6 Weeks Ago Life Stopped

Six weeks ago today, everything changed. They always talk about how quickly your life can change but until you experience it, you can’t really appreciate what it’s like. We have our plans and schedules, but man proposed, but God disposes.

Steve had all this time off for the week between the 25th and New Year. So he was determined to make the best of it and be very productive. We had a mess up in our attic and SO MUCH to get rid of. So Monday, he started pulling stuff out of the attic. My big rec room upstairs was in really great shape and clean and organized, and we were planning a big New Years eve party, so I was a bit worried about filling the room up with junk, but we decided if we kept it organized and we just could keep the ping pong table cleared we would be ok. Tuesday evening I started in earnest going through what Steve was pulling out of the attic. We had a section for the adult kids to go through cause we were getting rid of a TON of stuff. I was going through memory boxes and finding the kids’ first haircuts in baggies and little notes they had written. I was sending pictures to the family group chat we have.

We finished up for the night and came downstairs tired and dirty. Never did I guess that 6 weeks later everything would still be where I had left it. We had family worship and started to wind down for the night. I thought we were finished, so I went into the bedroom to begin relaxing; unbeknownst to me Steve decided to head up to the attic to go through a few more boxes because he got a second wind. So I was on the other side of the house when he fell.

A little backstory: Ever since we moved into the house, Steve has been VERY worried about the attic trap door that drops down the stairs into the garage when deployed. He has been so concerned about one of the kids falling through there that he had even put a special block with a 3″ deck screw as extra security. But every single one of man’s steps are truly ordered by the Lord. He was admiring some beautiful woodwork in a box and stepped right through the closed trap door, and it deployed under him.

He has been having flashbacks that bring him to tears. The thoughts that went through his head, the wind rushing past him in a free fall 10-12 feet, and the indescribable pain as he hit. But then he also weeps when he thinks of the intense nearness to the Lord he immediately felt as he gut-wrenchingly cried out to him in his agony. He has never felt the Lord so near, never felt such intimacy than at that moment. It’s horrifically beautiful when he describes it to me.

I didn’t hear anything, but Emily was up in her room and did. She ran to look down from the attic and thought her daddy was dead. She ran down to me, and then we all went running out to the garage where Steve was laying on the concrete floor.

I called my parents who live next door. It was obvious we needed to call 911 but Steve didn’t want to initially. He thought after the initial wave that things might pass and he might be ok. But, he knew when he couldn’t get his leg to respond at all that he had to go in.

After that, well, you know the rest of the story. The Lord’s guiding hand upon every step, the tender care, and excellent nursing he received. The best dr. in this area carefully piecing him back together. The ups and downs, intense pain, and intense joys. The spiritual fruit and blessings overwhelmed us even through the hardest trial of our lives.

And it’s far from over. After the initial crisis, we are now in the long-term “new normal.” Life is perhaps busier than ever as we try to learn how to best manage and work within Steve’s handicapped condition. We have been told that it will be 12-18 months before he will walk normally again (and even then, he may always have a limp.) Lord willing, at the end of March or April, he can begin putting weight on his right side. Then regular therapy sessions will be needed.

As of today, Steve is very mobile and able quite skillfully to maneuver with his wheelchair, walker and he has quite a masterful hop. He is trying to do as much as he can independently, but of course, there is still a lot that I need to be doing. There are SOOO many things he did around the house that now fall to me or just don’t get done. I am learning how much of that I took for granted! Even the fact that now all the driving falls on me is new. Running all the errands, cleaning up the muddy driveway after the snow, making sure the fire is out, and the house is locked down for the night are just a few of the things.

Steve is on the last refill of his heavy pain meds, and then he will be needing to use over-the-counter meds only. He is doing very well with the weaning process. He came home on 90 oxy a day and now is down to 20. The pain is still pretty bad at times, but baby steps of healing are taking place. He doesn’t need an in-home nurse anymore, and he also doesn’t need therapy visits now until he can start putting weight on his right leg.

Here is a picture to show our “new normal.” Steve is up to working 6 hours a day now and wants to be able to get his own coffee in the morning, so we have a coffee station set up in our bathroom, complete with a tiny fridge for the milk or cream. Also, his desk is on wheels to roll his desk in front of the lift chair to work.

It has also been wonderful to be able to do some “normal” things. Steve has been able to go to a game of Matthews and also to Daniel’s last basketball home game of the year.

But, his greatest joy has been being back in the house of the Lord worshipping with his brethren. He has been able to go for the afternoon services on the last two Lord’s days. The love of his brothers and sisters and the welcome that he received caused him to weep with thankfulness to the Lord and joy. He has been knit so deeply to them all through this. And to be able to worship together was the refreshment to his soul that he had been longing for.

People have been asking when we will know if he needs further surgery to get a hip replacement. That is one of the areas where we are truly waiting on the Lord daily, because it may be a long time before we know that. It all has to do with whether the cartilage lives or dies. This won’t really show up for many months. The Bible talks about preparing the horse for battle but safely is of the Lord. We are doing all we can to prepare the horse for battle. We are doing tons of supplements, using homeopathic, and even doing cold laser therapy targeted at his pelvis at our chiropractor twice a week. But, ultimately, prayer is what is most needed.

People have also asked how I am doing. I feel bad talking at all about me because compared to what my husband is going through, my difficulties are nothing. But, it weighs on me all the many needs right now. Balancing it all is not easy. Life is busier than ever between my regular mom duties, picking up the slack of all the things Steve usually does, caring for my dear husband, going to appointments with him, and trying to keep up my virtual assistant work. My mom is still my right hand, and the meals are still SUCH a blessing. My sweet neighbor has picked up the homeschool math for us, and I must say I am in love with Drive Thru History right now. But it’s the mental load that hardest for me right now. I need to remember daily to cast my cares upon Him. Like Elizabeth Elliot “Trust God and do the next thing.” Instead of getting stressed paralyzed by the amount of laundry or the fact that my porch hasn’t been cleaned up since the snow several weeks ago and still has mud and boots all over, I need to magnify my mercies and see that my husband is alive, the sun is shining, and my God reigns. So what if my house has winter decorations and still partly fall decor that was never taken down. 😂 My cup overflows with blessings!

So here are a few specific prayer requests:

~Steve’s continued pain management. Please pray he can completely wean off the oxy and manage his continued pain through over-the-counter meds.

~Sleep for Steve. He is having trouble getting to sleep and if he does get to sleep he wakes in the middle of the night wide awake. Last night was really rough.

~Healthy healing for the bones and that the cartilage will thrive

~Long term patience for the long recovery process

~Our two youngest who we are seeing are processing this in different ways. Even now several weeks later we can see how it has affected them quite strongly.

~My mental and physical strength and for me to magnify my mercies every day rather than be overwhelmed. “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” It’s that feeling of having everything under control that my flesh loves and wants to always have to relax. Where I need to be able to rest and be ok with it not all under control.

I have tried to answer back those who have sent us lovely encouragement notes and texts, but I know I have missed many. I have tried to thank those who have sent meals, but I know some have fallen through the cracks. Please know that every. single. bit. of. help….has been appreciated perhaps more than you know. You have cooked fabulous meals, sent scriptures prayed, and prayed. You have given rides when needed, sent gifts, provided supplements, sent us secret financial help and filled in the gaps in so many ways and we are eternally grateful. We receive it all from the Lord.

“If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for He will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for He has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ’s side, and if the wind is now in His face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke. The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You cannot sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into His image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect Your image in us and make us fit for glory!

We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory. As we look back to our pains and suffering, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night’s welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let Him bear all. He can, He does, and He will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, He comes with Himself. “Have courage, I am your salvation!” Welcome, welcome Jesus!”

― Samuel Rutherford

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