from inside his body. The medical team of four nurses, a doctor, a Nurse Practitioner and a CNA all had their roles to perform. Names of drugs were being called out, important numbers being relayed and then we heard it: “We are trying to manage the bleeding here on the floor, but if it doesn’t stop, he will have to go back to the OR.” The nurse turned to us flashing a syringe of liquid saying calmly but with intensity, “We have already given him platelets and one full vial of this medicine; this is the second. If it doesn’t work, he will need to go back to the OR.”
I texted the rest of the C4C team in the waiting room to start praying that the bleeding would stop. I put my hand on Marta’s back with my ears trying to follow the conversations happening around us. Tana, Mario’s lead nurse, was now pushing Albumin into one of his many IV ports, a unit of blood was getting hung, someone was on all fours on the floor to be eye-level with the drainage containers calling out how much blood he had lost in the last 15 minutes….. then it was decided. Mario would turn around and go back to the OR. They would have to re-open him to find the source of the bleed.
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Seventeen hours after walking into the hospital, Mario was stable. Marta was settled by his side both relieved to have her son back within reach and overwhelmed at the condition he was in. The focus now was forward, forward to each day of recovery, forward to Mario being able to play, forward to God’s grace and plan for this little boy’s life.
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Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”