One of our favorite scriptures in the mission field comes from Ether 12:27 where the Lord says, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weaknesses. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
This scripture has often been a blessing for our new missionaries as they arrive often thinking that they are very weak and that they cannot do this. The Lord promises so much to us and we need not be afraid when we believe that we are weak.
Today is our 28th day in the Intensive Care Unit. We have been here over one month now and it looks like we may be spending Christmas this year in the ICU based on what the doctors are telling us. The good news is that we are seeing a tiny bit of progress each day and in our own way seeing physically “weak things become stronger”. Each day Sister McKee works so hard to help her body become stronger. She is fully aware of everything and every now and again I see her personality come through loud and clear amidst the discomfort and pain. She is working on respirator trials every day and is now up to 7 hours a day without the respirator, breathing on her own through the trach. After several hours the energy that it takes to breath on your own just becomes too much for her but she is working harder and harder each day to stay off of the respirator. You would not think that breathing could produce a full sweat but that is how hard she works on it.
Jared is still here. He is a physical therapist and works each day with her in little and big ways. The nurses all have bonded with him and tell me that he is such a blessing for Sister McKee’s recovery. Today we were able to lean her forward and sit on a commode for a short time period. This is also a first and is seldom possible. At times she puts weight on her feet and actually appears to stand for a moment with three people holding her in place. Each time that we do this we know that “weak things will become stronger”. She was introduced to ice chips for the first time yesterday. Can you imagine feeling the ice in your mouth and throat after going four weeks with no liquids or food there and over two weeks with your mouth propped open night and day. She passed the ice chip , swallowing test and so today they let Kylie and I give her a half of popsicle. That was a pleasant first as well. She seemed to manage it well which is not always possible with the trach at first. She also mastered holding a pen today for a few minutes and wrote several letters on the board in her lap. We are hoping with time that she will be able to write. In the meantime we have become very good at reading lips as from time to time she will mouth words to us. Yesterday they downsized her trach tube from and 8 to a 6 which is also part of the plan to hopefully remove it someday. This has made it more difficult for her to breath today but she is working at it. Eventually they will cap the trach so that she can talk. She continues to move her hands and feet and can even shrug a shoulder now.
|Kylie and Angie Singing with the Hermanas to Sister McKee|
|President McKee, Kylie, Angie, Hermanas Harper, McNab,|
Garcia, McCalvy, Kamp, y Smith
We have zone conferences this week and so I attended part of one yesterday and spent the rest of the time with her in the hospital. Jared was able to be with her while I was gone. Today we held our zone conference in Gallatin so Jared stayed with her during the day and I will be here tonight. 8 of the Spanish Sister missionaries came to the hospital after zone conference tonight to visit and sing to her. This livened her spirits to hear these sweet sisters sing in Spanish to her. On their way out, Sister McKee mouthed, "Next time I see you I will talk."
Elder Payne and Elder Andrew also came to the hospital to bring paper work for me to sign and they sang her a couple of songs. What great Elders they are to carry the work when so well while we go through this ordeal.
Thank you again for constant faith and prayers. We love you and love the Lord. We know that He will take our personal weaknesses and make them strengths as we trust in Him, lean upon Him and follow Him in obedient ways.
The William McKee family