What is the mark of a hero? Is it a soldier, running into battle, looking death in the face? Is it the athlete who breaks a world record ? Is it the activist who risks prison, torture or death to fight for justice? I have known many quiet heroes who fight their battles with dignity and bravery but none have been so resolute and brave as Michael.
A week ago he awoke around 6am as usual but became ill very rapidly, eventually being taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital. He was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia and spent two days being stabilised before I was able to take him home again. Words like “comfortable” and “peaceful” were mooted as goals for him but Michael isn’t ready to give up. He still firmly believes that Plan A will happen.
But his miracle hasn’t happened yet and as today has worn on he has become sicker, despite our best efforts to make him better. The antibiotics don’t seem to be making any headway and his condition is continuing to deteriorate.
The NHS is so often criticised for not being good enough but they have been magnificent; from the District Nurses who have so patiently and caringly explained the different options, the GP who stayed at work late into the evening to make sure everything had been done that could be done, the ambulance staff who tried to prevent an acute admission, the nurses in the EAU who watched him through the night and made sure he got his medication on time as well as finding a bed for me, the staff on 6C who went above and beyond to make him comfortable and let me sleep by his bed and the HCA who hunted down extra pillows and ice cold water. They have all done as much as they can so now it’s down to us.
We’re looking death in the face and Michael has not flinched. He hasn’t cried or tried to shout, he hasn’t run from the fight but is meeting it head on. He is my strength even when he is too weak to move his hands. Today someone sent the following verses to encourage us and to honour him I want to share them with you, because this is Michael:
Isaiah 61, 1 – 3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.
So if you pray, please pray for a miracle. If you don’t, why not give it a go? You never know.