Saturday, September 28, 2013


Been so busy this week taking care of myself that I haven't had time for much blogging. A monster cold came on like a lamb, but soon showed itself as a lion, and set me reeling again with two episodes of coughing that ended up as choking, near-911 calls. (Praise the Lord, this is the first cold I've had since last February though!)

Most of you know about my pulmonary restrictive disease, causing me to be on oxygen part of the time. My deformed chest cavity from scoliosis doesn't give me the room I need to breathe. When asked by the nurse if I was short of breath, it was tempting to report that all my breaths were short. I haven't had a deep breath in years, maybe never really. Wouldn't know one if it hit me!

But this blog isn't about me. It's about my caregiving life with my hubby dear. After returning home after a six-hour emergency room visit, my daughter (MY caregiver for the day) gave her dad the low-down on not overworking her momma while she's sick. Her lecture really seemed to influence his behavior these past few days. He has been much less needy himself and more observant of my needs, constantly asking what he can do to help.

One thing I've discovered with my illnesses though is that I need reminders for my care. Not taking my medicine or breathing treatments at regular intervals gets me in trouble every time. Seeing my medical arsenal on the washing machine may have reminded Dean of the seriousness of my condition too. It looked like this:

Living in a household with someone who has memory deficits keeps me looking for memory aids for both of us. I have to be doubly cognizant of remembering appointments, medicine times, getting bills paid on time, etc., etc.

How nice that God placed one reminder for us that happens at regular intervals, making it even easier to remember. How important to remember our "weekly date" with Him! He actually blessed a certain day and placed it in the Ten Commandments, so we would never lose it. What could be easier?

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Greater Power

Last week after lightning from a thunderstorm split a big tree in our neighbor's yard, Dean and I were both shocked to see the downed tree taking up her whole back yard. What a blessing it didn't land on her house!

But she was at wit's end as to how she was going to get rid of it. Dean, an ex-logger, immediately offered his services in cutting up the tree for her and getting it stacked as firewood that she could sell. Even though his power saw hadn't been used for about fifteen years and was buried in the far recesses of our garage, he didn't see why he couldn't come to her rescue and do the job.

The neighbor and I, and I'm sure anyone else who knows Dean very well, had our doubts that Dean could ever accomplish such a feat. Dean at 67, with a brain injury and dementia, who can't even put his own socks on any more and falls on a regular basis--chopping and stacking firewood? It seemed laughable, improbable, and totally unthinkable. But we humored him, knowing that chances are he'd forget about it by the next day and it would never happen.

Nothing more was said about it for a couple of days. Imagine my shock Saturday night when he announced that he had a busy day the next day. I asked what he would be doing, and he said, "I'll be cutting up that tree, that's what!" So Sunday morning he put on his jeans, work gloves, hat, and began the search for the chain saw in the garage. He finally managed to resurrect it from its greasy, dusty grave, began feeding it with oil and gas, and patiently pulling on the cord to start his reluctant forest friend.

I had a weekly blog to get out that day, but had to take intermittent breaks to check on Dean, who was alone in the neighbor's back yard, trying to start his poor, tired saw. I could hardly concentrate, thinking about him falling and lying over there alone with multiple lacerations on multiple limbs--not the trees', but his own!

My mechanic son-in-law assured me that the saw would never start, and we were counting on that to keep him safe. It was so sad to see him trying so hard to complete this one last logging feat though. As much as I dreaded hearing that saw start up, I found myself almost wishing it would, so I could see his face light up with joy and his hefty arms once more take up the saw and apply it to the wood all around him. We were both being transported back to another time, another decade, a newly married, young couple in the Montana Bitterroot Mountains.

But alas, it was not to be. As the day wore on, he finally allowed the saw to be taken over to our son-in-law's garage to see if he could perform some magic on it. But his final diagnosis for the saw was terminal. Dean's precious last link to his manhood is resting in peace once again in our garage.

Fortunately, Dean is taking the loss well. Our neighbor informed us that she has found someone to cut and take the tree, and Dean will never know whether he could have tackled the job or not. In actuality, his saw saved him from knowing...and saved him from getting hurt. I think I'll be hanging on to that power saw. It's a symbol to me of that Greater Power that we can rely on to get the job done, one way or another.

The Saw

my cowboy, logger, truck driver husband and I--sometimes I miss him

Monday, September 9, 2013

This Hope

For quite awhile this evening I've been trying to think of something of note to report in my blog. And then the most notable news ever came to me. Sunday as I was making my monthly routine calls to remind people of our brain injury support group that meets this Tuesday, one of our friends from the group sadly told me that her husband had passed away a week ago.

As I'm casually hoping to recall something noteworthy in my life, a fellow caregiver/survivor has had her world turned upside down this past week. He was such a caring man too, who came to all our meetings with his wife. She had a brain injury many years ago in an auto accident. The support group will never be the same without his quiet, cheerful, smiling presence. He will be sorely missed by all of us in the group.

Life is so fragile. And so is our grief. Grief is personal, it's diverse, and it's never going to go away so long as we're on this sinful planet. But someday, God promises to take away the sting of death. No more will we feel its bite. No more will we have to say good-bye.

"And God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

Where would we be without this hope?

Monday, September 2, 2013


Nothing puts me in the shopping mood more than having money to do it, and since yesterday was the first of the month, my shopping list for things I've been waiting for most of last month was screaming for attention.

I generally like to do my shopping ALONE, early in the morning when Dean's at his day program. But this morning Dean was just barely awake and hadn't had his Sunday morning pancakes yet, so I took a chance and asked if he'd like to go shopping with me. (Didn't want him fixing his own pancakes while I was gone--he's forgetful about turning off the stove.) I couldn't believe how fast he got dressed, and mostly on his own, except for his socks. This man was hankering to go.

As we arrived, he hollered at a man clear across the parking lot and told him he had "neat shoes"--they were quite colorful, even that far away. The man must not have heard him, or was hoping no one else had--he just kept walking. I was dreading other awkward confrontations as we got closer to our destination. After trying a few "go carts", he finally settled on the one he wanted to ride in the store. I must say things went pretty smoothly while we were in the store and on the way home. So, my fears and dreads were not to be realized, at least for that day.

I would say that this is the case for 90% of my worries and fears. Most of them don't ever happen. So, why do I waste such valuable time on them? I John 4:18 tells us that "perfect love casts out fear". I hadn't fully seen that as applying to my worries as well. As I focus on God's love, my worries and fears do have a tendency to take back seat.

There's a big market for worrying these days though. There's lots of speculation about what's going to happen in the world. Some people are drawn to preaching that is meant to "shake us up" with shocking stories and theories about end-time events. These tactics do "worry" some people into obedience. Then there are other preachers who tickle our ears with a "feels good" message, designed to make us feel good and worry less about obedience and focus instead on the prosperity and wealth God is just waiting to hand over to us here on earth. But Jesus tells us to take up our CROSS and follow Me. Not our crown. (Matthew 16:24)

I John 4: 1 says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." Remember, my friends, whether you're worrying too much or not enough, God's Word will provide us with just the right balance to see us through any trial. The Bible, our only safeguard.