rain. 

Good afternoon, y’all! It’s been a while… I’d start by apologizing for being a slacker about my blog, but if you’ve been reading these last few entries, you know that my life has been a wee bit overwhelming.  Let’s review😃

First and most importantly, my husband DID come home from rehab on February 4th! Just in time for our daughter’s 18th birthday! Haley received wonderful birthday gifts from her family, but the greatest was having her Daddy home to celebrate with us.  We did kind of a low key celebration. Jason and I took Haley and her BFF to the Cheesecake Factory. It’s kind of becoming a tradition since she chose the exact same thing last year. We celebrated her entrance into adulthood, and also celebrated Jason’s Independence Day!  He was in the rehab hospital from 12/23 to 2/4, (due to his stroke) and was in ICU at Duke for a week before that. Each day was filled with 3 different types of therapy. Five days a week. Jason went from almost complete paralysis on his right side to walking out of that hospital just weeks later!  His progress has been a miracle. That same weekend, he was able to enjoy watching the Super Bowl from the comfort of his couch, rather than a drab and dreary hospital!

Each week since then, he’s gained more and more mobility, confidence, and strength. We started going to outpatient therapy 3x per week in February and have recently cut it back to 2x a week. His physical strength is improving. He’s really focused on occupational and speech therapies now. He’s been back to work a couple of days a week, though not at his former position. He’s not ready for emails, conference calls and spreadsheets. But each day he goes, he reminds his brain of duties he’s done in the past.  I tend to think of it as reopening a path that once went a particular direction but got suddenly,closed off when he had the stroke. But he’s trying to find a new path to the same distinction.  It’s wonderful to witness, but it’s not without challenges.

Now that Jason  home, I’d estimate he’s about 95% physically independent. He needs help getting shoes and socks on most days.  Getting showered and dressing himself is an effort for him that takes about an hour from start to finish.  It’s an exhausting process for him.  His right arm, hand, leg and foot are all still swollen, which we are told is normal.  He experiences significant discomfort in the nerves in the shoulder and leg. It is often difficult for him to sleep. His right arm kind of has a mind of its own and kind of floats about at times.  But all in all, he continues to surprise and amaze us with his fantastic recovery.  We continue to work on his communication abilities, which suffer more than the physical abilities.  Jason speaks very clearly…it’s just his brain telling his mouth what to say.  Sometimes it comes out backwards.  Sometimes he needs more time to process what he wants to say.  But all the while, he remains positive about his speech therapy and looks forward to strengthening his verbal and written communication.

Update on my mom-  I requested prayers and again, they were answered.  The recurrence of breast cancer was caught in time and did not spread to her lymph nodes! I feel very blessed to have made the call for prayers and to have them answered.  Mom is well.  THANK YOU to anyone who thought of her and prayed for her!

With these issues and their progression, I still am surprised by all of the people who have been touched by Jason’s story…my mom’s, too.  I am asked each day about one or both of them.  “How can I help?”  “What do you need?” are all questions I receive on an every day basis.

Friends of Jason’s, as well as friends of mine have followed our “story” on Facebook, since that is where I tend to post most of my updates.   All of this support from so many places feels like it’s raining on us…rain makes things grow.  And Jason continues to grow healthier each day.  We are showered each day with prayer, love, and guidance.  It is hard to describe, to be honest.  It’s a comfort.  Kind of like the rain you hear from the comfort of your warm bed on a day when you don’t have to rise early.  More than a drizzle, but less than a storm…the kind of rain that makes it easier for us to drift back to sleep.  That’s how I’ve felt these last few months.  And I am happy for the rain.

But there’s another rain I am also feeling at times.  The kind that makes you dread getting out of bed on a Monday.  Rain on a Monday morning tends to make us rushed to get out of the house. We end up dropping our laptop bag in the driveway en route to the car…or spill our coffee on a newly ironed white blouse in order to avoid getting wet. It’s a hard rain and the windshield wipers can’t seem to swish back and forth fast enough to make things visible. Unfortunately, it’s been raining at my house.  A lot. Haley (my 18 year old) and I have a code for this type of feeling.  We both experience bouts of depression at times. We will ask the other “Is there any sunshine today?”.  It could be sunny outside, but we may not be feeling the sunshine.  That’s where the depression finds us.  Cloudy days.   75% of the time, we both feel pretty good! But there days where the clouds are heavy and we just need to let it rain. And then we hope the next morning is really sunny.

I am kinda known for sugar coating things- or have been known that way in the past.  I’d rather not say something at all if it’s gonna be ugly.  Or if it’s gonna hurt another.  I find a way to deliver bad news but with good news somehow.  But since this has all happened, I find that I have no time to sugar coat and just blurt out what needs to be said.  That’s a surprise to my inner peacekeeper.  I am not going to lie, y’all….Even with the blessings abound, this season in our life is difficult for us.  The constant running here and there to appointments each week can sometimes be overwhelming.  Jason goes to his office a couple of times a week for therapeutic reasons.  I work from home on most days, so my environment changes very little.  When/if he returns to work on a more regular basis, perhaps I too, will get out of the house and return to my office.   There are so many unanswered questions about Jason’s recovery and our future.  Insurance will only pay for so many occupational and speech therapies, and we’re more than halfway through, but we feel he’ll need more of them.  We’ll likely have to pay for them out of pocket.  We’ll find a way.  What if the pain he feels in his right shoulder never goes away?  There are nights it is so painful that he cannot sleep.  And not sleeping makes everything that is already running a muck even more complicated. It is hard for his brain to “Wake” some days.  And on those days, I feel the bad/Monday rain.  I find I pray a lot more.  We didn’t get through this ordeal to not celebrate and thank the Lord for his Mercy and Grace. It seems every “little” thing is not so little to me or unimportant. Personally, my eyesight is terrible…but this life I live lately- is like seeing things with new eyes. As if our lives together have much more color and vibrancy  than before.

Thankfully,  most days, I feel the good rain. Because PEOPLE are good and they seem to know when I need a good dousing of friendship. A couple of weeks ago, our very good friend Chuck arranged a party at Jason’s favorite brewery to celebrate his health and recovery.  There were a couple of hundred people there.  Not all of them were there for the party, but a good number of them were! Even some from Jason’s childhood, which was amazing to see! Chuck arranged for an awesome rockabilly band (The Rusted Rails!)  to play, and the weather was magnificent! I don’t think Jason realized how many lives he’s impacted over the years.  He is a laid-back, very quiet, kinda shy person.  I don’t think he envisioned his circle of friends to be as large as it really is.  To have all of those kind, giving people in one room, to celebrate his “homecoming” was an amazing experience that neither of us will forget.  Whether you were there in spirit, or there in person, THANK YOU for your thoughts and well wishes.

Now I am just rambling, so I probably need to wrap this up.  Last thing- some have asked about how my weight loss journey is going now that I’ve surpassed the first year after weight loss surgery (VSG). I wish I could tell you I’ve progressed more, but I have not.  I find it is hard to care for yourself when someone you love needs a different kind of care- a more valid, more prolific care.  I’ve not given up, but have not been exercising enough and making “pour”  habits.  (See what I did there?!) Now that Jason can enjoy a beer here and there without it messing up his INR checks, I find that I will enjoy a glass of wine with him.  Wine is not out of the question after VSG, but for months I didn’t really indulge that often.  We’re not talking “she has a problem” indulgence, but more so a “maybe you should go to the gym more even though you pass 2 breweries and 2 taverns along the way.” LOL. I am still stuck around 165-170.  My goal was/is 145-150.  I am out of plus-sized clothing and have been for some time now.  The best lifestyle for me is a ketogenic diet, which is very low carb/high fat….but I fall off the wagon too often to say I am following any diet except the see-food diet. And I know it’s partially because of my time constraints and sometimes depression.  But I also know when the time is right for me, I will pick it back up and hit the goal. I mean…if only 20 pounds separates me from my life long goal, it would be silly for me to stop!

There you have it, folks.  After reading all of that, you likely think I am a little loco.  And I don’t mind it because life is loco for me right now.  But I’d take a little crazy over the alternative any day of the week.

Thanks for stopping by to read.  We are incredibly blessed and have never been more certain of how GOOD our GOD IS.

Love Much,

DMG

Advertisements

Bread and Water

Hi:) I know I owe an update here on my family…and I have another post I have tried to write, re-write and write again to capture ALL. THE. THINGS.  (My mom is fine, thank the good Lord!) My husband continues to progress (Thank the good Lord again!) and I gave in on that DIY floor project and hired somebody to lay laminate prior to Jason’s homecoming:)  There.  That’s the update:)

It’s probably pretty clear to anyone who’s been reading these last few months, or even years, that some of my blog posts are related to song titles.  This one is no different. Bread and Water is an old song written and sung by Gary Morris.  If you knew me in  high school, you know I was (still am) a huge Gary Morris fan and went to see him in concert many, many times throughout the WV/OH, VA/NC states from 1985-ish to the early 1990’s.  My mom even let me out of school early once while I was in high school so I could go stake my claim in line at the NC State Fair where he was performing.  I owned every cassette he ever released.  (Cassette, people!LOL).  I wanted so badly to learn to play this on my guitar back then, but it is a tricky song, full of chords I didn’t know and was too busy with boyfriend/school/work/life to teach myself.  Then I became a sorta-kinda adult and definitely had no time to learn.  Bread and Water was a song I always loved and pretty much figured I’d find that someone in my life for whom I’d be willing to give up bread and water.

I did meet him.  And then I married him.  We’ve been married for 20 years.  That’s a very long time and is not typical for these times we live in, so I am thankful.  I am thankful that we didn’t give up when I know there were times each of us may have wanted to.  I am glad we decided that through all of the trials of raising kids, and growing up ourselves, that we decided we were worth it. And I am more than happy to say that we are still evolving as a married couple and realizing what’s important and what isn’t.  Nothing seals the deal like your spouse having a near death experience, leaving you to learn what matters in this life.  It’s not money.  It’s not possessions.  We live in a 1150 square foot house that was intended to be our “starter” house.  But 20 years later, we are still here.  A bigger house does not equate to happiness.  When Jason was in rehab to recover from his stroke, these tiny 1150 square feet of house felt like a huge, empty shell of a building and not a home at all. Having a loved one threatened by an illness, injury, disease, etc…presents obstacles I never thought I’d address in my late 40’s.  Needing to get affairs in order for Power of Attorney to make medical and financial decisions. Inquiring about burial plots for the two of us seems extremely strange, though I don’t want my daughters to have to decide.  Forgoing expensive outings or things so that we can save up for co-pays and things insurance doesn’t cover….saving for the “what-ifs” because they very well can happen.  The WHAT IF?  Did happen.  And we are blessed to  tell it and have to re-calibrate things in our lives.

Truth is, I’d give up damn near anything to keep him healthy. (My daughters, too.) Because the house is not important.  The life and memories inside it are important. I am so thankful to God’s mercies for us to celebrate our 20 years together and for all the additional years we enjoy together.  Our vehicles… (my beloved Jeep!)…the “stuff” we deem important…the luxuries we have in our daily lives…we don’t need any of them.

We just need each other…shelter of some form…and bread and water to live.

Sooooo- though the video is ancient (from 1991) if you really listen to the words of the song, it pretty much sums it all up.  I used to get teary-eyed listening to this in my teens and early 20’s, presumably because I longed to feel this way.  And I still get teary-eyed now because I have been blessed to have felt this way for 20 years.  And even though the stroke situation completely sucked, it made me realize what matters.  The man upstairs with the Good Book, Jason, me, our kids…and bread and water.

Take my pride, take my dignity, last of all take my memories
With what’s left of me I’d say…
with my final breath I’d pray

For bread and water and you.And I’d tell you what I’d do, I’d give it all and more it’s true
Even bread and water for you…

 

Seldom do I get to tell you
this moment always slips away
Lock the door cause it’s time to
turn the lights down and listen to what I say.

I’m gonna tell you what you
mean to me and when
I’m done I hope you’ll see.

That they can take the romance from a lovers moon
Take the warmth from a sunrise in June, take a melody
Yet take that tune and I’d still get by
Take the magic from children’s hearts take the sounds
Of laughter just leave me bread and water and you.

They can put me out on the street take my money
Take the shoes off my feet, place my head on a rock
Lay me down to sleep and I’d still get by
Take the shirt off my back if they want
Leave me naked and cold if they must
But don’t take my bread and water or you.

I’d give my hopes and I’d give my dreams
If they’d have to have it all
there’s just three things I need.

Take my pride, take my dignity, last of all take my memories
With what’s left of me I’d say with my final breath I’d pray
For bread and water and you.

And I’d tell you what I’d do, I’d give it all and more it’s true
Even bread and water for you…