March 14, 2018. The last date I wrote on this site. Three days earlier my husband began experiencing a sudden onset of extreme fatigue. Mistakenly diagnosed as a virus, he continued to become weaker. Two days later, physically helpless, he was transported by ambulance to the hospital. Only in re-reading the doctors’ description of his condition upon admittance is the severity of the situation revealed: acute respiratory failure with hypoxia, bacteremia, acute cystitis, acute kidney injury, thrombocytopenia, chronic diastolic congestive heart failure…
In some yet undetected way, the bacteria enterococcus had entered the bloodstream and with each pump of the heart, flushed to every part of the body. Quick intervention over the course of a week’s hospital stay, three weeks in extended care with daily physical and occupational therapy, and a total of six weeks’ intravenous antibiotic infusion bring us to today where he has progressed from being unable to stand upright to almost daily one-mile walks in our neighborhood with hiking poles.
We have trod a rocky road over these weeks. A wheelchair was Bob’s first means of transport, then a few halting steps with a walker, and now only a cane for balance. Thinking processes have moved from murky at best to reading, study and the anticipated soon return to the full ministry of mentoring younger Global Aid Network staff.
While family and friends greatly contributed to our journey with prayer, meals, visits and more, we essentially walked the path alone. Such is true for all who tread similar lanes. No one else—no matter how much they love and care—can enter the recesses of the mind and heart where questions, indecision, worry reside alongside trust and hope. After twelve-hour days at the hospital and rehabilitation facility with Bob, my mind found it almost impossible to rest in the dark midnight hours. Sleeplessness cannot always be remedied with pills or herbal tea, but eventually words of a hymn, remembered from childhood, would bring comfort:
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Or I would envision the protective wings of a mother bird:
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child…
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever…
Rocky roads are inevitable for The Perennial Woman. Detours, bright orange watch-out-for-danger cones, yield, stop, do-not-enter signs often bring confusion, frustration and inescapable questions. But daily I must—often only by faith—return to the sure Word from a loving Father: in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths (“we recognize he is God, and we accept his authority”—Dallas Willard); walk by faith not by sight; walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you that you may live; run with endurance the race that is set before you; this is the way, walk in it…
And so I keep walking…