Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plan of care

7:59 p.m. Today's project was to welcome the nurse/manager and the scheduler from Brightstar care agency for an updated plan of care. The company has merged Los Angeles and Riverside offices, so new paperwork was due.

When the two arrived, I was surprised, because even though I'd written it down, I had been busy enjoying a nice lunch with Steve and my dad, and overjoyed that one of my Mary Kay recruits placed her first qualifying order as a consultant. Steve and I had gone over to Cindy's house after our morning's errands, so he just relaxed with a book while Cindy and I registered her on the Mary Kay "In Touch" website for consultants and filled out her order. Adding my Red Jacket recruiter commission to my dad's purchase of some men's products, I had a nice business day! And mailing out my 15% off sale postcards this morning should produce some sales, too. I am trying to be the woman "diligent in her business" that Proverbs 22:29 commends.

Nurse Teresa, Jeremy and I started on our paperwork after my dad took his leave, and Steve began mowing the front lawn. I tend to just go along with what is happening to Steve's mind because the changes are so daily, and I observe the changes at close range. But when questions are asked about daily activities, and needs that the agency can fulfill, like cooking and housekeeping if needed, I'm forced to reflect on the current state of Steve's affliction. With his general confusion and utter lack of comprehension of what is going on, I am now recognizing that he is not going to improve, no matter what a medicine or supplement temporarily accomplishes. There's a lot of stress in needing to rush outside to prevent a mishap, or give pertinent directions, like how to water an avocado tree. Even a simple act of putting dirty laundry in the basket up in our bedroom and then, in a separate instruction, carrying that basket downstairs can become a fiasco. It's very difficult for me to walk upstairs with my back pain, but I have to anyway, if he cannot figure out what moving the clothes from the hamper to the laundry basket means. And so it goes all day.

I would so love to have someone else drive, too, because it hurts to turn my back and neck to steer out of a parking space. But chiropractor visits and grocery shopping have to be done. I would also enjoy a nap, but that could become difficult unless I know Steve is situated or busy with a project inside the house. There is a huge temptation to despair or become resentful of our situation, neither of which attitudes honor God, who in His providence has allowed physical and mental frailty to be part of the human experience. Putting our current trials into scriptural perspective, however, I remember I Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Jesus said, in Matthew 28:20,

...lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Many times, God does miraculously heal or solve an incredibly complicated problem, as He has graciously done for my friends, family and myself over my 30 years as a Christian, and undoubtedly for 29 years before that, even when I did not acknowledge Him. But not all trials are incidents or passing situations. In some trials, like the degenerative disease of Alzheimer's, the victim and his or her family are in for a very long season of difficulty and genuine suffering on many fronts--physical, emotional, professional, and financial. Fear and dread of the future quietly stalk each young adult who might inherit the disease, as they pray and donate to research for a cure. I am co-captaining an Alzheimer's walking team for an event in Rancho Cucamonga October 29. Steve's disease has progressed into the moderate stage, and all of his medications have not had the efficacy to stop it. But our children may see a day in the future that will be different!

Has God just abandoned the participants in this particular trial? Of course not! What He does provide is Himself, in the form of those who pray, and who act as His hands and feet, repairing our lawn equipment and sprinkler system; bringing meals as my injury makes it tough to cook and keep house; and even calling me from Arizona to see how I'm feeling! Above all, the comfort and peace the Holy Spirit gives me through scripture and directly to my heart strengthen me daily, hourly, even by the minute when I'm tempted to be discouraged.

Jesus Christ, shortly before He was crucified, warned and encouraged His disciples, and us, in John 16:33,

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

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