Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Patient

First of all, I can't believe it's been a week since I wrote my last post. The week has flown by! TOIAW made it home and we had a nice weekend together. Ahhh, but the last two days have been loooooong...

TOIAW had his nose job yesterday. I know this is going to sound horrible but I'm going to throw it out there anyway: He looks awful. Swollen, black (actually blue-ish purple) eyes, swollen upper lip area, and a swollen nose with splints in his nostrils keeping them open--yeah, it's not a good look. Oh, and he didn't have enough cartilage in his septum so they took it from his left ear. He basically looks like he was in a fight and lost.

The cartilage complication extended the surgery so it ended up lasting about four and a half hours. I was beginning to wonder where he was but then his doctor popped in and gave me the low down on the rhinoplasty showdown. I could do an entire post on this doctor but suffice it to say dude fancies himself an artist (pronounce that ar-tEEst). I assume this isn't all that rare among plastic surgeons but he is an army doctor so I'm not sure how that's working for him. He seemed disappointed when TOIAW turned down his offer of a silicone chin implant.

I seriously have no idea why anyone would choose to have nose surgery purely for cosmetic reasons. I'm not sure when TOIAW is going to look presentable but it ain't gonna be by the end of the week, I can assure you of that. Crazy. I can, however, see how people get addicted to pain pills. They gave TOIAW a prescription for 50 pills!!! The script says to take 1-2 every 4 hours but TOIAW has taken very few especially considering his pain is greatest now. I suppose he could 'max out' (I'm sure there's a more technical medical term for this but I don't know it) and take 12 a day but even still that's a 4 day supply and if you're truly in that much pain, you may need to return to the doctor. I'm not suggesting TOIAW tough it out without medication but I don't think narcotics should be handed out so freely. Okay, off my soapbox.

So, TOIAW is recovering very nicely, all things considered. He slept most of the day. I love him but he can be a bit of a baby when it comes to illness and pain. He gets rather whiny... Oh well, I probably do also. His twin brother is coming in tonight for an interview tomorrow and then he leaves early Thursday morning. The only full day he will be here is tomorrow--my 35th birthday. Considering our history and relationship, this seems supremely unfair to me. I'm definitely going to require a birthday do-over this weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Homesick

Today is my third wedding anniversary. Additionally, today marks two months since Sarah went to be with Jesus. I can describe both days in excruciating detail as if they occurred yesterday. The biggest difference being one was the happiest day of my life and the other was the saddest.

Despite being alone--well, without TOIAW who returns tomorrow, woo-hoo!--I've been in a good place today. I've thought about Sarah, as I do every day, but just in an 'I really miss her' way which is, again, the same thing I do every day. On my way home from class I was listening to NPR but decided to switch over to the Christian station and a song came on that I had only heard once before and that time it made me cry so hard I pulled over and by the time I got myself together and made it home, I couldn't remember enough to find it online. I thought about calling the station but knew that would result in tears and an unintelligible muttering of words so I just waited to hear it again. You probably see where this is going, huh? It had just started when I changed the station. Here's a link to listen.

Homesick, by MercyMe

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbyes
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

I love the part where it says that even if God showed me why Sarah had to die, the hurt would still be the same. That's so true because nothing will ever change the fact that I want her here with us. Nothing. Ever. This brings me to something God's really thrust upon my heart recently: His mercy.

It began as early as the morning she died but I wasn't ready to listen then and I didn't. More recently there have been other instances with the most clear one coming from a dear friend. Several years ago she lost her brother when he committed suicide. She told me she still misses him, of course, but in time God has allowed her to see the mercy He had for her brother and what a gift that has been to her. This concept has been huge for me. And going back to the lyrics of the song, even if I fully understood the mercy God had for Sarah it wouldn't lessen the hurt in my heart so I'm not going to allow myself to get caught-up in the what ifs of it all.

I was (and am) so moved by the lyrics of the song that I googled it. You can read it here, but the basic version is that the chorus was written after the writer attended the funeral of twins who died in utero at five months but he then tucked it away. He ended up finishing it to sing at his brother-in-law's funeral but he didn't intend to put it on an album. His mother-in-law, however, encouraged him to record it and then he remembered that the mother of the twins once remarked that she wished her twins had lived long enough to make a difference. As you can see, through this song, they certainly have.

I had similar hopes for Sarah. Much like Hannah, I prayed and prayed for a baby and promised God that I would give my child to Him. Throughout my pregnancy, I prayed fervently that my baby would accomplish great and mighty things for the Kingdom of God. Her name had to be strong and the first time I laid eyes on her I just knew she was a Sarah. Before the Biblical Sarah was Sarah, she was known as Sarai. The reason for the change was that, upon entering a covenant with God, she took part of His name--Yehovah--in her name much like when I entered into a covenant with TOIAW--marriage, three years ago today :)--I took part of his name. Thus, Sarai took the letter "He" and became Sarah. I just knew my Sarah needed to have part of God's name in hers. The name Abigail means "her father's joy" which is exactly how TOIAW felt about her, but we also loved that the Biblical Abigail was a strong woman of integrity and character who was bold in courage. After carefully choosing these names for her in hopes that she would one day be a Godly woman in the same vain as her namesakes, I, too, was sad that my baby didn't live long enough to 'make a difference.' The first couple of weeks after she died this weighed heavy on my heart. Then one night my sister-in-law told me about an email she received from someone telling her how Sarah had made a difference! The friend's daughter had prayed for Sarah every night so on the night Sarah died, she had to tell her daughter. That discussion sparked a deep conversation full of questions about heaven and Jesus. I am ever so grateful Sarah's life was used to spread the gospel if only to one sweet little girl!

God DID use Sarah's life, just not in the way I hoped. One thing I've learned though is that God's way is always the best way which is why, in spite of my pain, I praise Him every day. God's love is what keeps me going. God's mercies are what gets me out of bed each morning. I'm not a strong person, my God is my strength. Through Sarah's life, God has taught me and grown me more than I ever imagined possible. I go on so that I may serve Him; it truly is that simple. As long as He has me here on earth I will share His love and mercy with others comforted in knowing that my precious Sarah is in the hands of the One who knitted her together in my womb. Better yet, one day I'll get to see both of them!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

$850 Later

Things have been all kinds of crazy around here. Both of our dogs (yes, as predicted by the Gutsy Mom, we adopted Bootsy) have been sick, sick, sick. It all began late Sunday morning when PP started vomiting. We were fostering two 6-8 week old shepherd-mix puppies so as soon as they went to their adoption event, we took PP to the animal hospital. They gave her some fluids and a shot to help with the nausea and they gave us a bill for $214 and sent us on our way. She rested the remainder of the afternoon and early evening but, ahem, she started having accidents where she couldn't control her bodily functions. Back to the hospital we went. We decided she should stay there for the evening. By the way, not cheap; I knew we were in trouble when the doctor told us to wait while she drew up an estimate. In any event, I knew they could care for her better than I could plus they could monitor her...and, let's be honest, clean up after her. It was way difficult to leave her and far too deja vu for me. I started to call the hospital before we went to sleep but I collapsed in tears so TOIAW called. The doctor called us around 4 am (she warned us she would call then) and said she was doing much better. She gave me the diagnosis--a bacteria--and said it's not especially contagious so we should hold off on treating Boots unless she showed symptoms.

Guess what? After a night of crying because PP wasn't sleeping with her, Bootsy began presenting with a few symptoms so I cancelled my class and took her to the vet. Apparently she's an over-achiever because she not only had the same bacteria as PP, but a second one as well. [Oh, and she's 8-10 months old not 4-5. Not that we care but her being older somewhat explains why she's so skittish around humans.] So, armed with a medication schedule to rival an 80 year-old, I left with two sick puppies. Oy!

They've been pretty good about taking the medication but some of it should be taken with food and they're fighting me on that one a bit. I spent another small fortune preparing meals for them that they refuse to eat. I finally went to the vet and bought the canned bland food which they will nibble on a bit (you would be as confused by this as I am if you saw it).

Oh, and the best part is I'm doing this alone because TOIAW left yesterday for a trip to the Mystery Country. This is the text he sent me, "I'm here. The place seems generally civilized although I don't think you would like it here. I'll call you later." I wonder if he'll get a job with the Department of Tourism? If slogans like 'generally civilized' don't make your travel brochures, it's time to rethink your marketing strategy.

And speaking of the Mystery Country, we had an appointment Friday with the MFM. It went well--as in probably the most hopeful appointment we've had since we lost Sarah--but I'll have to give you the details later. You know, in between cooking for dogs and dispensing medication or, as in the case of PP, shoving it down their throats while saying sweet things like, "You WILL get better! I've spent too much money for you not to take this medicine and LIKE IT!!"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Call to Prayer

My parents forwarded this email to me yesterday. Please join me in praying for Kaylee and her family.

Dear Family and Friends,

Our family received devastating news this weekend. Kay's middle daughter, Lori, took her three year old daughter, Kaylee, to the doctor Friday afternoon with a 103 temperature. While there the doctor discovered a mass in her stomach and sent her directly to the hospital for a scan and from there they sent her immediately to Children's Hospital. A tumor the size of a grapefruit was found in her left kidney. This is a soft cell tumor (I'm sorry I cannot remember the medical name) and is a very fast moving tumor. Yesterday after viewing her other scans, the oncologist told us the cancer is also in her lungs, spleen, and all over her stomach. It is a Stage 4. She will be having surgery tomorrow to remove the kidney and from there very aggressive chemo and radiation. Lori is completely numb and not quite able to process everything at this point plus worrying about Caden who will be turning 2 on the 21st of this month. Needless to say, we need a miracle. I am hoping each of you will be praying for our little Kaylee and asking any prayer groups you might have to do the same.

As most of you know, our family has always been very interwined in each other's lives and we are realizing now what a blessing it is to have the support of each other. However, we will definitely all need the strength only Jesus can give us right now so all prayers will be greatly appreciate. Let me just say thank you in advance and how much I value each of you being a part of my life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Shhh, Don't Tell Anyone

I'm completely scamming out of class today. I'm here at school right now but my teacher and I agreed to just "talk" today rather than work out of the books. I can barely stay awake even though it's something easy. I'm just so tired...I have no idea how all you moms out there deal with long term sleep deprivation. I'm in awe of you. I've only been experiencing it this week and I can barely function. No way should I operate heavy machinery right now. [By the way, just to be safe I include household appliances--dishwasher, washing machine, vacuum, oven--in the 'heavy machinery' category.] So, yeah, I'm having trouble sleeping again. How can someone so tired have difficulty sleeping? I still have a few sleeping pills left (five from a prescription for ten) but I am hesitant to take them. I'm paranoid about becoming addicted to drugs. Remember Nancy Reagan's D.A.R.E. program? I recall being told you could become addicted to a drug after only one use. I was one of five kids who took this to heart and it's been with me ever since. I was even hesitant to use the ibuprofen they gave me. This is all very ironic when you consider all the drugs I took to become and stay pregnant...

I've also been very emotional lately though it's difficult to know which came first: a new wave of sadness or sleeping difficulties/exhaustion? I'm too tired to think through that right now. So here I am weak and vulnerable yearning for a sleeping pill. Sure, it's innocent now but it's a slippery slope and soon I'll be living on the street begging for food. Okay, maybe not but still do me a favor and don't tell Nancy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Then What's the Point?

You know how one of the highlights of DVRing a show and watching it later is that you get to skip the commercials? Yeah, not in our house. Drives. Me. Crazy.