Monday, January 25, 2010

The Way things are

Another twenty days since I've posted.

My weakness seems to be increasing. I haven't gotten dressed out of jammies in two days and today's not looking too good either!

The reason is that I do some things in the house, light things, while I have any strength at all. When I am done those things, I have no strength to get dressed. I do try to keep clean, though, ha!

Doing the laundry, making the bed, folding and straightening and answering a few emails, it all adds up and my "spoons" are gone.

If you've never read the "spoon theory," I hope you do now. It really helps others to understand, I think, what people with neurological problems go through. Here is the link:

(I think I'll copy/paste it onto a post here, as well)

And I seem to have less and less spoons, lately.

Chronic pain continues. I deal daily with my pain medications. I am sure so many readers can relate to this! I am allotted by my PCP only 5-5mg oxycodone a day. He will not prescribe more for me. He wants me to go to pain managment, which I would be willing to do, but it is 77 miles away, one way.

This amount of medication is not taking care of the pain at all. I've tried adding in ibuprofen and acetomeniphen but they don't help central (spinal cord) pain at all. I guess I will have to succumb and make the trip to pain management, but really don't like the thought of that long trip once a month. Maybe with enough meds, it won't be that bad, and it will be worth it.

I have noticed that my goals and hope for the future have changed.

I'm sure this is due to this long journey I've been on for the last "almost" six years. Some of my readers have been with me since "day one!" They, most of all, know what I mean. It's been a long haul.

I do not believe I will ever be offered surgery to stabilize my head and neck. I have come to not expect a "fix" for this challenge I have.

This is what is known, in the "six stages of grief," as the last stage, that is, "acceptance." I accept what I have, it is what it is, and every day is going to be just about the same as the last, only maybe worse in terms of pain. It's NOT defeatism, and it's not "losing hope." It's more about being realistic, learning lessons, and a sense deep inside of me.

Perhaps this is when I finally "let go and let God." Or maybe, God doesn't have a cure in mind for me. There are so many people we all know who do not get the cures, do not get the fixes, and die with the hand they were dealt. When our faith is strong, we accept things and know that they happen for the glory of God.

"How can that be?" I can hear an unbeliever thinking. "How can suffering be a good thing?"

Someone with a deep understanding of God and Jesus and things eternal knows that the main thing of importance on this earth and in Heaven is that "all should come to know Jesus Christ in a personal saving way." That all should come to Him who will.

And most people come to Him by observing the living testimony of His children.

Thus, someone suffering in pain or other disabilities, if they do so in grace, God's grace, and they give the glory to Him, the unbeliever sees that, day in and day out, year in and year out, and thus their heart tells them, "God is in [that person], of a truth!"

They see God as real, the Gospel as true, Jesus as the answer, because of how we live and show others. It's not a fake, "show"'s not a's a truth-thing. If it's real.

It's not something we can cause. It's something bestowed.

An experience I had back in the mid-90's now comes to mind. Driving over a mountain pass alone, one that was snowy and icy and had several, dangerous switchbacks, I carefully watched the road and kept a steady pace.

Near the top of the pass, I noticed a pair of tire tracks that ran off the steep edge beside the road, through the snow bank caused by the snow-plows the night before. No guardrails. Just off into thin air. The slope on the other side so steep, I could not see the bottom or the car below.

I slowed carefully and pulled off the side of the road where it was safe to do so. I set the parking brake and got out of the car, walking to the edge and peering over, afraid of what I'd see.

The terrain was almost completely vertical. At the bottom, perhaps 150 ft. below, was an older, Chevy Blazer. I feared anyone in that car HAD to be dead.

Some men had also pulled over by this time, and were out of their pickups. One of them found a long rope behind his truck seat, and tied it off to the base of a pine, using it to steady himself so that he could get down to where the car was. That is how steep the hill was, one could not simply walk down there.

The Blazer was so damaged by the many rolls it had taken that its doors were battered and would not open. The rescuer below had to kick in the windshield to get the occupants out. But, amazingly, they were all alive and were able to use that rope and other men pushing and pulling them to get up to the top where I stood.

"They" were a set of grandparents, elderly folks, with a 3 year old grandson. The shaky old man also was on oxygen and carried his oxy bottle, the tube feeding precious life into his nose, as he crawled up the hill.

I took the boy into my Izuzu Rodeo and put bandaids from my emergency kit onto his many little cuts, and basically soothed him and held him because he was very shook up. Soon, an ambulance showed up. The grandparents asked me to call the mother of the little boy to let her know that they would all be at the hospital. I did so.

When she answered the phone, I told her first, "You don't know me. And first thing I want you to know is that everyone is alright! Everyone is really fine. But, an accident has occurred up on Seven Devils at Loup Loup Pass. The ambulance is taking your parents and your son to the hospital in Okanogan. You need to meet them there."

The fearful, little boy didn't want to leave me, I had become something of an anchor in his storm. He reached out to me and cried as the EMTs took him into the ambulance, and my heart broke. I offered to ride in there with him, but they told me that would be against the rules. I'm sure he was in good hands and everything worked out fine.

I tell this story because it changed something in me, something I think about every time I get into a car.

How did these people survive? They said the Blazer rolled three times going down that hill before it was stopped by a tree. Yet, although they were weak, sick, elderly, very young, battered and bruised, they were able to crawl up a rocky, steep cliff-face to safety, in the snow, one of them carrying an oxy bottle!

They had each been kled in safely in their seat belts!

This was back in about 1995, and I was not yet one of those who was wearing a seat belt every time I got into the car. In fact, I never wore one. We were working on a ranch, as ever, and ranchers and cowboys just didn't use seat belts then. We had to get out and open barbed wire gates too often.

But this spectacle, the one where the Blazer went off the cliff, it changed all of that for me. I began buckling up every single time I got into a vehicle and, of course, have remained that way ever since.

You see, the fact that these people survived in good condition BECAUSE they had been wearing seat belts made more of an impact on me than if they had all died because they had NOT been wearing them. Do you know what I mean? I believe this all made a much stronger statement, than if I had found them all dead and the reports came out that none of them had been buckled up. Yes, the police might have said that the family would have probably survived IF they'd been in their seat belts, but that would have just been a big "IF" to me. But, to see them in such good shape after a wreck that I would have thought no one could have survived, it simply had to be attributed to God and those seat belts!

Anyway, it made an impression on me.

And I can use this story as a metaphor for what I was trying to say far above. God can use us to speak to people and cause them to do something to save their lives for eternity, if we allow Him to do so. It's not something we can fake. It is something that comes from God and lasts for ever and ever, never failing. And people who observe us can see this in our lives. And they know that He, our precious "Seat Belt," is the reason we survive with grace no matter what the world throws at us.

Maybe I won't have strength to get dressed again today. But that's okay. He gave me strength enough to write this so that you can read it. And that's good enough.

PS, having written all that I have, especially at the beginning of this missive, I want to also add something very important.

I may be in the midst of this constant pain, I may be getting weaker, I may have lost sight of any sort of surgical fix, but I want you all to know that I AM very happy. I am happy in Him, in my humble home and spot in this world, and in my partner and husband of 36 years. God has blessed me far beyond my dreams, and there is much each day that makes me smile. How I thank Him for it! God bless each of you!

1 comment:

kiminfla said...

V, I am so blessed by what you wrote. What a testimony! May God hold you in the palm of his hand. Be blessed my friend, Kim