Happy New Infection!

Well, the new year started out without a hint that God was about to show me, yet again, that He is really in control of everything. My first day back to work after the Christmas and New Year’s Eve break was Wednesday, January 2, 2013. Early that morning after my quiet-time with the Lord, I prayed for God show me how He planned to use me in the brand new year. The balance of that day was thankfully, pretty smooth. My employees arrived, we had a time of fellowship by sharing with each other about what each person did during the holidays, we had an operations meeting and then we got to work designing and developing marketing programs. I was excited about the new year, but a bit anxious and determined to start the year off with new sales and ministry opportunities. That day we has received from our printer, the second issue of TwoTen Magazine featuring Tim Tebow. The next morning, I was the keynote speaker at Real Estate Lives, a non-profit organization that serves real estate professionals in Tampa Bay. Real Estate Lives is led by two of my friends Ron Weaver, attorney at Stearns Weaver Miller and Bruce Jonas, CEO of Masters Construction. The attendees at the event were great people. The balance of that day was filled with client meetings. I decided to take Friday off and spend the day with Lisa. Saturday was a typically day for the Hayes family, our older sons sleep-in (teenagers!) while our foster sons ( brothers, 1 and 3 years old) and Tristan were up early to take on the day. That evening I wasn’t feeling well and thought that I was catching a winter cold or sinus infection. On Sunday morning, I skipped church and slept-in most of the day. On Monday morning, my alarm went off at 5:00am and as I was preparing for work, I looked in the mirror and noticed that the left side of my face and eye was very red and beginning to swell. This concerned me because the irritation was precisely in the areas were I had cancer and radiation. I went to my office and did some work, then I called my surgeon’s office and they agreed to see me as their first appointment that morning. Dr. Steiniger examined me and was concerned also. He prescribed oral antibiotics and said that if the infection got worse to the hospital. The antibiotics made me sick and by Tuesday morning, the infection was growing. That morning I called my oncologist’s office and they got me in early to see Dr. Hochman. He immediately concurred that I need to be admitted to the hospital. So off Lisa and I went to the emergency room, where coincidentally, everyone in my town was as due to an outbreak of the flu. After several hours of waiting, I was finally admitted, where the incredible nursing and admissions staff began to triage symptoms and diagnosis my condition through blood-work, vitals and a CAT scan. That afternoon, I was admitted to room and given a series of antibiotics through an IV. On Wednesday morning, I met with the hospital’s infectious disease specialist who was concerned that the infection was entering my left eye and brain. He increased the volume and mix of antibiotics. By Thursday morning, the infection was worse, the antibiotics weren’t working fast enough. The medical team supplemented my intravenous therapy with my old friend, injections in the stomach. Thankfully, by late Thursday evening and early Friday morning the infection subsided enough to be discharged, hooray!

So, what was the lesson for me, why did God cause or allow this to happen? Why did He put me in a hospital bed for a week at the beginning of a new year, instead of the marketplace where I could make things happen? I believe He was wanting to prove that He was in control and I wasn’t. I wasn’t in control of my health, schedule or plans, again. In that hospital room, I rededicated the businesses that I manage to God.

The next week, was full of opportunities that I could have never imagined or planned in my own strength. I also met a special guy in my hospital room, that I hope will become a long-time friend.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and my boys during this strange, horrible, wonderful and incredible journey.

Love and press on, Rich