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.
But the reason for my blog is to talk about my last week of spiritual direction training. It’s been a wonderful 2-year journey. I have not been able to travel to Niagara Falls for the whole training week like I have done previously, but I have been able to take in the lectures and my small group gatherings via Skype.
So it’s here. The day when I’ve transitioned into a power-chair has finally arrived. And quite honestly, it hasn’t had the emotional impact I had expected. I actually feel quite good about it, which I did not see coming whatsoever.
My new friend in California, a Salvation Army officer, texted me a question a while back. It was “what is your favorite colour?” I said blue not knowing what would come of it. She then proceeded to knit me a shawl and mailed it to me with a card. Though I’ve never had a shawl, I was deeply touched by it and so have decided to rock it:)
So yesterday morning at 8am, Holy Monday, I had the distinct privilege of going to Toronto Western Hospital for my first ever Botox treatment. That’s right, you heard me; Botox!
MS, Stephen Hawking, crack cocaine, homelessness and other random thoughts. Day 51 of being in hospital
On Thursday this past week I was feeling kinda sorry for myself yet again. According to my 3 hour neuro-psych evaluation my brain in many areas is better than average. Also, when I get my heart rate and blood pressure checked about 400 times per day (give or take) it's kinda textbook. So my brain and heart are in good shape. But my body sucks. And on Thursday that got to me.
My body took a major hit in January. That's why I'm here. I'm not dying (well I guess we're all dying but you know what I mean). If you saw me you may think he's the same guy that looks like he always did. But the reality is, I can no longer do things that I could much more easily do just few months back. I'm getting used to yet another new MS normal. So the whole point of my rehab is to make this new normal as good as possible for not just me but Erinn and Cate too.
As a tiny glimpse into my daily routine, each morning a nurse needs to come to my room, give me my meds, check my blood pressure and heart rate and temperature, get me cleaned up, get me dressed, put a harness underneath me, and then I get lifted using a power lift into my chair.
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 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.
I’m now in my 4th year of not going to church in the summer. It's too hot and humid. My tolerance for humidity gets worse each year due to MS related complications. Humidity simply sucks the life outta me. It's hard enough as it is. So back when I told my doctor about how I feel when I go to my wonderful, yet old and non-air conditioned church, she told me I'd be wise to not go in the summer.