How I Spent My Summer

It has been so long since I have written anything of substance that perhaps I should give a bit of an overview of what I have been up to. This has been a difficult summer in the Brown house. Strokeman has been plagued with many an ailment which resulted in visits to various doctors and testing facilities. Basically what we found out was a huge amount of nothing. The rash on his limbs is a vague contact allergy of which we hope to find the source after more testing. I have my suspicions that he might be “allergic” to too much contact with the bed, but I am not hopeful that this will show up on a patch test. Meanwhile, he is on a round of steroids to keep him from clawing himself.

The pain in his side is probably Irritable Bowel Syndrome that is presently being kept tolerable by medication. He watches the clock to inform me when the next dose is due (not all that effectively as he often misses the first digit, causing him to proclaim at 12:00 that it is 2:00). He has taken to not walking at all, other than to the bathroom and back.

Because of his discomfort, nights have been pretty rough. If it isn’t him shaking the bed rubbing his right arm against the sheet for relief from the itching, it’s his left leg jerking involuntarily for no apparent reason. Or there might be another round of perpetual hiccups caused by the anti-itch medicine. Then there is the insomnia, which results in his turning on the TV at odd hours and wanting to make a breakfast order at 4:00am.

Beyond the complications to life here at home have been grief and trials of loved ones that are just beyond comprehension. The weight of these things on my heart and the frustration that I am not at liberty to do anything to help beyond lending a sympathetic ear and praying for them has taken its toll.

Needless to say, I have not been at my best. In fact I became so depleted that I started having weird symptoms that precipitated my being driven to the ER by my daughter while I sobbed uncontrollably (I’m fine). Not exactly the way I would recommend a caregiver to conduct her life. It would have been better if I had been a little more proactive about taking care of my own body. I am surrounded by people who want to help me, but I could not even think of what to ask for.

The varying health issues had Strokeman contemplating worst-case scenarios. We have had discussions of life insurance, burial plots, nursing homes (“please just put me down before you put me in a nursing home”), etc. He has thanked me for his children and given me permission to remarry when he passes on. As bothersome as his symptoms are, it seems that none of these scenarios are in our near future.

Once again, my church family has rallied around me to offer meals, clean my house, encourage me and pray for me. My youngest son sent me away for an entire day while he cared for his dad. When I came home at 5:00, he told me it was too early and sent me away again. My designated deacon admonished me to set up regular sitter service again so that I can get away for some respite, and that it is ok to let my church family help me pay for it. I lamented to my sister how hard it is to accept this kind of help and she reminded me of my own words about being the stinky feet (you can read it here). Just like a sister.

In the midst of the various medical appointments, I have also compiled various and sundry financial documents to establish a formal relationship with a financial planner. I used this opportunity to bring order to chaos by setting up a proper filing system. I also have been dealing with a mistake made on my 2012 income tax form, a broken toilet, sugar ants and crickets in the house.

For the moment, we are on smoother water, so long as we don’t run out of pain pills or steroid cream. We are up to 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep at least once a night. I am working towards finding a sitter to come twice a month for 6-8 hours (hopefully one of those days will be a Sunday, so I can spend the day with my church family). I can tell I feel better, because I have enjoyed time in the kitchen doing more than the bare minimum, and had energy left to actually clean up after myself. I have even broken out in a dance a few times. But many of the habits I had – regular reading and writing to name a few- have to be re-established. So bear with me as I bring order to the mayhem over here. I will be back eventually.

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14 Responses to How I Spent My Summer

  1. Glad to see you back at this! Glad to know your sister reminded you of being the stinky feet! I’m constantly encouraged by your example that my hope isn’t here on earth, nor in the peace and calm I enjoy in my life. I’m constantly encouraged by your example to love my church family and care for them. Love you lots!

  2. Nancy Carnes says:

    Now I know how Jim’s notes on Romans came back to us. Just in case he forgets to tell you, your sending them to him and your comments encouraged him greatly. As always, you are an encouragement to me, especially as we walk through some discouraging times here.

    • Yes, I found them among the many things I have kept over the years. I found many letters, too, and threw them away – a decision I have regretted ever since. The two of you have had such a deep and lasting impact on my life, I could never express it. Sorry to hear you are going through discouraging times. It is the nature of this life, I am afraid.

  3. christina says:

    I’m sorry. I have been wondering what came of the ab sono test. Glad it’s not more serious. May the Lord bring longer amounts of regular sleep, calm skin that doesn’t itch, and the right sitter to serve your family. Please forgive my lack of follow-up. Love you! (And glad you got to see my sis!)

  4. There is nothing to forgive, dear sister. You have your hands full enough. We are still in the hands of a loving Savior, so all is well. I did enjoy seeing your sister. She is a delight. Love you too!

  5. WriteFitz says:

    Oh Deanna! I just want to hug you and make everything better. Instead, I shall keep you close in my prayers. Glad things are smoothing out a bit. Love you and hope to see you Thursday!

  6. “I am surrounded by people who want to help me, but I could not even think of what to ask for.” That’s one of the best descriptions of care giving I’ve read. Life gets turned so inside out that it is like living on another planet – all the reference points are gone.

    Your church family sounds awesome – glad that the Lord has blessed you with them (and, in ways you might not always see, vice versa).

  7. lizzigroves says:

    It’s so hard for me not to ask you the generic, “how are you?” when I see you. There’s no way you could respond with all of this. Please know I so want to understand, pray and support you as much as I am able. I love you and miss our silly ReRun days. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles with us.

    • You have my permission to ask the generic, ‘how are you?’ It’s a place to start. I will be as honest as I can be at the moment you ask, and you will be able to tell by how quickly my eyes overflow how bad the day is. I miss those days at ReRun as well, and am sometimes put to shame by the amount of complaining I did about my life back then. I am blessed by your love and friendship, even though we don’t get to spend much time together anymore. Live comes in seasons, and we may yet get another one to share.

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