Samantha Joy Update 11/20/09

Before this quick update, I want to take a minute and thank everyone for your notes, texts, and emails. We get so many that it's become difficult to respond to them all (we even got a card from a friend of a Staley in Tennessee, just to let us know she has been praying for Samantha!), but know that each one is another shot of much-needed encouragement, and Jennifer and I are so grateful for them. We have also been blessed by many Colorado visitors, some already scheduled before Samantha was in the hospital and some who have been/are coming out to see Samantha. This weekend Heather (of Jim and Heather fame) is here to be with us.

Today has begun with good news. The past two weeks have included a couple of "false starts" in Samantha's healing, so I am doing my best to not be too cynical waiting for the other shoe to drop. Samantha's right lung (initially the worse one) has been without a chest tube for over 48 hours, with little re-accumulation of fluid. The blessing is that the chest tube did not come out by doctor's orders, but they took it out in the middle of the night Tuesday/Wednesday because it had become dislodged with the intention of putting it back in the next morning as soon as they could. When they discovered that there was minimal fluid in the lung (they had expected lots with the tube out) they decided to wait and see how things went. Now, the left lung is showing improvement, and the surgeon is considering removing the chest tube there tomorrow if it continues to improve. There are still many steps to go (such as stopping medication and reintroducing special formula) with usually 24-48 of waiting to see how she does between each step, but it appears that she is headed in the right direction as Dr. Rollins, the surgeon, put it.

Another fun update: Samantha has started smiling! It's happened enough times to confirm they are indeed authentic smiles. We will try to catch her in the act and post pictures of it this weekend.

This morning, I read through the book of 1 Peter, and the following was a great encouragement to me (1 Peter 4:13):

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Peter was talking specifically of the persecution that his audience was experiencing because of their belief in Jesus, not about time in a hospital room. But I think it also applies to any time when we experience difficulty in this world, because we know that things are not as they should be. As much as we would like to believe otherwise, and as much as pastors such as Joel Olsteen would like us to believe that we can have "total victory" in this life, the reality is that Jesus himself told us that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). What a strange religion that celebrates the suffering and death of the one we follow, and strange even more that we would be called to rejoice when we share in that suffering. I wonder if this is something Samantha can understand at her young age...

To finish, here are two stories that are a couple of highlights from the past two days.

Story 1: On Tuesday, Jennifer and I had dinner at the hospital, wonderful tamales provided by a woman I work with and her family. We needed a microwave to heat our dessert, and we were granted access to the food room on the floor. Apparently, the nurses and young patients at our hospital are well cared for:

They even have a Slushy machine!

Story 2: Samantha had been moved to the Pediatric ICU early Wednesday morning, and I still had not seen her as of Wednesday afternoon. I came down to the hospital and had only had a lot of sugar and caffeine to eat/drink that day and really needed something nutritious, because I really didn't feel well. There was a line in the cafeteria in the middle of the afternoon, and a mom who saw that I was anxious to get something and go told me to order first, saying "we've got time, I've seen my little boy today." It was a small mercy and a very welcome kind gesture from another parent who also was trying to eat and go upstairs to see her child.

Well, it appears I've taken a bit more time/space than I thought I might. Students in Oasis on Sunday mornings are quite used to this.

Waiting on God,
Benjer (and Jennifer)

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