The world keeps turning, and there are many things to ponder these days. Delaware Grammy has had more than enough to keep her hands busy, and there hasn’t been enough time to process much of what has gone on in our world.
If I didn’t believe . . .
But I do! I’ve found that sure anchor for my soul and even when I’m heartsick or discouraged or uncertain about what is going to happen or how people will cope or what will ever become of the people I love or even whether some of them will make it safely HOME, there is that sure anchor that the winds will not overwhelm my little boat and it will not sink. The Master of the Wind, the Maker of the Sea is in this boat with me and He has promised that He will never leave me, never forsake me.
There has been so much to be happy over these past few weeks. Certain Man and I went with my brother, Nelson and his wife Rose to North Carolina to our older brother, Clint’s wedding. (You can see pictures on an online album that has a link over on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maryann.yutzy). We had a wonderful time. The wedding was low-key, holy and joyous. It’s interesting to think about the dynamics of getting a new sister in law at this stage of our lives. There are a host of possibilities to consider, and there is so much history on both parts that are now part of this bigger whole, and it’s both awesome and scary! But it is also so very, very sweet, and I am happy for my brother’s happiness.
I came home to finish some important paperwork, and to get ready for Blind Linda’s return home and to get ready for a “meet and greet” reception for Clint and Sharon next week. I knew that my time was going to be pretty full, but it was time to get on with these other things that had been put on hold until after the wedding. Blind Linda has made excellent progress and the therapists at Genesis Health Care deemed it time for her to be moved back home. (This may have had something to do with the fact that her 100 days were going to be up on September 1st, but she has been doing well, and they would have probably moved her home last week if I had been home). In any case, she is scheduled to be released on 09/01/2017. This Friday.
Over the last few months, there have been some questions put to me gently about whether we should take Linda back. “Don’t you enjoy the freedom of not having to worry about her?” “You’re getting older, and it would be nice if you didn’t have to do this.” “When are you planning to stop taking care of ladies?” “Don’t you wonder if maybe Linda is going to be ‘too much’ for you?” All well meaning, and said with love, the comments were nothing that I could dismiss lightly. I am getting older. She is a lot of care. And I am going to be tied down incredibly much, at least at first.
From the beginning of this saga, back at the end of January, when Dr. Kottom, the gastroenterologist, came back from doing Linda’s colonoscopy, and said gravely, “We need to talk,” I’ve prayed much about this situation and how I should be involved. It has been a tough seven months, and there were times when we didn’t know if Linda was going to make it or not. There have been plenty of times when it looked as if she was not suitable for family care placement. The prayer that I have consistently prayed has been, “Lord Jesus, may it please you to make clear what your will is in all of this. For Linda, for me, for our family. If Linda is not to return home, let that be crystal clear. And please, Lord Jesus, let this be something that is obvious to all concerned, that it would not just be a case of me deciding that it’s too hard, or that I don’t want to do it. Let there be a concise, external, physical reason and let there be no question.”
It was a selfish prayer, to some extent. It sounds like I don’t want responsibility for making the decision, and in part, that’s true. But there is also that whole thing of Linda, her history with us, this being her home for 17 years, and how she has endured so much change and misunderstanding in her life and how very much I would like for her to live out whatever time she has left in a familiar, safe and peaceful environment. She may not appreciate it. She may not even realize what could be. But I know, and it hurts my heart to think of her not being cared for with gentleness and understanding. I’m not saying that I’m always gentle and understanding. However, it is my goal to love and care for those entrusted to us in a way that will reflect Jesus — to the ones who are my superiors, to the families of those for whom we care, but especially to Our Girl Audrey and Blind Linda. The knowledge that, unless we speak Jesus into their lives, they may never know, is a “charge to keep, I have!”
So the days have passed, and on Monday, I found myself on my home turf, digging out from being away, picking beans, doing laundry, unpacking the “stuff” that seems to get so unorganized when we travel. I was tired from the long trip on Sunday, but it was good to be home. Around ten o’clock, Certain Man said he was going to bed, and I said that I was coming soon. I had been experiencing something strange in my left eye, and wanted to make a quick check on the internet to see if I should be concerned enough to call my doctor the next morning. I was having these small flashes of light in the upper left corner of my left eye. They were not huge, and sometimes I almost felt like I wasn’t really seeing them, but every now and then there was these small, silver streaks, dancing off the edge of my peripheral vision. I was very tired, and I read a bit, but nothing impressed me as being too urgent, and I decided that it could wait until morning unless it got worse. I decided not to tell anybody. Yet, anyhow. I went to bed, feeling vaguely uneasy.
Tuesday morning I got up and everything seemed to be fine. No light flashes, no nothing. I had a “heavy” head, almost like a headache that was trying to happen, but nothing significant, and there was much to be done. I worked on some computer things, worked on paper work, answered phone calls, made phone calls, and then, along about 10:30, I noticed something in my upper left eye’s line of vision. It was like a rat’s nest of hair that looked like it was hanging over the edge of my glasses. I went to brush it away, and it disappeared, but not by my hand. I realized that it was something like a “floater” in my eye. H-m-m-m-m-m. This was more concerning. It wasn’t really large, but it did appear to have some strings floating off of it. I decided that I should call my eye doctor for advice.
“We want to see you today,” said the suddenly solemn receptionist when I told her my symptoms. “We are always concerned about retina tear with symptoms like this.” Retina tear??? Oh, dear. I went to the internet to see specific symptoms and treatment and recovery time. What I found there was disconcerting. Well, I would just need to go and see what Dr. Iskander would have to say.
“Deborah!” I hollered up the steps to Middle Daughter.
From somewhere in her apartment on her side of the landing I heard her answer. “What’s up, Momma? I’ll be right there!”
“I just wanted you to know that I’m going in to the eye doctor,” I said. “I had some light flashes last night and today I’m having some string-like floaters and they said they want to see me.”
The reaction was overdone, of course. “Mom, you aren’t driving yourself!”
Of course I am,” I said. “I need to go by the nursing home and take some clean laundry in for Linda and then I’ll just run right over.”
“Mom, it’s not safe,” said my nurse daughter. “I’ll take you!”
“Someone will need to be here for OGA,” I said, feeling myself wilting down into an “almost-blind-already-looking-for-a-guide-dog” old woman. “Do you want me to see if Christina can help?”
“Yes,” said Middle Daughter forcefully. “See if she can come and be here.”
And so Eldest Daughter was called and brought in for reinforcement, while I contemplated my immediate future. I reviewed the symptoms and realized with a start that I had almost every single one of the warning indicators for the retina tear. And I thought about what this was going to mean to Linda being able to come home in a few days. The prospect was daunting. Immediate surgery. No physical activity. No lifting. No exertion for weeks. “Oh, Lord Jesus! What are we going to do?”
I do not profess to hear the audible voice of God, and I’m careful with the words “God said . . . ” unless I’m quoting scripture. But I’ve been given the Holy Spirit, even the “Spirit of Truth” who speaks to my heart, and comforts me and gives me help in time of need. And this was a time of need for me. I needed to purposefully redirect my thinking and praying.
“You’ve got this, Lord Jesus,” I whispered above the anxious noises in my head. “I’ve been asking for you to make it clear to me, and I believe that you have a best plan here — for me, for Linda, and for all concerned. I pray that this will be a clear cut answer, that I will KNOW what I need to do before we are out of time. Give me courage, whatever is going on. I believe that you are in this and that you will go before me, giving me exactly what I need, and that you will provide for Linda as well. I reject the feeling of frantic panic and I will not allow these anxious thoughts of “what if” to cause me to be a faithless mess.”
The time for the appointment came. It was raining hard and the sky was gray. Middle Daughter drove me carefully to everywhere I needed to go, and waited in the car like a hovering guardian angel. The staff at MyEyeDoctor was efficient. My wait was not unduly long. I listened for discouraging words and indications that my eyesight was on a steady, steep decline, but through the precursory evaluation the assistant was pleasant and gave no indication of anything. Then Dr. Eskander came in. He is one of my favorite people when it comes to doctors. To read his bio online sheds some light on his motivation, and I am impressed with his life theory and the impetus that drives him. He was thorough, but he wasn’t at all depressing. He was reassuring and kind.
And when he was done, he said, “Well, your retina is in fine shape. There are no tears, nothing to worry about. What you have is a separation of the vitreous gel from the retina, called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). I want to see you back in a month to make sure it isn’t worse, but you should be just fine. It causes “floaters” that can show up as threads or cobwebs and it’s annoying, but it isn’t serious.” He went on to tell me what I need to do in case the small flashes become a lightening bolt and the floaters are big and starting to obstruct my vision (Get to Christiana Hospital as fast as possible!) but he reassured me that he could find nothing wrong with my retina.
I wanted to be sure about what I could and couldn’t do. “Are there any restrictions?” I asked. “Are there things I should or should not do?
He looked at me with a funny grin. “Well,” he said, trying to look serious, “I think you should definitely give up boxing,” He paused like he was thinking hard. “And bungee jumping, too. I don’t think you should do any of that. But otherwise, I think you’re good!”
I laughed, of course. (Mental images here.) It was funny. But the overwhelming feeling that was flooding my soul at that moment was a sense of the presence of Jesus, standing there and saying, “I’ve got this. I’m going to be with you through it. It may not last for months and months, and it may be a lot harder than you realize, but I’m with you, and this is the way. Walk in it with courage and grace and joy.”
Whew! I could have danced in that doctor’s office. I went in with a deep unknown, and no idea of how things were going to be, and suddenly it was all done and I’m healthy and things are good.
Well, there was that whole issue of developing cataracts since my visit there a year ago. I have a family history of cataracts, but thought I maybe had beaten the odds. They aren’t bad, at least not yet, and Dr. Iskander said they were another something to watch.
There was also a sentence in the online site that was another indication of “why” the visceral separated from the wall. “The condition is common among people over 50 years of age and is not serious.” That was comforting to know except for the inference that parts of this body are no longer young.
One other thing. In reading over the office notes, I found this little jotting: Patient appears to be well nourished. Huh! I wonder what that has to do with anything.
Well, that’s a gentle way to describe my particular body shape, I guess. (That doesn’t mean I like it!) But when I consider that over what could be noted on my chart regarding a retina tear, my heart gives grateful praise.
And since care for Blind Linda won’t involve boxing or bungee jumping, we are planning to bring her home when scheduled. Tomorrow. At one o’clock.
For this and so much more, my heart gives humble, grateful praise.