My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.James 1:3
I’m amazed as I lay here in my hospital bed that I’ve been in hospital so long. I’m rapidly approaching six months and it looks like it will be almost seven months before I’ll be discharged. If anyone had told me as I left my house on August 9th that I’d spend seven months in hospital, I’d have said they were crazy, but here I am.
I’ve gone through various stages while I’ve been here. From the near death experience in ICU (no I didn’t see bright lights or dead relatives) to my current state where I look perfectly healthy, but my legs just don’t want to heal properly. I can stand and walk using a walker as long as I have someone to catch me if I begin to fall. Learning to walk when I was about a year and a half old was difficult, but the fall to the ground was much less. My 6’5” frame has a great distance to fall, and that fall would probably result in some injuries.
I was paralyzed throughout my whole body below my neck, and that was difficult to deal with. But eventually my arms, hands, and fingers recovered and that gave me an a way to communicate with the world again. But that was over three months ago and I expected my legs to follow, but they didn’t. I’ve been navigating around in a wheelchair for most of that three months and that’s resulted in my arms being stronger than they’ve ever been, and doing some weight training and endurance exercises in physio therapy has helped that also.
But my legs just don’t want to heal. I’ve been told that I have extremely long legs and especially a long femur. Just recently I’ve begun standing at my bedside using a walker and a unit assistant. Every time I do this with a new person they’re amazed at how tall I am. These people have known me for almost three months, and while they know I’m tall from the way they struggled to find me a suitable bed, seeing me stand really shows the height better.
So I lay here struggling to stand, but I have other struggles also. I struggle with the fact that a perfectly healthy person can be stricken with this type of illness so quickly without warning and as far as my doctors can tell, without any underlying cause. Throughout my stay I’ve struggled to communicate, especially when I had my tracheotomy, and was struggling to tell the nurses about pain, or being too hot or too cold. I’ve struggled to express my feelings to my wife and family. I’ve struggled to let go of worries about things I have no control over. And I’ve even struggled to find subjects for my blog postings.
But through it all the one thing that I’ve never struggled with is my commitment to continued to follow God and openly express that I’m His child. Everyone I encounter knows of this commitment especially if they enter my room. I have a painting that my wife painted that expresses “My God is an awesome God”, along with two bible verses: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13 and “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes 5:16-18. Without these beautiful verses, I’m not sure that I could continue to get through each day.
When I’m eventually discharged from hospital, hopefully at the end of February, I’ll will still have many struggles ahead. I’ll need to learn to drive again, to climb stairs, to walk without assistance, and so many things that we all take for granted. As a healthy person I never realized how hard life can be. I just accepted that things would continue as normal. But God has a way of humbling us with trials to test our resolve.
As I said, my faith never wavered and as I lay in bed, unable to talk or move, the one constant was my ability to talk to God. He gave me the strength to continue and to overcome when I was really down. I trust Him and believe that things happen for a reason. As I’ve stated previously, I want to bring one person to God, and maybe my stay in hospital has accomplished that. And therefore my struggle is worthwhile.