Miracle on 240th Street
Putting the puzzle back together
Meet Reed and Shirley Patterson. They’re 90 years old and have been married for 67 years. That’s longer than anyone can imagine. They live a life surrounded by sons and daughters, grandchildren and seven (soon to be nine) great-grandchildren.
They call their home the “perfect house” and it’s smack dab in the middle of homes which house some of the nicest people you’ve ever met. More importantly, three of their four children, Mike, Jon, Anne and spouses Cheryl, Dawnelle and Paul live minutes away, but daughter Janet and husband Mark are down in so. CA. This became a very important part of the puzzle.
Slowly the insidious virus was creeping into house # 2504 unbeknownst to Reed and Shirley.
The first symptoms were diminishing strength and lost taste buds by Reed. He seemed to be retreating back to the time before his heart surgery back in 2018.
Wednesday-February 12th – Reed and Shirley arrive in So. California for the funeral of their brother-in-law. After delivering the eulogy, Reed feels tired. He spends the rest of the time in California resting.
Not long after returning home, Reed develops a cold and a cough. It refuses to leave.
Friday-March 14th – We have a shower for granddaughter Brittany and family get together that night.
Wednesday-March 18, Reed’s breathing is labored and shallow. He goes to our doctor’s office which has a large white tent at the side of the building. It’s determined that he may have bacterial pneumonia and should go to the ER for a chest X-ray, a nebulizer treatment and while he’s there, he would have a test for covid 19.
Thursday, March 19, the call from the hospital announces the results from the covid-19 test. Positive. A piece of Reed’s life falls apart. A diagnosis of covid-19 enters their home and the world shifted. Family is exposed, quarantine enforced, and Reed’s life is threatened in an unforeseeable way. Reed is banished to his bedroom to protect Shirley and the covid cloud descends on the perfect house. Sunshine, inhalers, walks with masks, and information fills Reed’s days. The puzzle is scattered into pieces.
Friday- March 20th, Janet decides to stay on and not go back to CA so soon. Reed’s breathing can’t be controlled. Another broken piece. 911 was called and first responders take him away to be isolated at the hospital in the new covid ward. Shirley kept the bedside light on, closed the door to their bedroom and didn’t enter for over 30 days. She stopped sleeping in their bed and found minimal sleep on the living room couch. Pieces fell one by one.
The next week was filled with days of waiting. Reed was isolated from family, while covid spread throughout his body and Shirley and Janet found solace working on a jig saw puzzle spread on top a coffee table. Word spread around the world causing hundreds of people to pray for a miracle. Pieces scattered on a table much like the pieces missing from Reed’s health and the life he shared with Shirley.
Reed endured long days fighting the virus and fighting thoughts of needed ventilators. Hydrochloroquine became the drug for the day with prayers it would keep the virus from multiplying. Reed charmed his caretakers and prayed for their safety. He longed for nights where he could video chat with his family. Songs were sung, jokes were told, Reed and Shirley sang their love song to each other. Tears dwelling eyes.
Saturday-March 28th appeared to be the day the puzzle would remain unsolved and put in a box never to be opened again. Family was allowed to file in by twos for short periods of time. Reed gave his directives, planned his funeral, showered each family member with blessings. They said goodbye.
Sunday-March 29th Shirley received a call early in the morning from Reed, surprised to realize he was still alive. She and Janet rushed to the hospital to see him again only to be told he was on the 8th floor which was closed to all visitors. Shirley’s heart sank believing she would never see him again.
God hears the prayers of the faithful. The Master had been organizing the pieces into a new and beautiful puzzle. Reed was moved to hospice. He had stopped eating and drinking. He was ready to meet the Master face to face. Shirley was allowed to visit him in hospice. Masks and gowns in place. She held his hand and waited for his last breath.
Three days and Reed grows weaker. Scripture is read Psalms 86.
The family plans the funeral.
Reed never loses his sense of humor. When asked what day it is, Shirley responds March 31st. Reed answers that it wouldn’t do to die on April 1st. None would believe him.
All the pieces of the puzzle falls out of the box back on the table that March 31st. Reed realizes he is not in any pain, he has a good family and maybe heaven wants to wait. His daughter tells him to start eating. Two tapioca puddings and two Ensures later, the twinkle in his eyes reappears. His daughter tells him he has been brave.
Every day, Reed gets stronger and Shirley becomes hopeful. Friends and family keep praying for miracles. Every day breathing gets better; everyday his voice gets bolder. Puzzles begin forming into beautiful pictures.
Monday-April 6 proves more healing. Oxygen levels are increasing as Reed’s lungs grow healthier. Plans emerge to be with his bride of 67 years and the bedside light can be turned off in the daylight.
Friday-April-10 “Good Friday” finds Reed still in the hospice facility, hopeful that he might test negative for the covid-19 virus so he can go home. That was not to be. His doctor called with the news that he tested positive still which means another week at the facility. Bad news on Good Friday. Spirits nose dive all around. Reed and Shirley watch a special on TV where the message speaks to them of their situation. Painful news on Friday but silence on Saturday. Reed knows that God is still arranging the pieces to the puzzle, the mystery of his illness. It was silent but Reed knew God is still at work.
Sunday-12 th – “Easter Sunday” is when we remember the power of Heaven to conquer death, sickness, and sadness. Easter Sunday grows in Reed’s heart and his thankful spirit and loving heart is healed. He continues to praise God for all He has done for him.
Tuesday- April 14th, he continues to trust that the Lord has plans for him at the hospice facility. He’ll tell you that most of the patients in his ward don’t live long. He is an exception. He loves to share with the staff. Someone once said meeting Reed was like having a conversation with someone whom you feel you knew forever. Just like the hospital caretakers, the hospice staff will remember him a long time.
As of today. Reed remains positive and grows stronger. Shirley visits twice a day. It’s a labor of love. Home is where they belong. They can see it from a distance.
Thursday-April 23rd – Reed Comes home! He’s weak and he needs to use the walker. He needs assistance with caring for himself.
Tuesday-April 28th – Reed walks outside for the first time in 6 weeks! Shirley gets to visit at a distance under the back patio as well as the rest of the family except for Paul and Janet who have planned to take care of him in the house as long as needed.
Wednesday-April 29th – Reed participates in a 2 ½ hour long board meeting online. His focus is returning outward towards ministry and others’ needs.
Monday-May 4 Reed is retested. Final test at U. of Washington. Drove through the garage and was tested sitting in the back seat of the car. The nurse said Reed was “tough” at 90 years old and recovering going through this virus. Waited for the results, sleepless night.
Tuesday-5 May University Hospital called Reed is still positive, but, no more testing unless he shows symptoms of the virus. Should be negative in 8-10 days. Shirley may return home within 8 days per M D Peter Schock.
Sunday-10 May “Mother’s Day” Part of the family celebrates at Reed and Shirley’s home in Bothell. Reed, although feeling better stays safe distance away from the family and as always wears a mask !
Mother’s Day as viewed thru my bedroom window.
Monday-11 May Game plan for Shirley’s return home established. Pull hospital bed out of Master bedroom, plus supporting equipment like Oxygen tanks tables etc. Must be clean for 72 hours before pick-up. New puzzle to deal with.
Tuesday-12 May House cleaningby Janet, Anne and Paul. Shirley moves back home.
Wednesday, 13 May Janet flies home grateful three times over. First and utmost, for the opportunity to care for her parents, for their generous thank you gifts and for the supportive family she left behind. Visit from “Laura” of Evergreen Health Care Physical Therapy unit finishes the day.
Thursday-14 May Paul leaves the house. Shirley and Reed are alone in their home. Reed is able to walk inside the house without the use of the “walker”. He continues to use the walker when he is outside . He is now able to walk down the block and back with the walker and someone to join him as a back-up should he fall. Is the Puzzle complete? Almost, but prayers are still required.
Saturday-16 May It rained today, no outside walking. It is a time to reflect on the many gifts the Lord has given them over the years. Reed and Shirley have experienced a miracle first hand. For some reason God has chosen to restore Reed’s life for future assignments. He is in charge of all things. TO HIM BE THE GLORY!
The “A” Team (Our Kids )
With Spouse: Upper Level: Paul, Anne, Shirley, Reed, Janet, Mark.
Lower Level: Dawnelle, Jon, Mike, Cheryl
Thank you all for your prayers and support!
Please continue your Prayers as Reed is still recovering.