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Challenging Myself

Challenging Myself

No complaining for a week? Yeah right!

Last week, after reading a short devotion on my Bible app, I decided to actually apply it to myself and challenge myself.   The goal was to replace any complaining with words of gratefulness and thankfulness. So I know I could stand to complain a whole lot less so I got serious and I set an alert on my phone to remind me on Monday morning, July 1, to start this challenge.  I had reminders set for one week-a whole seven days of not complaining. I can do anything for seven days, right? Apparently not-I didn’t even make it four hours from midnight.  

At about 4 am on Monday morning, I was facing a different challenge.  My appendix decided to become inflamed and tried to kill me right at 4 hours into my challenge. What are the chances? Do you think I complained? Yes. I. Did! Strangely enough, as I am doubled over on my bed in excruciating pain, I was not singing along to “Count your blessings, name them one by one…..” But I was coherent enough to realize that I was indeed fortunate that I had not gone on to work as planned and was not having this attack on the side of the road somewhere.  I also realized how blessed the Sheriff was to also be at home for this great event. He still does not realize just how much he has been blessed by getting to be at my side throughout all of my complainings and bemoanings.

He is actually a great person to have by your side during a medical emergency. Its not just because he is an old school EMT who’s motto is “rub a little dirt on it.” I really do have a wonderful, caring and sensitive husband who coerced, actually forced me into going to the hospital even when I did not want to go. I couldn’t imagine that I had anything too serious going on even though I was screaming incoherently at him to make it all go away.  I think I may have said something like, “just shoot me and put me out of my misery.” Yes he drove like a maniac to get me to the ER. Yes he parked in the last parking space in the parking lot, farthest from the door and no he did not carry nor wheel me in-we were too far away.

I quickly realized too that I have is absolutely wonderful children. Once the two boys who are still at home woke up enough to realize what was going on, they became the go-to Guys that I needed them to be. Mondays are chemo days for the Smartest Boy in the World. You might ask me, can you not put off one chemo treatment for appendicitis? Well, no I couldn’t.  Some people might but it was his fourth treatment and sort of a milestone in his treatment path. After the fourth treatment, he gets rewarded by having a PET Scan to check in on his recently attached companions, his lymph nodes. I really wanted him to get to have that scan. I really wanted to be able to check on those old swollen lymph nodes so I really wanted him to have that fourth treatment.  Now, y’all, I always go with him to chemo. I sit there with him for the whole four and a half hours. He has to stare at me and I stare at him while he gets his medications. I take detailed notes about how long it takes, what nurse said what about whatever, and what his blood counts are. Crazy I know but it makes me feel so much better about my child being poisoned every other week.

At some point in the morning, probably about 402 am, it was determined that I was not going to be making any more decisions about the day as it was not going well at all by now. The Sheriff took over and delegated chemo duties to big brother, My Quarterback.  He’s a large and in charge kind of Guy anyway, he can handle a crisis. He had some practice recently at college when his girlfriend, the Little Red-Haired Girl had a kidney stone and had to be rushed to the ER. From what I understand, he handled it like a champ so surely he could handle chemo. I will count how blessed I am that they are fearless. Neither ever hesitated to take on chemo. They stepped right up to the task. My Quarterback enlisted the help of soon to be super nurse, the Little Red-Haired Girl and they got little brother through his fourth treatment, scan was scheduled and had their smiling faces back at the hospital when I woke up from surgery. Now my 19-year-old, if he reads this and he probably won’t, will say he could’ve just gone by himself and he certainly could have because he’s courageous that way but nobody should have to do that alone and he’s always had his mom there, you know! Now nobody took notes, but that’s okay, because, apparently like my appendix,they’re not really necessary anyway. That gets pointed out to me about every treatment. 

My other family members were my support system from afar once they found out what was going on.  They checked up on me and prayed for me. My daughter in law sent me videos and pictures of the world’s cutest grandkids at just the right time when I needed to see their sweet faces the most.  My mom and dad came to sit with their nearly 50-year-old child. My 19 year old nephew even came by the hospital to visit me. It had to be awkward for him but he did it anyway Hospital’s are not always the easiest places to visit.

Now the hospital is where I could really start stacking up blessings.  I wish I could name them all one by one but I am afraid my addled medicated brain would leave someone out.  I’m just going to say this. Hear me now, loud and clear: All of you, every single person out there had better be nice to nurses and doctors, especially ER nurses and doctors.  They control the happy pills and the size of the needles they use, in case you need extra motivation. I have been extremely blessed to work in and out of that hospital and ER for years and to have friends who are doctors and nurses there.  They were beyond excellent. I could not have asked for better care, more expedient or efficient care than what I received. They all went into some kind of superhero, caretaker, miraculous healer mode and fixed me right up. I’m blessed to know these angels! Again, BE NICE TO THEM!

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I also felt very blessed by the surgical team who took custody of my nasty uncooperative appendix.  I don’t remember names because, by that time, my cognizance was waning as they rolled me into a surgical suite.  The last thing I remember was looking over at the little stretcher they were about to move me to and thinking, “there’s no way my big rear end will fit on that little bed.”  But they made it work, took great care to fit me in just right where I needed to be. 

And last but never least, the med surg nurses who had all the leg work and paperwork to do to get me out of there!  I didn’t think we were ever going to get through my family medical history! I felt so comforted by the one nurse who also happened to be a familiar face, a young lady who is just a few years older than my own kids.  She was very well aware of how stressed I was both mentally and physically. Her husband of just a few years had also recently fought the same cancer as my son has.  Thank the good Lord that her husband kicked Hodgkins to the curb some time back. Blessings are all around.  

So I can definitely say that my “challenge” started out as a real test and I failed miserably but I may be okay with that since there was a real issue behind my whining-this time.  I also have a lot of time on my hands now to really think about and count all the ways I am blessed and fortunate. And hindsight is always clearer as I can look back and see how many times I was blessed at every turn that morning. We can always find something to look forward to, find something good in a dark place, or see a light at the end of a tunnel.  We just have to look hard enough. Sometimes we have to scream through the pain, cry in dark or just stand still and listen. If you look hard enough, seek long enough, you will find something that is a blessing or some way you can be blessed. And if you just can’t find a single thing to be blessed by, then you just be the blessing to someone else and pass it along. Stay challenged!

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