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I Have This Hope

I was doing really good today and thought I was starting to turn a corner in the grieving process.

Then, I got in the car and headed out to run a couple of errands, turning on the radio as I left.

That’s when I heard this song . . .

And just like that, the floodgates opened up, with my tears keeping pace with the rain that started to come down outside.  (Coincidence or not?)

As I listened to the lyrics, I felt as though my heart was talking to God . . . the words echoing the thoughts and feelings I’ve had since last week.

As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I’ve been a Christian since I was a teenager, and I’ve been through some hard times, so I know, with certainty, that there is a purpose for everything, and that my tears are never in vain.

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go.

Isn’t it hard not to live in fear when you experience one setback after another?  The Mr. and I have talked about this . . . how we dread losing another pet because of the pain we’ve been through with Aubie and, most recently, Molly’s passings.

Then, I heard the next verse . . .

But sometimes my faith feels thin
Like the night will never end
Will You catch every tear
Or will You just leave me here?

As I heard the words, “Will you catch every tear,” I had a picture in my mind of a scene in the final Harry Potter movie.  In that scene, Snape has been dealt a fatal blow by Voldemort, and as he lay dying, Harry approaches him.  Snape and Harry had been at odds for years, and Snape had killed Dumbledore, so he was very much hated.  Yet, he tells Harry to get something to catch one of his tears.

Harry obeys, and he rushes to Dumbledore’s office, drops the tear into the Pensieve (a basin used for this purpose), and discovers a side of Snape that he didn’t know about before.

That scene takes a toll on my heartstrings on a regular day.  This afternoon, well, yeah.  It was brutal.  There is just so much wrapped into these four-plus minutes.

Think about the number of memories attached to each one of our tears.  Our tears tell the story of our lives.  If this story was painted, I envision it being done in watercolor.

Sometimes, there are happy tears, and we rejoice; other times we are sad, so we grieve.

Ultimately, when we examine the reasons for our tears, and if we are open to it, we can see purpose in the events that led to the tears.

Of course, if events have recently transpired, then we won’t necessarily understand the purpose.  That’s where faith comes in.

When Harry Potter sees Snape’s memories, he realizes that everything that Snape went through was because of his love for Harry’s mother and, ultimately, his love for Harry himself.

So it is that I imagine that the Lord is catching all of my tears and guarding them closely, aware that it is through them that my deepest joys and sorrows are expressed . . . especially when words fail me.

My tears are not in vain, and there is a purpose for my pain.  I don’t fully understand the reason, but I praise God that He knows, and that He will not let anything go to waste in my life.

This week, #findingjoyinthejourney has been tough, but I press on, thankful that God is my strength.

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Script Change

In my last post, I think I mentioned that I was going to be having a couple of busy weeks.

It started off with some packing on Monday . . .

On Tuesday, after leaving explicit instructions with the house/dog sitter, the Mr. and I jumped in the car and headed down the road.  Snacks were a must . . .

The Mr. drove all day while I made him listen to the pre-season episode of Rob Has a Podcast Big Brother.  The Mr. was not amused, and I was forced to listen to talk radio for the next two hours.

We hit some rain during our trip but finally arrived at our destination . . .

The sign is a little hard to read, but it says Mayo Clinic.

You may remember my post back in February when I described the health issues that the Mr. had been suffering from.  Over the last few months, he’d been back and forth to the Mayo Clinic for periodic testing.

In May, after another round of MRIs and other tests, he decided to push forth with a very complicated surgery.  This surgery would involve a team of doctors. Surgery was scheduled for June 29th.  He had a round of pre-op appointments on the 28th, which was why we left on the 27th.

The Mr. was very nervous about the surgery; the recovery time was expected to be six to eight weeks with a possible follow-up surgery.  Success was expected but not 100% guaranteed.

Let’s just say that those six hours in the car were not exactly what you’d model the perfect marriage on.  Tension was high.

On the 28th, I got up at the crack of dawn and visited the hotel’s fitness room to get in a walk.  I knew we had a long day ahead of us . . . hours of walking back and forth between doctor’s offices . . . lots of sitting time.

I didn’t plan very well, so we were scrambling to get ready in time for his first appointment, which had been scheduled bright and early . . . 7:30.

I can’t say that we showed our best sides to one another as we fussed.

Ahem.

It’s a good thing our hotel was right next to the hospital, though, which saved oodles of time.  Jacksonville traffic ain’t not joke, y’all.

I love the Mayo Clinic for so many reasons.  Timeliness is a biggie.  We have all experienced the horrors of waiting for hours while doctors deal with double-booked schedules.  This doesn’t happen at the Mayo Clinic.

We did have to wait a very short time, but we’d been told that the doctor we were seeing . . . the urological surgeon . . . had a surgery that morning.  He was popping in to see us before he went to that surgery.

Now, let me tell you.  We have talked to a couple dozen doctors, at least, since the end of January when this ordeal began.  Many of them have not had good bedside manners.  Most have been knife happy . . .  as in let’s do surgery right now kind of happy.

We don’t like those people very much.

This doctor was not like that at all.  He was very approachable and talked at our level.  He began by going over the risks of what he would be doing.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Every surgery has risks.  We weren’t really worried about those too much.  I mean, we were at the Mayo Clinic, for heaven’s sake.

Then, the doctor sat back in his chair, and he said, “I’m not really sure why you’re having surgery.  In fact, the GI doctor and I were talking about your case yesterday, and we don’t know why you are having it.”

Now, imagine for a second that from January 23rd, you’ve been told that you’ve got to have surgery . . . that you’ll die without it.

Every single doctor had been telling us that.

Then, this much-educated, very respected doctor sits and tells us that he doesn’t know why the Mr. is going forward with it?

We were majorly confused.

I cocked my head to the side . . .

Accurate

The doctor went on to explain that the Mr.’s most recent MRI had shown . . .

Wait for it . . .

That he was GETTING BETTER!

Double accurate

The doctor, in turn, looked confused.  He told us that typically, patients are completely on board with surgery, but to see us so confused was a signal that surgery did not need to be happening.

The Mr. then shared some of the things that his GI doctor . . . the doctor we started out with and the one who specializes in Crohn’s patients . . . had told him in May.

Well, Mr. Urological Surgeon rang up Mr. GI doctor right there in front of us, and they had a brief meeting of the minds where we learned that the GI doctor had not made the Mr.’s situation sound quite so dire the last time.

I looked at the Mr. and said, “I guess this is why I need to come with you to these appointments – so we have two sets of ears.”

Apparently so.

But I was still confused.  Were we talking about canceling the urological part of the surgery or both parts (the GI part too)?

Both.

I looked at the doctor and said, “Well, now I won’t have to take care of a sick man!”

He genuinely laughed at that.

Y’all KNOW what I’m talking about and don’t pretend that you don’t.

The doctor said that the Mr. had been showing fewer symptoms the past few months (I attribute this to God answering prayer and to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which the Mr. has been following pretty religiously since February), so they don’t like to operate on asymptomatic people.

Now, to be sure, the Mr. still has a messed up intestine from the 30 years he’s been dealing with Crohn’s, but we both know that surgery won’t cure it.  Crohn’s can hit multiple parts of the intestine.  Getting rid of one affected section won’t guarantee that it won’t reappear elsewhere.

The doctor assured us that if the Mr. takes a turn for the worse, he can always reschedule surgery.  He also put the Mr. on a plan to visit him in three months for tests to monitor his progress.  His abscess isn’t fully healed.  A new MRI will check on that, as will some other tests.

The doctor walked us back to the GI doctor’s nurse, gave her instructions to cancel the rest of the day’s pre-op appointments, and then sent us off with his blessing.

Y’all should have seen us walk out of there.

We were shell shocked – dazed looks on our faces.  Our brains could not process this change of events.

We started texting people immediately.  His parents had to be notified first because they were about to drive several hours to be with us for the surgery.

I had to let my friends from home know.  There’s a small group of us who are really close, and they had been praying non-stop.

I let Rebecca know.  She and I had been texting for days.

Then, because we didn’t know what to do, we got breakfast in the wonderful cafeteria at the hospital.

Crazy, eh?

The Mr. ate with gusto, let me tell you.  I don’t think you could have wiped the smile from his face if you’d tried.

When we finished, we went back to the hotel, loaded up our stuff, and checked OUT!  We took a selfie (which I posted on IG and FB with the update) in the parking lot and began our long drive home.

Gosh, y’all, but we were still so confused!

We tried to figure out how we’d gotten things so wrong!  What the heck?  We talked back through the series of appointments, but honestly, I think we would have made the same decision!  The Mr. was trying to figure out what the GI doctor wanted him to do.  The doctor couldn’t tell him explicitly what to do because things were not clear cut.  Thankfully, the urological surgeon gave it to us straight, God bless him!

We listened to praise music the rest of the way home, let me tell you.

We did make a pit stop to see the Mr.’s parents.  We also visited with Chicky’s puppy, who’d been visiting the grandparents for the past two weeks while Chicky traveled.

We got to see Chicky as well.  She arrived about an hour after we got there.  She’d flown into her city the night before and had made the drive up to retrieve her fur baby.  The original plan had been for her to go to the Mayo Clinic so she could be there for the surgery, but with the cancellation, she adjusted her plans.

It was a blessing, in so many ways, to get to go home.  Our fur babies needed us . . .

Molly had been refusing to eat (she’s been pretty sick).

We were eager to resume life.

I have to credit Rebecca for the title of this post.  As we were texting, she said that it was like God had called for a script change in our plans.

In my mind, the summer had been split in half . . . the first being one of luxury, and the second being one of care giving (i.e. not relaxing).

Waking up LATE on Thursday, in our own house, made the Mr. and me smile all day. It was a relief to partake in normal activities without the stress of a looming surgery hanging over our heads.

All Photos-505

I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until I took a two-hour nap in the recliner that afternoon, despite having slept in past 9am.

We were able to attend the reception for a precious young couple who just got married in May.  They are the children of dear friends of ours.  I’d RSVP’d no, because of the surgery; my friend eagerly told us to come when I texted her that we were going to be home.

As I said in the update I posted on Facebook, although surgery could still be in the Mr.’s future, we are celebrating the miracle of TODAY.

Isn’t that what life is about – finding joy in each moment?  Heck, it’s been my hashtag since November 13th.

I know that God doesn’t answer yes to all of our prayer requests, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for things.  His no’s are for good reasons because He sees the whole plan for our lives.

But, when He does say yes, hello world, but you just can’t deny that it’s Him.

A friend commented on how good we looked after I posted a selfie from the reception.  I told her that gratefulness is a good look for us.  It’s one that we should wear every second of our lives, because we have so much to be thankful for, good times and bad.

The Mr. and I have certainly had some difficult days in recent months.  We are thrilled to be able to bask in the sunshine of a good day for a change.

Jesus is Here

It’s Sunday.

The Mr. and I are back from church after listening to a wonderful sermon about the temptations that come with Christmas.

One of the temptations described was busyness…the thing that often keeps us from seeing Jesus during this season.

I’ve been purposely watching for Him during my season of waiting for my ankle to heal…down time that has been difficult for me.

That’s why I have been using the hashtag #findingjoyinthejourney for all of my pictures and in my posts about my injury.

I’m not good at waiting.  I am used to rushing through life, which is probably one thing that contributed to my injury in the first place…rushing through the house.

I’ve become ever mindful of people in my life who are setting aside their own busyness to extend kindness to me.

Two instances from this weekend stand out.

The first occurred on Friday when the Mr. retrieved the mail.  Inside an envelope addressed to me was a get well card and a message from a friend…

She’s the mom of a couple of now-adult children who grew up with my own kids.  We’ve known each other for years and even attend the same church.  She’s also my Origami Owl rep.

As I read her message and looked at the plate she’d included in the card, I started crying (I’m doing a lot of that these days).

God led her to this plate…of this, I’m sure.  It’s not a “coincidence” that I’ve been using this hashtag, and she’s been reading my posts.

Jesus is here.

But God wasn’t finished showing me that He is with me constantly, which my heart knows but my mind, because of the hard stuff of each day, sometimes forgets.

Yesterday, the Mr. and I had gone out shopping.  While I waited in Dillards for him to take care of some business, I sat down and propped my leg on my scooter.

I was playing on my phone and randomly staring out when a very pretty gal walked by.  She was dressed really nicely; her knee-high boots make a clopping sound as she passed by.

She stopped just before she got out of sight, turned to me, and said, “You like my boots, don’t you?”

I was caught off guard.  I didn’t realize I’d been staring at her boots, but I had, just a few minutes prior when the Mr. and I had walked past the shoe department (my favorite), been telling the him that I couldn’t wait for the day when I could wear two shoes again.

So, her question wasn’t that far-fetched.

I’m an awkward person, not good at small talk or thinking on my feet…or in my case, on my butt in a chair.

I mumbled a response that I can’t remember, and she looked purposely at my cast and asked what I’d done.

I shared my story quickly, and she commiserated.

Then, she told me that she would pray for me.

Yes, a stranger said that.

But our conversation wasn’t over.

She then walked over to me and asked my name.

I knew she was serious about praying for me.

Then, she shared her story.

She told me that she’d had ankle reconstruction surgery twice (the second time after re-breaking hers when she wore heels and stepped off a curb, which I will NOT be doing, that’s for sure).

She empathized with some of the things I’d been dealing with physically in a way that only a person who has gone through this could.

The Mr. had finished his task by then and came up to us.

We spoke a moment or two (or three) longer before we parted ways.

My heart was lighter than when I’d entered the mall.

As we left, I began to tearfully tell the Mr. her story.  I told him that God was reminding me, through the actions of my Origami Owl friend and now this stranger, that He has not forgotten my struggle.  He is with me, despite the journey being hard.  He knows me personally, just as He knows all of His children and our individual needs.

It was also a lesson in setting aside the busyness of an agenda to notice people…to stop at God’s heeding and speak the word He puts on my lips or act in the way He prompts my heart.

I look forward to paying it forward…especially when I’m two-footed again.

I want others to know what I know…

That Jesus is here — not just during Christmas but during every season.

I want others to make a habit of #findingjoyinthejourney just as I am so they can recognize the blessings that God is pouring out even in the midst of struggles.

Jesus is here.

May this message be at the forefront of my mind now and after my ankle is healed.

Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

I have much to be thankful for this year.  I’ll save those thoughts for Question #8, though.  Thanks, Joyce, for taking time out from your unpacking and settling in to construct these fun questions!

1.  What’s something you might say runs in your family? 

What a timely question!  Chicky, the Mr., and I were just discussing this on Monday while we waited for me to be wheeled back for surgery.  I think I’ll stick with a positive thing we mentioned.  Ahem.

I think that a can-do attitude runs in our family.  We are very goal oriented.  All of us have a solid work ethic, and we work hard for the goals we set.

I’m very proud of my children…Chicky, a fine educator, and Rooster, a new Airman in the world’s finest Air Force.

The Mr.? He’s not too shabby himself.  He works in public service.  He’s a wonderful example of self-giving.

2.  I read here a list of ten things you should do before 2017 arrives (in less than six weeks!)…which tasks on the list might you do? What would you add to your own ‘before the year ends’ list?

visit your Dr. or dentist, deep clean your home, donate unwanted items to charity, look someone in the eye and tell them you love them, write an honest letter to yourself, clean up your inbox-desktop-photos, travel to a place you haven’t been, compliment a stranger, watch the sunrise, think ahead to your goals/plans for the new year

Gosh, but I think I’ve done almost all of these things.  My house could use a deep cleaning, but I am out of commission with my ankle surgery, so that’s probably not going to happen.  I might be able to do a bit here and there once I get a scooter, but even then, I’ll have to be careful.

3.  What’s something other generations (not your own) misunderstand about your generation?

This is a hard question for me to answer because I’m not sure that I know what misunderstandings other generations might have about my own.  I had to do some research.

I was born in 1970, so according to Careerplanner.com, I fall into the Generation X (Baby Bust) category.  I found this blog post that gave a lot of information about Generation X.

According to the blog, folks of my generation are “adrift, apathetic, and cynical.”  The site says, “Many Gen-Xers distrust authority and large institutions including corporations, religious institutions and the government.”

I can see this…especially given all of the recent election drama.

The site says that we are “educated, ethnically diverse, and individualistic, have a disdain for everything, authority, technologically astute and flexible, we have work-life balance, and we were the ‘Latchkey Generation’.”

I’m not sure how all of the above has led to misunderstanding.  When I mention my year of birth to my students or others who are slightly older, I think they have visions of hippies who led “experimental” adventures during their youth.  Ahem.  I did not for the record.

I think that they consider us old fogies, stuck in a rut, which is NOT the case.

I think that we are a generation that is embracing change because we remember the days of not having the internet…not being able to Google for directions…not being able to work from home via online businesses.

I don’t know if this really answers the question.  All I know is that every generation has the tendency to “misunderstand” because we don’t always try to get to know the people from other generations.  We make assumptions and leave little room for the exceptions.

4.  Sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread dressing-which would you miss the most if it weren’t on the holiday dinner menu?

Definitely mashed potatoes.  Vegan style so I can eat them, of course.

Oh, and Coupon Queen (the Mr.’s mom) and her famous dressing.  I can’t eat it anymore because of a few of the ingredients in it, but it’s divine.  Especially with gravy and cranberry sauce on it.  Yum!

5.  What are you overthinking right now?

I am overthinking work right now.  My ankle injury has thrown a monkey wrench into my entire life.  Although I would LOVE to be a stay-at-home wife, finances won’t allow for that.  The next best thing is my job.  I love interacting with my students…most days.  I am finding myself missing them tremendously.  I feel as though we are behind because of the time I’ve had to take off, but the reality is that I do a great job when I’m with them, so they will be fine, no matter how much more time I need to take off for recovery.

6.  Your favorite slang word lately?

I like the phrase “doing the most” lately.  It seems to describe my life.  I am always doing the most, whether it’s with my lesson planning or with my ankle break, which was a doozy.  I need to ease my foot off the pedal a bit.  Doing the most isn’t always the best idea.

7.  Write an acrostic for the word grateful.

God

Remains

Always,

Through

Every

Fall in my

Uncertain

Life

Y’all, this was hard to write!!!!!

8.  My Random Thought

Something I did not write about in yesterday’s post (the one in which I discussed my surgery…not in gory details, mind you) was the panic attack I’d had the night before.

I’ve had a few panic attacks over the years.  Usually, they’ve occurred right before I needed to go somewhere unfamiliar.  I have a few mental issues…separation anxiety at times…that led to those.

I woke up around 3:30am yesterday and was in full-fledged panic mode.  Super Sis was sleeping on the couch across from me, but I wasn’t present enough in my mind to call out for her.

All I knew was that I suddenly felt very claustrophobic.  I felt as though my cast was closing in on me.  All I wanted was for someone to cut it off and do it right then.  And never put another one on me again (which will be done as part of the recovery process).

I did not know what to do.

I grabbed my phone and opened up my First5 app.  It’s wonderful.  It’s free and has daily devotions and weekend wrap-up videos that you can watch.

It’s amazing.

So, despite the fact that I was bleary-eyed and could hardly see a thing, I began reading.

I managed to read about halfway down…the first thing being the highlighted Bible verse from that day’s reading.

Y’all, when I finally stopped reading, I felt the greatest sense of peace envelope my heart.

The fear was gone.  Satan’s hold on me disappeared.

I set my phone down and was finally able to sleep.

God has been speaking to me very loudly lately.  He’s had to in order to offset the effects of the pain I’ve been in and the medication I’ve been on.

It seems as though every devotion I’ve read has been written with me in mind.

Look at what I read yesterday morning when I opened the app (click on it to see a bigger version).

How wonderful is that?

I am fatigued.

God is my strength…especially now with a bum ankle.

Because of that, I am #findingjoyinthejourney (my new hashtag).

Bionic Ankle

It’s 6:12 am, Eastern time, that is, as I begin writing this post.  An hour later than home, but I’m not at home.  I’m two hours away, nestled on my in-laws’ couch. right leg elevated.

The deed…it has been done.

I arrived at the surgical center yesterday afternoon for my 2pm check-in time.

That, by no way, meant surgical time, mind you.  They were all about filling out more paperwork…signing my life away to the procedure I was about to have…paying my portion of the bill that the insurance didn’t cover.  Let’s just take a moment to praise insurance, though.  I know a lot of people bemoan it, but I have good insurance, so I cannot complain.

I had to do the pee-in-a-cup thing, because all women within the childbearing age span get to have this fun experience…just in case.  For the record, I’m not.  Thank goodness.  😉

Then, I was whisked away to a hospital bed to begin preparing for surgery.

I loved my English-accent speaking nurse.  She was so gentle, listened to my fears about needles, and gently got my IV ready.  She assured me that I’d be given medicine for post-surgery nausea, which I have a tendency to suffer from.

The Mr. got brought back to me, and we did some waiting.

A lot of it, actually.

Chicky arrived about an hour after we got there, and she did some waiting with us.

I hadn’t seen her since January; her presence made me so happy.  I love this girl so much, but our lives don’t often intersect with her being a super teacher down south and, in general, living life on her own.

The anesthesiologist came by for a chat. Can we all say a Praise the Lord for this profession?  I think that all who enter are screened for great personalities.  I’ve never met one I didn’t like.  He was kind and funny.  And uber professional.  He knew his stuff…knew about my procedure…and set my fears at rest.

We discussed my having a nerve block that would last about 24 hours after surgery.  I couldn’t sign that paperwork fast enough, let me tell you.  I am brave about some things; pain is not one of those things.

He left, and we waited.

And waited.

Periodically, there would be people who would visit my “room…” nurses who would ask me to repeat my name, birth date, and which procedure / which leg I was having work done on.  I wanted to say, “the one with the cast,” but I was being nice.  Ahem.

Chicky left to get her and the Mr. some food…and to visit her Grandmama and utilize her washing machine.  Priorities, folks!

While she was gone, my surgeon came by.  This man though.  He had been so frustrated with me at my first visit for clawing myself to the point where we had to delay surgery that I was a little scared.

I didn’t ask him the questions I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

I’ll ask those questions when I got back for my first post-op visit on the 1st.

He did write on my right toes, though.  I believe I saw him make a smiley face on my big toe.

He was all smiles himself as he described the procedure.  His bedside manner was on point and soothed my heart.  He promised to be back as soon as he did one short procedure for another patient.  The man was busy!

Meanwhile, we waited a little bit more.

I was so very tired.

And scared.

I’m not going to lie, but I grew more scared the longer we waited.

The Mr. did his best to calm me down.  He didn’t want my heart rate to go too fast and delay surgery.

He spoke words of encouragement…words I desperately needed to hear.

He offered me my phone, which he NEVER does, to distract me.  I was too tired to do much besides read a few text messages and Facebook posts.  I quickly handed it back to him.

His main job during surgery was going to be keeping our friends and family updated.

Finally, they began to wheel me back to pre-op.  The Mr. gave me a hug before I left.  I wanted him to stay with me.  That man had been the center of my world this past week…my rock.

Off I went, though, to a room that was divided into sections…each dedicated to its own surgery.

I had heart monitors attached to my chest, some sort of thing put on my leg to check impulses (I never once felt it), and other cords fastened every which way.

I even had an oxygen tube stuck under my nose.  Things were getting very real.  Very fast.

Heck, I felt like I was going to be on one of those hospital drama shows you see on TV.

Ha!

The nurse placed my right leg on a high table in preparation for the anesthesiologist.  He was going to do the nerve block before surgery.

I got really, really scared.

He’d told me that he would be giving me three shots and an extra one in my big toe to ensure that all of my nerves would be given the pain-free juice I’d need.

I.

Hate.

Needles.

And pain.

Did I mention that?

Y’all are not going to believe this, but I slept through the entire thing!

I kid you not.

The fatigue of not sleeping well the night before and a long day of anticipation had worn me out.

Maybe they put a little something something in my IV too.  Who knows.  I’d signed away my life, so it’s possible.

I woke up as the nurse was removing my oxygen tube.  My leg was off the table and completely numb.

Praise Jesus!

I was then wheeled into the operating room.

One operating room.

With lots of big lights.

I remember looking up and wondering about the pattern of the individual light bulbs in each light.

Yeah.  I had some happy drugs, I think.

I was introduced to someone who was prepping a surgical table.  I don’t remember his name.  He turned and waved.

I was moved from the bed I was wheeled in on to a surgery table.  I had to help move my body over.  That was interesting.

Then, I laid back as some sort of mask was held over my nose and mouth…not tight…just enough to breath into.

I thought that I’d never fall asleep.

Ha!

Out I went like a light.

I slowly came to in a recovery room, a different nurse at my side.

My throat hurt so badly.  She told me that they’d put a tube down my throat during surgery.

Thank heavens I was out for that.  I don’t think I would have liked that.

She gave me red Gatorade to sip on and began helping me get dressed.

I’m glad I had taken my leopard print Victoria Secret bra with me.  One must always be fashionable…even when having surgery.  You never know who’s going to see your underclothes.

The Mr. was brought back to see me.  I think he was smiling.  Chicky was there too.  Most of my heart  was there in that room.  I know the others were with me in spirit.

While the nurse was out of the room gathering paperwork, the Mr. told me that the doctor has spoken to him after the surgery.  He’d said that it had gone well, but that he’d discovered that my bones are very brittle.  He’d had some difficulty getting the pins inserted because of this.

As you know, I’ve been a vegan since 2016.  I don’t eat any animal products, which means I have to find creative ways to get protein and calcium.

Apparently, I’ve done a terrible job of this.  I will not be moving away from my vegan lifestyle.  It suits my tummy and other innards well.  What I will be doing, and what the Mr. has already begun doing, is researching how to put more calcium into my body organically.  I don’t do supplements.  My stomach cannot handle them, and I know the body doesn’t process them well.  I will probably have to up my caloric intake.  That’s another issue I need to deal with.

The doctor told the Mr. that my ankle injury was an accident waiting to happen.  As such, I know that I need to make changes quickly so I don’t incur another such injury.  I do not want to be an old lady who has to have hip replacement surgery.

When the nurse returned, she gave me a lot of detailed instructions.  I love that she looked right at me and spoke to me.  She was just so amazing.  The Mr. and Chicky listened on closely.  They knew I’d remember exactly 10% of it.

One cool thing was that she recognized me from the Mr.’s parents’ church.  How weird is that?  We attended it twenty years ago when we lived here and have been back yearly for Christmas Eve services.  My in-laws are very, very active in the church.  I’ve been on more than one prayer chain of late.

God is so wonderful when He makes connections like that.

She gave me lots of paperwork.  Among them were copies of my x-rays.

Y’all, they look like pictures from Frankenstein’s surgery.

There are many, many pins inside of my little leg.

Many.

There’s a plate in there somewhere.  I’m going to have the doctor show me where during my next visit.  It’s on the inside of my leg, but I don’t know where to find it on the x-ray.

Regardless, it was an intense repair, and it’s going to require much healing.  God is the GREAT physician, so I’m not worried.

Finally, it was time to leave.  She wheeled me out.  I had been the last surgery of the day.  It was both dark and cold.  I shivered like crazy.

Fortunately, the car was warm, and the Mr. gently navigated us back to his parents’ house.

What a loving reception I got.  These people have cared for me through so much…so many times when I have been unlovable.  I am so grateful for their unconditional love…something I never had growing up and something that’s been hard to accept all of these years.

The Mr. left fairly quickly.  He’d been driving back and forth to care not only for me but for our fur babies back home.  I hated that he was driving so late, but that’s what love does. ❤

Meanwhile, the in-laws gave us instructions on how to use their remote controls and how to turn off the light switches.  It can get complicated, y’all, I kid you not.  Then, they headed to bed.   They were slap worn out from the long day as well.

Meanwhile, Chicky had been assigned babysitting duties. She was to be my night nurse, relegated to the long couch.

She was wonderful.

I got hungry, so she found some crackers for me.

That was only the start.  She then fixed me a can of soup and got me a glass of orange juice.  Strange combo, I know, but when you’ve been through what I have this past week, you don’t question such requests.

Then, after a couple of trips to the potty, we were set to go.

We watched a bit of TV…an episode of Timeless, which I’ll have to rewatch when I get home because I had a hard time focusing on it…before turning out the light.

I slept pretty good and mainly woke up for my pain meds.  By 5:30, though, I’d had enough.  I had to sit up and catch up on my social media.

I needed to blog before the words were forgotten in the haze of pain and medicine.

I’m starting to feel the effects of the nerve block wearing off.

That’s a good and a bad thing.  The good is that I’ll be able to feel my toes again, which will make me feel less claustrophobic.

The bad is…well…the pain.

You might remember that I don’t like pain.

I am already feeling it on the inside of my ankle…the part I obliterated.  It’s the side that now houses a plate.  I feel as though I have a bionic ankle now.  Ha!

So, I’m asking you to continue praying, if you will.

This pain is going to be no joke.

It’s going to require that I pull up my big girl pants and deal, the best I can.

My goal is to return to work on Monday.  I don’t know how, but I am determined.

I’d like to see the pain reduced a bit before I go in.

I’ll probably be in a wheelchair.  Crutches and me…we are slowly getting to be friends.  I’ll be renting a scooter as soon as the doctor gives me the green light.  That’s when the fun will begin.

Please pray for the Mr.  He stresses.  A lot.  About everything.

He’s a good man.  He’s typical, though, and has a need to see things fixed.

He hates to see people in pain…especially those he loves.

This injury has reminded us both of so much.

We need each other desperately, especially now that our kids are grown and living their own lives elsewhere.

He’s usually been the sick one of the two of us.  I’ve been the caretaker.

Oftentimes, not a great one; frustration and impatience are my enemies.

Not so after this.

Though the Mr. has gotten frustrated, he’s balanced it with attention to detail.  That man has come home from the grocery store only to hear me vocalize a desire for orange juice, which I must have dreamed about while napping while he was gone, and then he has left again to pick up a gallon.

Just because he wanted me happy.

He’s a gem, and he’s all mine, ladies.

I might be willing to rent him out for a small fee, though.  We have a rehearsal dinner to pay for and medical bills to recoup from.

Ha!

Seriously, though, I am still finding #joyinthejourney through the ups and downs I’ve encountered since my fall on the 13th.

God allowed this to happen to me.  Though I cannot fully understand all of the why’s of it, I continue to trust Him.

Please pray as I continue down the road of recovery.  I know it’s going to be very difficult at times, but God prepared me through my year of fitness gains, my return to Him in my Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, and my strengthened relationship with my husband.

I.

Am.

Blessed.

When Overachieving Isn’t Good

Sunday night, I discovered that one shouldn’t be an overachiever in everything.

After having a wonderful weekend, I’d put on my pretty Victoria Secret flannel pajamas and headed to bed.

It was dark in the house.  I carried a small book and my phone.

Just as I was about to turn on the flashlight on my phone to light the way, my left foot ran into one of the dogs sprawled out on the floor, and I went down.

My book and phone went flying as I tried to break my fall.

I went down on my left side, but the dog cushioned me.

My right leg, however, slammed, and I do mean SLAMMED on my hardwood floor.

I knew, immediately, that I was in big trouble.

I started yelling for the Mr.  He’d just gone to bed.

As he ran out, he asked what had happened.  I could barely talk…just able to say enough about falling over the dog.

After chewing me out for not turning on the lights, we tried to assess the situation.

I couldn’t roll over.  My right leg between my knee and foot were in dire pain.

When I finally rolled over, lifting my leg in the process and placing my foot flat on the floor, the Mr. quickly determined that I needed to go to the hospital.  There was already a knot on the outside of my ankle.

As he started getting dressed, I began to lose it.

I bawled.

Loudly.

Like you hear football players crying when they get hurt during their games.

He put Pele in his crate, and we tried to figure out how to get me to the car.

I could not get up.  Not at all.

The Mr. is not a big guy, and he’s never had to lift me before.

He awkwardly grabbed one arm, and I tried to hop.

That was not working either, the pressure of the jumping inflicting more pain.

Somehow, he finally lifted me up and put me in the backseat of the car.

We live in Podunk, USA.  It doesn’t take long to get places; however, that night, it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to travel the maybe three or four miles to the hospital room.  Every bump and turn made me gasp.

I bawled in the car.  I couldn’t catch my breath.  I think the Mr. was worried that I was going to hyperventilate.  All I wanted was to pass out.  The pain was absolutely horrible.

He drove up to the ER entrance, and a nurse came out with a wheelchair.  Somehow, they dragged me out of the car.

I held up my right leg as I was wheeled in and processed.  Then, I was whisked immediately to a room in the ER.

A side note that you might find funny.  I’d eaten my famous black bean soup for dinner…along with a piece of my vegan cheesecake.

I’d been gassy all night.  Even in the car on the way to the hospital.  The Mr. was not amused.

In the middle of my pain, as I was being rolled by that kind nurse, to my ER room, I asked him to please forgive if things got stinky.  He totally laughed and told me that if I started farting, he was finished.

Bahahaha.

At least I kept my sense of humor (until the Mr. told me, later, that I’d have to return my sparkly shoes for Rooster’s wedding…a topic to be discussed later).

The ER room became our home for the next seven hours.

I was miserable.  I had nothing for the pain that was coming in waves.

I told the Mr. that it was like the worst toothache ever…like a sinus infection that’s gone into your jaw.

The nurse who wheeled me in was an extremely kind young man…buff too.  Heeheehee.

He prepped me for an IV.

I hate needles.  In fact, I am deathly afraid of them.

Not that night.

He was both gentle and efficient, telling me that I have good veins.

Lucky me.

I don’t know what was going on in the ER, but there were patients suffering far worse maladies than I was.

We saw a LOT of people being wheeled past on gurneys…too sick to lift their heads.  They put a perspective on what I was going through.

Eventually, a doctor came in.  He immediately noticed that I was shaking and attributed it to anxiety.

Well, duh.

He told me that I’d be getting an x-ray.

Next, my assigned nurse, a different young gal, came in and administered some morphine.  It wasn’t necessarily for the pain.  It was, however, for my nerves.

I’d never had it before, but it was wonderful and took effect immediately.

It wore off fairly quickly, though, and I began to shake again.

We waited, and we waited, and we waited.

An x-ray technician came in with his machine.  He was the kindest man ever, so scared to hurt me.  He gently slid the x-ray plate below my leg and asked me to turn my leg a couple of different ways.  He was good at his job and left quickly.

Then the waiting continued.  I could see part of a patient room across the ER.  I prayed for that person.  Whatever was going on in there was pretty bad.  So many nurses went in and out.

I sat with an ice pack on my leg for much of my wait.

The ER doctor came back in at some point and gave me the results of my x-rays.

Things were very bad.  I could see that.

He told me that they were going to admit me, and that I’d be having surgery right away.

My jaw dropped.

I told him that I’m a high school teacher who has real talk with my kids.  I wanted him to be straight up with me.

He told me that I have a trimalleolar fracture.

The English/reading teacher in me heard the prefix “tri” and knew I was in trouble.

I broke three bones in my ankle, y’all.

Because I guess being an overachiever extends to everything I do.

I broke the outside, inside, and back bones around my ankle.

But wait, the fun didn’t end there.

I had also dislocated it.

Which is why it was sitting at an angle.

He told me that it would require surgery.  I’ll probably have to have a rod to put things back together.

Sigh.

When he left, I googled my malady.

I found a blog that I plan on reading more about.  The recovery is going to be a long one.

Sigh.

I cried more.

After accomplishing one of my big goals of running for longer distances, I am now facing a huge setback.

The Mr. made me put my phone away.  The last thing I needed was more stress.

My nurse came back and gave me more morphine.

Good timing, eh.

Speaking about timing, this whole injury is coming at the WORST time ever!

This week, I had:
2 Parent Conferences
2 Observations (administrator-to-me and teacher-to-teacher)
2 Meetings on Monday
1 Meeting on Wednesday
3 Summative Assessments to give my students

Everything has been derailed.

Calgonnnnnnnn, take me away!

Meanwhile, a different nurse was prepping me for a shint.

Basically, it’s like a two-sided cast specially made for my leg.

But, like everything else, I had to wait.

A long time.

And I had to pee really bad.

Getting up to potty was not going to happen.  They couldn’t take the chance on me hurting my leg worse, so this girl had to use a bedpan.

I.

Was.

Mortified.

Completely humiliated.

I have never ever used such a thing.  Sitting down in bed to potty feels so very wrong.

Especially in front of a male, nurse or not.

But I did.

Ugh.

Less than an hour later, I had to go again!  And I wasn’t even drinking anything!!

Fortunately, my female nurse was back, and I wasn’t nearly as mortified.

Having her wipe my behind after I sat in the pee wasn’t fun though.

Ugh.

She was young and so very understanding, though.

Told me that yes, I really did have to go.

Nerves, y’all.

You see, they’d told me that before they fitted me for the splint, they’d have to pop my ankle back into place to fix the dislocation.

I have watched way too much TV.  I knew how painful that was going to be.

Nerves.

I had to pee again before the doctor came back to do the deed.

To his credit, he did give me a pain block…three shots, one for each bone broken…so I wouldn’t feel the pain.

But first, I got Valium in my IV.

A marvelous drug, I tell you.

I also got a big pair of surgical pants…something that would fit over the splint.

Once everything had kicked in, I was good to go.  Yes, I felt the tug, but no, it didn’t hurt much, if at all.

My leg was wrapped, and then I waited again.  This time, I needed the doctor to write me prescriptions for pain and to sign off on my paperwork.

They wheeled me out; the Mr. carried my stuff, including a new set of crutches, and I was feeling pretty good because of the block.  I even sat in the front seat.

We were exhausted.  We had not slept in over 24 hours.

But the pain.  Oh, the pain.  The block wore off, and I tried to cry quietly.  I didn’t do a good job.  After about an hour, the Mr. came in to see me.

I needed my meds.  CVS had been closed when we’d gone by on our way home.  He went back.

I was miserable.

One of my prescriptions was for a muscle relaxer.  That, combined with the pain medication, took awhile to kick in, but when they did, I almost felt normal.  Until they wore off a few hours later.

I managed to eat dinner and watch TV, dozing intermittently.  The muscle relaxer made me tired.

I also learned how to use crutches.  I’ve never had to before.  I’ll be an expert by the time I’m done with this.

The Mr. has accompanied me to the bathroom every time I go.  I don’t trust myself to walk that path on my own.

We settled in for what we hoped to be a better night of sleep.  I woke up at 1:30, an hour late on my meds, and then went back to sleep, only to awaken around 2:30 in a lot of pain.  The Mr. came out and helped me potty, and I settled in again.  Sleep proved to be elusive, though.  The pain where the top of my foot bends has been horrible.  I suspect it’s due to the splint.  I have no idea.

I finally gave up and hung my leg down for awhile.  That’s helping.  I think I just need to change positions more regularly.

Even now, as I type this, I’m carefully watching the clock.  7:30 cannot get here quick enough.  That’s when I’ll get my next round of meds.

I am hoping to go back to work tomorrow, but I am not sure.  Today will tell me a lot.  If I do go, I’ll need a wheelchair.  I am not confident on my crutches…especially if I’m still taking medicine.

We’ll see.

I couldn’t end this post without a big shout-out to the Mr.  He has been grumpy because he’s not used to this, but he’s also taken wonderful care of me.  He’s making sure I eat, and he’s closely watching me to ensure that I don’t take risks…move the wrong way.  He cannot stand to see me hurting.  I think that’s stressing him out more than anything else.

He’s also researching surgeons.  We want someone who specializes in ankles.  I want to be able to run again.  Quality of life is important to me, not just “fixing” the problem.

Chicky and Rooster have been incredibly kind.  I know it must be hard for them to be away.  I talked to Rooster on the phone last night, and Chicky checked on me several times yesterday and already this morning.

I had a long conversation with Super Sis yesterday afternoon.  She listened to me cry.  She listened to the entire story of what had happened and commiserated in her gentle way.  Life keeps us busy, but when we need each other, we set aside other things.

To all of my friends, a huge thank you.  One of them is making soup for me.  She messaged me a few times to ensure that she follows my vegan requirements.

Rebecca started texting me yesterday afternoon, and we texted last night while watching Dancing With the Stars.  I woke up and found this on my Instagram feed…

I totally cried.

I’ll be dancing again soon, that is for sure!

My friend, Leanne, texted me on and off yesterday.  She’s a math teacher at my school, uber-fit, and a lover of all the desserts I bake up each weekend.  Our friendship has grown since last year.  For me, that’s huge because I’m so shy and afraid of rejection.  Love her to pieces.

I’ve heard from other friends such as Barb and Cinda, and boy, am I thankful for the joy our conversations have brought.

Cindy, a friend at school and the gal responsible for setting up subs, texted me last night as well.  She arranged for the sub the system found for me to come back today.

This is such a challenging time for me, but once again, perspective is everything.  When I look at my Facebook feed and see the angst and life struggles that others are dealing with, mine pales in comparison.  An ankle can be fixed.  Pain can be dealt with.  Friendship, through sympathy and empathy, levels the field and makes us all better humans.

I will get better, even if it takes longer than I’d like.

I’ll make my overachieving, can-do attitude work in the right way.

I’ll trust that God’s plan is perfect; that even this will be used for His glory.

I’ll praise Him in the midst of the pain and for the healing that will follow.

As Lysa TerKeurst says, “God is good.  God is good to me.  God is good at being God.”

Even in this…especially in this…He is good.

P.S.  If you find typos in this post, please forgive me.  I’m drowsy now and did not proofread.  I cannot promise that all of my subjects and verbs will agree.  Egads!

Abide

I’ve always been one to wear my emotions on my sleeve.  Anyone who knows me very well is probably nodding at this statement.

What I’m feeling right now is unbelievably stressed.

The mandates that are being handed down of late are very challenging.  Teaching is an incredibly demanding job that I thought I was finally getting a hold of.

Yeah, right.

Lesson planning, grading, and reworking lesson plans for unexpected “things” that seem to crop up regularly are very stressful for a person who needs everything laid out neatly.

In the midst of the chaos, I keep seeing the word abide around me.

In fact, I even purchased some temporary tattoos of this word, in Hebrew.

It’s everywhere I turn.

It’s been in my Proverbs 31 online Bible study.  The current study has had us reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited.

Oh word, but what an amazing book!  I just finished reading it two nights ago, and it is seriously some good stuff.  Girlfriend can preach through the written word, let me tell you.

I’m finding that the more I abide with God, the better perspective I have for the issues that I struggle with in my life.

This week has challenged my ability to do this, but isn’t this part of life?  Studying, learning how to apply new truths, and then falling on your face in failure.  It’s a cycle that I constantly find myself in the midst of.

It is when I’m feeling most stressed that I need to abide ever closer to the One who knows my heart.

Abiding is hard for me though.

I’m a perfectionist.  I’m not keen on waiting for things to play out.  I have a need to control my circumstances.

One would think that teaching for this long would have helped me be more adaptable.

It has, in some ways, but in others, not so much.

I am a work in progress.

I am a slow learner who needs constant reminders that I am at my worst when I am stressed…when I don’t abide.  It is during these phases that life slaps me around a bit before I slink, ashamedly, to my Father’s side and slip my hand in His.

It’s when I abide that I find grace, generously poured out by a loving Father who was there all along waiting for me to come to my senses.

When I abide, I find respite from an ever-changing world…peace in a never-changing God.

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