The nutritionist stopped in Wednesday afternoon to talk with Carol and me about diet and eating habits. She talked about foods for a healthy lifestyle and which ones contribution to regrowing and strengthening bones. In the protein family, she emphasized peanuts and especially peanut butter. I asked, “Does that include Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?” “I can’t say it doesn’t exclude them,” was her response. Now, I have a professional’s permission to finish my care package. 😉
The hard work of healing is my task right now. God has set me aside and given me an enforced season of sabbatical where my sole responsibility is simply to get stronger and healthier.
The adventure began 10 days ago on Monday, November 6, when I was putting Christmas lights on our house. Having done it so many times in the rain, snow, and cold, I take advantage of any decent weather in early November to get them up. I wait to turn them on until after Thanksgiving Day, but they are ready to go.
The weather that day was gray and 60 degrees. I was three-fourths of the way through the task. I had already been up and down the extension ladder several times putting lights along the roof line of our 2-story house. I was now using a 6-foot step ladder to place lights under the eaves on the first story. With the ground being uneven, there were a couple of options of how to place the ladder. Hindsight says I chose the wrong option, but it was one I’ve used several times previously without incident. What happened next was simply a fluke.
The ladder started to roll and me with it. My right hip landed on the ladder and my right leg was caught up in the ladder. I had to roll off the ladder and extract from leg from the ladder itself. When I wasn’t able to move my foot, I knew I had either broken the leg or dislocated my hip.
As I lay on the ground, our next door neighbor came running up asking, “Do you need an ambulance?” I said, “Yes,” and he called 9-1-1. The ambulance arrived a few minutes later along with EMS and one or two police cruisers. While I was in the ambulance, Rick Cody, one of FCBC’s attenders poked his head in the door and asked if I needed any help. I asked him to contact the church so they could let Carol know. One of the officers put the ladders in the garage, closed the door, grabbed my wallet and keys from the house, and locked the door. We were now on our way to Bay State Hospital.
When I arrived at ER at Bay State, I was met by Jack Gilbert, First Central’s Minister of Adults and Outreach, and Pat Warner, part of the security team at Bay State, and husband to one of FCBC’s admin assistants.
During the afternoon, I was taken for X-rays. Two of the ER nurses said the break was “impressive.” Medically speaking, I suffered an “intertrochanteric reverse oblique” break. The femur is broken in two places near the hip. If you say, he broke his leg, or if you say, he broke his hip, both are correct.
I checked into a room late Monday for surgery on Tuesday. Everywhere I went I was known as the guy putting up Christmas lights.
Surgery was Tuesday morning and rehab on Wednesday. When I almost passed out moving from the bed to the chair, they pushed it back a day. By Thursday, it was determined I needed to go to a rehabilitation center before going home.
Friday morning, I was transferred to Mary’s Meadow, a five-star rehabilitation facility in Holyoke. The staff, care, attention to detail, food, etc., is top shelf. I’m fortunate to be here. I am being retrained how to walk, sit, dress, climb stairs, and take care of bodily functions. All of this is needed to make sure I am safe when I go home. Today, I was declared “independent” meaning I can walk to meals, bathroom, etc., without an escort or attendant. The tentative plan is to be discharged on Monday. An in-home therapist will continue the process.
Carol and I were supposed to go to SoCal to visit family over Thanksgiving weekend. Since I can’t travel, Amanda & Phillip decided to come here. When I heard the news, I broke down and sobbed. I didn’t realize how discouraged I had become and how much I needed the support of others.
I’m told I’m in for a six-month process. The focus of the first three months is health and healing. The focus of the second three months is getting stronger and back to normal.
I am extremely grateful I am part of the body of Christ at First Central Bible Church. I am grateful for Jack Gilbert picking up the preaching load while I’m on the Disabled List. I am thankful for Robin Dolbow and all she does for our children’s ministries. Her care package of Reese’s Peanut Cups and popcorn was appreciated. Thanks go to Robin Warner for giving Pat a head’s up and for her popcorn gifts as well. Thanks as well to Doug & Nancy McVeigh for their visit and care package. I appreciate the cards made by the Awana children and youth group. I deeply appreciate all who stopped by to visit, sent cards, care packages, and especially all who prayed.
Words fall short of thanking my wife, Carol, for her love, care, and support. I felt so bad because the one thing she wanted for her birthday was to go to CA, and I messed it all up. But her love continues strong. She has also gone above and beyond being a Sherpa bringing the various things I’ve asked for. While we committed to love and honor during sickness and health almost 37 years ago, going through surgery and rehab certainly pushed that to a new level of commitment. I love you, babe.
Most of all, I am grateful to Jesus Christ. He protected me and brought help at the right time. He continues to remind me of Scripture and truth to encourage and build me up. The fact he brought another trial into my life says that he is not finished with me yet and continues to shape my heart.
Despite my pain and discomfort, I am grateful. God is to be praised.
Book Review: Never Look At the Empty Seats: A Memoir, by Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016, shortly before his eightieth birthday. In this memoir, Charlie shares his story from growing up in North Carolina in the late 1930’s and 1940’s to becoming a self-taught guitar, mandolin, and fiddle player. He describes the people who mentored him and help him grow as a person, musician, and performer. He also shares some personal photographs during different eras of his life.
Three-fourths of the book describe his personal, musical, and professional journey. The remainder of the book shares his faith journey, including a clear presentation of the gospel, his non-politically correct thoughts on issues of the day, and his induction into the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The book is not flashy or a literary masterpiece. Instead, it is a plain-spoken, heartfelt reflection on one man’s journey and the people who helped him make it. I found it to be insightful and encouraging.
While I am not a musician, I am a performer of a different sort as a pastor. Consequently, I found one of his life lessons to be extremely encouraging and helpful.
One of life’s most important lessons I’ve learned, as it relates to the path I’ve chosen, is like the old song says, “accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative.”
Walk onstage with a positive attitude. Your troubles are your own and are not included in the ticket price.
Some nights you have more to give than others, but put it all out there every show.
You’re concerned with the people who showed up, not the ones who didn’t. So always give them a show, and never look at the empty seats.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
My favorite theologian, Calvin & Hobbes, explained why I fell last week.
- I didn’t stick the landing
- I wasn’t wearing my “prepared for anything” helmet and cape (which some good friends gave me years ago.) Seems I need to find and unpack it.) 😉
Thank you Dave and Gary & Tricia for adding humor to my life.
The congregation of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, voted today on our building renovation proposal. (I used an absentee ballot since I’m laid up in the rehab center.) The vote was 92-12 in favor of the proposal. I had been praying that it would be decisive one way or the other. God certainly made it so. Now we move forward.