Once upon a time, I had a two-week block of relatively free time on my calendar and decided it was the perfect time to start writing a new story.

(Of course, part of my twisted imagination thought that starting a new project was the ideal trigger for Mr. Murphy to step in and get our house finally sold.)

So I spent a couple days fitting my plot ideas into a rough outline, did some basic research, and on Monday, August 19th, I started dividing the story into individual scenes inside my favorite writing program. The goal was to get as many words down as possible before September when the editing day job projects would jump in priority.

At two o’clock Tuesday morning, Mr. Murphy stepped in with a detour.

With my husband moaning and groaning in agony, we did some quick self-diagnosing internet research. Was it gas pains…or a gall bladder attack? Except he wasn’t throwing up or nauseated, so when the pain eased enough that he could sleep, I thought we were done. That he was just being a typical man with a low tolerance for abdominal pain…

By the time I was packing a lunch for my youngest and getting ready to head out to take him to school, my husband’s pain was back with a vengeance. Along with those missing symptoms.

After dropping the youngest off, I sped on toward urgent care…then detoured to the emergency room instead. If it turned out to be a gall bladder issue, we might as well be where they could truly help him.

Thirteen hours and multiple tests later, he was rolled away to surgery and had his gall bladder removed. Then twenty-four hours after that initial pain woke him in the middle of the night, he was settled in a hospital room with a secondary procedure scheduled to fish out the rest of the stones/sludge. By Thursday morning, we were home.

The next few days were spent waking up his gut after all the trauma and anesthesia while adjusting to life without a gall bladder to aid digestion.

Monday morning the 26th, he headed out for that first day of school as a teacher and football coach and I attempted to play catch-up at home with the mountain of laundry and dishes and bills (and sleep!). Then just as I was getting ready to start work on that story again, our detour continued.

My husband was really tired. (Understandable after long days at work while still recovering from surgery.) Then came the pain in his left shoulder/upper chest region…and the fever spike. I talked to the on-call surgeon who sent us back to the emergency room.

Leaking bile from the liver and other fluids had gathered around his liver and were pushing painfully on his diaphragm. In addition to being infected to the point that bacteria were found in his bloodstream.

IV antibiotics were started while the cultures grew and then adjusted to target the right bacteria. Two drains were installed to release the pressure. A repeat procedure was performed to help stop the leak. And then he developed pancreatitis as a complication…resulting in several more days of intense pain.

Ten more nights spent at the hospital getting poked and prodded and checked on every few hours. Ten additional days of hospital food (when allowed to eat). Ten days with a hospital gown while hooked up to an IV and other machines. Ten days of missed work and boring television…and streaming not one, but two different high school games instead of being on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, I spent ten more days splitting time between the hospital and home. Divided between advocating for my husband’s care and asking lots of questions…and juggling the essentials of laundry, meals, transportation, Princess-supervision, financial bookwork, and cleaning the house for several more showings. Ten days without quality sleep (not that there was enough quantity either!) Ten days living on coffee and cafeteria food

And yet, as this detour turned into a marathon and I documented the ups and downs on social media, I found that we were thoroughly covered in prayer. In addition to those who replied on social media, there were private messages, in-person visits, flowers, meals, and four different ministry leaders from two different churches stopped by to pray with us. (Not to mention the various friends and family members who pitched in with very practical help so I could spend time at the hospital.)

Hubby was discharged on Saturday, but our marathon detour is not over. For the remainder of this week, I’m on nurse duty to administer medications, hook up the remaining doses of IV antibiotic, and flush the remaining drain still dangling from his side. (Hopefully that leak will finally stop on its own without the need for yet another surgery.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the editing day job since the first of the month. But someday soon, I’ll eventually get back to working on that next story. Unless our house finally sells…

The Marathon Detour While Covered With Prayer
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