Summer Travel, Measured in Footsteps
Over the summer months, some go to the shore; others go to the mountains. My husband Kevin Babcock went to the emergency room.
At the end of June, Kevin was weeding the garden at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, where he is pastor, visiting colleagues’ churches, installing air conditioners in our parsonage, and preparing to relax. We had plans of vacationing in the Berkshires, going to a few barbecues, and attending our youngest son’s unending stream of baseball games. Suddenly Kevin developed flu symptoms, the familiar fever and fatigue, chills and body aches. We assumed he would be back on his feet by the Fourth of July.
But around 3 a.m. on July 1, Kevin started convulsing. Terrified, I called for an ambulance that rushed him to the emergency room in Springfield Hospital. His fever spiked to 105 degrees and his blood pressure was over 250 as the emergency team struggled to keep Kevin alive and understand what was threatening to kill him. Ultimately, the diagnosis was that a simple staph infection had led to sepsis. And this massive infection spread throughout Kevin’s body, leading to a heart attack and stroke. We were shocked and devastated.
We spent nine days in Springfield Hospital before Kevin was stabilized and transferred to the rehab unit of Taylor Hospital to begin the grueling journey of recovery. The stroke affected Kevin’s left side, leading to double vision (hence the jaunty eyepatch), an inability to walk or stand, and a lack of coordination and orientation. Though he is still on intravenous antibiotics to fight the infection, Kevin is spending up to five hours a day on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. He is practicing walking — 120 feet with a walker by the end of July — and we hope Kevin will be discharged from Taylor Hospital and return home in mid-August.
Kevin is on long term disability until June, 2020. Over the next year, he will need ongoing therapy and possibly heart surgery. I divide my days now between work and the hospital. Fortunately, our family stepped in to provide support for our two teenaged sons. There are good days and bad days. In our new normal, each step is a victory.
We are so thankful for the efforts of the staff at both Springfield and Taylor Hospitals … for the incredible firefighters and firefighter trainees who carried my very tall husband down our very narrow spiral staircase and into the ambulance … for the outpouring of love from our family, our friends and neighbors, and our congregations of Swarthmore UMC and Clifton Heights UMC. Your greeting cards and hospital visits cheer Kevin’s spirit; your donations and the online meal train at https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/7wd1z9 have helped our family tremendously. We deeply appreciate the donations to assist with uncovered medical expenses. Cards and donations can be sent to The Rev. Kevin Babcock c/o Clifton Heights UMC, 111 S. Springfield Rd., Clifton Heights, PA 19018. (Any checks should be made out to Kevin Babcock.)
Thank you for being there for us during this journey.