This painting by Jack Baumgartner portrays Jacob Wrestling the Angel from the book of Genesis. It’s a central metaphor for this blog – wrestling with life, health, urban issues, and even with God.
Well I’m into my third week of being hospitalized now. I’m not gonna lie, it’s really sucked.
I could feel it happening through the month of December. I was simply getting more and more tired and unable to do the things I could normally do. I was falling and needing help getting up. And finally I just simply couldn’t find the strength to get out of bed, so Erinn needed to call the ambulance. I have different theories as to why that happened but at the end of the day the reality is I’m in the hospital.
I spent two weeks at Toronto East General and then on Thursday was transferred to Bridgeport to their rehab facility. I gotta say, even though being in the hospital still sucks, this place is like night and day compared to where I’ve been. I’ve got windows everywhere, I can see daylight, the food is about a million times better, and every morning they are dressing me and getting me up in my wheelchair so I can scout around The building. Being out of a hospital gown makes me feel like a real human being for a change.
I’m doing occupational and physical therapy three times a week. They’ve already noticed that I’m getting stronger, even though I am on what day call the slow track which could last up to three months.
There are a few upsides to this. One of them is that when I am not doing therapy I can get dressed and go outside. I might even be able to go out for dinner with Erinn and Cate once in a while and possibly even get out to my church hopefully. Even though one of my main views is of the old Don Jail, this place feels anything but like a prison.
The other upside is that I can be here getting stronger while my house gets the necessary renovations to help me live in it once I get back home. We’ve only just begun to think about what that could look like but have had amazing help from good friends with engineering and design experience. I am so incredibly thankful for that.
I have felt so loved by a cloud of witnesses. It seems like thousands of people are offering prayers and positive thoughts for me and Erinn and Cate. I couldn’t possibly say how much that means to us.
In the first few days of being hospitalized I have to confess those were really dark times for me. Erinn asked me one day if I was praying, and after thinking about it I had to admit that I was not. I was simply unable to. I could not see nor feel God. So having so many people lift me up on my behalf was so very hopeful and helpful at that time.
As for practical help, I have not known what exactly to say. Until now that is.
We have been told by our engineer friend that this renovation will cost six figures. We need to put an accessible bedroom and bathroom on our main floor and get a hospital bed along with some kind of lift. So here I go again sharing a financial need.
Go fund me is an interesting idea but at the end of the day a significant percentage of donations gets taken. So we’ve been trying to figure out a better system.
Some have just emailed me money. If you trust that system, that will work.
Otherwise I think someone out there is trying to set something up for us. I have no idea what that looks like but will keep you posted.
I am now hopeful that after my time here I will be able to regain some kind of quality of life. Again, that is a big change from when I was first hospitalized, for which I am thankful for.
Even though I’d trade MS for all of this without a 2nd thought, I am thankful.
I am thankful for my wife and daughter who have come every single day.
I am thankful for my two sisters in Newfoundland who would do anything for me and my parents who love me.
I am thankful for my many, many friends.
I am thankful for my church family.
I am thankful for my work and my colleagues who come to visit me regularly.
And I am thankful for my faith in my God.
So on that note, I guess it could be a whole lot worse…
I know this is a particularly hard day and that I won’t always be feeling this way. But today I’ve particularly been focused on an awesome gift Erinn gave me for Christmas. She really is a good gift giver. She gave me this bronze sculpture which is called ‘Jesus the healer’.
The other day when I got to work He was gone. I wondered if He had been moved but someone very quickly told me that Jesus had been stolen. This very heavy, fairly substantially sized bronze sculpture, has somehow been stolen.
Doing a funeral on my birthday was powerful in that everything about that service reminded me of the circle of life. We all have a birthday and a death date. It’s important to mark both of those days I think.
I can see why some folks with disabilities become hermit-like. They build/renovate their homes around themselves in order to fit their needs, and when they go outside realize that their needs can’t be met. So they stay home where it’s safe and comfortable.
Thanks for letting me vent last time. Sometimes letting off a little steam is good for the soul…
And thanks also for the words of caution around grace.
I get it.
I’m fairly certain that when Jesus thinks of me He regularly prays ‘Father forgive him for he knows not what he’s doing’.
So I’m running into some relatively painful moments on my mobility scooter these days.
Yesterday was the proverbial last straw.
As you might know, I have really been struggling with my health. I hate being this sick, and I often wonder why God allows me or anyone else for that matter to live with so much struggle.
So this past week was my third of four week-long intensives for my training to become a certified spiritual director. One of the main tangential things I have learned is that when they call it an ‘intensive’, they’re not screwing around.
In 2010 I traveled to Costa Rica with Erinn and Cate for surgery. It was rumored that this procedure could do a lot to alleviate some of the significant symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis that I was experiencing.