Sunday, February 28, 2010

Random Thoughts

The week began with an impromptu visit to the doctor. Tom was having too many dizzy spells in the mornings and his blood pressure was running too low, too consistently. A slight change was made in his medications and I have thought the problem was a bit better. He had every intention to go to church with me today, but didn't feel like it this morning. The sitter told me this afternoon that he was dizzy several times while I was gone. This afternoon he's been fine.

I had a treatment Friday--no big deal, but I did learn that I was beginning the sixth round in this set of treatments. That's good to know--I was a little confused beause several things have made the schedule inonsistent. At the end of these I'll go for scans etc. and see just how effective the treatments have been.

When I got home from church Kia, daytime sitter, and Tom said Liz had called to see if we wanted some barbeque and baked beans for lunch. I never turn down Tommy's barbeque! He has perfected his technique and it is delicious. I had a cabbage so I made slaw to send home with Liz when she brought the meat and beans. So good. After a quick nap I called Sarah and told her and Drew to come on down to play. It was a beautiful afternoon to play outside. They came, played in the back for a while, then came in to play board games and have a snack. We both loved watching them sit on the floor, eat popcorn and giggle. They got a kick out playing a game that is "older than dirt." Funny how simple things can be so enjoyable--a simple game for them to play and a simple scene of grandparents watching grandchildren.

Bad weather and another week when I was under the weather caused a delay in our Lenten sermons. I spent many hours last week reading, researching and meditating over the Scripture of today. I am more convinced than ever that more attention needs to be paid to Old Testament scriptures if we are to comprehend the New. It hasn't been too long since the Church observed Advent, a time when I feel overwhelmed with the knowledge that such a simple, precious baby could be the almighty Son of God. He was born a humble birth to a humble family and at the same time was God Incarnate. Now, we have begun our observation of Lent and focus attention on the suffering servant, the mighty one who gave his all for me. The very thought often leads me to tears. What? He did that for me? God so loved the world; God so loved me. The love and compassion Jesus has for the world is just as personal. Jesus loves me; Jesus cares for me.

Amazing Grace!
Pastor Margaret

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Time Flew

Where has the week gone? It wasn't full of errands or chores, but there have been preparations to make. We didn't do much more for Valentine's Day than wish each other a happy one--didn't even see the grandchildren. Monday, it snowed all day, but we managed to make it to a doctor's appointment, make a quick stop at the grocery store and get ice cream at DQ. Slippery roads cancelled Session that night. By Wenesday the ice and snow was melted enough for us to have church supper. I know people from colder regions think that we are real wimps when it comes to ice and snow, but we're really not equipped to manage. Thursday night I led a training for small group leaders at 1st Church, Jackson. Then, of course, tomorrow's sermon had to be prepared.

This winter I've been preaching the gospel passages in cycle C of the Lectionary, but got out of sync when we missed worship once because of bad weather and another when I had the flu or whatever it was. I should be at the beginning of the passages focusing on Lent, but instead I'm at Luke 5:1-11, Luke's account of the calling of the first disciples and the big catch of fish. All four gospel writers tell of the calling of the disciples, but each in a slightly different way. Only Luke ties that with the big catch of fish that weighed down the nets and the two boats where they dumped them. I have been fascinated with the passage and the extraordinary message it presents. Simon Peter never fails to allow us to identify with him and I'm prompted to examine myself and ask forgiveness for my pride, impetuousity, and failures. Simon responds to Jesus' instruction with a complaint before he obeys. He tells Jesus when he is told to put the nets out in the deep water that they've already tried that, but he'll do it anyway. The nets fill to overflowing. Did Simon Peter suddenly learn a new casting technique? Was his skill so improved? Neither. He was successful in his endeavor because of his obedience to Jesus. It goes with the saying: Jesus doesn't call the equipped. He equips the called. There's so much more; so much food for thought in the coming days.

Tom's progress continues, but so does his lowered blood pressure. Some mornings he seems to be too weak to put one foot in front of the other, but as the day goes one, he gains strength. He is responding well to his therapy, still eating well and "chomping at the bit" to resume his previous activities. He gets a little perturbed with me when I put my foot down!

We celebrated our 43rd anniversary this past week--truly the highlight of our week. Next week we wish Marty a Happy Birthday--thirty something or other--and also remember Colin as he turns one month. We do love February!

Jesus calls us to lay aside all that we have to follow him. He calls us to a life of obedience. In return our nets will be full to overflowing with his blessings in our lives.

Pastor Margaret

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Week of S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g

We have more or less been celebrating Tom's homecoming for the entire week. You'll quickly learn why it was a "more or less" in a few minutes. In most aspects, Tom's improvements have been steady and just what I had hoped for. Tommy and Liz have brought supper every night and he has eaten heartedly of old favorites and tonight was treated with a Cuban beef w/ jasmine rice and black beans "first timer" from "Food and Wine" magazine. (It's great to be a guinea pig sometimes.) He seems to have a bit more strength, noticeable when he rises from his chair and a little more balance as well. Having sitters with him around the clock affords the opportunity for him to walk when he feels like practicing--that will help build both strength and balance. The down side of coming home shows itselft in his independence and stubbornness and in his gentlemanly qualities instilled in him by his mom. He thinks that just because he is home, he can do all the chores that he formerly did--like gather the trash and put out the garbage--not smart to go down steep steps into the garage and into the cold. I practically had to tie him down to keep him home today when I went to Corinth. And, when ladies enter or leave the room, he immediately begins to rise--exactly as Mom taught him. Sometimes what he does is scary; other times they are comical.

Saturday morning the admitting nurse from the home health agency visited, took vitals, history, etc. Right after she left, I excused myself, but before I could even stand, I lost my breakfast and could keep nothing, not even water, on my stomach until 4 the next morning. By then my sinuses were pounding and I felt really bad. Long story short: the advice nurse said for me to go to Corinth Monday for IV fluids, but couldn't because their roads were iced over; got prescription for the nausea; prescription for sinus infection; and slowly began a diet of saltines and Gatorade. Things are much improved! I had originally planned the sitters on a schedule that had me taking care of Tom bymyself a few hours everyday. Obviously, Saturday and Sunday I couldn't even take care of myself much less help him. The WONDERFUL new sitter would not leave our sides unless Liz or Tommy could he here to relieve her. Later in the week, we added her mother to our schedule for a few hours a day and now we have help 24/7. My little episode made me admit that it's okay to not be able to do everything and it gave me some much needed rest! God does indeed work in mysterious ways.

I had a treatment today--rather routine. The blood counts had decreased--I rather expected that they would have and the CA125 had gone up 4 points. We never life for it to increase, but it's normal for it to bounce up and down. One day I might put together essays based on infusion experiences since I had my first chemo in 1982. There was one today that was both amusing and maddening.

We are still wondering what the weather will be next. This Sunday will be the third try at preaching the sermon planned for January 31 and the second try at ordaining and/or installing elders and the second try at celebrating communion this month. Guess what's predicted for tomorrow night and Sunday--more icy/snowy conditions.

We are oh, soooooo happy to be home together. Blessings shower down on us like the precipitation we've been experiencing. God never forgets us and is ever faithful to all our needs.

Pastor Margaret

Friday, February 05, 2010

Wake the Town and Tell the People!

This morning the long awaited time came: Tommy and I went to the nursing home, picked up Tom and brought him home. Our additional new helper, Kia, was here waiting for us and they hit it off right away. Checking out of the home was painless, very quick and filled with smiles and hugs. I found Tom waiting at the nurses' station and rolled him down to his room so I could collect his belongings. I was met by the director of environmental services who said that they were getting ready to pack Tom's things and he just needed to ask a couple of questions. He said that packing, putting in the car were both part of their services. How nice! They even sent us home with a wheel chair just in case the one ordered for Tom didn't arrive today.

The only glitch in the trip home was unavoidable. As soon as my wheels started rolling Tom was telling me he wanted to stop at the Dairy Queen on the way. I noticed an unusual amount of traffic and about then my phone rang. It was Tommy, driving behind me and calling to say he had heard on the radio that there was a big wreck up ahead of us. By then I was committed and headed to DQ. As we crept ahead, I made a plan to get in and out quickly and another for an alternate route home. Problem number one: a non-functioning traffic light, but we made it. Problem number two: whatever caused the traffic light problem caused the electricity at DQ not to function either. It was sort of laughable. We took the alternate route home and Tommy made his dad a vanilla malt and all was well!

Most of Tom's day was spent curled up in his chair napping. He was a sight for sore eyes sitting across the room from me. I didn't realize just how much I had missed being at home with him. When Tommy picked up Jake from school, they dropped by to bring Tom's favorite donuts; when Liz , Sarah and Drew got out of school, they stopped and said hello; later they brought supper and the two youngest, Meredith and Elisa. Tom had seen all of the children during his time away except Elisa and it was a joy to behold when they spotted one another.

There were frustrating moments as well when he would insist he could walk to another room when he could not. It was as if he was saying: I'm home, I'll stand up when I want and don't tell me what to do. He's home, but he's not "home free," and there are still dangers of falling. I lost my patience with him more than once. I'm sure I frustrated him.

The main thing, however, is that we are home! And, oh, so grateful!

Pastor Margaret

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Try, try, try again - - -

Last night I began to type and something in my computer bumped me off and everything was lost. I'm trying again even though I've already been bumped once with this try. Computers are great when everything is working properly and really frustrating when something is amiss in the system.

We are on the other side of the bad weather, trying to decide if warnings of more snow should be taken seriously. Our city/county schools have been out since last Friday and are finally going back tomorrow. City streets, for the most part are good, but the smaller back roads have been slow melting and the buses haven't been able to run. Two melting snowmen remain in our back yard, three other small ones having melted earlier in the week. The grandchildren had a great time in the snow and having no school.

The best news we have is that Tom is coming home Friday. There are pros and cons: he isn't as strong as he needs to be, but we think he may eat better at home. Tommy and I plan to pull out all the stops and feed him whatever he wants beginning with homemade biscuits and cane syrup this weekend. His balance isn't good and he needs practice walking, but he won't get that until he's home. He is not allowed to walk at the nursing home without the assistance of a therapist and has to ask for a CNA to help him any time he stands or transfers from the chair to the bed. I've always heard that "practice makes perfect" and know his walking won't improve until he does it more and more. Even the staff saw and commented on the difference in him when his medication was changed back to the original dosage. We are all excited about his coming home and pray that he will be safe and be in a continued state of improvement!

The time between December 22 when he entered the hospital with pneumonia and today when we are finalizing plans to bring him home has been fuzzy. I think some days I operated on auto-pilot, wondering, yet knowing where I'd get the energy to get through the day. There were days I feared we were facing the end of his life and then that day when I had to let go and release him to God. What a freeing experience! I didn't quit advocating for him or his particular needs, but I quit fretting and worrying about all the human elements involved. I've learned a lot. My trust in God has grown. I am not dwelling on tomorrow or how I'll handle it; I am living today with the assurance that I am not the one in control. I have learned to let Tom live with what he has just as I learned a long time ago to live with what I have--and not die from it. Together we will live, glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That's what life is about.

Pastor Margaret