A merry heart

All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

I’ve been very convicted lately that my attitude toward life, toward pain, toward my family, toward God is SO vitally important, and that I need to keep things in perspective. Yes, I am in pain, but God is healing me AND my light affliction is for but a moment, and is working for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Yes, I have occasional trouble – sometimes even tribulation – but Jesus said “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

In other words, I don’t need to live my life as one afflicted.

I’m a blood-bought child of God. He’s given me the surety of Heaven.

As FFH sings in “One of These Days”:
One of these days I’ll finally be
In a place where there’s no more need
No more pain and no more grief
No more foolish disbelief
And all the joy there will be
When at last we finally see
One of these days

He’s given me love and power and security here on earth. Everywhere I go, He goes with me, I’m never alone. What’s more, He’s given me a family. I can count my blessings and be merry on the worst of days; I can rejoice in the Lord no matter what is going on. As Paul wrote, “I know how to be abased and how to abound” (Phil 4:12).

As I am at home, or as I go around town, I’ve found that a simple smile to someone – no matter how bad I’m feeling – will brighten someone’s spirits. Especially if they weren’t expecting it 🙂 This, in turn, brightens my spirits and truly gives me a “continual feast”.

try it! you might like it! 🙂

Legs

Someone anonymously posted the following to this blog, somewhere or another (I get the comments by email, and haven’t figured out how to tie the comments to old blog posts. Ahh well). I thought this deserved a reply so I’m sticking this out here.

I would feel a bit more sorry for you if it didn’t seem like you wanted pity. After all it seems like you get around pretty
well. You DRIVE! You definelty NEED legs for that! You travel all over, you get out of bed in the middle of the night to clean up after your wild cats. You have two children! But yet you say “I’ve lost my legs – literally, “there’s not many
places I can go without my wheelchair these days.”There are more people worse off and do amazing things! Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Get some strenth and fight it.

I’m going to assume that you’ve no idea what it’s like to live with a chronic health condition.

Some days I think it would be easier to be in a horrible accident and end up paralyzed, or to have my legs lopped off… something like that. Something that, when it was done, it was done and my family and I could learn to live with it. Oh and by the way, people without legs drive, travel all over, have children, and get up in the middle of the night to take care of their cats (not sure why you thought they couldn’t :::boggles:::)

With what I have, though, I live a life of “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” – when I get up and move around I end up in incredible amounts of pain. When I don’t get up and move … you guessed it … I end up in incredible amounts of pain. If I end up moving too quickly – such as to prevent a fall, or because I’ve heard a calamity (like the night of the cats) – I will pay for it for days afterwards. But if I do fall down I risk dislocations and broken bones.

It takes a significant amount of dilaudid (morphine) to get me through the day. I deal with skin breakdown. I’m probably going to have to have my jaw replaced within a few years because it’s disintigrating.

My health is up and down – over the summer, I did lose the use of my legs. There were times I could not even make them go where I wanted; much less walk on them. I even used the wheelchair inside the house, where I don’t have very far to go. We prayed and prayed and prayed and PRAYED … and back in November I had a breakthrough. One day I felt like I could make it a little ways without the chair. The next day, a little farther. I’ve been going “a little farther” ever since. I still depend on a motorized cart for shopping, and if I had to go very far – I would have to use the chair. No doubt. But for day to day… I’m out of it and there’s no doubt that it’s the Lord’s doing. The doctors are amazed. My pain level hasn’t changed much, but I am stronger.

Do I feel sorry for myself? No, I don’t. This is what I must go through for now. God has promised me that He will heal me and one day I will dance. I don’t know when that promise will manifest… if it will happen here on earth or when I get to heaven… but I am content knowing that it’s His business, not mine.

Should I get some strength and fight it? That’s such a complex question. It’s not my fight to fight. I have tried “fighting this” before and have ended up sicker than if I simply take good care of myself and let God be God, and me be me.

Why do I talk about its so much? Because so many people have no idea what daily life with a chronic illness is like. They don’t understand why their friend has to cancel dinner, or why so-and-so down the street is so exhausted all the time, or why Susie at church is always seeing a doctor. I also write because I’d like for more doctors (and medical students and dentists and phlebotomists and nurses and etc.) to become aware of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and its implications. So many doctors have never even heard of EDS, and those who have only know of the most dangerous type. It’s been a lifelong challenge to get adequate medical care, and the only reason that we can now is because we live in close proximity to a major teaching hospital. Even still, because so little research has been done, there is very little our doctors can do for us. Morphine. Joint protection. Fusions. Bracing. Skin and blood vessel protection. Yearly heart and eye checks. Dental care. That’s not much. Someday – there will be more. But only if patients like myself speak out to let the doctors know what life is like inside this body.

Does that help you to understand… even a little?

Follow up to How Dare She!

I’m going to have to come back and fix up the formatting later and replace the bbcode with html. I copied and pasted from EW and I’m in a hurry.

So here’s how God’s worked it all out (and there’s no doubt [b]what-so-ever [/b]that it’s His hand in all of this: [color=red]And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. [/color](Romans 8:28); [color=blue]Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.[/color] (Eph 3:20, 21)
HALLELUJAH!
Geico (yes, the lizard people) rented me a wheelchair van “for as long as I needed it”… which has been wonderful. I was really only inconvenienced for about 16 hours, and since I hadn’t needed to go anywhere the morning after the accident it wasn’t a big inconvenience at all. The van is a spectacular bells whistles stove-kitchensink-and-dishwasher-in-the-rear (well not quite, but it’s fancy) almost-a-limosine sort of thing. The seats come out so I could drive in the wheelchair, they swivel around, all sorts of fancy bells and whistlies. It’s also got some really nice things that are “nice” and I could “need” – like radio controls in the steering wheel and adjustable gas pedals and seat height and all. I was shocked that they’d rent me something so fancy. In fact I was so impressed that as soon as I got it, I went right over to inquire about buying it.
Talk about [color=violet]sticker shock[/color]. :pulse: It’s only $40K. Gulp. Talked about some used ones… still ranging between $16 for oldies to $35 for nearly-news.
Ken and I did some praying at that point. First of all – we both strongly believe that God is going to heal me at some point – and that point may be soon. We not only have this sense ourselves, but a couple of trustworthy folks have said that God’s been talking to them about it, too. So – given that I have enough mobility not to need the “dishwasher in the back” – hmmmm. Why pay $40K for one? Were there other options? There’s also the matter that although we MIGHT be able to make the payments on a 40K vehicle, we’d be eating nothing but beans and we might not be able to put the gas in to drive it. 😆 Also, would God want us to go [u]that far [/u]into debt, having just gone into debt to purchase a house? That’s a lot of money. What if something happened to one of us? Lots to consider, there.
So we started poking a sharp stick and a measuring tape at other options. Ken discovered that many of those mini-vans will nicely accommodate a wheelchair without conversion – just pop out the back seat, and it will drive up a set of ramps. Of course I can’t drive up in it, is all.
So we have spent the last few days looking and looking, and found five different vehicles – ranging from a beater we could pay off with cash-on-hand from the insurance settlement to a brand-new “regular minivan”. Ken was rather sold on that idea due to warranty and roadside assistance – but the salesman just wasn’t a nice guy. Very weird. But maybe that was a God thing too. We had prayed through the whole affair using a visual that we were going to take all of the vehicles presented as so many juggling balls, toss them up in the air, God could catch the bad ones and toss the good one back down for us… that He would remove every single thing that wasn’t for us… period. And you know what? [u]He did. [/u] The other four moved right out of our way, one thing or another to eliminate them. We also prayed that the exact $ amount that we needed would be available for financing, however it worked for the van He was giving us – and it did. We have also prayed that He’s going to give us the $ over the next bit to pay it off, and I have no doubt He will!
So……….. it’s a 99 Ford Windstar. Haven’t decided yet if it’s sage green, gold, or kind of charcoal. It’s almost a meld of all three. Lovely color. If I can get the digicam to work (Bobby busted it last month) I will take a pic later on. We bought a set of very lightweight aluminum ramps that I can slide in and out myself, and the chair drives up and down them real nice! 😀
Praise God!!

I wanted to say, “HOW DARE SHE?”!!!!!!!!!!!

I parked my Suburban in the handicap parking spot in front of Wal-Mart, unloaded the wheelchair from its LARGE BRIGHT YELLOW lift on the back, and went inside. After about an hour (you know how time passes in that place), I heard a page:

Would the owner of a blue GMC suburban parked in the handicap spot right out front, please come to the front immediately!

My heart sank. I knew I was parked fine, that I’d put the handicap tag in the mirror, all of that — and so that the page meant that something was wrong.

So I wheeled on up to Customer Service, and two hopping ladies told me that someone had just run OVER my wheelchair lift, parked her car, and grabbed a shopping cart and went on. I asked them to call the police and went on out and parked myself right behind her car.

The wheelchair lift was sitting at a 45 degree angle to the car, both sideways and up in the air. :::scowls::: The entire underside of HER car was colored bright yellow.

After a good long while (because it was a non-emergency – understandable) the cops showed up. Still no lady. They went in and began to page her. After a good long while, she came out, child in tow.

“Ohhhhhh. Is there some sort of problem?” :::innocent, concerned look:::

“Yes ma’am, is this your vehicle?”

“uh-huh”

“Did you hit this other vehicle, here?”

“Oh, yeah, when I was backing up, here, yes sir, I heard it hit, uh-huh, but when I got up in the parking spot I looked at my car and there was no damage on it, and I asked that other lady and she said I didn’t hit it, and so I went on with my shopping. I knew I hit the yellow thing, is all.”

(at that point I squeaked and the officer glared at me)

“You heard it hit?”

“Yes, but there was no damage to my vehicle.”

At that point I could no longer contain myself, and said something to the effect of, “And you didn’t think it was important to come in, find the owner of the car, and make a report? Did it not occur to you that the yellow thing might BE IMPORTANT to someone? That yellow thing holds my wheelchair, and now I can’t get home. It’s a custom-made item, and to go buy a new one off the rack could cost up to $3000!”

Then she said something that made my heart momentarily sink sink sink … “You mean that’s how much I gotta pay?” (and she didn’t say it in a despairing tone because she’s poor and couldn’t afford it , she said it in such an arrogant-I-am-costing-her-money tone that I had to wrestle down the urge to slap her, and the cop actually gave her a hard look, too. Why did it make my heart sink? The first thing that crossed my mind was, “This lady must not have any insurance…yamsyamsyamsyams…”

The cops did their thing, interviewed my witness (Thank God for Lillian R. at Wal-Mart!!! Wooo-Hoooo!!! Just called her boss and told him, “Give her a raise!”). Then the cops told me that they couldn’t charge her with hit and run because she’d NOT LEFT THE PROPERTY (!!!!) but they did charge her with some other stuff, and that I should be content with that because it would turn up as her fault. Ken had arrived on the scene at that point, and ended up soothing me down enough to let the police leave without me getting snarly. The lady that hit me fled back into the store (I’m not sure whether it was “fear of Ken” because he’s such a big guy, or if it was that she’d finally acquired some shame over what she’d done, or if she was still mad at me for being there.

I sat in the car for the next 45 minutes and cried my fool head off due to sheer frustration over it all. I’ve lost my legs – literally, there’s not many places I can go without my wheelchair these days. I feel so very violated. That’s not what I expected, in all of my imaginings about “what would happen” in auto accidents. I mean, it’s only a car. But, well, this is my wheelchair lift. It’s more than “the car”. She was so nonchalant about it, so “why should *I* be responsible?”… gah.

I’d managed to maintain my cool fairly well… not sure I was a good witness for Christ through it, and that’s been bugging me. How can you, in a situation like that? There must be a way.

Honestly, I think I’d feel a whole lot different if one of two things had happened.

  1. If it had been a genuine accident. Hey, they happen. Sure, the damage would need to be taken care of, but I don’t think I’d be stuck with this frustration and sense of violation because of her arrogance.
  2. If she had just come and reported that it happened when she did it. Even if she wasn’t paying attention or didn’t see it or whatever. All she had to do was come to customer service and say, “I just hit a car with a yellow thing on the back. Could you page the owner?” Or she even could have left her insurance information on the windshield with her phone # so I could call her later. Why could she not have just been honest about it?

Ken finally got me calmed down enough to drive. We took a bunch of pictures of it, which made me feel better. He sent Bobby and I home, and went to McD’s for dinner. (Unfortunately by that point, he was all thin-lipped and I’m the one that probably should have gone for dinner!!)

And so first thing this morning, my insurance company called. For anyone out there who’s in the market for insurance – Virginia Mutual Insurance in Glen Allen, VA is who we go through… they are truly awesome. Inexpensive and RIGHT on the ball.

I told them what happened and the guy was *shocked* at what happened. He doubted that the lady even had valid insurance, given what she’d said about having to pay for it. But he called up Geico and fortunately, she’s got it.

Geico called me almost immediately thereafter to begin processing the claim. Told me they could get me an appointment to “have my vehicle repaired” at a place in Greensboro on Monday, and provide me with a rental vehicle from there. I said to her… er…. ermmm… um… “You’d best back up a couple of steps. You walk around on your own two feet, don’t you.”

I could hear the gears in her mind working. She hesitantly said, “Yes.”

So I explained that it wasn’t like this lady had smashed in the front end of my car and minorly inconvenienced us and caused some cosmetic damage. Barring injury, of course, I can’t imagine much worse happening. When I told her that the chair weighs 450-500 pounds, the light began to dawn (I’d thought our insurance guy had explained to her that it’s a power chair; either he didn’t or it got lost in translation somewhere along the process). And so I told her that not only would any rental vehicle they got me need to be a wheelchair-equipped van, but that I’d need it before Monday!!

She was SO nice about it! (I’m quite impressed so far by Geico’s response, by the way!)

Immediately she stuck me on hold so that she could make several phone calls. She set it up so that their adjuster could come out to my house to look at the damage, and also they’ve set it up so that I can get a rental wheelchair van from Ilderton’s at absolutely no charge.

Praise God!

The guy who built the lift in the first place says that if it’s this damaged, there’s absolutely no way to fix it – once the structural integrity of metal is violated, it’s impossible to fix: it might even shatter. So Geico’s going to work with me to replace it, I guess. I’m talking with the adjuster guy when he comes out here in a little while about how to get that.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

:::blinks tiredly:::

Most people deal with this sort of mess (you know – traffic accidents, insurance claims) before they’re 20 or so. I’m blessed to have gray hair and just be sorting this thing out now 🙂

God’s going to get me what I need. I know that. And I know that He’s going to work it out for my good.

What I need right now is to be able to forgive this lady. Maybe it’s a lesson in how to forgive someone like this. Made even harder because she’s a total stranger, and I’m not likely to ever even see her again.

::sighs::

Well, there is good news. The car-rental agency just called, and they’re bringing the van right now. So away I go!