Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Couple of Chickens and a Shower Chair

I don’t like clutter; I don’t like a big mess. I like space and things in their place. We have always lived in relatively small homes and Mike learned early on that I don’t like clutter. When we lived in our first one-room apartment, Mike told me a story about a guy who went to the town seer (town advisor) for advice. He told the seer, “My house is too small, what should I do?” The town seer told him to go home and bring one of his chickens in the house and come back in a week. After a week, the guy went back and said, “My house isn’t any bigger and the chicken is pooping all over the place and stinking up the joint. The town seer told him to go home and bring another chicken into his house and come back again in another week. The guy did what he was told and came back after a week. He said, “My house isn’t any bigger and it’s a mess!” The town seer sent him home and told him to bring in a pig as well; then it was another pig and then a goat and then another goat and then a cow and so on. When the guy went back he said, “Look Buddy, my house isn’t any bigger and these animals are getting on my last nerve!” The seer told him to go home and let all the animals out of his house. When the guy went back to the seer a week later, he said, “Wow, I didn’t realise my house was so big!”

Over the years, anytime I mentioned any little thing about our small house, Mike would say, “Have I ever told you the story about the guy whose house was too small?’’ I would say, “Yes!” and then he would say, “You haven’t heard this one.” And he would tell the story, but use different animals or put them in a different order or give the guy a different name etc.
On Saturday, Mike and I went to our son, Nathan’s soccer game. We took Leah with us so Nathan could go early to warm up with his team…that’s what we usually do. It was pouring rain and we were thankful that the field had some shelter, but it was a little ways away from the parking lot, so we were pretty wet when we got there. Like many soccer games we have attended over the years, we were wet and cold. We huddled under the shelter with the other fans and watched an exciting first half. Nathan was playing great and Mike wasn’t about to take his eyes off the game until half time, when he looked at me with a look of urgency and told me he had to go pee.

I grabbed our things and we ran. The washrooms weren’t that far away, but our car was closer and I keep a jar under the seat for emergencies. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it. I felt sick to my stomach and so defeated. My husband is a smart man. He is wise and witty and competent. He was a good athlete and a hard worker. He raised three great kids and is well respected in our community. Here he sat in his wheel chair unable to get to the bathroom on time; a very low moment in a man’s life for sure. Thank the Lord it was pouring rain and we were all soaking wet anyway.
Leah knew something was up, but we kept telling her everything was fine. I helped her in to the van and buckled her up. Then I helped Mike out of his wheel chair and to his seat, beside Leah (behind the driver’s seat where he always sits). We struggled more than usual to get Mike in his seat. At one point his leg gave out on him and he just dropped. I grabbed him with both my arms around him and with all my might I tried to lift him back up to standing. With the help of a couple of men who saw us struggling, we got Mike in his seat and we left.

If Leah wasn’t with us, I know I would have lost it. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I kept a smile on my face and kept reassuring Leah that Granddad was just fine (she couldn’t see my tears).  I was amazed at Mike’s ability to stay calm and keep his head up. He seemed just fine like I kept telling Leah.
When we got home, Leah went upstairs to visit her cousins, Michaela and Luke. Mike and I went into our new little basement suit and closed the door so we could get cleaned up. Our small space has recently gotten smaller and has started to resemble a medical supply store. We have two wheelchairs (one from the ALS Society that we have been using for a long time, but isn’t the right size and a new (used), top of the line wheel chair our friend Denise has lent us). We have two shower chairs (one the occupational therapist brought us a while ago and a nice new one on wheels that Mike’s sister, Pat got us). We also have Mike’s walker and stationary bike in the room as well as our table on wheels and all our normal household stuff. Anyway, it's been a little crowded  lately to say the least.

While we were getting cleaned up, I couldn’t stop crying…I was so upset about what happened. Mike who was fully composed and who hates to see me cry, looks around the room and then looks at me and as clear as day says, “And then the town seer said, ‘Bring in another shower chair.’”
 
 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Rescued

When our oldest daughter, Erin was in grad six she was diagnosed with Legg Perthes disease (Legg with two g’s). Legg Perthes is a condition where the supply of blood to the hip joint is interrupted causing the hip joint to collapse to some degree because of bone mass loss in the femoral head. It affects about 1 in 1200 children who are typically very active/athletic and only one in four are girls. Erin was in full leg casts and braces until the end of grade seven. During that time she had a couple of surgeries and was in a lot of pain. I remember how helpless I felt as her mother. I was afraid for her and afraid I was failing as her mom because I couldn’t stop the pain or prevent her from going through what she was going through.

Shortly after one of Erin’s surgeries, I received a card in the mail from my cousin Kim. She wrote a Bible verse in the card along with some encouraging words and I was encouraged. The Bible verse was Isaiah 41:10 which says: “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I was already hanging on to this verse for dear life, but getting the card in the mail with these words was confirmation that God wanted me to know that He meant what He said and He would help me and was indeed already helping me. It was also a reminder that He was with me and would give me the strength to help Erin through a very tough time.
Many times since then I have called out to the Lord for help for different reasons. Since Mike was diagnosed with ALS, I have called out for help a lot, sometimes in desperation and God has never failed to help. Sometimes His help is subtle and sometimes it is not subtle; either way, I am always amazed at His creative ways of rescuing me and his perfect timing. And I am ever so thankful that He is always with me and that He gives me strength every day.

Cast all your cares upon the Lord, because He cares for you so much! 1Peter 5:7
 
Me and Mike with Erin at the Walk for ALS in June. Erin organized our "I Like Mike" team last year and this year, raising lots of money and rallying lots of support. Erin still suffers from the effects of Legg Perthes, but has overcome so much. She has been teaching fitness classes since she was 16 years old and recently graduated with her Education Degree and is now a French Immersion school teacher working in the schools in our community.