It's been too long since I've posted anything here on my blog. Blogging has been neglected for the joys of Facebook! Facebook is a kind of virtual social gathering place which I compare to a coffee-house, or club, or place where one can pretend he/she is someone of importance. At my age, I'm sure part of the appeal has been that there I can believe myself to be young and strong again. One gets compliments from his "friends", plays games with "friends", and debates issues with "friends"! Another appeal there is that you do "meet" old friends from your childhood, share pictures, share stories, share everyday life, and in general fulfill what man was created to be. We are social creatures. We thrive on it. Nothing wrong with it. I'm just saying it takes a lot (I should say, capital L, capital O, capital T!) lot of time! I even saw today on Facebook an entry from one of the games suggesting what to do if you are addicted to their game! That's right. You guessed it. It's Farmtown!
Now - for the record - On March 4th, 2009 we took Frances to Skyridge (local hospital) where we expected a heart catheterization and probably a stint or maybe even two. The results of the heart cath caused the doctor to send her by ambulance directly to Memorial in Chattanooga where she was to have open-heart surgery. Due to an over-load of Plavix administered by the Skyridge Hospital in Cleveland, the doctors felt they needed to give time to reduce the results of the Plavix. The Plavix, which made the blood flow more freely, was not a mistake but was the normal procedure to give for what we anticipated the problem to be. Now - after we were in the pre-op room awaiting surgery - the Doctor recommended we wait until Monday before the surgery because the blood was flowing too freely. Therefore on Monday, March the 9th, we were the first case for surgery done by Dr. Morrison and his team.
Let me tell you that there was an out-pouring of love and concern by family and friends. So many visited us in the hospital to pray. Frances family, Frank and Jan, Elizabeth and Curtis, Joe and Sandra, Dewain and Debbie, were all so supportive and were with me during the most difficult and apprehensive times, encouraging me with their prayers and love. Our pastor from Lenoir City, Dr. Ernie Varner, drove down and stayed with me through the entire surgery. Our General Director of World Missions and his wife, Doug and Wanda LeRoy, and also Calvin Wood, Missionary Advocate, stayed the full time until the surgery was over. Of course our good friends, Ed and Irma Williams, came and stayed - plus they brought food to feed all who were waiting with me in the surgical waiting room. Travis Porter, from North Cleveland Church, Wendell Smith from Westmore, Edmond and Mildred Stallings from Ooltewah Church, our personal friend Max Morris, founder and director of His Hands Extended, and many others came and prayed and were such a source of encouragement to me during this time. David Stephens, the Administrative Bishop of the Church of God in Tennessee called me and prayed with me over the phone. I'm sure I am forgetting some minister who came - and if you are one of those, be assured that every one of the visits were important to me and blessed me. Also - I must say how much it meant to Frances and to me that our family came and stuck with us during this time. [As per reminder below, I forgot a very important visit/s -- from Ruthie's Pastors -- Pastor Steve Lewis and Pastor Smalley and Pastor Lowell Brannen.] Our three daughters and their husbands and children were all so supportive. The girls were very "in your face" protective of their Mom. They pitched in and helped not only in the hospital but also here at home after hospitalization. Frankie Lynne, our first-born, was very insistent with her Mom when Frances wanted to go home before the surgery. Ruthie, our middle daughter, stayed by her Daddy's side and went beyond the call of duty in being there for me. Tabitha and her friendship with Dr. Mitchell (one of the heart doctors) got us information we might not have otherwise had. And I cannot forget my Mother and my brother Lowell and wife Janis - Sisters Bonita Landrum and husband Mike, and Sister Donice Brown and her husband Raymond. We are so blessed to have them all living near us.
After surgery we returned home and still had cards and phone calls and people bringing food and messages by e-mail and on Facebook giving or offering support. Jean Moore, a neice of Frances' and her daughter, Hannah, cooked and brought food and encouraged us. Jean is a Registered Nurse and has worked for Home Health Care in the past. Her information and input about Home Health was priceless. Josh Beslisle and Shannon, a great-nephew of Frances, also cooked and brought food and encouraged us with their love. What a wonderful feeling it is to have young folks like these loving you. God Bless 'em! We had flowers received by Fed-Ex from missionary friends Gordon and Glenda Bloodworth who live in Kenya, East Africa, and also flowers from friends who are like family - Rob and Kathy Davis who live in Colorado - sent by Fed-Ex.
Now - it is June 11, and we have passed our 52nd wedding anniversary! Frances medical readings in all departments (i.e., blood sugar levels, Hemoglobin, Cholesterol, Blood-pressure, heart rate, etc.) are better than they have been in ten years! That is documented fact. Thank God for ALL His goodness. His mercies are new every morning. Frances is now driving herself to cardiac re-hab three times a week and is doing really, really well! She is still tender and sore and needs extra attention -- but that will soon disappear and we will travel to Branson, MO for a little vacation in just a couple more months! Ain't God good?
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- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.