Live To Love The Rain.
I’m momentarily stilled within a convoluted recovery-sometimes arduous, sometimes silly, sometimes hopeful, sometimes mortifying, sometimes peaceful, but always exhausting recovery. I know God sees me. I just know. I’m still exhausted. We are exhausted.
For those who don’t know, just over a month ago I had major spinal cord surgery. My spine and nerves were stuck into scar tissue. The surgery was mostly successful. They left a primary nerve stuck into the scar tissue. The nerve root was significantly stuck…Too stuck.
The surgeon, an expert of everything Spina Bifida, believed the risk of loss of function was too great, and so he left the nerve where it was…. I believe the struggle, and do not envy his dilemma. I do not envy what he might have felt when he closed up a man without truly knowing whether or not he did enough. Dr. Wilson was trained well to handle the life-and-death choices that define success. I know without doubt that my surgery was a success.
And the days after we’ve learned again how ardently I (and my family) need to be vigilant about the quality of care after a few instances where medical/physical care was way less than perfect. My family was, and still are, my strongest advocates.
Healing takes time. And time allows risk. Any healing is a miracle in itself. Healing is a wonderful value of creation. But I wish it would pick up the pace. I went to physical therapy today and was disappointed by how quickly I fatigued. And yet, my physical therapist is an expert in spinal cord injury, and a strong advocate for me.
I’m restricted. My movements are particular. How I handle myself right now helps me maintain safety. Often, especially when I’m weaker and in more pain, safety means I’m relegated to my bedroom. But I do get up and out some, and I love that!
Getting up means I have more time to experience life behind bars… Of my walker. Sometimes I use my wheelchair. We bought this house in part because it offers plenty of space for a wheelchair. Might seem sad to you that we know with surety that my life includes the inevitability that I’ll need my custom made wheelchair… extensively even. I admit to some grief about it. Yet I can do wheelies! Yes indeed, I can get around pretty good with it.
Owning a wheelchair has also given me the ability to get out for extended periods of time. And Alyssa and Monique love to push me around…when I’m in the chair of course. Sometimes they rub my hair, sometimes I feel their chin on my head, and sometimes I get to hold my wife’s hand while my daughter pushes me, and vice-versa. Lots of love can be found in the seat of a chair. Without the chair and walker, and without my family my world would only be more cut off. And I can’t drive… I just can’t, I know I can’t. In a couple of weeks you’ll find me joyfully clutching my steering wheel. For now, I only know life right now as needy, crippled passenger… Yet could I have better chauffeurs? Between Monique and Alyssa, or both, going anywhere is a true delight. I experience gratefulness within the pall of recovery.
Even last night, the girls had to be gone to a mentor meeting with an organization that serves girls rescued from the sex trade. But in their absence I’d had myself a really difficult couple of hours… Painful, and exhausting trouble. Sometimes that happens on the way to ‘better.’ I’d had an active day… It was understandable that my pain mixed with a nearly 2-hour effort I had to make because something here went wonky and I was the only one to de-wonk the situation. I was discouraged. I needed help and comfort, so I texted them and asked them if they would be willing to come home because of it, knowing full well that I’d be taking them away from something important. They didn’t bat an eye. They got up and came home. There’ll be another day to learn something about the trade, and about the people involved.
Sometimes it gets lonely in here, especially when Monique and Alyssa are gone. There aren’t many people that can make it here to the house because of schedules, etc. Sometimes I concentrate too heavily on loneliness… I should rather find that in my little space of recovery and recuperation, I could hang with God for a little while… Even as I write, I remember that he hangs with me for an eternity. That is my monumental privilege, and hope.
But right now I can’t concentrate on feeling lonely because my spine hurts… And the space in the sacrum area of my lower back hurts as well, aches deeply. I’m swollen there, 12 inches left to right. That part of my back throbs some, slow but painful like a stinging jellyfish.
I used to look at looming clouds and wonder what kind of storm was in them. The clouds of recovery are not restful. But with my clouds comes the chance of refreshing spring rain after a difficult winter…and it rains here, oh how it rains. Rain like my bride and daughter who came home and sat beside me last night. Rain like the friends and family that visited me in the hospital. Rain like mom and dad Elgersma who waited and prayed with my girls while I was in surgery and in the days following. Rain like mom and dad Huizinga who stayed with us through Christmas for what turned out to be a fabulous Christmas day in the hospital. Rain like Monique and Alyssa who stayed with me through nights in the hospital, sometimes without much sleep for themselves. Rain like my expert therapist. I’ve enjoyed lots of rain through my lifetime.
So many of us that think of themselves as in a drought where it never rains, are also most often those that never look out the window to see the drops hitting the window, nor do they stop to listen to the light, even comforting rumble of the rain hitting the roof.
There’ll be many more times where you and I want for rain. And when it does, look to the heavens and let the rain clear the tears from your face. There you’ll find the will of pursuit… The pursuit of happiness. Your pursuit can push you to do things…mighty and wonderful things that you and others didn’t think you had in you to do. You have it in you, you do… you most certainly do.
Come with me as we once again conquer the odds, and I’ll come with you as you conquer yours.
Speaking of rain, it’s raining again! My family just got home. Time to dance in the rain.