Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Thanks. Given.

It has been longer than I can remember since I was on this site and wrote about anything.  The summer and fall (and now winter??!) seem to have evaporated like a mist in the morning sun.  It has been a time of great stress, struggle, and opportunity to see God at work.  And I had to take the time (make the time) to write this.

The seasons of this year seem to have collapsed into one thread.  Mom falling and breaking her femur.  Hospital. Support, encouragement, tracking care. Her cat, mail. Insurance. 24hrs to find a rehab center. Rehab. Support, encouragement, tracking care. Insurance. The tree that fell on her house, through the roof.  Shock. Stabilize. Insurance. Discharge from rehab. Find assisted living. Move. Support, encourage. Home insurance. Contractors. Furniture. Clothes. Support, encourage. Shopping, supplies. Ad infinitum.

Through it all, although sometimes not immediately at the time, I’ve seen the hand of God in the timing, the sequence, the types of events. And I’m grateful, thankful, for what He has shown me.

That mom was holding the phone when she fell, and could dial 9-1-1. That there was surprisingly little pain for her, allowing her to remain calm, and comfortable-ish.  That she could call a neighbor to let the paramedics in without breaking a window or the door (one less problem with which I’d have had to deal). That the closest hospital was on by-pass, sending her to a better one.  That my work slacked off at just the right time for the time that I couldn’t be there. That there was a transportation goof on a Tuesday that meant she wasn’t able to be discharged from rehab on Monday…which would have been the Monday after the tree came down. That she wasn’t in the bedroom when the massive tree came down. That I had a full two weeks to find a place for her to go upon discharge.  That there was a quiet, sunny room in an assisted living facility close to me, that allowed a cat,  a quiet.  That I’ve had to deal with home repairs and insurance rather than medical crisis and pharmacological challenges.  That the issues that I’ve had to deal with fall within my “skill set” and didn’t involve dealing with dementia, or physical care of mom by me. That the renovation would, ultimately, improve the resale of the house.

In particular, I remember waking one night and tossing and turning, thinking about all that needed to be done, what I had to handle.  And in that time, in one of the rarest of my moments with God, He planted in my head a verse “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). My anxiety dissipated, and I went back to sleep, assured that He who had helped guide me and give me strength would continue to do so.

There is a lot to be thankful for this holiday. And there will continue to be thanks given for all this.

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

 

 

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When the roof caves in….

This summer is NOT going down in my book as one of my favorites.  Things were difficult enough with a hefty work load, which was mangled up by having Mom break her femur and be in rehab all month.  And while things were settling into a new normal, it wasn’t a great normal.

And then the roof caved in.

Literally.

Last Saturday there was a storm in my mother’s neighborhood, one of those surprise, amazingly violet storms.  And at 10pm I got the panicky call from a neighbor…a tree had smashed into the house.  My heart sank, my body trembled, my anxiety and fear escalated.  I went out Sunday morning to see what it was…and was shocked.  A 30″ tulip poplar had uprooted and smashed through the roof of the master bedroom in mom’s house.  Holes in the roof, broken joists, demolished soffits along the entire length of the house, broken windows.

Oh. My. God.

Now, in addition to dealing with Mom, I have insurance, recovery, and all the rest to deal with.  Ugh.  UGH.  I’m really not prepared.  I feel like my blog-friend in BeautyBeyondBones who is going through her own mess with a parental illness and rehab.

And yet….there were two points of amazing blessing, and evidence of God’s provision.  First, Mom wasn’t home when the tree came down.  If she had been, she’d have died of the impact, or a heart attack, or the fear from being in the dark and storm and debris all alone.  So a broken femur saved her.  And then, she was supposed to have been evaluated for discharge on the 8th, but had it postponed by a transportation problem.  If she had made that appointment, she likely would have been discharged this week — but with no place to go.  Now, instead of having two panics in three or four days (starting the house process, and finding her a new place to live with assisted care) I have time.

I’m not always in tuned with God, and His plan.  But I sure see His providence in the timing of the last month.  And am grateful.  Still stressed, still scared, but at least grateful.

McCain….and Mom

This past week, Sen. John McCain received a lot of attention, or notoriety depending on your views.  Like a modern-day  Caesar Rodney (look him up 🙂 )

rodney  He rose from his diagnosis and returned to Washington to cast an unexpected, deciding vote on a piece of healthcare legislation. Captivity, campaigns, cancer….at 80, he certainly is a determined fighter.

220px-John_McCain_official_portrait_2009

Mom is a determined fighter too.  Older than he is by a bit, she continues to battle back from the broken leg.  Her determined cry is “I’m going home, to see my cat.” She means it.  She’s doing everything she can in rehab to walk and move again, including eating every day to keep her strength going.  She’s seen the patient who didn’t want to walk, returned to the hospital.  She wants no part of that; she’s going home.

I have to admire her drive, her determination to get better.  I’m not sure I’d have had it in her position.  I’m not even sure I had it in my position looking at her when this started. It certainly would be easy to get depressed and defeated in the rehab center.  It can’t be a lot of fun, particularly sitting and waiting for therapy…food…everything.  And yet she perseveres.

Some people are just born with the streak of spine, backbone, gumption that pushes them forward.  Mom has it, and I’m glad.  I doubt I’ll be that strong, should I find myself in that position.  Maybe I’ll surprise myself.

Or not.

 

Broken. Hip.

Is this the time?

Or the beginning of the end?

A fall at her age

so often is the start of the end.

Surgery so stressful,

as is the break

Will she fight through?

Or has she had enough?

I sit and wait,

and wonder.

 

These were my thoughts two weeks ago.  My mother fell.  It happens at her age, and as so often happens, a hip breaks.  I wrote the portion above while waiting for her to come out of surgery.  She did…rod inserted, nailed into place.  Such an impositions on an aged body.

I’m most surprised by her attitude.  She says she’s going to walk, and go back home to her bed and her cat.  Now I can imagine that even if that happens, it won’t be the same.  But we’ll see.  I think she will push through, walk again, go home again.  And I’ll be thankful.

It makes me wonder about me, though.  She, for better or worse, at least has me.  When my time comes, will I have anyone to be a visitor, to be an advocate, to be a link to the outside world?  Someone who can research rehab centers, assisted living facilities, medical payments, take care of the house?  I was surprised that I had so little time from the surgery to find a rehab facility.  It was only a day and a half.  Not a lot of time, no good capacity to research the numerous facilities, their ratings, their rankings, their capabilities.  Still, she seems to be doing well.  But I have to wonder about her.  After all….

she likes the food there. But not well enough to stay any longer than necessary.

De-Construction (part I)

It’s unremarkable that the concept has been developed and adopted in multiple cities. Likely, the only remarkable aspect is my noticing it and saving the articles on the different places mentioned in stories.

Most of the demolition of old buildings that I’ve seen has been by bulldozer and grab claw. Of course, most of  what I’ve seen torn down has been cheaply made strip malls and big box sores that have passed their 10-year-old life spans. But when you have real structures, especially old house, row home and factories, the opportunity for deconstruction increases.  Deconstruction is different from salvage. Salvage uses what it can of debris while deconstruction take it apart with the idea of using most or all of it.

It seems like such a good multiple win idea.  it provides jobs for the deconstruction, warehouse management, avoidance of landfills, avoidance of harvesting of new materials,.  While it clearly takes time, and energy (although that’s debatable if you look at the life cycle analysis from initial harvesting of materials and their manufacture).

It’d be wonderful if it could be done on  a grander scale with abandoned and dilapidated buildings. Of course, laws of ownership, vandalizing (which is an uncontrolled, illegal form of deconstruction) and developing the necessary skill sets and all factors limiting it.

But still, it is a great concept; sustainability and Cradle to Cradle at it’s best.

Tet-a-tet

breakfast-for-two-1937-movie-title-small

Quiet summer morning
Day dawns cool and pleasant
Breakfast for two
Outdoor eating
Watching the world rush by
Eating slowly
All the carrion the world
Two vultures in the median strip

Giving

Sometimes there are events and incidents where you see your own limitations exposed, laid out all too clearly.

I have never been a particularly generous person. Growing up, it wasn’t demonstrated; parsimony runs pretty strongly through both sides of my family of origin.  Still, it sis possible to change, to learn hot to be so thigh hearted.

Over the past 10 years, I have learned to be better at giving, learned to be more generous, learned to think of others.  My friend Doug demonstrated it quietly when my men’s group met, by paying the bill or by leaving a 200% tip for the waitress. I learned too, from a friend who had been in the service industry and taught me to say a kind word and think of the servers and waitresses, their meager paychecks and difficult jobs.

I thought progress had been made. At least until…..

I was having a Starbucks with a friend, sitting outside the Mall on a chilly but sunny afternoon.  To my surprise (because we don’t expect this in Columbia, especially at the Mall) a man approached, asking for money. Now, while he looked a “panhandler” type, I though, “Okay, if he needs food let’s go inside and get him something to eat”. I was willing to help, but on my terms.  My friend was quicker, however.  She asked him his name, reached into her purse, quickly handed him a bill (I think it was a twenty) and told him  that there was no judgement on how he needed it, that she hoped it would help, and that he’d have a better rest of the day.

Instead of feeling generous with my thought of action, I realized how parsimonious I still was. I was willing to help, but only on my terms of basic need and in a way that I controlled.  My friend responded with openness, faith and charity that allowed him the freedom to use it as needed…for good or not, but as he saw fit.  And maybe with her attitude, it would encourage him to use it for need.  It was a surprising interaction.

I hope to do better next time the situation arises.