Six Months

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February 25, 2019

Six Months Ago Today

What has changed? Just about everything. Six months ago today I was in a hospital room in Downey, California. We so seldom travel to Los Angeles, so to find myself in a hospital, being told I had a stroke, and being so far away from home was in a word, devastating.

1. I have not driven or ridden in my convertible in six months. It’s weird to be chauffeured everywhere.

2. I cannot cut up my own food. It’s peculiar to be in restaurants and have my wife cut up my steak for me especially now that I’m not sitting in the wheelchair in restaurants, so as far as people can see, I look normal.

3. When I lift my one hand in worship, my balance gets thrown off. I know everyone around me gets worried. I really don’t care enough to stop.

4. I have only slept in our bed one night after the stroke. Our bed is too high and after sloshing around and hitting the nightstand and knocking everything other over that was on it, it seemed best to move to the lower bed in the guestroom. I really liked the mattress in the guest bedroom better. I refuse to call that room my bedroom. I’m trying to convince Judy that when I am entirely well, we need to buy a new one for our bedroom that is as comfortable as the one given to us.

5. After not being on any prescription meds in years I am now popping 30 pills a day. I do each interval by swallowing all of them at once. Bedtime time requires 11 pills to go down.

6. I have always had an aversion to visiting hospitals, calling people in who are sick, and praying with people who or in pain. After spending a month in the hospital, all of that is changed. I just spent an hour calling people on our prayer list in asking them how we best can continue to pray. It has actually energized me. I have had some great conversations.

7. You can buy just about anything on Amazon. I Googled a one-handed cutting board and now own one that I bought off Amazon.

8. Our nightly dinnertime conversations and time together in the car are spent in more meaningful discussion. We used to spend most of our time the singing along with the radio, but as of the last six months, we are discussing books, feelings, and going places in conversation that I would have rather ignored than discussed.

9. Never once before the stroke did I ever consider the possibility of falling into the back yard grill when barbecuing steaks. Now I look and those flames differently and make sure my balance is in check.

10. People are more friendly to others in wheelchairs. I have never been helped so much and smiled at then I have the past six months.

Do I hate this? You betcha!. There’s not a day that goes by then I am not frustrated, but know that God is using this time. I would just like Him to speed it up a bit. BTW, I know you really want a pair of those cool yellow nonslip, too big, hospital socks! I’m thinking about wearing them with my dress shoes and my suit for the next wedding or funeral. What do you think?

On these things that have changed: Space my wife has articulately observed that I am using the phrase “This is driving me crazy” on way too many things. It has now become a joke.

Soaking in Star Trek

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February 23, 2019

I had mentioned that before all of this happened, one of my guilty pleasures was sitting in the bathtub and watching Star Trek. Of course, for the past six months (on Monday,) I have been unable to do so.

Thanks to my good friend, Bob, we now have bars installed in our front bathroom. Tonight I relaxed for an hour, and it was beautiful. Getting out of was a bit of challenge, but it was totally worth it.

The Heart of Worship

February 17, 2019

 

The Heart of Worship

The last few weeks have been distressing. I had mentioned before that we were told my emotions could get out of sorts. Initially, I found that to be true about movies and television. I had thought that this would give way as I recovered, but the opposite is happening. I have sunk into what I assume is depression. It’s good to know that this is not uncommon, but it doesn’t make it feel any better.

Our small group meets every other Sunday night. I love it and the people who surround each other. Group settings, however, have become exhausting. I decided I needed some alone time tonight so I asked Judy to go by herself. As she was driving, she heard a song by Matt Redman that she thought it would be encouraging I listened, and it was. But that sent me looking for videos of Matt Redman, and I was reminded of the song that had significant influence in my life at the turn-of-the-century, the Heart of Worship.

As I watched Matt lead thousands of college-age students, my heart immediately swelled as they were saying the lyrics about the condition of their hearts, ”I’m sorry Lord for the thing I have made it.” I then I asked myself, have I done the same? Have I put myself above what should be the focus of my heart? It is undoubtedly challenging to wake up each day and face the fact that I’m not in charge, that I can’t make individual choices or to do certain things the way I would like them to be done. I keep finding myself grumpy and wanting to retreat. I know better. The fact that I am walking unassisted is a great sign that I am progressing. My heart and mind need to be directed back to what the heart of worship is, and that is Jesus.

In no way has the stroke wrecked my faith. In fact, it has strengthened it. In some ways, it has refocused it. Sometimes when you work in a church professionally, it is easy to get your eyes off of why you are doing what you are doing. I love my job. I love our church, but I would certainly not turn away an opportunity to be in worship service where nobody knows me, nobody notices me, and I could spend an hour uninhibited in God’s presence.

I’m coming back to the heart of worship… I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it it’s all about you Jesus.

Literally Seeing Differently​

January 12, 2019

Positive Stroke News: the eye doctor confirmed what I felt pretty immediately about my vision. I have not worn in my contacts since August 25. I noticed that I could read license plates across the street. My optometrist told me today that I no longer legally need to work glasses when I drive. He said in my vision has improved that much. I still ordered a new pair of glasses
for the evening, but I don’t believe I will be wearing them very much. #weird

Update February 28, at 2019

We’ve found my glasses that had been missing since after the stroke. I put them on, and it was like being in a fog… Well honestly, they were really dirty, but I just could not see with them on. God is great, and like my old pastor, Ray Rachels used to say, “That will preach!”

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Not a Fan of Falling

January 8, 2019

 

I saw the doctor yesterday, and he was very encouraging. He remarked on my strength and the fact of how well I have you been doing. I’ve been feeling very confident over the past week. I upped my exercise routine to three 45 minutes sets. Today, I became a bit overconfident (again) and did not grasp hold to something a while shifting my weight and wound up falling to my left, clipping my desk with my stomach and arm then hitting the wall and then the floor. Of course. The noise and my yell woke Judy up from a nap. I was thankful that I was able to mostly get up on my own, but honestly, I am so sick and tired of this.