HOPE for my sick boy :(

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Official picture of misery

There is this hopeless, free-falling feeling when you have a sick child. Usually you fear the worst. One extreme to the other. This is no big deal. This is a HUGE deal. You don’t know if you’re over-reacting by running to the doctor or you’re negligent because you’ve decided to take your time. You watch and assess. You google and search. You feel so little and you need to be big. 


I’m at the emergency room with my middle OS. A pounding, almost unrelenting headache has required two visits to the urgent care and two visits to the hospital all in the span of 24 hours or less. As someone prone to anxiety issues, it’s hard to keep perspective and trust in the Lord in these moments. 

I love this kid

We’ve gone from the small measures to relieve Aaron’s pain to moving up the intervention. Soon he’ll be rolled down the hallway to get a CT scan. They’re running more blood tests. Please Lord, not a spinal tap! 


It’s like an elevator that has no bottom. You just want to do something. Is it a coincidence that just Monday we discussed hope in Teen CBS?  I was sitting around a table of teenage girls admonishing them to hope. I waxed eloquently as some of them are going through difficulties. Not because I said so but because God did. You should have seen me.  Oh the words of wisdom I bestowed upon these young ladies. And I believed every word. Still do. Even though I’m here in the Emergency Room with my precious Aaron. 

Romans 8:24-26 

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

(patiently waiting in a room in the emergency department. patiently waiting as they roll my middle OS down the hall for tests. patiently waiting for results and relief. patiently waiting for a warm bed and restored health.)


 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

Empty rooms stink

(tired, hungry, scared, Lord, I’m groaning. people are praying. You are here with me though I’m physically alone in this room at this very moment. And my boy, God, you are with him too in the places where I cannot go.)

HOPE

Adventures – Vicarious in Nature

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Today seems like a good day to blog. I didn’t realize it had been nearly two months since my fingers had tapped out an entry. My health has been relatively good and my exercise regime is consistent. It seems to take longer to burn off the calories from a Heath bar than I can remember but I’m not complaining. This summer I am living vicariously. No big adventures planned for me but plenty for my family. Some adventures I am cleared to mention, others need “approval” but I hope to speak of them soon!

Adventure #1 

My orange-haired, freckle face OS Isaac had a visit to UNC Children’s Hospital, more specifically their operating room. He had an abdominal hernia repaired. An uneventful surgery, praise the Lord but still a big deal for a 13 year old guy. I had a proud parenting moment when the surgery was deemed worthwhile since we didn’t know going in if they were going to find a weakness in his abdominal wall. The Hubs was questioning the surgery, I was the one pushing for it. I love the moments in our marriage where we synch and rely on each other’s instincts. It was a necessary operation and I was happy that Ike hadn’t gone
through all that for nothing. He was exceptionally stoic aside from being worried someone might see his “privates” during the surgery. To Isaac’s chagrin, I mentioned his concern to the doctors who smiled and assured us they would do their best to avoid any sight of that “area” during the procedure. We left the hospital with our pain-ridden child and the skies opened up with sheets of rain pummeling our car. We called Aaron to meet us outside with an umbrella so we could get Ike into the house thus avoiding the rain. As the Hubs and I were gingerly walked our ginger upstairs to bed, I asked Aaron to get the mail. In hindsight, this was a really dumb idea considering what happened next. 


Aaron ran outside with the umbrella when suddenly a huge bolt of lightning pierced the sky. It sounded so close that I felt the bolt down in my feet. A horrible feeling entered my mind, “Did Aaron just get hit by lightning?” I mused. Nah, the idea was just too perposterous.  It was just too far-fetched to imagine that one son could have been struck by lightning just as we were taking another son upstairs following surgery. Since we’re such loving parents, we kept taking Ike upstairs but seconds later Aaron leapt into the house. His eyes wild with fear, his voice octaves higher. While outside retrieving the mail, umbrella in hand, Aaron saw a giant bolt of lightning strike two houses a street behind ours. Soon we heard sirens and fire trucks filling the area. He truly did almost get hit by lightning! Thankfully none of our neighbors were hurt but extensive damage occurred in both of the houses.
Adventure #2


Our oldest OS began his summer with travel. Nate begins his Cow year (third year) at West Point and following exams swiftly boarded a plane bound for  Eastern Europe. A group of 10 students some ROTC others WP cadets, visited the Baltic States and studied its economic conditions, its role in international relations along with its culture and history. He even found himself in the Latvian news. Click here to see pics! He’s the cutie patootie with the white shirt and headphones! Gaa! My OS looks so diplomatic with the headphones on listening to translators. Sometimes I chuckle when I think of how this young man is MY boy. Others see him as a leader and as an adult, yet I can still see his toe-headed face in Barney overalls and I still get to call him silly nicknames! I just close my eyes and can see him bravely wielding his plastic knife on a mountain in North Carolina despite the fact that he is growing up and building a life of his own. (That is a good thing I must keep telling myself.)


Here is the YouTube video documenting some of their time in Latvia. My OS is shown in :26, :39, :49, :57 and in 2:01 you will notice him playing with his pen. That’s from his father’s side of the family. 😉 Nate is the one who says, “How are you doing, Ma’am.” Gaa again! I was impressed when MP and former Foreign Minister of Latvia, Artis Pabriks stated that the United States and Lativa are “brothers in arms.” Thank you Saiema Chancellery for allowing me to use these images.




Nate saw the Hill of Crosses, the Museum of Genocide Victims which was set up in the former KGB headquarters and is the only one of its kind in the former Soviet Union.

He even got his picture taken with a “torturer” who was handing out brochures in Estonia and that’s some-
thing most of us have never done!

Other notable events included going to the General Jonas Zemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, and attending a briefing at the US Embassy in Estonia. I found myself having to check the globe to figure out where my OS was since my knowledge of that part of the world is quite limited. It never occurred to me that other countries have military academies. I think we all can be very myopic in our worldview and travel expands our minds in many ways. My oldest OS brought me home a CD of Latvian folk music and although I don’t understand a single word, I love listening to it and transporting myself to that faraway place my son visited. In total, Nate went to four countries in less than two weeks. Yes, he is having an “epic” summer. More to follow on that note…


Adventure #3 

This will only seem an adventure if you are a bibliophile. I have read over 1,000 pages this summer! That’s a very big deal for me. One of my greatest passions is reading and sadly I don’t do enough of it. This summer, however; I am returning to my love of books and I want to share with you what I have read thus far…


River Town – a fascinating book about an American Peace Corps volunteer who taught American literature in the heart of China’s Sichuan province.


I Am Hutterite – This non-fiction book chronicles the life of a woman who spent her childhood in a Hutterite colony in southern Manitoba, Canada. I enjoyed hearing about how she transitioned living in popular culture while still treasuring the life she left behind.


The Good Earth – this is the second time I’ve read Pearl Buck’s classic about Wang Lung, a peasant. There are so many striking moments in this timeless book. The first time I read The Good Earth I wasn’t a Christian. Now I have found so many Biblical parallels, it gave me much to ponder. My family hears about Wang Lung, O-Lan and the poor fool all the time. You must read this if you haven’t!


The Good, Good Pig – Ike and I read this together. Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The Christian Science Monitor, The Good, Good Pig was a charming true story about a 750 pound pet pig. Ike and I looked up new words and expanded our vocabulary while discussing this sweet novel. I cried a little bit at the end.


Belong to Me – a fiction book recommended to me by my mom. It was an intriguing story about women and friendships.

I’m now reading Isaac’s Storm for my personal pleasure and Fever 1793 with Ike as we work on his comprehension.


My adventures are being found in the lives of those I love and in the pages I turn. It might not sound like fun but I am loving this perspective.


More soon, I promise. It feels good to share!

Getting back to me

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There’s nothing that gets me more in the writing mood than sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for a person who’s having a colonoscopy! Not sure what about this experience is inspiring me but to hear my fingers tapping away on the keyboard feels good. The chair I’m sitting in is ridiculously uncomfortable so I need something to get my mind off of the 90 minutes I’ll be here. I mean, there’s only so much tv I can watch and I’ve read the entire paper. I’ve checked facebook too many times already, so I thought I’d do something productive.

Since my last post, I have debated whether to write much about what I’ve been doing. I haven’t wanted my blog to be medical or pitiful but I have been struggling with health issues lately. One has been fibromyalgia (a new diagnosis), the other is depression (a recurrent battle). Not sure which one came first but after dealing with ongoing pain and feeling utterly hopeless, I dragged my sad self to the rheumatologist and started crying. I was at the point of terrible despair and when I left her office, I felt like I had a chance at a normal (whatever that is) life. I began some medication, made critical lifestyle changes and those things have helped me tremendously.

During this time, I asked the Hubs to pray for me. I know he has. He has asked others to pray for me and I’m sure he’s felt clueless on how to help me. When I wasn’t sure how much lower I could go and spent wayyyyyy too much time on the couch, I started to feel afraid that I was going to break my foot again. I felt unstable on my feet and envisioned another injury. I would hang onto a chair railing or the Hubs for fear of falling. Literally, I have found myself leaning on the Hubs. He, along with the Lord, have been my strength. He has made me laugh, supported me in every way, I love him dearly.

It’s been about three weeks since my doctor appointment and I was overjoyed when recently, I found myself bounding effortlessly up the stairs. Part of “me” has been coming back. I am walking without fear emotionally and physically!

And I have been exercising. I learned that it is absolutely critical for me to stay physically active. My doctor recommended this DVD and I began doing it immediately. Although it is a little cheesy, I have been faithfully using it and noticing the results. If you are looking for an exercise program that is adaptable and encouraging, I think these are great! Exercising in the comfort and privacy of my own home has been a better choice for me than the gym at least for right now.

Recently I was talking to my oldest OS and in previous conversations, I shared with him that I had really been struggling. Since he’s a young, busy man with his own life, I wasn’t sure if he recognized his mama’s plight.

But I was wrong.

We were talking on the phone recently and I said, “Nathan, I have something to tell you…” My OS made a dry-witted, West Point tough comment and I interrupted him, “Seriously, Nathan, listen to me. I want you to hear this. I am feeling better.” Then I heard words I wasn’t expecting.

“That’s great, Mom. I’ve been praying for you.” Oh, dear friends, I nearly dropped to the ground with thankfulness. He said something else to me also. “I’ve had some of my buddies praying for you too.”

The only thing sweeter to me than the thought of a group of Soldiers/Cadets praying for me is the image of my precious OS sitting around with his buddies and caring enough to ask for his friends to do so.

About the same time that I had seen the doctor and began implementing changes, my boy was lifting his struggling mama up to the Lord. I’m sure the things I have improved in my health but I also know that God’s Word is true.

Matthew 18:19-21 (New International Version)


 19“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”



The colonoscopy is over, things went well. I need to go walk a couple of miles in my bedroom but it feels good to be back and sharing. More later on Nate’s television “appearance” and other life events. 

In the meantime…

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So many blog posts I have started and been unable to finish. I love to write and this is a wonderful vehicle of self-expression; however, I have begun to receive really gross comments on my posts.  There’s nothing that creates writer’s block more than pornographic comments on a seemingly innocent message. I have since made changes on my blog to prevent this from happening…I hope. I can’t even imagine typing some of the words I have seen on my comments, we live in a really sick world. What is up with some people!

And I recently had dental surgery which, when combined with lingering health issues, makes writing even more challenging. An extraction of a molar and then a dental implant on a pre-molar the same day on the same side of my mouth do not top my favorite things to do list. I have felt like a pork roast and that is something I never thought I would say. How does one feel like a pork roast? You know how the butcher ties pieces of meat together with string? Well, that is how my mouth has felt and yes, that is icky. The surgical strings my mouth are gone since last Sunday and I was thrilled and revolted all at the same time. And because I know it feels to have people describe things you’d rather not read about, I will spare you graphic details about the clove-dipped gauze I experienced on Monday. It’s fair statement to now say I have also felt like a ham. I haven’t had any complications, praise the Lord but as the doctor stated, my mouth is reminding me I’m not 18 anymore and recovery takes longer.


My grandma is settling into her new home but the transition is draining for all involved. If I want to make myself burst into tears while simultaneously feeling like a pork roast or a ham, (do not try that at home!), I can focus on the sad aspects of my grandma’s move. But I am consciously choosing to not dwell on the things that cannot change and be attentive to the blessings. My sister has poured herself out to my grandma and given sacrificially of her time and talents. My aunt and uncle have bravely loved Grandma even when she is angry, bitter and confused about why the change was necessary. My grandma looks beautiful and has moments of lucidity. There are good things that are coming out of this even if it isn’t easy.


In my next post I will share the cool things my cadet has been doing lately. He comes home tomorrow for Spring Break and I can’t wait to have our five-piece puzzle intact again!


More soon!

Humbled by H1N1…

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Wow, was I stupid and prideful. I wanted to be the family who could say that none of us ever got the Swine Flu. I wouldn’t have been obnoxious about it. I wouldn’t have shoved it in people’s faces. It would have been more like an internal joy and satisfaction thing, the pride staying deep, deep down inside myself. I thought if we did all the right things, tried not to touch any unclean surface, used perfect personal hygiene techniques and took all the healthy supplements out there, we’d dodge the influenza bullet…WRONG!


My orange haired, freckle-faced OS has the flu, most likely the H1N1 Piggy Flu. Poo. The symptoms began the day after his 13th birthday. We didn’t make a cake for him on his birthday because we were waiting to celebrate with our extended family. Now the thought of cake, even the family favorite cake, Mint Chocolate Torte, reviles him.

It appears that someone gave our OS a most vicious birthday present. I didn’t see it enter the house. It wasn’t wrapped, there was no bow, I didn’t see him even open it up. Nonetheless, some ruthless soul gave him a whammy.
This morning, while in the middle of a dramatic and very strange dream, snuggling next to the Hubs, all of the sudden, this strained, forlorn voice breaks into my slumber, kind of like those Emergency Service Announcements on tv which always scare me. “Mom, Dad, I’m feeling really sick,” our newly crowned teenager groaned as he made a place for himself in our bed.


By 6am, the Hubs and I were at the grocery store buying orange juice, water, more hand sanitizer, anything we could get our hands on to get us through this trial. The one thing they were sold out? Masks and I’m not talking of the Halloween kind. Ike coughed brazenly in our bedroom and I told him, “Dude, you’re gonna take out the whole family!” We shall see if I was prophesying the future. (I don’t want to prophesy the future!)

We had been hoping to get together with the fam. The Gooey Guys and their sweet sister Rachel along with other important relatives were scheduled to stop by but those plans have been thwarted. No one wants to see us. It’s like we are social pariahs or something. What have we ever done to those people??? Zheesh! Poo.

So here we sit cloistered in our home. Not sure if we all are doomed. Ike was typing on this very keyboard last night…Does that spell disaster??? I did go to sleep and wake up with a headache. Can I just say that my personal experiences with flu were horrible? I prayed for a swift and untimely death which sadly did not come to pass. I’m not trying to make light of flu, I really just wanted to be out of my misery.

Friends, stay tuned. This was a post I did not want to write but I have been humbled and now I must sanitize my entire house…especially this keyboard.

Rain on my soul

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Writing is often my healthy outlet for expressing my feelings. Tears stream from my face as I sit in the Critical Care Waiting Area at the hospital. My mom is having heart catherization in a matter of moments and for some reason, I am a wreck.

I feel like I’m going to lose it. My brain seems to be detached from the rest of my body. In the last four weeks, I have been to three different hospitals for three different people, one of them being myself. I drove to the hospital and missed the turn. When I came to the familiar intersection, I had to call my husband to ask him which way to turn.
 
I got into the parking lot and don’t ask me how, but I found myself driving against the arrows. When I finally pulled into a parking spot, I was completely confused. I tried to walk down a flight of stairs but they were blocked. It was as if the hospital had moved from the time I had entered the parking lot!
 
I walked into the hospital and began looking for my stepfather. The ladies at the front desk asked me if I was having any flu symptoms. I told them no and asked them if they are now having to inquire everyone about this. I didn’t ask this in a sassy way but perhaps, I sounded a little frazzled. It was interesting that they said no so I’m wondering if I was acting so weird they thought something must be wrong with me!
 
Praise the Lord a kindly volunteer escorted me to the Heart Catherization Area. I shutter to think of where I would be if he hadn’t shown me where to go.

Then I saw my mom and I don’t know why but I struggled to keep it together. The nurses were going to show her a video about the procedure and I knew I couldn’t handle it. So here I sit by myself, watching Judge Mathis, writing to you, whoever you are.
 
It is a rainy day. My dad died 25 years ago on October 8th. Maybe that’s the reason I am having a rough time…

Like a bowl full of Jello

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images-1I wrote on Tuesday how I enjoyed being normal.

Then Wednesday happened and I went to the hospital with a fast and irregular heartbeat.

When they hooked me up to the monitors, my stupid heart was pounding at 209 beats per minute.

I felt faint and clammy and utterly exhausted. My moment of normalcy was short-lived.

I’ve lived with a weird heart rate since I was a little girl.

When I was pregnant with my oldest OS, I had an especially nasty bout of it, quite similar to Wednesday’s episode and was hospitalized overnight for that event.

Finally they gave my heart problem a name, it’s SVT, supraventricular tachycardia. With little warning, my heart will flutter like a bowl of Jello. I do not like gelatinous things, in particular when that gelatinous thing happens to havoc in my body.

images-3A friend called and I tried to ignore my crazy heart and speak normally. I’m not sure I succeeded though. Then another friend called and this time, I felt too weak to talk. The Hubs was having lunch with a friend and when he returned, he noticed I wasn’t any better. I didn’t complain or protest when he announced we were going to the hospital.

If you are ever looking for a quick way to be seen in the Emergency Room, have a heart problem. You will suddenly become a high priority patient.

I was quickly ushered into an examining room and before I knew it, an IV was inserted into my arm after two tries. I felt very weak and lifeless and then the doctor told me I was going to have some medicine pumped in my veins.

images-2The nurse grabbed my arm and asked me if I was ready.

Say what???

I couldn’t understand why they were asking me this, what was going to happen?

Was I going to feel something?

The nurse emphatically told me yes, I was going to feel something.

No sooner had the adenosine entered my system, then my heart rate went from about 209 to about 113 in a matter of seconds.

It’s like you’re driving fast on a slippery road and then suddenly you hit the breaks and stop.

I was blessed because the adenosine worked on the first try. I learned that this doesn’t always happen. I also learned I do not like bedpans…

I saw the cardiologist today and will try another medication to help keep my heart beating normally. Have you ever thought about how we take for granted things like a strong and steady heart beat? As of Wednesday, I praise the Lord for my husband being home to take me to the hospital and for a beating heart that’s behaving.