Tag: illness

parasites

Oh, dear. A parasite is living in me!

I told you months ago I was having a flare-up of my IBS. Sounded logical considering my mom died in May and there was a lot of stress for that year.

But my husband insisted I go to the doctor. He ordered a test. Turns out I have a parasite living in my gut.

Yuck.

Not a comfortable feeling knowing you have this “yucky” little bug living inside you. Good news is, it’s treatable. I get to take an expensive medication, not an antibiotic. A bug killer. That really makes me feel all warm and cozy inside.

So, “How did I get this”?  you ask.

Well, it’s usually from drinking contaminated water, like in third-world countries, also could be from touching surfaces that someone else has touched that has the illness, from eating meat that isn’t well-cooked, and from not washing fresh fruits and vegetables.

Just so you know, I’m always washing my hands, always clean the shopping cart handles, always washing my fruits and veggies.  I never eat any meat that isn’t well-cooked. Have even sent my meat back at a restaurant if there is any pink. So let’s just say, I do all the right things.

So it must be those dirty rivers and streams I’ve been drinking from.

Yea, right.

My doctor is perplexed, as am I.

I haven’t started my medicine yet because the pharmacy has to order it. It is not one of those in-stock medicines as it’s rarely needed. Leave it up to me. Apparently, the drug is well-tolerated.

So that’s my story for today.

Hope your day is “parasite-free”

God bless and have a good one.

 

god hiding 2

What to do when God seems to hide

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 I don’t know about you but I find life pretty messy a lot of the time. The perplexities, the questions, the downright confusion. I have a hard time understanding where God is at times. It’s like he’s hiding.

Do you ever feel that way?

god hiding 2

When really good people get seriously ill, I think, “Why him?”, “Why her?” Shouldn’t cancer be reserved for murderers, rapist, terrorists, etc? (Yes, I know how that sounds coming from someone who’s a Christian. I’m just saying what a lot of people think.)

And yet many of these people would be the first to tell you of their faith and why they still believe God loves them.

This prayer from tworiversblog.com says it all:

“God, sometimes it is so easy to believe and sometimes… I know You are good. I KNOW IT, but sometimes… it just gets so hard to see it. You love me. You want the best for me far more than I even want it for myself. Sometimes I just don’t know how You are working good through the mess this life sometimes tosses me. In those times, as I seek understanding, help me to never lose faith.”

We put on a good front, but when no one is around, when it’s just us with our thoughts:

We doubt.

We question.

So if that’s you today, be assured.

God knows.

God understands.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

 

 

 

God bless and have a good day.

decision-making

How to make good decisions?-part two

(This post today was a follow-up to yesterday’s post. This happened four years ago and I had kind of forgotten about it. That’s what is so great about blogging. I have a record of past events.

I was very vague when I wrote this but now with the recent death of my mom, I can tell you this post was about her. I loved her very much. I still do. But we had some difficult times. I tried really hard to make her happy. Sometimes I know I did but I often felt inadequate because I didn’t know what else to do. 

I can tell you now that this was about a trip to Florida. My husband and I love our two weeks away. He loves fishing there. I love the beach. To cancel our trip would’ve been a big deal. We had already reserved our usual place, stopped the mail, were packed etc.

The day before we were to leave, my mother told me she felt really sick.. I saw her every day and she had not mentioned it the day before.  It seemed she only had a cold with a slight cough.  When I asked her how long she had felt “really bad,” she said “days”.  I was not happy that she had sprung this on me at the last-minute knowing we had been planning this trip for months. I told her she was going to the doctor the very next morning then if she was that sick. She balked but I insisted.

I took her to the doctor the very next day and she was diagnosed with bronchitis. This was the day we were to have left for our trip. We cancelled it. And while I didn’t like it, I knew I couldn’t just go off and leave her.  Before you say, “Well, of course not,” I need to tell you my brother lived with her. He had lived with her about four years and lived with her until her death.  But let’s just say I was the one who kept on top of her health. I wasn’t sure he would take proper care of her. 

I look back and am very happy with that decision. God knew there was no way I could go off with a clear conscience and so he made it clear what I should do. Yes, my husband was fully supportive. I didn’t mope or carry-on or any such thing. I had a real peace.

The following post is all about that process of decision-making.)

 

 I just want you to know that my decision-making process has begun all over again because of new developments.  Developments that took me by surprise and threaten to completely mess everything up.

Remember I said in the last post that I was counting on God to make it clear if I am to change course. I should’ve added that it’s sometimes hard to know if God is telling us to change course or if it’s the enemy’s (you can call him what you want) way of causing us to doubt what God has revealed.  This can be very difficult to figure out.

There are some who would say otherwise, that God always makes things crystal clear, but I try to avoid contact with these people because it has been my experience that those people generally live with their heads in the clouds.) It would be wonderful if life were easy to figure out. Maybe for some people it is. Their life is easy; things just fall into place. My life is not like that right now-not at all.  It’s complicated. Very. And just a few hours ago, it got a lot more complicated.

So how will I know now what to do? I have a very narrow window to make a decision.  I’m honestly not trying to be vague. But the details of what’s happening in my life or yours are not as important as discussing this whole business of decision-making overall. I need to be general enough to help everyone. But if I’m aware of that, you ask, why can’t I just move on? Well, this same person is very elderly and not emotionally stable having suffered severe depressive episodes their entire life. Our decision is whether we leave on a trip tomorrow or not. If I had days to write and you had days to read, I still wouldn’t be able to explain it all to you. It’s that involved.

You can know that this is an elderly person who is not emotionally stable and has suffered severe depressive episodes their entire life.  Consequently, sometimes it’s hard to know if there is a valid crisis or not. Our decision is whether we leave on a trip tomorrow or not. If I had days to write and you had days to read, I still wouldn’t be able to explain it all to you. The history with this person is that complicated.

So once again I’m on my knees, if only figuratively. This morning the decision was made to go. We’ve rented the car. We’ve stopped the mail. We’re packed. Are you getting the picture? Now I’m having to reconsider. But I’m very proud of the fact that once again wisdom has been provided and once again I’m on the right track in my thinking. Tomorrow’s doctor’s appointment will seal the deal one way or the other.

I am hoping this will now be an easy decision to make but considering this person’s history, it won’t be. This is leading me to make an important point about decision-making.

A decision that is right for us may not feel that way to someone else. As long as God is behind our decision, it’s ok.

What do we do if our decision is going to cause someone some degree of discomfort? It depends on the degree and who’s going to feel it, doesn’t it?

Whose discomfort is going to be greater? I didn’t realize until I started to post tonight that this is what this decision is all about. Their discomfort or mine? I can handle a lot. I have a track record that proves it.

So here I am tonight. Not looking forward to tomorrow. Knowing there’s no way, no matter what decision I make, that I’m going to come out on top. Finally, God knew all this was going to happen so he must have a plan. Tomorrow it will unfold. I am trusting God will once again put a stumbling block in the way if going ahead with our trip is wrong. If he doesn’t I’m going to assume it’s still a go.

But God knew all this was going to happen so he must have a plan. Tomorrow it will unfold. I am trusting God will once again put a stumbling block in the way if going ahead with our trip is wrong. If he doesn’t I’m going to assume it’s still a go.

God is not a God of confusion. Scripture is clear about that. If I’m confused tomorrow about what to do, it will be my own confusion that I must muddle through.

God bless and I hope you have an non-confused day.

What does grief “look” like on a Christian?

How does a Christian wear their faith and what does that faith look like when one’s journey is painful?

Here are my thoughts based on years of studying the Bible, reading books by the great authors of past and present, prayer, and my own trials. Faith isn’t necessarily:

  • A smiling face though your heart is breaking
  • Displaying no tears.
  • Saying the right words
  • A lack of questions.
  • Acting brave

It is through tears, heartbreak, and questions that we become more aware, not less, of God’s all-encompassing love.

How can we know a God of comfort if we’re never been in a situation to be comforted? How can we know a God of strength if we’ve never been held up by “divine arms”? How can we have a will to survive when it seems as if God has abandoned us if not by experiencing that “quiet, still voice” during the tough times?

I was a hospital chaplain for about ten years and I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen grief expressed ways you couldn’t even imagine, from screaming to fainting, to stroking the deceased from the top of their head to their feet, to family fist fights, to stoicism, to anger, to not caring at all.

The time we should least judge anyone’s faith is when they’re experiencing grief.  “There but for the grace of God go I“, is never truer than at a time like this.

Besides our time will come.

Guaranteed.

I think sometimes that’s why we judge. We don’t know how to separate what has happened to them and what may, no, will, eventually happen to us. So we project on them all the ways we hope we will behave but aren’t the least bit sure we will. We foolishly imagine we would handle it better.

But we don’t have a clue.

If we don’t want others to judge us during our darkest hour, we’d better not judge them during theirs.

That has been true for me as well. During my darkest times, I’m sure I haven’t acted as others might expect but I’ve walked in the awareness of the presence of God and, frankly, that has kept me from caring too much about what anyone else thought.

As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of what I read not too long ago:

We get through the tough times by learning to walk in the continual awareness that we’re walking in the presence of God.

It’s kind of like walking in the woods. You don’t see a path, but as you walk the branches move back, the ground is swept away, and a   path appears. You don’t see who is clearing your path but you know there is a Presence walking ahead of you preparing a way. It’s kind of mystical and magical and yet Scripture promises that God will, in fact, always prepare the way. But I like to visualize my scriptures, so this works for me.

If my mom’s behavior this past weekend means anything, her passing may be sooner than I want. I grieved for my dad but I will grieve for my mother even more. There’s something about losing a mother.

Will I act the way people think I should? I don’t even know if I will act the waythink I should. I only know I have been grieving for a long time now.

Have you seen some of those commercials that advertise meds for dementia? They present a romanticized picture of an illness that is anything but. Maybe in the beginning of the illness but let me tell you, it’s not sweet and lovely as they make it seem. Dementia is a horrible, degrading illness and watching a loved one deteriorate in unimaginable ways is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to watch.

I will grieve and miss my mother but I will not grieve her escape from this nightmare. I will grieve my loss but will rejoice when I think of her in God’s presence, whole and beautiful once again.

Whatever you’re dealing with today, whether it’s grief, depression or any number of other life’s assaults, I hope that you are aware of God’s presence in whatever way He has chosen to make Himself known to you.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

hope

Mom had a stroke and things are worse

I couldn’t share this sooner because my daughter and my niece were out-of-town for spring break. My brother and I decided the keep my mom’s condition quiet from all social media until they came home which is why I couldn’t post this sooner.

My mom had a stroke ten days ago. It affected her left side so she is unable to use that side. Her chewing and swallowing is affected. She is now in a wheelchair. To make all of this worse, she doesn’t remember having the stroke and doesn’t believe she had one either. She also thinks she can still walk so she tries to get up and, of course, has fallen twice more.

So now she is confined to a wheelchair and is strapped in. We have a strap ordered from Hospice so she can be strapped into other chairs as well. We tried a child’s bed rail but she got her legs tangled in it so today we are removing her box springs and lowering the bed. The mattress will be supported by plywood. If she falls out, she won’t have as far to fall.

Since the stroke, she doesn’t believe she is in her own home so she is getting agitated. We now have to give her a “cocktail” of medications (per Hospice) to calm her down so she can sleep.

This has been rough.

Some people have been very kind to suggest that her last days would be filled with quiet, bittersweet conversations, you know, like in a Nicholas Sparks movie.

That isn’t going to happen.

Instead, I’m going to see her get more confused and more agitated. I can’t tell you how much this saddens me. To think that these are going to be my last memories of her is hard.

But God has been close and I’ve felt his guidance every step of the way. I’ve prayed so hard for her to return just a little to her old self so we could have those sweet moments.

I don’t feel like God has let me down. I don’t feel he hasn’t answered my prayers. She is going to be healed, just not on this earth. When she passes on, I’m going to think of her smiling, cooking, working in her garden, and drinking iced tea on her deck. And that is one prayer I’m not giving up on, sitting on her deck and drinking iced tea with her one more time.

I’m sure some would think me foolish for my faith. Isn’t it apparent God doesn’t answer prayer? And yet I still believe.

People get old and people die;  illness affects us all. Nothing changes that. And healing is up to God. Why he heals some and not others, I don’t know. So I don’t pray that God will extend her life because she wouldn’t want to live much longer like this. Would you? I pray instead that I will continue to trust in God and that I will know what to do each step of the way. So far, so good. I can’t think of a single decision I’ve made that I haven’t felt was the right one.

I pray instead that I will continue to trust in God and that I will know what to do each step of the way. So far, so good. I can’t think of a single decision I’ve made that I haven’t felt was the right one.

The next big decision will be whether she has to live elsewhere. We are exhausting every possible solution before we get to that point.

Sometimes an impossible situation like this one, when things just keep getting worse and worse, are what make us stronger. But to tell you the truth, I’d just as soon not take this journey.

I just wanted to bring you all up to date. After today, I will quit posting about this unless something major happens.

My life is going on. My mother would want that for me.

God bless and have a good day.

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