Hello all ❤
I find it so fascinating how life can take a quick turn and surprise us all from time to time. That has definitely happened to my family and I this summer, and there is a meaningful lesson to learn with our experience that I thought I might share.
As my year at CSU was winding down, I was looking for jobs, travel opportunities, volunteer projects, and a sundry of other things to keep me busy during the summer. I knew I was going to give music lessons, so I started reaching out to people and advertising my availability on social media. I also applied to be a barista at a local coffee shop, and I signed up to take a summer class at the community college near my house to alleviate some stress for next semester. With all of these prospective commitments lined up, I figured I would have mastered the perfect balance between making money, giving to my community, completing school work, and being able to see my friends and family in between it all. Life is good.
Though I applied for the coffee shop position months in advance, I still hadn’t heard back from them, and it was 2 weeks into summer. That option was probably out.
I ended up registering for the class I was going to take over the summer for next semester, because it would have been too much of a pain to try to apply to a whole new college.
Aaaaand I ended up getting far less students to take lessons from me than I originally intended.
So that left me with a couple of students to teach and a position at my family’s air conditioning business. Yaaahhhooooo.
I didn’t have much time to fret about my derailing of plans, because my dad got really sick about 2 weeks into my summer. He was running an extremely high fever for 17 days straight, with no known cause. We went to his doctor and urgent care, and both sets of medical services looked at us with wide eyes filled with confusion. When it finally got out of hand, we took him to the emergency room, where they did a CT scan of his pancreas and found infected tissue and a 7 inch cyst. Turns out he had pancreatic necrosis, an infection of the pancreas that’s caused by dead tissue building up and wrecking havoc. He had to be on IV antibiotics to calm down the infection for 2 weeks at home, and then he went into surgery. Oh, and he developed diabetes on top of all of this.
Naturally, I was his caregiver, as my mom was still working as a teacher and I didn’t have many other commitments. (thank God!) I cooked all his meals and drove him where he needed to be; we would rejoice when he could walk around Costco without getting overly exhausted, or when his blood tests at the doctor’s came out clean. Sometimes, it’s the little victories.
When it came time for him to go into surgery, my mom and I were nervous wrecks. This operation was supposedly a very serious one, and we had to peel our eyes away from the “mortality percentage rates” that were presented very openly on WebMD. His surgeon warned us that many patients face organ failure in the middle of this procedure, and take months to recover if they make it. If they make it… I did not like the idea of my father’s life being a question mark. That was never something in my 19 years of life that I had to consider, so when it hit me in the span of 2 weeks, it was decently jarring. Before his surgery, family members near and far and friends, old and new, poured praise and affection on him, sending him texts, sweet cards, and prayers upon prayers. I felt like his secretary; organizing all the different ways people loved him, and showing him the many reasons why he needed to pull through.
We all held our breath as the four hour operation ensued. After a seemingly endless amount of time, the surgeon came out to the waiting room and told our family how lucky we were. She said his cyst had shrunken so much she could barely find it; there was only a tiny bit of necrotic tissue left, as the antibiotics had dissolved almost all of it as well. He had no organ failure and was a picture perfect patient the entire time during the surgery. He didn’t have to be in the Intensive Care Unit anymore, and he would be going home in a week, with a recovery period of 2 months. We all dropped our jaws and felt the balls rise in our throats with relief and elation… God is SO good! It became very clear that no prayer is EVER a waste. Though I had been celebrating little victories for a month now with my dad, this was a incredibly huge victory. We got to see him that very night, delirious as he was, to hold his hand and rejoice.
He is now recovering in one of the regular hospital rooms, and although he is miserable in a post-surgery kind of way, everything is working the way it should be. Today he took his first steps since his surgery; my mom and I anxiously watched him get out of bed with the help of his nurses, doggedly determined to fight through the pain and move his legs. It took him about 2 minutes to stand up, and another 5 to get walking. But he did it; he shuffled his feet one by one until he had lumbered all the way down the hall and back! As I watched this event unfold before my eyes, I realized how quickly your life can change. My dad was working as a full time teacher and an after school tutor for disabled children, playing basketball on the weekends, and walking our dog 5 times a day just a month ago. Now, it is a daily event to even lift himself out of his hospital bed, or eat an ice chip. But hey, it’s the little victories that matter.
There are so many lessons I gleaned from this experience. First of all, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. There was a reason I didn’t get that job, didn’t get more students, didn’t take that class; I had to be home to take care of my dad, and now, spend all day at the hospital. Thank goodness I didn’t have a full time job to contend with and a bunch of students relying on me! I was able to drop everything to be there with him, because God knows what He’s doing. Trickster.
Also, watching my father win these little victories as he struggled to cling to his personal health made me realize that it really is all about the tiny battles we win every day, that add up in the end. The 8 bars of music that you perfect one day may turn into a memorized classical work. The one mile run you go on in January may become a half marathon by June. Not smoking weed for a week, or being conscious about how you speak to your mother for one day might transform your life and relationships in the long run. Most people don’t successfully quit every bad habit cold turkey, and we also usually don’t transform into the exact person we want to be overnight. It’s a long process in which we alter our habits and routines in tiny amounts every single day, and watch it make a difference in the end. The length of the step is not what’s important; it’s the fact that you put your foot out in the first place.
So watching my dad literally put one foot in front of the other made me realize all of this today. He has never ceased to provide me with endless inspiration.
Keep your eyes peeled for daily lessons folks, they are out there, and they will humble you! 😉
*If you would like to contribute to my educational fund, you can read my story and donate at https://www.gofundme.com/hannahlentztuitionfund. Anything is appreciated!