My Grace

I was reading an interview with writer Anne Lamott in the November 24, 2012 Spokesman-Review,  regarding her book, Help. Thanks. Wow. (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/nov/24/divine-connections/)
I haven’t even read her book, however, I immediately realized that Help, Thanks, Wow is the way I got through this past summer.  It's how I prayed.
I learned to ask God for help, to let Him help me, to thank Him over and over, again and again, and in the end, exclaimed at the Wow that had happened to me.
This summer was a medical roller coaster of overwhelmingly emotional stress, where I started out in June with maybe the flu, then a kidney infection, then more seriously, a staph infection of the blood and heart, to maybe Open Heart Surgery. 
Then, I had internal bleeding from a tear in my esophagus that required a repair and seven units of blood.
I thought I was going to die.  (Especially when a chaplain showed up.) 
In July I had both kidneys removed (which were about 16 pounds total and not working one whit).
Late in September, I experienced the return of the same staph infection of the blood and the heart, which now showed damage to the heart,
October 5, I had Open Heart Surgery. 
I pretty much spent most of the summer crying for help.  And I mean, I was sobbing to God to help me! Please help me!  And then I would be grateful that God was embracing me and thankful to great doctors and great care.  And finally I would whisper “Wow!” because I was better.
I approached my kidney surgery with an attitude of peace and gratitude.  I knew I had taken my hands off the controls, for a change, and left it all with God.  I sailed through.  And said “Wow!”
I was blindsided in late September (I wanted to write “sideblinded”) by a second bout of staph infection of the blood and heart – and the ultimate pronouncement that I needed to have Open Heart Surgery.  That phrase fills me with trepidation, panic, and fear.  Mentally I am digging in my heels and saying No! No! No!  I immediately went into my prayer mode.  I cried out for help.  I wept.  I told God I just couldn’t handle it any more.  And He said, “Good – I’ll take care of it.”  And I was thankful for such a miraculous recovery from such a miraculous surgery. 
~Humbly yours,  Jeanie~


More Random Thoughts

* I am 50% better than I was yesterday, when I was 50% than the day before.
* Four weeks of no lifting anything to finally being able to do the dishes tonight!  It was very satisfying.
* Tomorrow I'll even dust.
* Walked all the way around Winco - which is huge - and I think counts for one of my walks down to the school yard.
* Still anxious.  It's like I've drunk 10 pots of rich coffee.
* Still somewhat depressed; however, I am NOT going to say out loud that it might get worse.
* It's all about attitude.


When Henry Died

It was March in 1975 - my two sons were just two and not quite one years old.  My husband was stationed at a little base in Val d'Or Quebec, where he would say - where the Canadians guard the missiles and the Americans guard the Canadians, while I am fairly certain it was the reverse.

We had been in Val d'Or for almost two years.  He had been invited to go on a small Cessna plane to Hudson Bay with two other Americans (one our commander) and two French.  He turned them down because he was working that shift.

It was a big deal - big news - that they were on a joy ride in a Cessna, that they'd planned on returning Sunday.

Sunday came and went - everyone was certain they had crashed.  The whole community of both French and English were rooted where they stood, waiting, waiting, waiting for that plane to appear in perfect condition and everyone aboard would be laughing as they left the plane.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - all day long, every day, encased in the sounds of helicopters over head.  Helicopters looking for that plane.  I stood in my kitchen and watched and sobbed because I knew they weren't finding live bodies.  I knew it was awful.  I knew that plane had crashed.  Which it had, on Sunday, 10 miles from the base.

My husband was one of the Airmen sent to the site to collect everything - pieces no bigger than a piece of bread.  One wrist watch that he found was flattened as if it had laid on a railroad track.

There was a memorial service for all four (one, the Commander, a good friend).  It was very formal and mostly in French.  I couldn't stand it.  It was unbearable to think that in this SMALL unit, we lost four of our men.  I was beside myself with grief.  And in front of the four caskets was a flower display made to look like a little yellow Cessna.

My husband kept telling me to get a grip.

That night (of the funeral) we decided to try to laugh about something (and be in English) - it was March 18, 1975, the night of the funeral.  We were looking forward to another funny episode of M*A*S*H.

That night, March 18, 1975, the last five minutes. . . . . . . . . . .M*A*S*H killed off Henry Blake!

The air whooshed out of my lungs and I clawed my way to my children's bedroom where I sobbed until I could sob no more.

I cannot even watch that episode anymore without tears.

In August our base was closed.  Everyone left.  We left together, and made a caravan to our new locations - several of us posted to Missouri.  One of them was supposed to be the Commander, who left a 6-month old child.

I think of those four men and the wives and children left behind.  When M*A*S*H is on; when helicopters fly over the house; when small planes circle around for the small air strip a mile down the road.

Good night, Henry.


More Random Thoughts

I have just discovered that my favorite blog site, Huckleberries, has removed me from their blog rolls. So no matter what I write here, nobody will see. One blogger that commented to me two or three years ago, made his comment based on my experiences as a young wife in Val d'Or, Quebec. He was stationed there at the same time as my husband. He checks my blog every single day even though my writing has gotten poorer and more selfish, even though I write MAYBE once or twice a month. Every day. These are my random thoughts for today:

 * I still cry at commercials, but I'm getting better (until I found out I was deleted from the list of favorite blog rolls)
* I am walking further and further away from the house, my safety zone.  Once Mechanic Man called me on my cell as I was just reaching my goal of the edge of the school field.  He wanted to know how I was doing - and this is a straight stretch of road - so I told him I was fine and turning back - there he was standing in the middle of the road watching me the whole time.
*I feel measurably better today for the first time.  Usually I don't feel like I'm making any progress at all.
* Four weeks since Open Heart Surgery and I am HERE and ALIVE.
* Still seek prayer in so many areas of my body.  When it was just dialysis, I could go on with my day like I was a normal person.  Now, every twinge is a reminder that I MIGHT still have the bacterial infection.
*Treatments (IV antibiotic) will end their daily march on my life on Veteran's Day.
* I ask for God's healing presence to surround me, embrace my body head to toe, extend to wherever I am at - home, dialysis, store.  May that healing presence constantly do miracles in my body.
*Made cupcakes today - my first "cooking" since I went into the hospital.  (Of the several things I can't do, said my doctor, I can't cook - and I thought that was ironically hysterical.)  As in ROTFLMAO,
*Grateful for all my friends and family and especially those on the HBO blog.  I've known them for four years; we've met several people many different times.  I'm hoping one of them (the beer maker and BBQer) will feed my soul with his great, great beer and his melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork.  OMG!