I Think I’m Back :)

I rolled out of bed this morning and realized I’d done it  without grabbing the headboard to give myself a boost that wouldn’t hurt my back.

Hallelujah!

The pain isn’t gone, but it is so  much improved that I actually  forgot about it for just a second.  And, even better, I slept through the night without having to get up–which means I slept past the time for my every-six-hours pain pill, and STILL stayed asleep for three hours past that time.

I feel rejuvenated.  I feel like Tigger!

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Well, that may be going a bit too far, but I really am encouraged this morning.  It’s been such a long time since I haven’t had any pain, and today I’m beginning to believe this one is going to go away–I’m hoping for a very, very long time.

You can watch for my Sunday Morning Coffee post.  I already know what my topic will be 🙂

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On The Homestretch

This is a purely personal note today. The last few weeks have been somewhat trying, with the pain in my back building  a little more each day.  Earlier this week I put out a call for prayer from my praying friends on Facebook, and I was overwhelmed and humbled that so many responded.  I know it was only prayer and the covering of the Holy Spirit that took me through these last three work days, and I am thankful–more than I can express.

Tuesday, Aug. 22 is the date of my surgery on my right sacroiliac joint.  We did the left one in January. There was no trouble, no difficulty.  I’m sure this one will be the same, and I’m actually looking forward to getting it done. Will it cure all the things that are going wrong in my back? Well, no.  But it will give me blessed relief from this particular pain.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom lately, who often described pain in her lower back. As far as I can remember, there was never any treatment except pain medication, which she disliked taking.  Just a couple of years before she died, a doctor told her there was so much wrong back there that it would be impossible to repair it all.

I’m positive, from her description of the pain, that she had the same condition as I do. We’re both short, both sway-backed. I don’t know if the swayback has anything to do with the pain. Maybe. My point here is that she suffered, with very little relief, for several years.  I am so thankful that there are procedures available to help my pain, and that I have excellent doctors taking care of me.

Here’s a song I was reminded of yesterday.  It was a blessing to me, and I hope it will bless you as well.

It’s a Great System!

I have a surgery coming up on Aug. 22. It’s not a long procedure, and I won’t need rehab afterward. I’m having a right-side sacroiliac fusion done, which is a beautifully simple procedure that eliminates a ton of pain. When it’s over, I’ll have matching scars on both sides of my spine. And, I hope, no more incisions for quite a while.

 

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So today, we spent the entire morning doing some things that are required for pre-op approvals. We had to drive to the main hospital in Bethlehem, where I answered tons of questions in a pre-op history and physical. They always seem so surprised when I say, “No, never smoked; no, never used alcohol.”

I left that office with a handful of orders that we could take care of at the Quakertown campus, which is much closer to home. So we stopped there where I got stuck for blood work and a couple of other tests. One was a test for MRSA, which I’ve never had to do before. They swab your nostrils. Quick and easy.

What is MRSA? Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In other words, it’s a nasty staph infection that is becoming more common all the time, and is resistant to treatment. It’s contagious. I first learned about it when I did a year of practicum in a nursing home, where it can be easily spread unless there is strict adherence to safety prodecures.

Then I went to another part of the hospital for an EKG. It takes longer for the nurse to stick all the leads on your body than it does to run the actual test.

I came home with a handful of antibacterial soap, wipes, and instructions. Only one more thing to do and I’ll be good to go. I have to get my PCP to sign off on the surgery, and I already have the appointment set up for that.

Thinking about all this, which at first just seemed to be a monumental waste of time, I decided instead that I’m very thankful for the care that is taken to make sure all the bases are covered. Check, check, re-check in order to prevent infection before, during, and after surgery. No stone left unturned.

This is not my first rodeo in the operating room, and I have to say that every experience has been positive. No complaints about the nurses, the techs, the doctors. We have an outstanding medical system that, until recently, is not under the governance of bureaucracies. It has developed in America as a result of free enterprise, outstanding education, and compassionate caregivers. The world still turns to America for procedures and medicine unobtainable elsewhere.

I sure hope we’re not going to lose that status.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Music

I set my coffee mug down on the table by my chair, sat down and pulled my computer to my lap. I said, “Alexa, play Abiding Radio.” I have it set on “instrumental” right now. I love beautifully orchestrated  sacred music.

The first song I heard was “As morning gilds the skies, my heart ,awakening, cries, ‘May Jesus Christ be praised!'”  As I listened, I  did an instant time travel back to when I was about eight or nine years old.

The music director at Fourth Baptist Church in Minneapolis had decided to start a children’s choir. Oh, my heart!  I was so excited!  I loved to sing, and I think I may have been first in line to audition!

Glory!  I was accepted into the choir, and under the director’s able leadership, we tackled some pretty hard music. This hymn was one that I clearly remember.  He went over the words with us, making sure we knew exactly what the song meant.  And by the way,  that’s a really good thing to do when your kids are memorizing scripture.  Helps them “get it” faster when they fully understand what the words mean.

That hymn was a paean of praise, and I have loved it ever since.  Here’s a beautiful version for your enjoyment:

 

Just Thinking About Things

Yesterday, our friends  Pete and Marge drove us up to JFK airport in New York so we could spend a couple of hours with our grandson Kyle, who was on his way home to South Dakota from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  We hadn’t seen him for nearly two years, and it was just wonderful to have this opportunity.

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After Kyle was on his way, we headed through the departure area to get the elevator to the first floor.

It was chock full of people, from all different nations, standing in lines that seemed miles long as they waited for check-in. Hundreds of people, and just in one terminal of that vast airport.

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Pete was pushing the wheelchair I was using, and we both commented on how incredible it is to think how many people are in the air at any one time, flying all around the globe, crisscrossing each other’s flight paths, and, for the most part, landing safely and going on with their lives.

And then my mind took a different turn. I thought about all those thousands of people traveling around the globe, and what it will be like for them when Jesus calls all believers to Himself, and takes us home to heaven. We call it The Rapture, because the Greek word, harpazo, is translated in the Latin version to rapio, and it means to snatch away. 

I believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture.  I know there are many who disagree, and that’s up to them.  I’m not writing this in order to start an argument.  I’m just picturing how it will be if, for instance, the pilots of some of those planes are believers, and suddenly they are gone!  People seated next to each other in close quarters are going to disappear. Planes will go spiraling out of control jf both the pilot and co-pilot are taken, leaving passengers screaming in terror. It will be a wonderful split-second of time for all who have trusted Jesus for forgiveness and salvation; it will be the beginning of terror and confusion for those who remain, wondering what happened, and dealing with the chaos that will ensue here on earth.

What should we be doing right now?  Easy.  We should be sharing Jesus Christ with all the people we can, every day that we can.

Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

 

Can We Talk?

I’m in the mood to count my blessings. It’s way too easy to get wrapped up in what’s wrong,  and we need to stop and take a look at what’s right.

I tell my clients this all the time:  When your automatic negative self-talk sets in, you have to STOP IT, kick it out, and replace it with what you know is truth.

What is automatic negative self-talk?  We all do it, to one degree or another. Here’s an example of my own monologue that can run in my head if I don’t do something to stop it:

“I’m a failure as a therapist. There are people who have come once and never returned.  I’m the fattest person in the room.  Everyone thinks I’m just a pig.  People just tolerate me.  Three of my four children have moved so far away that we almost never see them–it must be because they’re running away from me.  I failed as a mother. Other people have all their children close by.”

Do you get the idea?  Horrible, ugly, “stinkin’ thinkin’ that just isn’t true, even if it seems to have a seed of truth in it. And that’s the way Satan works–he wraps that seed of truth in a big fat lie. So let me take my own negative thinking apart for you.

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It’s true that some people have never returned to my therapy office after only one visit, but the vast majority come back many times.  I often receive notes of thanks from people I’ve been able to help through some pretty terrible things.  I’m NOT a failure as a therapist.

I may be the fattest person in the room, but I have no way of knowing what other people are thinking about me. It is wrong for me to assume that I know what they are thinking, and not one person has ever said “You’re a pig” to my face. What they say behind my back is none of my business.

People do seek me out.  It is not true that EVERYONE just tolerates me.

It is true that three of my children live very far away, but we raised them to be strong and independent. After all, Terry and I moved across the country too, and it wasn’t to get away from our parents.  It was to follow what we believed God was leading us to do.  Other people do have all their children and grandchildren nearby, but that has nothing to do with me.

See?  You have to learn to recognize the negative thoughts that can run in a continuous loop in your head. Once you recognize it, you can toss it out and replace it with truth. Often, my truths are scripture verses.  Some of my favorites:  Phil. 4:4-8; Psalm 119:165; Jeremiah 29:11-14.  So many more, too many to count.  The Word of God is the best  pest repellant 🙂

So count your blessings today, and don’t allow your mind to dwell in the dark.  It just isn’t worth it.

July 4th

Saturday morning.  I’m changing all my headers, as I do every month.

I love July.  I’ve always thought it was very cool to have a birthday on the 4th, and this year I’ll be hitting 70!

The Fourth of July is a wonderful day for America. We take the day off for picnics, parties, parades, and fireworks in celebration of the birth of a new nation, independent of any controlling forces except our own elected Congressmen.

I’ve always thought that the Declaration of Independence was poetic in its language:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.— 

Of course there is much, much more.  It is a wonderful document, unique in its inception, and created by a consensus of some of the most brilliant minds in our history.

As I read over the entire document before posting this, I was impressed again at the moral courage and dedication it took for the signers to go public in their desire to throw off the control of the British government, and  the taxes and regulations that came with it. Some of the signers lost their health, their wealth; some spent time in prison; some suffered beatings and attacks on their families; some died for the “treasonous” act of putting their names to this document.

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When I finished reading, I prayed as I often do: “Heavenly Father, let us never forget how this nation was conceived, founded, and built to provide a place for freedom for all; freedom to worship as we choose, without imposing our faith on others against their will; freedom to speak our minds without fear; freedom to work and to thrive by our own efforts. Help us to be thankful for the freedom we still have in this country, even as it is being eroded by our own comfort and laziness, to educate ourselves and be cognizant of those who would destroy us for their own gain. Protect us from those who would change our beloved country into something governed by religious zealots, bigotry, and hatred that aims to control us in every detail of our lives. Give us a spiritual revival, Lord,  before we become too weak to stand in our own defense.”

As you enjoy this holiday weekend, take a few moments to remember our history, and to thank God for the privilege of living in America.