This is Chapter 10 in my history (9 was posted last night, so if you haven't checked for a few days read that too)
By March of 2003 the years of not taking care of myself and the progressive nature of CF finally caught up with me. I needed my first "tune-up" the term used in CF for going into the hospital for IV antibiotics. It's routine for most people with CF, going in for a course of antibiotics a few times a year, but for me it was a strange and unusual world. I had been in the hospital a few times, for my appendix, putting in my feeding tube, and once while I was on a study so they could monitor my calorie intake and output while on a study for digestive enzymes.
While I was a little scared, I wasn't that off put by being in the hospital. It fell right at the perfect time. I was able to wrap up my last finals for the term then go straight to the hospital for spring break. Because the closest CF center is in Portland, I was isolated from all of my friends at the time, and it was over a 2 hour drive for my parents, so I spent most of my stay by myself. It was a bizarre time for me. I was anticipating the start of school, since it would be my first term in the four term education program that would enable me to earn my teaching licence. I had some stress with the application process but made it through and I was ready for all my hard work to start to take flight. Work was not going well for me, but I finally had a boss who understood and respected me, so things were looking brighter there.
My only entertainment while in the hospital was the TV. I love watching TV, but even the TV was in a strange time, as it was the very beginning of the Iraq war, something I deeply disagreed with and doubted highly the reasons as to why we were there. All of the channels were all Iraq all the time. I watched the first tanks roll out of Kuwait, I watched as the first reports of death, I watched because there was nothing else I could do and the news fit my sense of lack of control.
While I was in the hospital, my paternal Grandfather, Paul Lyda, was recovering from pneumonia. Gamps had been sick for many years with Parkinson's disease, and he and I had a close bond. My primary after school care for many years was found at my grandparents, and Gamps was always patient enough to sit for hours playing board games with me. He taught me how to play the harmonica, and I have many memories of sneaking sweets with him, much to my Grandmother's chagrin. He loved listening to me perform on the piano and sing... his special request was "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" which I played in the heat of the summer, the rains of March, and with extra gusto during the holidays. Grandma and Gamps also took my sister and I to church every Sunday. While I had not attended for several years at this point, I had a foundation of faith in my life, but like many believers, I would sometimes doubt it all. I believed, but I wasn't sure how it all worked.
One night while in the hospital, I had a very unsettled feeling. I felt restless and that I was waiting for something to happen. The little voice in the back of my head was telling me that I had to stay up, that something was going to happen, that I needed to wait. I watched the TV, bored, glazed over eyes, but I knew that I couldn't fall asleep. It was the strangest feeling. What I did not know was that my Gamps had taken a sudden turn for the worst. Over 100 miles away, my family was gathering at his bedside, saying thier last goodbyes.
It was the wee hours of the morning. Suddenly, my room was full of light. The unease that I felt melted away. I felt a warmth and comfort. Then I heard Gamp's voice... "It's okay, I'm alright Tweetums, I've gone home to God". I felt his presence drift away from the room. The unsettled, waiting feeling was gone. I looked at the clock, noted the time, and fell into a deep sleep.
In the morning I was woken up by my mother calling. Before she could tell me something she knew would break my heart, I told her that I already knew. She wondered who told me, but I told her my story. Gamps came and said goodbye to me at the same time that he left his earthly body surrounded by our family.
The next few weeks were difficult for me. I had to deal with getting out of the hospital, home IV's, and memorializing Gamps. But I also would never doubt in God again.