Sunday, August 2, 2009

As the cheering fades...

I really didn't feel like blogging yesterday and honestly without reading what I posted, I couldn't even begin to tell you what it was that I did share. But after some more time of reflection, I am finally able to put my finger on part of what has affected me, and why I have felt more "down" since coming home....The cheers are fading.

What on earth am I talking about "the cheers are fading?". Well, I guess the best way to explain it is that when you are in hospital, you expect to feel like crap. You know you're there because your sick/injured/ill and often times you feel worse before you feel better. But it's also a place, where every little improvement is noted and celebrated. And of course it helps that after a surgery like I went through, you pretty much start at nothing (I mean, passed out, drooling, catheterized, can't feed yourself, nothing) so anything you figure out how to do is cause for celebration.

When I first opened my eyes, Dave and my parents were there to stroke my hair and welcome me "back".
When I was first able to take ice chips off of a spoon from Dave, they smiled.
When I progressed to being able to have Dave feed me Jello and chicken broth, we were excited.
When I was able to move from laying down to the upright position in the hospital bed, I got cheers.
When I was feeling my worst and ugliest, the beautiful Ethiopian housekeeper commented out of nowhere "you are so beautiful, you will make beautiful children" (how did she know my heart's desire? had she read my medical charts? she didn't know why I was there, did she?)
When I fed myself, there was a sigh of relief.
When I surpassed my goal for my breathing exercises, there were "wows" and "awesomes". When I first stood on my own two feet there was clapping.
When I shuffled off down the hall, there was rejoicing, even though I could hardly make it 15 feet.
When after sitting on a bedside commode for 45 minutes with nothing to show for my efforts, I was disheartened, but then later, was able to "void" into their little top hat nurse cheered and congratulated me.
When I was out in the hall on my 2nd of three required walks, a random nurse congratulated me and told me I was doing very well and complimented me on how motivated I was to get home. She then asked me if I'd passed gas yet? "We get really excited about that around here," she whispered. What the heck?
And then, when I had finally walked the hall 3 times, "voided", done all my required breathing treatments and was discharged from the hospital, my nurse Vicki gave me a big hug, and with emotion in her eyes wished me well.

You get the picture.

Those first few hours were full of momentous steps forward. Easily identifiable and measurable progress that people were eager to applaud. And there was so much progress so quickly, one right after the other. That’s what I like and what I’m used to in life. Putting my mind to something and getting it done. But now we're home and things have changed. Don't get me wrong, Dave and my parents are still encouraging me and helping me out and I am SO thankful...but still it's hard for me. At the hospital I expected to be laid up. At home, I want to get back into the swing of things. It's hard for me to be dependent upon everyone for everything...and I do mean everything.

The improvements are not so noticeable now, nor are they so rapid in coming. Everything's different now. The cheers have faded and now it's just me and the couch...

…or should I say it’s just me and the cross. I'm starting to see that uniting my sufferings to the cross isn't just about uniting the physical pain. Yes, that’s certainly a large portion of it, but it’s also about uniting every aspect of this recovery to the life of Christ and offering Him all of it to do with it as He wills. To give Him my frustrations with not being able to do anything, to surrender to Him my hurt when I feel someone is less than “wonderful” to me when I ask them to help me with something (they do realize I’m not just trying to be a pain in the ass, right?). To ask for His grace to pull me through the hours of stillness and quiet (and yes, boredom) of recovery, especially the times when I can neither sleep, nor focus on doing anything like reading or working, and am instead just stuck with just “existing”. I pray that I will develop the virtue of patience and perseverance as I learn to be ok with not noticing any rapid changes and improvements. Because, come to think of it, maybe this is where the hardest rub is for me.

I’m the type of person that when I put my mind to it, I can get things done and usually can do them well. I thank God for those gifts that He’s given and I realize completely that my talents are from Him (so why is it so hard for me if it is His will that I not be able to do something? Why do I lack the humility to handle that?) But here along this journey, everything is different and I find myself at the end of where my abilities can take me. I have learned that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I cannot make myself pregnant. I cannot change this situation of my own accord and make Dave and I the parents that we know we were created to be. God himself knows how hard I’ve prayed and tried. Instead, I must be reliant upon Him and trust completely in Him. And so it is with this stage of the journey as well. In this recovery, I must “be still” and wait upon Him. I can’t give up because I don’t see improvement or healing or don’t hear the “cheers” of the nurses, doctors, and my family and caretakers. I just can’t give up hope. I have to “be still” and “know that He is God.” I have to trust that healing will come and that while this is hard for me, it will help me to grow closer to Christ if I allow the situation to form me and not deform me. I must just be still and trust Him even when I can’t see any improvement. I guess what it just boils down to is…I just need to have faith.
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1

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