Our Journey to Healing Day 48


Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart     and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,     and he will make your paths straight.

With about 3 weeks of Chicago under our belt, we are feeling a little more confident and comfortable with each passing day. This weekend was so relaxing and we soaked up all the extra free time. Around here, they push their patients hard during the week and give them a nice break on the weekend. We had family visit (who we are also lucky enough to call close friends), learned to play a new game, went for a stroll around the park, and even snuck in a few naps. Our relaxing weekend came to end with a bang (pun intended) last night around 6:45pm.

Our family had just arrived from out of state and Derek and I went outside to meet them! We decided to go a couple blocks down to the neighboring hospital to get Derek some soup from their food court. I know, this sounds strange but they have great soup and Derek is still on an all liquid diet. After waiting in line, we got our food and then sat down at the tables to enjoy our dinner. The set up of the hospital cafeteria floor is almost like a mall. Very wide open with little restaurants and shops on each side. The middle has large cut outs where you can look down into the first floor open lobby. This hospital is fairly large and very open.

We were eating on the second floor at a round table when all of a sudden there was a lot a noise coming from the first floor. Since the whole hospital is very exposed and you can see down into the first floor, sound travels quickly. It was clear a large fight had just broken out with about 50-60 people screaming. I wasn't too concerned until I noticed the doctors and nurses who were sitting next to us scrambled in the opposite direction of the yelling. All of a sudden, the sound escalated quickly when a woman screamed, "Get out! Get out!" (still gives me chills). We (Derek, my Aunt and 3 cousins, and I), started to gather our stuff when "BANG, BANG!". Two very distinct noises (gun shots) went off.

We started running but we were in a very open area. Since it was Sunday evening, all the doors around us were locked and we were stuck in the upstairs atrium area. A nurse came running who had a badge and was able to let us into one of the locked offices. Another man was running as well and the 7 of us went into a corridor and found a conference room to hide in.

We proceeded to block the door (with a trashcan, ha), and moved to the back corner. My aunt then called 911 and proceed to report the incident. She explained what hospital we were at and that we heard gunshots. The emergency operator said ,"2 gunshots, correct?" Aunt Karen confirmed we had heard 2 as well. They proceeded to tell us to stay where we were and that the hospital was on lock down. We explained that we had someone in a wheelchair as well as a child with us. Sirens were going off everywhere and knew we were not the first to call in the emergency.

Honestly, at this point we were all very anxious but we felt confident we were in a safe place. Since the nurse had to let us into the closed doctor's office room, we figured it would be pretty tricky for someone to get to us. Lots of praying and 10 minutes later, an emergency operator called us and asked for information on our location. After staying on the phone with them and walking them through where we were, they informed us they would send police to come get us once it was safe.

We waiting a few more minutes and then a SWAT team arrived to escort us out. At that moment, I really felt like we were just living some sort of movie out in real life. It was so surreal.  I joked that at least I had something new to write about on the blog. The SWAT team informed us there was a fight but they could not confirm gunshots. They did say a marble table was broken...So they called in the SWAT team for a broken marble table?

When we were escorted out, the emergency room was still on lock down but we were able to get out safely. The irony? This was Derek's first adventure out for dinner. We started to go out Saturday night but he got anxious and we headed back to the rehab facility. I am going to be lucky if we get him out to dinner in the next month after this incident!!

Today, we are hoping to get him cleared for a soft diet. O the possibilities of things he could eat that are considered "soft"! We have also been receiving lots of cards and love packages, so thank you all so much. It really does just cheer him up.

We are hoping for an event free week, especially after last night!

With Love,

The Lavenders