Friday, June 15, 2018

When You Forget- Josh's 13 Week Update

I was asked today how many weeks it has been since my husband took ill.  I was dumbfounded and needed to back track and almost count on my fingers. I forgot how long it had been. I forgot how long it had been since Josh felt well. I forgot how many weeks he has been out of work. How long it had been since he was well enough to drive a car more than five miles.  How long it had been since we have talked about anything other than doctors, appointments and game plans.

It has been 13 weeks.  13 weeks. Over three months. Josh's appointment yesterday didn't go well, but went as expected.  The Neuro Vestibular Rehabilitation Specialist isn't able to help Josh anymore. He has now been referred back to the Head of Neurology at the U of M.  Josh knew that this was coming. He is doing everything and more of what is being asked of him. He is walking and doing his vestibular exercises 4+ times a day.  He is resting. He is getting plenty of water. He is sleeping. He is avoiding loud sounds and bright lights.  He is doing everything. But there isn't anything left to do at this point. Vestibular Neuritis is something you would never wish on your worst enemy. There is no time line. There isn't a cure. There isn't steady improvement. Only days where you don't feel as horrible as the last.  Some people struggle for the better part of year. Some have marked improvement after a couple months. And some have been struggling off and on for years.

The days are long for Josh. Lots of discouragement. Lots of hushing kids. Lots of trying to remember what he should do next. The days are challenging for me. Lots of housework and tending to kids and work as usual, but a whole lot less energy.  The kids pray for dad and hope that the next day he will smile and be able to play more games and swim with them.

In these 13 weeks, I haven't just forgotten how long it has been.  I have forgotten how to be spontaneous. I have forgotten how to just pack a bag for the day and get up and go. I forgotten how to get everything on my shopping list in one stop.  But what I have found, what I have discovered, is so much more. I have discovered what true Christian Community looks like. What loving friends do when crisis after crisis hits.

Our family was anxiously awaiting the arrival of our best friends from Georgia last Saturday.  To have them here in Minnesota, here in our arms again.  It was everything we were missing.  The four of them and the four of us. Framily. Our friends became family long ago and now even the 1200 mile separation can't keep us a part.  Shortly after arriving, water was discovered in our basement. The storms from Saturday morning were so overwhelming with over 5 inches in just the first three hours, that our small city of Carver couldn't take it. 4 roads were completely flooded, two with rushing rapids flowing down them. And our basement wasn't able to handle it.  Water was seeping up through the cement ground. The tiles. The padding and the carpet. Water was everywhere.  I fell into a pile of tears.  How were we going to do this?

Our guests stepped in and we got to work. More friends arrived. Furniture was moved, 60 gallons of water was emptied by wet vac. Carpets were pulled up, padding removed and tossed out the window.  Laura and I went to Home Depot for two industrial fans and a huge dehumidifier. We had a plan, dry it all out, and possibly save the carpet. We all worked so very hard and I am sure we all collapsed into a deep sleep that night. Our bodies hurt from the heavy back breaking work.  The next day, after church and a party for our friends, all the men headed down to the basement and made sure that all of the water was removed. Checked baseboards, tiles, carpet now dried out and furniture. We were going to be able to save the carpet due to the fast acting few on Saturday who ripped up the padding. All of the water logged padding was then cut down and bagged for disposal.  We were given an amazing referral and two gentleman came Monday morning, cleaned everything up, laid new padding, stretched and laid the carpet. I couldn't believe how perfect everything looked. As if the flooding never happened!! More friends arrived that evening to help remove all of the wet vacs and cords and return all of the furniture and belongings to the rightful place. (We had displaced our renter for three days from her large basement suite as the water damage was almost all in her space! Almost everything was salvaged!)  Monday night. Three days of fun and chaos. But our basement was put back together.  I weep just thinking about God's timing. No. It wasn't the perfect vacation for our friends that came to visit.  But what would I have done if they weren't here? They jumped in and did it. Did it all. Eternally grateful is an understatement.

That is what community looks like.  That is what serving one another looks like.  These are the same people that have been mowing our lawn, bringing us dinner and groceries, praying for us, and encouraging us these long 13 weeks. These are the friends that continue to care for us when we aren't able to do it ourselves. These are the friends that prove themselves selfless time and time again and serve so very well. I will not forget each of our friends who have come to our aid and continue to do so.  The friends that wipe my stray tears, send me funny jokes and laugh and hug me each and every time I need it. These are the friends who have so perfectly put Christian Community on display for others to take note and learn from them.

So when you forget how long your spouse hasn't been well. When you forget how to make life work each day, remember this.  Ask for help. Accept the Help. And when you can help, always help.  Because Christ is Glorified. Glorified in our illness. Glorified in our weakness. Glorified in hot mess 13 week trials. He is Glorified. Each and every day it is a choice to find Joy. Finding Joy in the Creator.  This day, this week. these 13 weeks, I have found joy in Christian Community that God has so faithfully provided for us.  Christian Community that is serving us and loving us so very well.  Thank you to each of you.

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