Remember the Right Stuff

Oh, how quickly I forget!

This morning I started my day by creating a document which I could eventually tape on my bedroom door as a reminder:

truth

The rest of the day stressed me out.

I had to make two different trips to stores.  It wasn’t the fun kind like grocery shopping.  It was school related stuff.  (I am now a full-time online student.)  It was snowy and slushy so my car is really coated with salt now.

The dogs acted like needy, whiny, crabby toddlers.

My biology experiment had some major setbacks.

I discovered that I wasn’t very prepared for the first major test in another class.

I am a bit overwhelmed in another class because the technology is brand-new to me.

Husband was running a circular saw while being very drunk.  He always was a high functioning alcoholic, but operating power tools while intoxicated really is a dumb thing to do.  And, as usual, there was the periodic need for me to shut the door to the outside.

Throughout the day I battled in my mind.  Should I quit school because it takes me so long to complete everything?  Am I too old to do this?  Should I wait and go to school when my life is less crazy?  Realistically, what kind of grade point average should I expect of myself?  Why can’t I convince myself that healthy food tastes as good as corn chips and oreos?  Am I taking care of my husband in a way that is pleasing to God?

So, here I am at 3am, unable to sleep, and nursing a pretty good headache.  I took some medication and am now getting relief from the pain.  Jumbled up snatches of songs are running through my brain.  I am putting everything into God’s hands.  I am His servant and I need to just go to bed.  Everything will be fine.  He loves me.

 

 

 

 

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False Alarm

A week ago, after several more falls and injuries, my husband took a turn for the worse.  He wasn’t drinking nearly as much as usual, but the effects were so much more pronounced.  He was slurring his speech, drooling, unaware of his location or position, and hallucinating.  He spent 24 hours not being able to stand, walk, or crawl.  After that segment of time there was a day or two where he could barely sit up and take a step.  He had other physical symptoms indicating that his body was shutting down.

I made the hard decision to immediately quit my job.   It was time.  My husband looked like he needed a full-time caregiver, and that person is me.   It would not be right to have my kids be the ones to change his clothes and bathe him.

I shed lots of tears that day.  I discovered deep down that I was not ready for my husband to die.  Yes, on the surface he irritates me and I wish this whole phase of my life could be over.  But, I will miss him for who he used to be.  I will also miss the wonderful people that I have worked with over these past 9 years.

Wouldn’t you know, the day after I quit my job, my husband was back to his somewhat normal self.  He was walking, talking, and acting just the same as he was two weeks ago.  A couple of the symptoms of body shut-down went away.  He even was able to walk up a short flight of steps.  I am continually amazed at how this man’s body defies science.

He is eating better now because I am making him small meals now and then.  Partly done out of compassion.  Partly done because I am tired of him making a mess in the kitchen.  Eating soup with a fork can leave lots of debris behind.

This near brush with death hasn’t made him change his mind about his lifestyle.  If anything, he wants to do all he can to speed up the process of dying.  What a waste of all that God has given him!

Every day I still need to choose how I live.  I sing with Jesus Culture:

Here I am before You, falling in love and seeking Your truth
Knowing that Your perfect grace has brought me to this place
Because of You I freely live, my life to You, oh God, I give
So I stand before You, God
I lift my voice ’cause You set me free….I am Yours.

Challenges

This morning I woke up with the phrase “whatever happens I will not be afraid…” running through my brain.  As I lay in bed, trying to pray, trying not to worry why the furnace keeps running, that portion of the song by Tenth Avenue North kept a continual loop of music in my mind.

I finally did get up to check on my husband.  He has been falling several times a week because he gets so thoroughly drunk.  I am getting quite proficient at pulling him out of doorways and dragging him across the floor.  This morning he had fallen again, but at least the door to the outside was mostly closed.  (It is 0 degrees outside.)  He had fallen in an interior doorway and I still had to drag him across the floor so he could eventually get up.  As I was sweeping up the broken glass, he decides to tell me that he is fine, his pants are clean, and there is no blood on the floor.

I know that since he is currently very drunk and naturally combative he is unable to see the mess he is in.  But, I still found myself getting mad at him.  I told him I was angry at him for throwing his life away.  I reminded him of how gifted, talented, and blessed he used to be.  It ended with me telling him that I am still willing to help him get cleaned up when he sobers up.  Then I gently slammed the door.

Which brings me to this moment.  I am starting a second college degree and am taking online classes.  Technology has never been my friend and causes me lots of frustration.  I have had to learn so much before the classes even begin.  Today will be filled with continuing to learn how to navigate in my new world and completing as many assignments that I can before they are due.  I need to work ahead so that if my husband does die, I can take a little bit of time off from my studies.

It seems like a very morbid outlook, but it is my reality.  It is a miracle of God that my husband is still living today.  He defies all medical and conventional wisdom.  The day could come that he would die from a stroke, heart attack, total liver failure, lung cancer, brain injury, or simply bleeding to death.  (He almost did that in November.)

So, as I begin my new college career, I need to remind myself that I am in God’s hands.  With his help I can do all things.  “I have this hope in the depth of my soul in the flood or the fire you’re with me and you won’t let go…”

Yes, I’m Angry

The other night as I was helping my husband get up off the floor, I just wanted to pick him up and throw him onto the couch.  I wasn’t very kind with my words as I prevented him from slamming down onto the floor again.  I just got madder when I checked the basement door.  There was evidence that he had fallen in two places in the basement before I had heard him fall in the living room.

Was I angry because I was so tired?  After all, it was 3am and I had only a couple hours of sleep before hearing the crash.

I get angry with my husband when I think of how he wasted his life.  He used to be so talented at many things: music, woodworking, photography, poetry.  He excelled in the business world and received superior reviews from his boss every year.

I get so mad at my husband when I think of all the hurt he has caused me and our children.  I am thankful that when the kids were younger, he did all his drinking in the basement after they had gone to bed.  Unfortunately, when our youngest was 16, my husband changed for the worst.  No more hiding it from the kids.  Alcoholism in all it’s ugliness was on display for everyone to see.

I get mad because I sometimes think that if only I had done x, y, and z, my husband wouldn’t be this way today.  Too bad time travel isn’t a reality.

When I did get back to bed the other night, God reminded me of some verses in Isaiah 61, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…”   My anger might be justified or it might be sinful.  Therapy will help me to figure that out.  Right now I can have joy in what God has done for me.

Hospital Again!

I am so thankful for my pastor and the way he preaches through a book of the Bible a verse at a time.  Lately he has been preaching on the armor of God in the book of Ephesians.  The breastplate of Christ’s righteousness that covers me protects my heart.  The shoes of the gospel of peace remind me that I am not condemned by God anymore and I can spread that peace to others.  Those insights and more are what got me through this week.

Monday I was in the ER with my mother-in-law and then she was admitted to the hospital.

Tuesday I was with my husband at another hospital to check on his head trauma from November.  He was totally drunk and could hardly walk.

Wednesday I was with my father-in-law in the ER at the same hospital my mother-in-law is in.  He at least got to go home after several hours.

Thursday I was with my husband in the ER at a different hospital.  He had fallen face first on the concrete floor.  Ended up with only a broken nose.  Since he was very drunk, it took us 3 hours to convince him to go to the hospital.  The one benefit of that time is that I was able to bathe him and get him into clean clothes.  He really didn’t have a choice in the matter.  He was covered with blood from head to toe.  After four hours in the ER he was released to go home.

It was physically tiring to work, take care of my father-in-law, make extra driving trips each day to visit my mother-in-law in the hospital, argue with husband on why he is not going to drive anymore, and try to keep up with the daily household chores.  Focusing on what God has done for me gave me strength each day to serve my family, to be thankful for all that I have, and to keep my heart and emotions steady.

I thought alot about the song “Rescuer” by Rend Collective:   “He is pasture for the weary, rest for those who strive….so come and be chain-less, come and be fearless, come to the foot of Calvary, there is redemption for every affliction…”.

I am looking forward to a calm and uneventful Christmas.

 

When it Rains, it Pours

I didn’t sleep well last night.  I frequently heard our littlest dog scratching and whining.  Why couldn’t he begin this during the day?  He has long thick hair and it is very difficult to see what exactly the problem is, but I am doctoring him to the best of my ability.

Today was the day we scheduled euthanasia for our oldest cat.  Shortly before that appointment, I found out that my mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital.  I told my husband to sober up and clean up because this evening we were going to go see her.

My daughter and I took the cat to the vet, crying all the way there.  Waiting in the exam room we cried over this precious cat.  Watching him die peacefully from the injection we cried some more.  The vet gave us a nice cardboard casket so I could bury the cat in the garden.  Thankful that it was warm enough that the ground had not froze and the digging was easy.

When I walked into our house with dead cat casket in hand, I was greeted with chaos.  The dogs were not where they should have been and there was some moaning coming from the kitchen.  My husband had fallen on the floor.  He said he wasn’t hurt, but I don’t know why he was moaning.  He was pretty confused about lots of things.  Eventually he was able to get himself up off the floor.

I was so disappointed in him.  I thought for sure he would shape up enough to see his own mother in the ER.  He has a good relationship with her.  We live in the same city and see each other every week.

As I sat in my room messaging my brother-in-law who was at the hospital, I really wanted to be there.  I was emotionally torn because I don’t feel that my husband is safe if left alone.  I am concerned that he sometimes chooses to smoke around flammable materials in the basement.  I worry that he will try to cook something in the kitchen and start a fire.   I am concerned that he could  hurt one of the dogs with his very clumsy ways.  I am concerned that he will make really bad choices and the dogs will escape out the front door into the big city.  (The last time it happened it was so cold and icy that they couldn’t get very far.)

Then I heard my daughter’s voice in my head.  Last week I had told her that I felt like quitting my job to stay home and keep an eye on my husband.  Her response was quick.  “No!  Don’t waste your time on him when he does not deserve it.  You take care of old people that really need you at this time in their lives.  That is way more important.”

I decided that I would have to trust God to keep my husband, house, and dogs safe.  My dear mother-in-law was in the hospital, less than half an hour away, and I needed to be there.  So, I went alone to the hospital.  Almost four hours later I arrived home to only mild chaos.  Everybody was still safe and sound and there had been no more accidents.

I am so thankful for family.  I am thankful for medical technology.  I am thankful that God loves me way more than I had loved that cat.  I am thankful that it was in the 40s (Fahrenheit) today.   I am thankful that it was just a gentle misting rain falling while I dug that grave.

Just a Typical Friday

In the past 24 hours I have:

Cleaned up vomit from my husband and cleaned up vomit from a dog.

Watched my husband weep because I said that one of our cats needs to be euthanized.

Tried to have a discussion comparing how he feels about the loss of a cat and how we feel about the loss of a husband/father.

Been told several times that I make no sense and that I am full of _____.

Served a plate of food to my husband because he refuses to wash his hands and there was no way I wanted him to touch the meat I had cooked.

Had to help my husband get up off the floor because his leg muscles were too weak.

Been in on a conversation between my daughter and her father.  Heard the pain in her voice when she asked her dad if he loves alcohol more than his kids.  Got angry because my husband is either still choosing badly or is at a point where he cannot choose rightly.  (I don’t know, there are different schools of thought on that.)

Witnessed my husband walking around naked from the waist down, made him put clothes on, and had a conversation about what is appropriate.  Several hours later he asked me who had put different pants on him.

Seen God work out specific details in two different areas of my life.  Further proof that my God is taking care of me and that I can completely trust Him with everything.

Been reminded that “I’ve been held by the Savior…All my hope is in Jesus…All my sins are forgiven,  I’ve been washed by the blood…”