Monthly Archives: March 2009

It’s a wonderful rainy morning in Delaware!
We are in great need of rain,
This is most a most welcome development!

I need to bake bread.
Rainy days make the best bread.
I am so pleased.

And the gimpy knee is
enjoying a pretty good day.
In spite of the weather.
I am ecstatic.

So I am going to bake that bread.
Resting in between, of course.
Ah, what sweet bliss I feel
To be able to do it.

And tomorrow is a
“Fifth Sunday”. 
There is something so heartwarming
About church potluck.
Life just gets better and better.

“Lord of all,

To Thee we raise

This our hymn

Of Grateful Praise.”

 

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 I went to my primary care physician today to address some of the things with my knee, and to see if pain meds were being handled the best way and if I was being responsible about them all.  It was gettting on towards five hours since I had pain meds, and I was having a hard time not spilling the tears that wanted to gather in my eyes.  He rose to the occasion and put together a great plan for me, and I am quite content with it.
 
Thn just before I left, he patted the knee they didn’t operate on and said, “You poor soul.  Bless your heart.  You are trapped in an old woman’s body!’ 
 
Ouch!
 
Since then, I have thought of some snappy comebacks — (“It’s a whole lot better than being trapped in an old MAN”S body!” is the more “printable retort” that I’ve thought of).  Be that as it may, I love my Primary Care Physician dearly and I know he meant well.  Given the emotionally charged atmosphere, I’m inclined to think that he didn’t really think it through.  He handed me my chart and sent me to the front desk.  “Just hand this to — and she’ll take care of you.” He said and patted my shoulder again as I went by.
 
There was a lady ahead of me, who was taking a very long time, and no one seemed to be hurrying any.  I decided to use my time to read through my chart.  It was pretty good reading until someone came crashing out of the cubicle door into the hall and said, “I can take care of you over here at this other window.  You don’t need lab work or anything, just a return appointment, so come on over to the side window, and I will take care of things for you.”  I really wonder if they didn’t want me nosing through my chart, or if they felt sorry for me standing there on my sore leg.  I suppose I’ll never know, but if there is a long line in the same situation, I think I’ll try it again and see if it gets me some service in a timely fashion.
 
And just so you know, the new schedule for pain meds that is heavy on ibuprofen combined with vicoden and a muscle relaxant as needed, is doing a great job.  I am so pleased.  Still hurts, but it is better!  This is very good.
 
And my Sweet Mama is home and doing well.  Tomorrow she has lab work to see if the blood thinner is doing okay, but she really is coming along very well.  I hate it that I am not taking her tomorrow, but my sister, Alma will do it for me, and that is probably better than me heading out to do it with some of these side effects.  I realize that I really like to know things about her care and unless I ask the questions myself, I am never quite satisfied with the answers.  It isn’t that someone else can’t do it — (because they’ve proven time and time again that they CAN!) it is just that I like it better when I hear it straight from the source, and understand what it is that they are telling me.
 
Except for that thing my doctor said.  I understand that well enough, thank you, and I wish I didn’t.
 

 

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Sweet Mama

I would like to ask you all  to pray for my mother SweetMama1129.

I was just beginning to believe that I was going to make it through this day (yesterday was hard on me!) when the phone rang and it was my Sweet Mama’s Cancer specialist from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Baltimore, MD.  I spoke of the battery of tests that she has been having in preparation for the followup, and yesterday morning, before Aunt Ruth’s funeral, she had taken herself in for some blood work and a CT Scan with contrast etc., etc., etc., because she thought she could manage herself since my knee was not up to par yet.  “I’ll be just fine,” she stated stoutly over my protests.  “I’ve done it before, and I can do it again.”  I should have insisted that someone go with her, but I actually forgot to call one of my sibs until she took off on her own.  She called me around 11:30 and was home again and everything was done.

At the meal, following the  funeral, she came and sat across the table from me and she and my Aunt Gladys were talking about the fact that Aunt Gladys had once claimed to be 15 years younger than Mama (she is, actually, only 3).  Aunt Gladys thought it was a good joke (seriously, it WAS) and Mama was acting like she had her nose out of joint over it (seriously, she probably did!)  Anyhow, I looked across the table at the two of them, and my heart gave a sudden lurch.  My Sweet Mama looked really off color to me.  I asked her how she was feeling and she said, “I’m really tired.  That stuff I had to drink this morning did not agree with me, and I don’t feel very good.”  She went home before too late, and when I talked to her later she reiterated that she was tired and not feeling very good.

Fast forward to this morning when Dr. Ziv Gamliel himself called me and said that the tests yesterday showed pulmonary emboli and that he wanted her taken immediately to the hospital.  He wanted a duplex scan done, he wanted her hospitalized for a couple of days with an Heparin IV drip and then he wanted her to be on coumadin.  He wanted to talk to her general practitioner to see if he could get her into the hospital without going through the emergency room, but if that didn’t work out, he faxed me the report and wanted me to take her straight to an emergency room with the report in hand and to insist that his orders be followed.  Mama’s GP is getting elderly.  He is from Maryland, and he really didn’t want to oversee this, so Dr. Gamliel said to just take her on in.  We had sorta’ planned to go to Seaford since that is where the testing was done but we really don’t know any doctors there.  We discussed it as a family, and the siblings sorta felt like Milford might be a better choice.  Then Deborah suggested a pulmonary care doctor that she sees when working in ICU that she has a great deal of respect for.  She contacted him and he agreed to be the consult if we went to Milford emergency room. Milford is closer for most of us, so that is what we decided to do.
 
It’s been a long day.  Mama was admitted to her room (205) around six this evening.  The initial report is that the duplex scan was negative for any blood clots in her legs.  They started IV heparin (**edit:  My eldest brother, Clint and his wife Frieda were in tonight and reported that she has had a shot, but that they haven’t started the drip — in any case, she is receiving treatment.) and it will be a “wait and see” situation.  Mama is very tired, but she isn’t in any distress;  no shortness of breath, no pain, just very, very weary.  A few weeks ago, she had a cough that we thought was connected with a cold, and she told me this morning that she had coughed up some blood at some point, she thinks, but isn’t sure.  The doctor says that the cough could very well have been from these emboli.
 
After Dr. Gamliel called this morning, I called my sisters, Alma and Sarah, and it suited Alma to drive us to the hospital.  It is hard for me to not do the things for Mama that needs doing, but God made us a family, and my siblings are more than willing to help out, and I needed them so badly today.  We got to the hospital and things went pretty well until around two, and then I crashed.  Christina and Jesse brought me home to my LaZboy and some percoset and I left Mama in the capable hands of Alma and Nel and Rose.  We are very pleased with how things are being handled.  Mama seems to be accepting that this is necessary at this time and the doctors and attendants are going out of their way to humor her.  (It never ceases to amaze me how young, handsome men bring out the charm for my 80 year old mama!  It makes me laugh.  I mean, even Dr. Gamliel.  He shakes my hand properly, but he HUGS Mama with joyous abandon.  They just all love her . . .and I’m not blind.  She is still pretty!)

And that is the news from Shady Acres and places round about.  There are many things to occupy all our hands and hearts these days, and much for which to be thankful.  Let’s not forget how good we have it, and to remember the many, many less fortunate than we are.  It is easy for me to forget — when the  knee is aching and I’m so anxious to do the things that need doing, and I feel like I am somehow being neglectful of things important . . .

But really, I have it so good.  And I am quite certain that God knew I needed a strong reminder that things are really never under my control anyhow. 

“Ah, Lord Jesus, tame this restless heart!”

 

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Warning: LONG POST

Various and Sundry

Some of you are aware that this is the season of testing for our Sweet Mama and the ongoing followup visits with various and sundry doctors. 

Yesterday was the day for the one that she was the most anxious about.  It was an EGD, checking her esophagus, and looking at the scar tissue left from her surgery four years ago.  When the doctor came into the waiting room, and motioned me into the hall to give his report, my heart sang a little song of joy.  Everything looks great!!!  He said that he was very pleased with the insignificance of the “stricture” at the place of the scar tissue, and that he won’t need to see her for another year.  They did their usual precautionary biopsy, and we will check back on that, just to be sure, but all in all, it looked great.

The reason my heart sang a little song of joy at being called into the hall is that he talked to me there in the hall.  There’s a private room that the same doctor had taken a family into just before he did Mama’s EGD and was there for a long time.  When the family came back to the waiting room, there were tears, uncertainty and general despair.  While I was waiting for Mama to come out of recovery, I had a chance to talk (semi-privately) to an elderly family member (a sister of the patient) and she was composed and friendly.  We chatted about numerous things, and then I said, “I’m sorry, but you got bad news today, didn’t you?” 

Her face fell, then she said, “Yes, we did.  I guess it doesn’t have to be fatal, but it doesn’t look too good.” 

I said, “You know, four years ago, my mama went back there and came out with terrible news.  She had esophageal cancer.  And I guess, at the time, they didn’t really think she had much hope, either.  But she has done so well!  We were through radiation, chemo and surgery, but she came through it all really well.” 

Her face lit up.  “I saw her go through here,” she said happily.  “She does look real good.”

I said, “Can you believe she’s eighty?”

“You’re kidding!” she scoffed and at that very moment, the doors opened, and they pushed SweetMama out on a wheel chair.  She was smiling, chatting with the nurse that was pushing her chair, her hair was neat, and she was dressed, ready to go home.  “That is hard to believe!” she chuckled.  “She looks real good!”  And I thought so myself.


I’ve been thinking so much about life today.  How the happenings of life keep on happening.  It’s a hard time for alot of the people I love right now.  And so often, there are not happy endings to the stories — at least as we see it.


There are many Bible words that help me at a time like this.  But knowing that all through the many things of the Bible that I cannot understand, God had a plan and even when it didn’t look like it, and even when no one believed that He did, He STILL DID, comforts me more than I can say.  And we can pray.  That’s me and you and everyone.  For each other.  For ourselves.  And I believe that a great many of us do.


We’ve had a tradition on the Yoder side of my family that a cousin’s choir sings two songs at the funerals of the aunts and uncles.  Usually a song that was specially picked by the family of the particular individual, and then the song that was my Grandpa Yoder’s favorite, #207 in the old LIFE SONGS, “If on a Quiet Sea.”  I was thinking tonight about the simple message of that song:

If on a quiet Sea, towards Heaven we calmly sail
With grateful hearts, oh God, to thee, we’ll own the favoring gale.
With grateful hearts, oh God, to thee, we’ll own the favoring gale.

But should the surges rise and rest delay to come,
Blest be the tempest, kind the storm which drives us nearer home.
Blest be the tempest, kind the storm which drives us nearer home.

Soon shall our doubts and fears, all yield to thy control
Thy tender mercies shall illume the midnight of the soul.
Thy tender mercies shall illume the midnight of the soul.

Teach us in every state to make thy will our own.
And when the joys of sense depart, to live by faith alone.
And when the joys of sense depart, to live by faith alone.

This is not the time of the “Quiet Sea” for me and my family, it’s true. 

So many of you have asked about my knee, and it seems rather inconsequential in face of what so many people are facing, but I thought that I would still update you.Today at my follow-up, I finally saw the pictures of my bones, and was able to listen to the doctor without too much fog on my brain.  First of all, I am grateful for all the concern over whether I have been doing too much.  I haven’t.  In fact, in light of everything, I guess things are healing fine.  But the truth is, there is big trouble in there, and I was told that this might be as “good as it gets” until the knee is replaced.  

WOW!

You can believe that I am praying that it isn’t so.  And there is a good chance that things will suddenly turn around and for no real reason, I will do okay.  This is what I AM PRAYING FOR!!!  I don’t think it will always hurt like this, as the doctor did tell me that the procedure they did has a 3-4 MONTH recuperation time.  Which means I have no business being discouraged about the pain at 19 days.  Given the fact that there is still some swelling, bone pain from the procedure, and the fact that the area that is most messed up is the weight bearing surface on the inside of my knee. 

HOWEVER!!!  Now listen closely, all you bossy people out there.  I am allowed to put all the weight on it that I possess.  I am to use the crutches or a walker when the pain makes it hard to walk.  I am to use them whenever I feel a need for stability, and so you will sometimes see me with them (and I probably need them at that particular time) and you will sometimes see me without them (and I am not disobeying any orders or doing something that is hazardous — it’s probably just a good day.)  But I am to practice walking, and there are a few other things that they hope to try if things are still in disarray in another month.

Please pray that I don’t waste the lessons that I am supposed to learn in these days that cause me to become restless and impatient.  Pray that I will be a ready pupil of the Grace that I can certainly talk well enough about, but find hard to put into shoe leather —  er, um, recliner leather.  Pray that I will Listen to the loving counsel of my husband and family, but that I will not be lazy about doing what I can and should do, even when it isn’t comfortable.

And may I say one more time:

If God’s grace isn’t enough for days like this,
it really isn’t enough.
And I have found that it is enough!!

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I’ve had some questions about the arrangements
 for Aunt Ruth.

They are as follows:

Viewing: Wednesday, 3/18/09, 6-9 pm
at Greenwood Mennonite Church

Funeral and Burial: Thursday, 3/19/09
1:30 pm at Greenwood Mennonite Church

Meal following at Greenwood Mennonite School.

If anyone has any questions, they can message me, or call me.

This is the picture of Uncle Eli’s family
from the Yoder family reunion last summer

Uncle Eli's Family
All of their children are on this picture
except their middle daughter, Esther.
In the back row, second from the left is their
Oldest Son, David, and next to him is their
Youngest Son, Philip.  Then there is a son in law,
(Kent Slavin) and beside Kent is their second son, Joe.
Next is their third son, James. 
(James has a beard, and is often mistaken for Certain Man!)
In the front row from the left,
is their youngest daughter, Lucy,
and beside her is their oldest daughter, Leona.
For those who wouldn’t know,
the couple in the front row is Uncle Eli and Aunt Ruth.
(and of course, the rest are extended family members)

 

I couldn’t resist adding this picture from around 1952:

Uncle Eli's family 1952

From left to right:
Esther, David, Aunt Ruth (holding Lucy)
Uncle Eli (holding James) Leona and Joe.
(Philip had not been born yet)

She will be missed!

Ruth Elizabeth (Yoder) Bontrager
July 16, 1918 — March 15, 2009


 

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. . . And this morning, our Aunt Ruth Bontrager
is safely home
to Heaven.

She is the third of David and Savilla Yoder’s children to go. 

What a joyous reunion there is going on up there!

Free at last!!

Free at last.

Praise God Almighty,

She’s FREE at last!

 

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Last night we were to a banquet fundraiser for the Followers of Jesus School.  The fundraiser was held at Shady Maple Smorgasboard in Lancaster.  The school is located in Brooklyn, NY and my precious Daddy was the one who originally had the dream of a Christian school for the inner city church that he was overseeing. 

It was a wonderful time.  I kept thinking about my Daddy and how he would have enjoyed the evening last night.  Not because his name was brought up (and it was, often!) but because he would have been so delighted to see how God has worked in the lives of young people that he loved and dreamed dreams for.  He would have been beaming as the stories of God’s incredible grace extended time and time again in the hour of need, and he would have known that his dream was God-given.  He would have hugged Angel and been enthused that the young man who had often been in his prayers because of his lack of commitment was now chairman of the school board.  He would have chuckled to hear Valerie address the assembly with confidence and poise and he would have been delighted with her two precious children.

And Mama, there without him, felt the things he would have felt, knew that he would have loved the evening the only way that Mark Yoder could have, and her face was so serene and happy.  Even the tears, when the people from the city that she and Daddy loved so much came to hug her, talk to her and to talk about him, where somehow comforting.

I’ve been pondering all day how it is that it feels so right when we are with people who loved Daddy so much.  They speak of their love, and remember things he did and said and even now, over three years later, still wipe their tears.  But they smile, too, and I remember his smiley eyes and how his legacy is one of joy as well as faith.

What a responsibility his family has — to remember his life and to live in a way that brings honor to that life.  But when it comes right down to it, our Daddy was an ordinary man by every account.  An ordinary man with an Extraordinay Love Affair with an Awesome God.  That’s what allowed him to dream.  To have vision and foresight and courage.  It gave him living hope and dying grace.  And if he can see where this vision led, if it matters to him tonight, I think he is humbly grateful, but I don’t think he is surprised.

 

 

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