As shared during Family Home Evening on 5/20/2019
Recorded by Jamie Melin
We gathered Monday 5/20/19 at the ranch for a simple soup dinner and a visit with Grandpa after his harrowing 10 days away. Aunt Marti Mayberry and Grandma Lyn joined us as they were in town until Tuesday for Niles’ baptism.
Grandpa Tom suggested we sing “I Am A Child of God,” which is a song he sang to himself when he was in excruciating pain in Helena. His nurse was told to give him a shower, and as the water ran over his head and ran down his neck, it seeped beneath his infected skin and formed little blister-like pockets and it was painful. The nurse had to pull off the skin and she cried as she did it because she knew how much it hurt Grandpa. As she worked, he sang, to himself, “Lead me, guide me/ walk beside me/ Help me stand the pain/ Help me do what I must do/ and live with you again.”
On Thursday May 9th, mom shared over text a photo of Dad showing the progression of his infection on his face, and told us it had progressed to cover his legs and back, so they were staying at the VA Hospital in Helena to figure out what was wrong and save his skin (and possibly his life—we need the protection of our skin!).
On Friday May 10th, Dad was Life-Flighted from Helena to the University of Utah hospital Burn Center to treat the infection—it was diagnosed as some kind of staph infection plus some herpes outbreak from the cancer drugs, and hopefully not MRSA (!?!?!). We celebrated Ammon’s birthday at home and attended his baseball game, all the while planning how to support mom and dad through this trial. At the game, we decide that Rich and James would drive down early in the morning to be with Grandma Melin on Mother’s Day and help support her as she helped Dad through his suffering. I stayed home so the girls could perform their play all weekend, and the little boys could have a normal, calm weekend. My kids made it a peaceful Mother’s Day for me here, and Grandma Melin was so grateful to have all 5 of her kids with her on Mother’s Day. They took a break from the hospital to attend “Music and the Spoken Word” down the street at temple square, and enjoyed a beautiful program honoring mothers. Grandma also had the support of her brother Dan and Grandpa’s sister, Judy, and they all enjoyed an otherwise beautiful day. I t looked like the antibiotics and dressings administered at the Burn Center had done their job, so Grandpa was transferred to the Huntsman Cancer Institute on Sunday. Monday morning Dad seemed stabilized and in good spirits when Rich and James headed home.
On Monday, 5/13 we were told that Grandpa was out of the woods, but healing could take 3-4 weeks, so he and Grandma made tentative plans to settle-in in SLC. This was upsetting to Grandpa, though, because he wanted so badly to be at Niles’ baptism on Sunday 5/19.
On Tuesday, “Doctor G” was so surprised by how fast Grandpa was healing that he began to call him “Miracle Boy.”
On Friday 5/17 in the morning, the doctor came in the morning and told Grandma to book a flight home for Saturday because Grandpa was well enough to go home Saturday, as long as he got 2 units of blood before he left to strengthen his immunity (remember, he’s fighting leukemia as well as an skin infection). Grandpa said his heart sank when they mentioned the blood because his type is O-negative with some hard-to-match antibodies. The nurses assured him that one of the seven area blood banks would come through.
At 3pm Friday, the medical team began to get discouraged. They hadn’t been able to find Grandpa’s blood type in any of the blood banks. They said the banks would continue searching and would call back by 7pm so the transfusion could take place over night.
At 6pm, Grandma said, “Let’s say a prayer and ask for the blood to be located so that we can make it to the baptism.” Acting in faith in God’s promises in D&C 82:10 (“I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but if ye do not what I say, ye have no promise”), they decided to pray and ask the Lord for this righteous desire.
At 7pm, "Nurse Kris" came into their room and said, “I’m sorry; we couldn’t find the blood.” Grandpa told her, “Don’t be sorry; the blood will come. Let’s show some faith by at least making the preparations for a transfusion.” The sweet nurse was willing to do those preparations, even though she knew there would probably be no transfusion.
Grandpa drifted off to sleep, but at 10:30 pm on Friday night, Nurse Kris woke him and held up two units of blood. “Look what I have! Two units of blood with your name on them! Let’s do this!” At 10:45pm on Friday, the first transfusion began and it took until 1:30am. Then the second unit was administered from 2am-4am Saturday morning. By morning rounds, Grandpa was in ship-shape and ready to catch a plane home that night. Grandma started driving home and Uncle Jess prepared to pick up Grandpa from the airport, while our family was entertaining baptism guests and celebrating Niles’ 8th Birthday, trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and calm for the kids. So while 10 of us watched the girls in “Beauty and the Beast,” Grandpa and Grandma got their miracle. We headed home to the news that Grandpa and Grandma were home safe in their beds and would come to Niles’ baptism the next day. Grandpa was able to perform the Confirmation ordinance for Niles.
Of course there was much rejoicing upon seeing Grandpa and Grandma in the chapel at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon. I was busy setting things up and getting Niles ready, but when I stepped into the chapel and saw them, I burst into unexpected tears of gratitude and joy, and I turned around and walked right back out to the foyer to compose myself. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten used to it yet, but I am continually astounded by God’s tender mercies and the magnitude of His love for us.
I testify He will move mountains (or blood units) to grant our righteous desires. As the song goes, He “delights to own and bless you if you strive to do what’s right; He will bless you if you put your trust in Him.” Exact obedience binds the Lord. Prayers of faith (from temple rolls and families all over who love Grandpa) call down the powers of Heaven. Always.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
|Friday 5/10- Grandpa suffering in Helena while we watch Ammon's |
birthday teeball game and check texts from mom and Mike
|The photo of Dad that mom sent on Friday 5/10|
|Staying with Uncle Dan and Aunt Ellie in SLC 5/11/19|
Rich, Mom, Dan (her big brother), Ellie (his wife), Mark, and Mike
|Dad in SLC 5/11/19|
|Grandma and Grandpa at home with |
freshly-baptized Niles, 5/20/19
|Niles' Baptism Invitation|