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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

So, you ask, what is happening with the plans to bring Stu home?
Well, we obviously didn't meet our goal of a Christmas homecoming------but the work is being accomplished, one bit at a time.  There is now a sturdy roof, the walls are finished and painted, there are doors front and back.  We have only to install the wood laminate floors throughout, finish  the counters in the bathroom, install the sink and toilet, and do some finish work around the doors.  We, I say-----I should say Jerome, my intrepid Super Son (pictured is my Happy New Year card to him), and the men he has gathered to help him-----John Lingafelter,  Tim Kasdorf, Jim Chandler.   These guys have volunteered valuable time and skill, and there's no way to thank them enough.  I will leave the rewards to God, I know he'll bless them in ways I couldn't imagine.  Once the work on the cottage is completed, it will be time to move furniture in and set up house-----I have told my transition coordinater, Eileen, that when the floors are in, I think we can start ordering the equipment that will be needed for Stu's care.  I will also need to start interviewing caregivers for the help I'll be needing.  It will be  a big transition----I pray daily for strength and wisdom to navigate this next stage of the saga!

This morning I was reflecting on the on-again off-again struggle I have with a sense of urgency about the project.  December was a rough month for me because I was so sure that it should be done before the end of the year.  And I was absolutely wrong.  That was hard.  But I have to say, this recent wrestling match with God brought something into sharper focus for me.   Here's what I wrote this morning:

"Lately, it's occuring to me that good things take time to develop.   As I watch the skilled workmen do their jobs, I see that they have a deep respect for the principle of laying down a layer and giving it time to breathe and settle before adding the next layer.   The mud-and-tape professional who came in to work on the walls was very particular about conditions, drying time, etc.  He knew it doesn't pay to be in a hurry.  I myself took a page out of his book when I laid some vinyl tile in the bathroom.  I had to be scrupulous about removing all dirt and debris, and making sure the surface was level.

I can see that this time before Stu's homecoming is foundational----like a meticulous Craftsman, I see you clearing debris, smoothing the surface, preparing with great deliberation.  You know what you are building;  I can only guess.  I spent all last month pleading my case with You, frustrated by your timing, sure that it should go faster.  I am wrong.  (I use the present tense because I know myself to be still impatient by nature.  For now, thanks to You, the chastisement is fresh in my system.  Grateful for that!)"

To finish up here, I stole the title of this blog from Eugene Peterson----who wrote a book with this title that has been very refreshing reading for me recently.   So far, my favorite excerpt from that book is this one, from the chapter on Worship:  "Faith is not a precarious affair of chance escape from satanic assaults.  It is the solid, massive, secure experience of God, who keeps all evil from getting inside us, who guards our life, who guards us when we leave and when we return, who guards us now, who guards us always."

Until next time!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wheelchair Dates:-)

Glad to be here!
No, it's not a sideways picture
Since before Christmas, Stu and I have been traveling twice a week to Medford for power wheelchair training classes at Providence Rehab.  Who knew there were such space age features in a power chair??  Sheesh!  The one they're building for Stu has bells and whistles I never would have imagined----especially a handy dandy switch that tilts the wheelchair all the way back to a full reclining position!  I know, it's almost unnerving, isn't it?  But it's a Godsend for Stu, who has lower spine pain that prevents him from being able to sit for long periods in a standard chair.  In the power chair, he is so much more comfortable.  And it has been wonderful to see him engage with his trainer, Leslie----finally, something that allows him some control after so many months of utter helplessness!  He is both encouraged and exhausted at the end of the hour lessons----it's hard work re-training your brain!  He has noticeable neglect on the left side.  Today, Leslie wanted him to read a sign on the way to the cafe in the hospital, and he could not recognize the words on the left until she pointed to them.  He tends to drift to the left, too, as he putters along (always at the slowest speed)   Leslie is P.A.T.I.E.N.T........extremely patient.  She waits for  information to sink in before she moves on to the next activity.  She is also funny, good humored, and upbeat.  Stu loves her.  It does my heart good to see him getting such good care.

For me, these "dates" take up the better part of the day.  I get there a full hour before the transportation arrives, so there is time to visit a little with Stu before getting him dressed and ready.  I bring jeans and a nice shirt, a hat, a warm scarf.  For at least this part of his day, he gets to look like a mensch.  No sweatclothes or hospital gowns allowed!  An hour before the appointment, the transportation arrives.  This has been a whole oddysey in itself, just getting familiar with the companies that provide this service.  I know all the drivers by name at this point: Steve, Paul, Rob, Russ, Crystal.......there are more, but you get the idea.  One driver was a pro-wrestler in his former life, broke his back while performing, and (long story short) gave his life to Jesus.  He was, against all odds and predictions, healed of his injuries, and he considers his work now a ministry.  It was fun talking to him.   One driver is a Disneyland fan----his vehicle has Mickey Mouse memorabilia everywhere in the cab.  I find myself enjoying them all.  During these rides, Stu sits quietly in the back of the van, in his wheelchair, which is secured with some heavy duty looking straps and metal fittings.  Sometimes I sit in the jumpseat near him, if the van has one,  and sometimes we hold hands.  It's a date, after all.

It takes at least six weeks to build a chair like the one that's been ordered for Stu.  But, miracle of miracles, we've been promised a loaner chair for the interim.  Not sure when it will be delivered, but soon, I'm told.  I won't say "Can't wait"-----since a lot of this saga has to do with waiting----but certainly it will be a grand thing when Stu has this kind of mobility.  (Just a little factoid----Leslie informed us that a couple of her clients who live as far away as Eagle Point actually travel to the Rehab Center by back roads in their power chairs.)  Wow-----the adventure continues!

Leslie helping him navigate the halls

Waiting for his appointment.