September 20, 2018
I shared earlier about my stay here at the rehab hospital and how uncomfortable I have been with the idea of people accompanying me in the bathroom when I’m showering, and the general lack of privacy. For the most part, I am now resigned to the fact that that’s just part of what happens here. This morning shower was unusual because it was the first day that I had to completely undress somewhat awkwardly and do everything completely by myself including drying my backside which difficult with one hand. The whole process took almost 10 Minutes while one of the female therapists supervised. Awkward.
But it was after the shower that something extraordinary happened. A nursing assistant came in to assist me in the bathroom. She was a lady I had not yet met and had heard from someone that I was a pastor. I shimmied my pants about halfway down when she asked me what type of church I was associated with. Basically, in her words, she was asking if I was “Catholic or Christian.” I did my best to say that Catholicism was a part of Christianity and we were all brothers and sisters that follow Jesus She was trying to find out if I was protestant or in her words Christian. When I confirmed that I was not Catholic, she grabbed my hands and proceeded to tell me that she wanted me to pray for her. She told me all about her adult sons and the problems that she was having with one of them and asked me to pray with her right then and there in the bathroom with my pants barely hanging on by my hips. Once again being in the bathroom was awkward but a divine appointment kind of awkward. I prayed for her sons Absalom and Rehoboam, and I made a new friend. Please pray for the boys and for Maria, that God would heal her mother’s heart and draw her sons back to Himself.
Sorry for the typos and editing mistakes that you’re going to inevitably find. Siri dictation is not always reliable. What’s funny is it picks up my neighbor’s voice much better than mine. if you could only see some of the things that I almost missed because of that you would’ve laughed and just maybe passed it off as “Perry’s stroke is worse than I thought.”
September 25, 2018
Exactly one month ago I was standing around talking to all these people pictured. It was both a happy and sad reunion of many friends from our high school youth group. We gathered together to say goodbye to one of our own who passed away a week earlier. Most of us hadn’t seen each other in a very long time. Little did I know that less than 10 minutes after this photo was taken that I would lose complete control of my left side. God was very gracious to us and we were able to get to the hospital in record time. I was calm most of that initial experience. It wasn’t until late that night that the gravity of the situation hit me as I laid in a hospital bed and I cried.
The past 30 days or so have been like the memorial we had attended the day this happened. It has been both sad and joyful. For the most part, once I accepted the idea that it was simply going to take a long time and was going to require much of both Judy and me, my attitude has been relatively good. Am I anxious? Absolutely. Am I hopeful? Definitely. Do I have spells of depression? Yes. Do I believe that God has this? No question.
Some people have asked me “What do you think God is trying to teach you by this?” My response has been that I am learning a lot by the experience but I in no way believe that God caused this to happen. We live in a fallen, broken world and our bodies simply break down. There are lessons to be learned and for me, most of them have been spiritual. I try to see what the possibilities are in any situation. The neuropsychologist I have been seeing warned me that I should not be in a counseling situation with people from church. Basically, he was telling me don’t get in a situation where you’re having a listen to people because you’re possibly emotionally unstable. The funny thing is, the people I did spend time listening to were not from our church or from my friend groups, but from people on the hospital staff. I got known around the rehab as Pastor Perry and had numerous conversations that led to Jesus. Honestly, I don’t think I could have avoided any of them and I’m glad it did not.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that I have amazing friends and am reaping the rewards of investing in people. This is something that I tried to avoid when I was in high school and early college until the Lord grabbed hold of me and showed me that I needed to take the risk of loving people even though they may leave (I moved around a lot as a child). I learned that lesson on a trip to Australia back in 1980 when all my fellow teammates were saying goodbye to the people we spent a month with, and I was simply looking forward to going home and was glad that I was not crying and saying goodbye to people I’d never see again. That experience changed my life. It was one of many moments that I’m reflecting on now and seeing how God moved me from one place to another for his purposes.
September 19, 2018
1983 was a big year. I graduated from college, got engaged and took my first youth pastor position. Irvine First assembly was a young church with a young pastor named Rick Petersen there were very few kids in church and no youth group to speak. We spent the next months meeting kids and inviting them to church. I hung out at Irvine High School and eventually met a number of ethnically diverse kids and invited them to become a part of our youth group. One of those boys, Freddy Cortez, became an integral part of the youth group. He was the oldest of the kids (now 51, YIKES!) And drove a low lying White Honda with lights around the license plate that flashed. Over the years I’ve kept up with Freddy who is now a pastor and works with the Filipino community. He stopped by this morning to encourage me. He has recently recovered from a stroke himself. It was great to see him and now he completes the circle of having someone from every youth group that I ever was a part of.
September 9, 2018, Health South Tustin Rehabilitation Hospital
This is what happens when your left-hand doesn’t work can you try to open a mayonnaise packet with your teeth and by squeezing.
September 3, 2018
Well, I am back in the hospital. Yesterday afternoon the strokes symptoms worsened and I found myself on the floor once again. We talked to the home nurse who then suggested we come back in to get checked out and we did so. Then we made it to our Kaiser hospital in Irvine where I probably will be for a few days. MRI showed a new stroke but without new symptoms. The doctors are trying to figure out why I am having recurrent symptoms of the original stroke and how to stop that from happening.
About four hours after getting home from the hospital yesterday, my left side began feeling weaker than it had earlier. Out of an abundance of caution, we went back to the emergency room at Kaiser Irvine. To say I was disappointed when they admitted me overnight would be an understatement. I had another CAT scan and another MRI, both of which came up negative for another stroke. They released me about an hour and a half ago, but I’m now dealing with the realities of stroke recovery. Taking a shower was an ordeal and very frustrating. Just walking in the house takes me a long time to get from my office to our bedroom which is only about 30 feet. I’ve been pretty much upbeat about this whole thing but right now I’m feeling somewhat defeated, and today I broke down and cried. I know it will get better, and it will just take time. Those of you who know me know I’m not good at waiting. No funny hospital gown story this time but it was somewhat comical trying to get my underwear and pants on. Judy has been a trooper this past week, and I spent all of her time with me. I’m very thankful for a wife who loves me and cares for me.
R E L E A S E D ! Waiting for meds and heading home in Los Angeles traffic which is probably not good for the blood pressure. Considering my entire left side was paralyzed on Saturday afternoon, to be raising my hands is significant.