Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our Living Miracle

Dear friends and family,

I look out the window from the hospital room this morning and still can’t believe some days that we are still here. We have now been in the hospital for 68 days, but isn’t that just like life. Sometimes you never know which route it will take you. The key is to be able to flow the direction that the Lord would have us take as He guides us down this path in life.

  Two weeks ago with the help of Jared and Brittany staying with Sister McKee, I was able to interview all 170 of our missionaries as I traveled through the mission each day and stayed at the hospital at night. Jared and Brittany have returned home and Michael came out. While he stayed with Sister McKee I was able to attend transfers and do trainings. We received 22 missionaries on Monday. 6 of our new missionaries were visa waiters going to Argentina and Jamaica. We picked up one group at 2:30 and the second group came in at 4:30. Their plane was late two hours so we did not get back to the mission home until 7:00pm that night. In this time we fed and trained 22 missionaries and I interviewed all 22 by 10:30 that night. We had to forgo testimony meeting and slide presentations in order to get them all to bed. Most had gotten up at 3:00am that morning. They are a wonderful group of missionaries with so much to offer the world. I am anxious to see what they will do with their time as full time missionaries. On Tuesday we took them to the Franklin Stake Center and did trainings for them and their trainers. With 22 new missionaries coming in most of the mission came in for transfers at 11:30. After Transfer meeting we had a lunch and then only 6 missionaries were interviewed to return home. We took them to the temple after interviews and then back to the Mission Home for a dinner, testimony meeting and then slide presentation. Three of the missionaries had parents come to pick them up but we took the other three to the airport at 5:00 am on Wednesday morning. Following the trip to the airport we go back to the office to update all of the new companionships on the computer so that they will be able to receive their mail right away and then back to the hospital.

Destini had winter Olympics at her school last week as well that I was able to attend. She participated in the Olympic rings and the Hockey competition. She was very excited to march in with her country with their own personalized tie dyed tee shirts. It was quite a production. Aubrey also had a monumental experience this week as we went to the courthouse to get her drivers permit. She now has a drivers license and will be driving with an adult for the next 6 months and then on her own. This will be a blessing to have another driver in the house. You can only imagine her grin when she passed her test with no mistakes. All of the girls have been so patient and helpful during this challenge. Each have stepped up in their own way to handle things in a mature way. I often take advantage of Angie and her home school by having her run a few errands and she has become the official grocery shopper over the last two months. Kiara is working so hard in school trying to keep grades up. I love and appreciate them so much. They not only have a mom missing for a period but dad is gone most of the time as well. The Lord has blessed them so much as well as Sister McKee.

Sister McKee continues to progress. She is still very dizzy and it is difficult for her to keep her balance. She is unaware that she is actually falling sometimes and will need someone to be around her whenever she walks. Her strength is better every day and she gets in and out of the bed with no problem , often walking to therapy with someone keeping her balanced. She has walked up and down stairs as long as she has rails for support and does all sorts of physical things that I am in awe of. She continues to play the piano in the cafeteria room and improves on that each day. Her left eye will not track still but we are doing exercises every day to assist that change. The eye doctor is very hopeful about this eye. It does cause double and triple vision though. She wears a patch at times and he has also fitted her with a contact that is like a patch for her left eye. She has about 90 % of her cognitive verbal communication back and is still blending a few facts as she pieces together the other 10%. We are all in awe as we experience the miracle.

I have been focusing on the beautiful scripture,”If ye have done it to the least of these my brethren , ye have done it unto me” lately. There have been so many kindnesses to our family through this journey. We have some very good friends that actually left their car with us for a month and a half for our adult children to drive, So many have helped with food for the missionaries and our family, Just last Saturday Jason Deere from the Nashville Tribute Band came by and gave Sister McKee her own personal concert in the dining hall here. We all loved it as he sang so many of her favorite songs. Sister Hunt comes up to assist her with piano lessons. Will Stoltze a famous country singer stopped by to sing her a song. One of my continual concerns has been to do something for her hair as her head had to be shaved in the front center(for her drainage tube) and all the way up the center through the back where the surgery was performed. It has grown back about an inch. Her brain surgeon Dr. Li did not want any hair products to be on her head for two months. We finally got permission to do her hair this week and two angel Sisters adjusted their lives and came to the call. Tammy and Melissa came and spent the whole afternoon on Saturday doing hair. They actually set up a salon in the hospital room which was very impressive. Tammy’s husband has gone through brain surgery over one year ago so she was especially sensitive to Sister McKee’s head. They were both so kind and so caring as they cut, colored and styled Sister McKee’s hair. Those out there of the female gender will understand quickly the therapeutic day that Saturday became. I have done my best to protect pictures of Sister McKee from being online through this whole ordeal as I felt like it should be her choice as to what pictures to show but today I want all of you to see how beautiful her hair turned out and the incredible transformation that is happening as she becomes our living miracle.

November 28, 2012

January 26, 2013

To all of you who help another along difficult times in life. You become a “type” of Christ when you do for others , something that they could not do for themselves. The Savior took upon Himself the sins of the world. He atoned for our sins. This is something that we could not do for ourselves. As we do things for others that they cannot do for themselves, we in turn become a “type” of Christ. We become like Him. As we do temple work for those who have passed on we do something for them they cannot do for themselves. When these sweet sisters came in and did Sister McKee’s hair, they did something for us that we could not do for ourselves. When others helped us with sky miles, and cars, words of wisdom, cards and notes, hope,  and so much more, they are doing something for us that we could not do for ourselves. Thank you for being Christ like. Thank you for becoming a “type” of Christ. What a gift you all are and what a blessing you are to the world. The Lord must be pleased when we treat each other so kind and offer so much hope. We love you all so much and pray that we will all continue each day to become a “type” of Christ. He is our greatest model. As you participate in the sacrament today may you feel the blessing of becoming a “type” of Christ.
With love and appreciation,

The William McKee family

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sweet Hour of Prayer

And may the Lord Jesus Christ grant that their prayers may be answered according to their faith; and may God the Father remember the covenant which he hath made with the house of Israel; and may he bless them forever, through faith on the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Mormon 9:37, The Book of Mormon

-The William McKee Family

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The "body" of Christ's work

Dear Friends and family,
Over the past nine days I have traveled the mission during the day interviewing 170 missionaries and staying with Sister McKee most nights when I am in town. Jared our son has been staying with her while I have been interviewing which has been such a blessing. He and Brittany have been with us for many weeks assisting so that we could keep up with family and mission responsibilities. Jared and Brittany and the boys returned to Idaho on Thursday. We will miss them. I know they have sacrificed so much to be here for this period of time. Jared has been especially helpful because he is a physical therapist and has studied stroke patients. He tells us that the more we can do early in the healing process the more Sister McKee will have for life. I can see the value of this especially as I see the growth that is taking place. Sister McKee works with an occupational therapist, physical therapist,  and speech therapist and Jared(the greatest therapist) so she is getting a workout every day. This requires much rest in between as rest heals the body as well. I know because of your faith and prayers her progress improves each day. She is still walking with assistance but now can get in and out of bed very well. Dr. Li (the brain surgeon) saw her last week and tells us that her cerebellum portion of her brain that was removed is actually filling with fluids and in time will balance out as the body heals. Each day Sister McKee becomes more aware of surroundings, people, and memory is beginning to come back.

Her left eye does not want to move yet and so we do exercises with it five times a day hoping to get it to track with her right eye and become stronger much like exercising and arm or leg. We took her out of the hospital twice to visit and eye doctor who believes in time she will gain use of this eye if she keeps this exercise going. He also fitted her with a contact that is dark and serves much like her patch. This eliminates much of her double and triple vision.

I have been thinking a lot of how important our eyes are and how they bring balance to so many things and affect so many parts of our life. Because of this eye not working it is difficult to balance, see objects or people, or to read or play piano. It often causes nausea which weakens the body and brings more pain to the head. In D&C 88:67 the Lord talks about the light of the body being in the eye. Light always helps us see better and find our way better and again can affect every part of our lives. We need to focus on light and things of Christ and not the dark things of life. Sister McKee always said to the missionaries. When you walk into a room there is light. It is important to be “light filled”.

I am realizing how every part of our body is tied in with the eyes in some way. It reminds me of the scripture in I Corinthians 12:14-22
“For the body is not one member , but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because “I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? IF the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members everyone of them in the body as it has pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay , much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble , are necessary.”

The Lord needs everyone of us, even the most feeble to assist in accomplishing His work. Everyone us must do our part to assist the “body” of Christ’s great work to move forward. It is very easy at times to think that we are not needed and that our portion is not important. Each one of us have gift to share that will lift another. Each one of us have an opportunity every day to step forward and as we do our part, other parts of the  “body” or Lord’s work will  move forward. It is easy to rationalize and think that  my part does not count but I can testify that everything that we do affects another. The eye, the hand, the feet , the hearing are all affecting one another. We each have a special personality to assist us in accomplishing the Lord’s work. If you have held back and excused yourself because you do not think that your offering will be helpful to the Lord’s work, it is time to step forward and use your gift to lift another. Tomorrow we will receive 22 new missionaries.  Each come with a different personality and style and each are encouraged to use their personality and style within the bonds of obedience, to accomplish the Lord’s work while serving here. The variety and the personality help the “body” to be whole and to accomplish just what it was meant to do in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. We love each one of them and love each one of you for your special offering and your special gift and want you to know again that your prayers, cards, gifts, and faith have influenced the “whole” experience in the healing of Sister McKee. We feel it and know for a fact that the Lord listens to your prayers.

One of Sister McKee’s favorite CD’s since arriving in Nashville has been the Nashville Tribute Band. Jason Deere(from the Nashville Tribute Band) and his daughter Josie came to the hospital just last night and  put on a private concert for Sister McKee, our children and our two assistants that were there helping me with transfers. Sister McKee was caught tapping her toes and singing along to a few of those songs. What a gift and blessing that was for her and our family. Each little thing enhances her healing. Thank you again for your faith and prayers

The William McKee

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Walking that Gethsemane Path...

To wonderful family and Friends,

Today is the Sabbath day again and I am looking through these hospital windows thinking that we have been in the hospital now almost two months (54 days). It all seems like a dream at times but there is no doubt that the Lord is molding us daily to be like Him. I have been thinking this week how my prayers have changed a bit. When in deep crisis and knowing that Sister McKee could pass away at any moment, my heart was strong begging the Lord for her life but always ending with “Thy will be done”. I have read the scripture in Matthew over and over where the Savior was pleading to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane as He was coming to the realization of a portion of what He would be going through “And he went a little further and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt .” (Matt. 26:39) This has given me peace to know that the Savior of the World prayed to His Father asking Him to remove this cup but always “if it be thy will”. I have prayed that prayer so many times early in this test. As I started to see some improvements in Sister McKee I am amazed at how quickly I turned to the “natural man” and my prayers did not always contain “Thy will be done” over the past few weeks but had turned into “my will” again. I found myself saying,”Now that we are approaching a time where it appears not so life threatening then let’s get her well so that we can all get back to work. I know that she could heal a little faster”.
I repented quickly and turned my prayers back to “Thy will be done”. The Lord has His own timing and I am learning that I get to adjust to that timing as well. The natural man in me wants to have it my way again. For each of us the Path of Salvation will at some time go through the Garden of Gethsemane. In order to follow Him we all must experience that Gethsemane Path.
I noticed that the Father allowed His very special Son to experience that path even though I am sure that He wanted to take that suffering away from Him. Each one of us will become “more like Him” as we experience that path. Every experience will mold us to be more like our Heavenly Father, if we let it.

Sister McKee continues to progress while we walk that Gethsemane Path. She continues to suffer with headache pain and nausea but is learning to adapt. She has been placed on oxygen at night now as her oxygen levels have not maintained while she is sleeping. She is walking with a walker and support every day and tells me that Jared(our son and physical therapist) is like the energizer bunny as he pushes her so hard every day far beyond the therapists here. I know that the day will come where she will appreciate this but it becomes taxing at times now. Jared has made it possible for me to go and do interviews this week. I will interview 170 missionaries in 8 days and be with Sister McKee at night. We all love and appreciate our family for this help.
Sister McKee is putting things together in her mind much like putting a puzzle together and pieces new information each day. Some days are so clear and other days a bit muddled but she is beginning to recognize the difference. We have included the piano as part of her therapy. Each day she becomes stronger and stronger in this area. We have discovered that she always sees double or triple and are working with an eye doctor now. When we patch one eye she can read music and small print. We are hoping that her eyes will start tracking with each other as that would help her so much in all other functioning. Overall we are so aware of the miracle that we are experiencing. One of the nurses from our former hospital has come by twice to sit with her, bring her special foods, share in the spirit and build up her confidence. This nurse is such a gem and a true friend. We are so blessed by her kindness and friendship. She reminded us that every day the nurses would come to work and peak in to see if Sister McKee was still with us or if she had passed away during the night. She is helping as well to piece the puzzle back together for Sister McKee.

Thank you again for your love, faith and prayers. As we go about the week may we all look for opportunities to lift others  and bless their lives.
“Brethren, If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.
Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ.
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” Galations 6:1-3

We love you and appreciate so much your cards, letters and kind gifts. We have all been so blessed by your love which truly exemplifies the love of the Savior.

The William McKee Family

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


We moved Sister McKee to another hospital on Saturday. She was transported by ambulance and settled into a whole new experience. This hospital is designed to encourage complete independence. Because we moved on the weekend many of Sister McKee’s pain meds were not carried over with new doctors and medical professionals. The pain has become very intense in her head which makes it difficult for her to do any therapy. We have started out slowly and hopefully will build up as we find  a balance with this intense pain and nausea. Too much pain medication produces drowsiness and too little produces such intense pain that it is difficult to function as well.

We teach the missionaries often the importance of balance in their lives. When we go to the extreme of even good things it can throw us out of balance. It is imperative for them to find “balance in all things” as they eat, exercise, study, pray, teach, and rest. Finding that constant balance (which sometimes changes every day for many of us) is a blessing and will help us to be most useful to the Lord. I have been thinking a lot about that balance especially as Sister McKee works toward figuring out her balance when she walks. The portion of the brain that was damaged in surgery manages her balance and one symptom of this experience is extreme vertigo. This will take a very long time to manage but each day Sister McKee works to do it. It has become a bit discouraging as we have discovered this weekend that she can only see about four inches out from her eyes. There is no peripheral vision in either eye. This is another hope that we all have , that it might repair itself. Part of her therapy is also on the piano. Each day we begin to see a little more come back in this area. After this move we have taken a few steps backward but that is very much a part of life. We will sometimes lose a little bit of ground in order to gain ground in the end. Much like many of our investigators , we can see them in white, we can see them as what they will become, not who they are today. When I look at Sister McKee I picture what she will become as she works so hard to progress each day. I have begun my round of interview for the missionaries and will be out most of the time during the days. Jared (our son) will be staying with his mom and I will return at night so for now we are running a very busy schedule. Our younger daughters started school on Tuesday and the schedule will change with them to as they involved themselves with school activities. We are so grateful to have had  our adult children be here for a period and to have Jared and Brittany continue to stay. This will help so much for us to keep a BALANCE in the mission as well.
Thank you again for your faith and prayers. We feel them.
Sister McKee holding her newest grandson, Kason 

The William McKee Family

Friday, January 4, 2013

Be Still, and Know...

(courtesy of Sister Nordstrom)

I often told the doctors that if Sister McKee would be able to pass over the bridge of life verses death that no one would stop her. She is very determined once she knows where the Lord wants her to be. As a young boy my mother used to always say to me, “ I sure hope you head the right direction in life because whatever direction you head, nothing will ever turn you around.” I am not sure if that is stubbornness or determination but in this situation with Sister McKee I can tell you it is working well. She is so determined even though each day is filled with intense pain. I ask her each day what her headache pain level is and she usually tells me it is between a 7-8. Today she told me it was at an 11 so she is learning to deal with intense pain. The good news is that she will have breaks from time to time where it will go to a 5-6 but she seldom complains. The nurses always say to me, ”She is so sweet even through her pain”. She even keeps her physical therapy going of walking with her walker each day around the nurses’ station even through the pain. One of the challenges that she will continually experience from this part of the brain being damaged is the inability to balance. With that the room often feels like it is spinning and then the nausea begins. If we move her up or down to quickly the nausea sets in again. She is learning a balance and a new breathing style that will hopefully help to slow down some of this nausea. Her hard work paid off yesterday though when the pulmonary Doctor came into the room and said,” I understand that you are walking all around the nurses’ station twice a day”. She acknowledged that she had. He then responded,” Anyone that can do that does not need a trach any more so let’s take that thing out. He laid her on the bed and proceeded to remove her trach in her neck.

It was remarkable , when he then put a piece of gauze over the opening where the trach is in her neck and said this will take a couple of weeks to heal and then put a piece of tape over it. She is breathing now through her mouth and nose with the trach completely gone. This is another miracle as the trach has been in for 3 and ½ weeks. She was told that the trach would probably be with her at least 6 weeks and possibly a lifetime. You can only imagine our joy when she began breathing through her nose and mouth and now only breathes room air. The oxygen was taken off of her and Dr. Webber also came in and removed all of her heart monitoring equipment. We now call her tubeless as the only invasion in her body is an IV in her left arm. The nurses and doctors are all in shock as she continually moves toward healing each day. She is still very weak and needs to rest long hours but in between she gets her strong moments of physical therapy. I admire her determination to become stronger every day.

Tomorrow they tell us that she will be transported to another hospital where they do rehab therapy 3 hours out of each day. This will be very taxing for Sister McKee but all of us know that she will do it. She is so determined to be well. We thank the medical professionals everywhere who have cared for her and again thank you for prayers and faith.
Today was Kiara’s birthday. She turned 14. We brought her and the family up to the hospital to celebrate it with Sister McKee. We got special permission to put Sister McKee in a wheel chair and take her to the 2nd floor where the cafeteria is and bought everyone a Subway sandwich  then went back to the room  on the 6th floor to share a few gifts and eat a rice crispy treat cake. Sister McKee even had a bite or two. After the field trip which is the first time for her to be off the 6th floor in over 6 weeks we wheeled over to the ICU and talked to some of the nurses working there. Of course they could not believe their eyes when they saw her without a trach and speaking to them in person as they had all cared for her comatose for so long. Tears streamed down their faces as they visited with her and she thanked the personally for care they had offered that she had no memory of. There are many who were not there tonight, but to each one we thank you for your unconditional care and love. There is no doubt that these wonderful people love their work and their patients. We will always count them as family and pray for their success and happiness as well.  There are so many that have embraced the gospel and acknowledge the Lord in so many ways. To the ICU nurses on the 6th floor and several on the 4th and 5th floors, we love you and will always be grateful to you.

So today we have been in Centennial Hospital for 46 days. It still seems like a dream in many ways but tomorrow they will move us to a new hospital. It will be challenging to move the Mission Office to a new hospital and all that has gathered over the last month and a half.  Like all of life it is important to graduate and move on so that we can progress the way that the Lord has in mind for us to do.

I thought as they removed the stomach feeding tube and the trach today how valuable those two tubes had become and how important they were as we worked each day to save Sister McKee’s life. They were both so essential and yet today they were slowing down the growth process and actually inhibiting her progression. In so many ways they had become a safety net and just life very good friends we had learned to count on them in so many ways. The sound of the oxygen flowing through the tubes was a sound that had lulled us to sleep many nights and if rhythm changed at all we would immediately jump up and locate a nurse. All of these sounds are gone tonight and the silence has a new meaning . I am reflecting back on another favorite scripture in D&C 101. “Be still and know that I am God”. Tonight is a very still night and tonight I acknowledge Him with all of His power knowing that He is absolutely in charge and that we are still adjusting our lives to His will, whatever that may be.

I am wondering what in my life have I hung onto that seemed so valuable like a breathing tube or stomach feeding tube that actually has no value to me today and would inhibit my spiritual growth or my eternal progression . Am I rationalizing to hang on  to it because of fear in my life or because I am sure that I will need it once again or can I take that leap of faith and start breathing through my mouth and nose again like Sister McKee just did. Am I hanging on to the past or am I ready to move forward with a leap of faith and trust in my Heavenly Father. Are there things in my life that He has called or commanded me to do that I have not done yet. So many of our missionaries have taught wonderful people who are afraid to take that leap of faith and “Follow the Savior” by being baptized as He has commanded and the leap of faith that it takes to read the Book of Mormon and pray and ask the Lord if it is true. We sometimes hang onto some very good and important things but miss eternal growth by understanding our true potential by doing what the Lord has called us to do and preparing ourselves to be sealed in the Temple for time and all eternity.
Sometimes we hold back from the temple by hanging on to something that we really like that is sometimes good or feels like a life line much like a trach or feeding tube. Even addictions can feel like that at times. Smoking a cigarette , drinking alcohol, or not paying tithing can feel so very important and life saving at times when in fact it will stop us from entering into the house of the Lord and partaking of all the eternal blessings that the Lord has in store for us. Is it time to let some things go. Today was the day for us to let trachs go and breathing machines, and feeding tubes and heart monitors and ……so that Sister McKee can obtain her true potential. Doing this prematurely would have been life threatening but waiting too long would also stop her from achieving her true potential.
LEARN FROM THE PAST. It is full of “should’ve , could’ve, wish I would’ve”.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE. It is full of “What if” and needs to be planned for.
LIVE IN THE PRESENT. It is full of happiness and joy. Experiencing the moment with each relationship and being “at one” with the Lord.

In reality that is really all that each of us have is the present and the choices that we make each day. We thank the Lord for the present and thank the Lord that He has allowed us to keep Sister McKee with us for one more day and one more day. It truly has been a miracle in these latter days.
We are also mindful of so many heroes that this wonderful miracle has not been offered to . We have several of our missionaries that close family members have passed on while serving on a mission. One of our Elders had a father that passed away while serving here. Two of our Sister missionaries have had brothers that have passed on while serving full time missions. They are our heroes and steadily served the Lord through this unforeseen test in their lives. We are so mindful of their pain and want each of you to know that our faith would be identical if Sister McKee had not been able to remain with us at this time. We know that the Lord is in charge and that we are all functioning under His plan. We also know of the great the blessings that come through faith and prayers. We will always pray with “Thy will be done” and again are so grateful that the Lord has walked with us through this growth experience.
We love all of you and again thank you for your faith and prayers. We are so blessed by knowing each of you and acknowledge the Lord in all things.

The William McKee Family

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Hero For Us All

Today Dr. Lewis came in to say that he thought it was time to remove the tube in Sister McKee’s stomach as it had only been used for a few meds over the past week. He said it would be very painful to remove it but would only last for a few minutes. I could see the fear in her eyes to experience pain once more and she probably saw the fear in my eyes as I wished that she would experience no more pain. Our secondary thought was what if she needs this feeding tube again ? Are we taking away what was once her life giving source?
Over the years we have taught many classes on what to do when we experience fear. There are those who will run away from fear with little or no communication, turn to alternate substances to cover their fear and pain(alcohol,drugs, excessive sleep, or many other socially acceptable addictions).   There are many ways to run or walk away from a fear that needs to be handled. Another response to fear can be anger, argument or upset.(verbal abuse) This is another inappropriate way to handle fear. Another response to fear is (physical hitting) or physically hurting someone else. These three responses are for survival but almost always make things so much worse. They are “natural man” responses.

The fourth response is to “Face our fear” or to walk toward difficult things in life. As we walk toward difficult things and face them head on , the fear begins to dissapate. I tell our missionaries often that at first it is very difficult to talk to people but as you do it over and over again our ability to talk to people becomes greater and our success improves. If you get called to teach a class in church, it can be very scary at first but over time the fear disapates and our ability to accomplish something that we were afraid of improves.
My mind often goes to the garden of Gethsemane where the Savior pled to His Father to take this cup from me. I have to imagine at the moment He did not believe that He could do it (take upon all the sins of the world) ,(bleed from every pore). It must have looked so overwhelming to take on that task. As He prayed it occurred to me that a loving Heavenly Father said to Him “Face this incredible commitment that you have made” . Out of that will come eternal life, the resurrection , salvation for all mankind and so many eternal gifts. The Savior walked toward this most difficult test and set all of us free. How grateful I am to Him. He could have “run away”, argued with the Lord or others, or even zapped a few people physically around Him. Instead He chose to “Face the Fear” and miracles began to happen. As we follow His example and walk toward our most difficult challenges, doors will open and blessings will come not just for ourselves but for others as well.

Dr. Lewis said that there would be no numbing of the stomach  or medication of any kind and that he would pull out the tube as fast as possible. The tube has a large plastic flap that has to go through a very small hole. He said ,I am not going to lie to you ,the pain will be intense for a few minutes and then it will subside. I held her hand as he prepared to remove the feeding tube and then with one big pull he removed the tube. He was right about the intense pain and once again I have this deep admiration for Sister McKee and all that she is going through. She is one of the strongest women I have ever met. After several minutes of catching her breath and dealing with the shock of the pain, she began to settle. Dr. Lewis then put a compress over the hole and said it would heal quickly in time. Our bodies are amazing as they have such a strong will to heal. This procedure will require her to be in bed for several hours today but this afternoon her plan is to be back up practicing walking. She is my hero.

In our presentations that we often gave we stated “If we fear what we will experience , we already experience that which we fear.” Fear can stop us in life if we let it. Satan is behind fear. A recent prophet has said, There is no place in the gospel of Jesus of Christ for fear, we must replace It with faith. Whenever we replace fear with faith we put our hands in the Lord’s hands and trust Him. In this way He will reveal more to us and in this way we will grow and become more like Him. Fear can stop us from progressing. Faith is the first step in the doctrine of Christ and will always lead us closer to Him.
To all of our friends and family, Thank you for your faith and thank you for your prayers. Sister McKee life being saved is an absolute miracle in our day

The William McKee Family

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Eternal Families are worth it...

One of the daily routines over the past five weeks has been watching the medical professionals suction out Sister McKee’s trach 4-6 times a day. A nurse will come in a set up a sterile environment , open up a suction kit, put on their sterile gloves and then send a tube much like an aquarium tube down her trach and into her lungs. They would suction out liquid, clots and other excess which would often clog the airway making it very difficult to breath. This process  not only helped to keep the airway open but also was designed to keep her from getting pneumonia. At first when she was comatose I would notice that it often caused her to cough and then when she began to feel again and come out of that comatose state, I began to see how painful it was for her and would often hold her hand while they went down with the suction tube. When the airway seemed obstructed to her and when she could communicate in some way she would motion for me to make sure that someone would suction her so that she could breath better.

A few days ago I began to believe that I would avoid in any way being suctioned down into my lungs and wondered how she could endure the pain and yet she would request for them to come once again, each time grimacing. I watched as she would wait until the last minute to request this painful process only because she knew that the alternative would mean her loss of air and life itself. I would hold her hand as they would say,”ready, OK we are going down. This is going to cause you to cough a lot.” I wondered how painful it is to try to cough through that trach and clear your lungs not to mention the pressure that would press against the skull where her recent surgery was, with a headache often ranging between 8-10. And yet somehow she had the courage each time to request that pain knowing that it was her survival.

I thought about the Savior as He offered the “Living Water” at the well , the gift that is so important for you and me and how each of us in a sense must pay a price to drink from that “Living Water”. I have noticed that even though there is a price to pay the joy of the “Living Water”  just like Sister McKee’s “Living Breath” is worth that pain. If somehow we can each keep our minds focused on the eternal picture our ability to endure or grimace through the pain will increase. As I watch Sister McKee increase in her ability to face or deal with that pain, knowing that she will breath at a stronger pace for several hours to come it all becomes worth it for the larger picture. The vision of knowing that she will be with our family again becomes worth that price once again. II Nephi “For it must needs be that there is opposition in all things”.
Eternal families are worth it. They are worth the grimacing pain that it sometimes takes to work things out so that someday we will experience that “Fresh Breath” , the “Saviors Love and presence”. They are so very worth gathering together each day, praying together, eating together, reading together, playing together. One of our sweet daughters put her head in my lap this week bursting into tears and saying, “I just miss my mom.” We all need each other.
 It is so very difficult for us to keep that eternal picture in store some days. When relationships don’t always fit our expectations or when the Lord seems to have abandoned us in our dark hours it is easy to lose sight of that eternal view. This is a grand time to forgive someone. This is a grand time to cleanse our vessel on a regular basis just as Sister McKee cleanses with suctioning out any debris or blockage from helping her have a clear breath. It is a time to “repent with rejoicing” even though it becomes a bit painful in our immediate hour. Long term it will be such an eternal blessing.
We have a very dear friend that reminded me during a crisis that the only real concern in this life is unrepentant sin. Everything else will be made whole through the atonement. If you are carrying sludge or debris of not forgiving or holding a grudge, it only takes a minute to forgive and move on in your life. It will clear the passage way . It will keep us progressing to the eternal realm on high. It will help us “become more like the Savior”.

Sister McKee had a couple of set backs on Monday with some head swelling, projectile vomiting and extreme pain. This is to be expected along that path of healing so it is very important not to be discouraged. She received another CT scan, a chest exray, and a stomach exray and more medication . On Tuesday things began to look a bit better and by Wednesday, the pain was still there but the projectile vomiting had stopped. She is keeping her food down today and they actually switched her trach to a smaller size with a plan to hopefully remove it over the weekend. This will be another miracle as they told her that she would have the trach around 6 weeks and it will only be four. She continues to walk assisted with a walker down the hall and can turn herself in bed now. We still watch for the little things. Our wonderful Zone leaders came and sang for her today. What a blessing to have their faith and love. The spirit was remarkable.
Thank you all again for your continual love and prayers. Each day we continue to experience miracles as we continue in the hospital for 40 days. How we love and appreciate you and our wonderful missionaries for serving so diligently and for their obedience and dedicated service.

The William McKee Family.