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Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 63:7’

 

The call came at 5:34 a.m., waking Steve and me from sound sleep. Immediately he thought, This is it. My brain hardly registered a phone ringing.

Within moments, however, my body was in high gear, preparing to leave for the hospital. This day—December 19, 2018—Steve would receive a new liver, the only long-term solution for his liver cancer, caused by non-alcoholic cirrhosis. He had been on the transplant wait list for six months.

That predawn phone call became Miracle #1 out of at least twelve over the next two weeks. Steve’s name had only been moved to the top-tier twelve days prior.  (Some patients must wait a year or more.)

Upon arriving at the hospital, Steve underwent two-hours of surgery prep. And then we waited, and waited some more, until the orderlies finally came and wheeled him away.

Miracle #2: Much of the day I waited alone, although Hilja (our daughter-in-law and a physician at the same hospital) sat with me as she could, especially in the evening. But God’s peace that transcends all understanding absolutely guarded my heart and mind the entire time.  I knew all would be well.

 

 

Miracle #3: The first hours in ICU are critical for any patient. God chose a special nurse to care for Steve, one that a colleague had highly praised to Hilja. In addition, Steve was her only patient for about six hours.

Miracle #4: Hilja insisted on spending the night in ICU. As Steve’s blood pressure and some bleeding became an issue, she was there as an extra set of eyes and ears, ready to advocate on his behalf. (Her expertise and support have been invaluable for the entire nine months since Steve’s diagnosis. She’s even attended some appointments with us.)

Miracle #5: The next day, the breathing tube was removed, and Steve was able to sit up in bed. His voice sounded raspy, but he wasn’t groggy, and soon Steve was joking with the nurses, Scot and Mac (What delightful, attentive young men!). By afternoon, they had Steve walking around the nurse’s station. His progress toward healing amazed us all.

 

 

On Day 3, Steve was transferred to the step-down unit where Laura and Katie took over his care. Again, such kind, helpful nurses. In fact, we’ve been highly impressed by the expertise and compassion of the staff at University of Cincinnati Hospital.

Steve continued to make rapid progress, sitting up in a chair for longer stretches of time, circling more laps around the unit each time he walked.

An added blessing those first few days: a young mom from our church babysat for our granddaughters so our son Eric could run errands and visit Steve.

Pastor Michael came to see Steve that day, stopping short upon entering the room. “This is not what I was expecting!” he cried. Although Steve was in bed, he was sitting up, looking perfectly healthy and alert.

 

 

 

On Saturday, Hilja, Elena (our five-year old granddaughter), and I were supposed to attend The Nutcracker. I expected to miss the performance, with Steve only three days post-op.

But because he was recuperating so well, because Laura and Katie were taking such good care of him, and because Eric could keep Steve company for part of the time, I felt confident all would be well in my absence.

Eric was even allowed to bring Maarit, our almost two-year old granddaughter, with the understanding that hugging, kissing, and sitting on Papa’s lap would be forbidden. That was okay by Maarit. Papa’s walker provided great fun.

Meanwhile, we three girls enjoyed the ballet performance—glorious moments of respite.  (God knew I’d be ready to lose myself in the Land of Sweets!)

 

 

Miracle #6: Steve was released the afternoon of the 24th, just five days after surgery.   Christmas Day we reveled in the granddaughters’ gift-opening at our home—not at the hospital.

Miracle #7: Our younger son and his wife arrived the 26th, our daughter and older granddaughter flew in on the 27th. They had all planned to visit anyway, but what perfect timing God supplied! For ten days they provided gracious help.

Miracle #8: Insurance is covering a visiting nurse on Thursday, so we only have to go to the hospital for post-op check-ups once a week.

Miracle #9: Steve has experienced very little pain. Within twelve days he was taking only Tylenol at bedtime. Now he’s not even taking that.

Miracle #10: The discomfort of acute swelling caused the most trouble after returning home. The doctor told us the edema could take up to three weeks to resolve, but within one week it was much improved.

 

 

Miracle #11: Transplant patients almost always require insulin until the medications that raise blood sugar can be reduced. Steve’s insulin dosage has already been lowered, and only several times has he needed extra insulin beyond the once-daily dose.

Miracle#12: The huge outpouring of love, support, and prayer throughout this entire process have contributed greatly to Steve’s healing.  Many of you reading this post are part of this miracle.

At Tuesday’s post-op check-up we were told his platelet and white blood cell counts are continuing to rise. “Your new liver is happy!” exclaimed the physician’s assistant.

Needless to say, so are we.

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Just these past three weeks, O God, You have done such great things for us! “Our hearts brim with joy.” Now may your unfailing love rest upon us, even as we put our hope for the future in you.

 (Psalm 126:3; 33:21a MSG; 33:22)

 

(Nutcracker image from http://www.flickr.com.)

 

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(John and me in our second home, 1957)

 

If I close my eyes, I can still see the various rooms of my three childhood homes in northern Illinois, but especially the one we moved to when I was ten–the one in which my parents still lived when Steve and I were married.

With great fondness, I remember reading in the box elder tree behind the house, playing Hotbox with Dad and my brother, watching television with a big bowl of popcorn on my lap, and the four of us eating dinner in the cozy banquette Dad built in the kitchen.

In all kinds of weather John and I walked or rode our bikes to school.  Before the bell rang each morning, one teacher supervised the entire student body of 400+ children as we arrived and played on the playground.  We learned Christmas carols in school and no one complained.

When not in school, John and I were out and about in the neighborhood, playing with the other kids, building snowmen and snow forts, riding our bikes to friends’ homes, to the library, and (in the summertime) to the pool.

I have to admit: my thick, rose-colored glasses cast a utopian hue upon those days. A person reaches a certain age and suddenly the decades of one’s youth become “the good old days”—far superior to the present.

 

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(1959)

 

After all, how many families today sit down together for dinner—with no television, ipads or phones interfering with conversation? What children can enjoy the freedom of riding their bikes clear across town without supervision? Where is there a public school that teaches children Christmas carols?

Times have changed.

To be honest, however, it’s doubtful those days of my youth were actually better.

It’s just my selective memory choosing the tranquil, happy moments. Overlooked are the arguments with my brother (and the teasing I did, for which I still feel deep regret!), those times Mom and Dad were being terribly strict or unfair (in my opinion), and the occasional upset at school or with friends.

I also have to remember:  the Greatest Generation that raised us Baby Boomers thought their good old days were far superior.

For example, in a book of Christmas literature we own, the editor wrote this intro for one selection: “This story is for those to whom the modern holiday season seems to get more glamorous and clamorous each year, but who still experience that old nostalgic feeling for the Christmas-time of a more quiet bygone era.” The year of publication? 1955.

Maybe we should put away our rose-colored glasses, unreliable as they are.

And yet, numerous scriptures encourage us to remember and rejoice in the good of the past—verses like these:

 

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  • “…Rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household” (Deuteronomy 26:11).
  • “Remember the wonderful works that He has done, His miracles…” (Psalm 105:5a).
  • “I will tell of the kindness of the Lord, the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all He has done for us” (Isaiah 63:7).

So are flights of nostalgia right or wrong?

It depends.

Constant longing for the past creates dissatisfaction in the present. That’s obviously not healthy.

But remembering God’s blessings of the past strengthens our faith and creates a deep longing for more of him in the present. That’s obviously a good thing!

You know what else would be a good thing? To savor today’s blessings and not wait till a decade from now to enjoy them.

 

(Photo credits:  Nancy Ruegg and http://www.pinterest.com.)

 

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