Head and Heart at 92 Years Old

The 92 year old fell in his kitchen, hitting his head on the way down. A friend found him with a lot of blood on the floor. Head wounds can do that, especially when the 92 year old is on blood thinners for cardiac issues.

The ER doctor stitched up the small wound and ordered a brain scan. There was a small subdural hematoma, something to keep an eye on in the ICU. A second scan a few hours later showed it had doubled in size. The choice was to operate or to observe.

Observation meant the possibility – or perhaps likelihood is more accurate – the hematoma would continue to grow. Operating meant placing the 92 year old patient in high risk of cardiac arrest on the operating table. The patient said to go with the operation.

The operation came off well, but there was no way to return to the blood thinner medication while recuperating from surgery. Both the attending physician in the ICU and the neurosurgeon agreed it’s the condition of the heart that was now “guarded,” not the head.*

No blood thinners meant a heightened risk of heart attack for the 92 year old, even while being carefully monitored in the ICU.

Guarded Hearts and Heads

I’ve been told I can spiritualize anything and use it for a gospel application. The thought to do so with the story about the 92 year old came to me when my wife said, “The doctors are more concerned with his heart than his head right now.” She said this because the 92 year old is a real person who is in the ICU waiting for another scan to see if the hematoma has shrunk enough for him to be moved to a regular hospital room.

But I’m not going to spend much time on analogizing this medical crisis except to say that my wife’s words led me immediately to thoughts about how our own hearts and heads need to be guarded both physically and spiritually.

And then I stopped thinking about that metaphorical connection because the 92 year old is my father and frankly it’s been hard to think about anything but the physical reality of his condition – one that leaves the doctors using a word like “guarded.”

I’m praying for God to guard my dad, to heal him and to bring him strength. I’m praying too for God to protect me, because my thoughts can swiftly run off to dark places at a time like this.

My head tells me to trust God. My heart is full of holes and can’t hold in any trust.

But I need both heart and head to be sound and strong. There are decisions to make and a dad to comfort and support.

And prayer. I need to keep praying for dad.


*“Guarded” is an imprecise term that “is usually synonymous with ‘serious’ and ‘poor’ ….” (What is a guarded prognosis?)


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29 Responses to Head and Heart at 92 Years Old

  1. I pray both you and your dad experience the peace and love of God at this time x

  2. Laura Droege says:

    When I started reading this, I wondered if this was your dad. (I remembered the story about him teaching the little ones at church: something about the book of Ruth, I believe, and how he told the story from memory.) I’m sorry to hear that he’s going through this medical crisis, and I will be praying for him, you, and your family as you wait.

  3. FW Rez says:

    Joining you in praying that God will guard, heal, and strengthen your father. My parents are at about that same age and I know these can be difficult times. Praying for your family as you walk through this.

  4. dianerivers says:

    I understand completely about the heart “full of holes” that “can’t hold in any trust”. I have one of those myself. And I relate to this on a very personal basis as my Dad is almost 94 and has an artificial heart valve. It’s a tough journey, this life. I will pray for you and your Dad.

  5. So sorry to hear your Dad is going through this, Tim. I understand just what you mean about your heart being able to hold on to trust. Thank God that He is holding on to your dad, and you, and the rest of your family. Will pray.

  6. JYJames says:

    “… when my wife said, …”

    God bless you all, and thanking God you have strong support in your lovely life partner.

  7. Tuija says:

    Sorry to hear this. I hope your Dad recovers well from the operation and all goes well.
    I’ll go and pray for you all right now.

  8. I’m so sorry, Tim. I am praying for sound heads and hearts for you and your Dad and all of your family.

  9. Hello, Tim. I just stumbled onto your blog today and was both touched and grieved to read of your father’s tenuous situation. With others here, I pray for healing for your father along with the fullness of His strength and peace for your entire family.

  10. Bill M says:

    I won’t worry about the head vs the heart but will pray for the whole person. Best wishes for you and your father.

  11. G&TandENT says:

    Praying for your dad, and for you too. Peace be with you.

  12. Ruth says:

    Oh dear, I thought it was dad by the age, and gentle telling of a sad shock. Praying for you Tim, and your dad and the rest of your family. Such a hard time, so easy to find a dark place in your mind, but remember to let those feelings have their moment, then pray and share with your wife. My dear old dad has done this very thing at least five times now, and every time seems so awful, but things change little by little, and he is still here for now.
    Use this time to visit, sit with him, talk about him, have a good cry….strong men do cry!………, share memories with your family, talk to him, awake or not, and fill your mind with those good things to keep the hard bits bearable.
    You have prayed for my dad and family, and many things I’ve shared, and been such a kind, helpful, generous friend. Know we all care and pray blessings of peace and security in such an uncertain time for you and yours.

  13. I feel your soreness of heart, Tim. I know it, full well, having gone through similar things with my mom several years ago. Sending my heartfelt chaplainly prayers to you, your family, and especially your dad. May all of you know God’s love, encouragement, and warmth right now. God’s hand rest on the doctors and medical staff caring for him. Anoint their hands, and give them God’s wisdom and understanding in your dad’s case. Help your dad to know that he is deeply loved, warmly cared for, and upheld in prayer by many, many friends. @chaplaineliza

  14. Christiane Smith says:

    TIM, so sorry to hear about your father’s injury and heart trouble …. Velour on TWW has shared your trouble and asked us to pray for him and you and the family. I will pray vigil for your father’s sake tonight in the way of my faith. God give you strength to bear up and His peace in your heart.

  15. Melody says:

    praying xx

  16. Shy1 says:

    I’m so sorry to read of your dad’s accident, Tim. I’m praying for him and for you and yours, may God bring healing, comfort and strength as you walk through this.

  17. Patriciamc says:

    Hi. I’m praying for your dad and for your family and sending lots of virtual hugs.

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  19. Kingsley Eweka says:

    Hi Tim, I am so sorry to hear about your dad, there is nothing prayer cannot do.mGod is always in control. I will include your dad in my prayers may the Lord see him and you and your family through in this difficult time.Amen

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