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Category Archives: Health

I remember standing on the bridge with the barrel of grass clippings in my hands and the next thing I know I’m laying on my back in the dry creek struggling to get my breath, moaning, and wondering what happened. Fortunately, my neighbors heard my moans and cries for help and saved the day. It was almost dark and would have been a long cold night in the creek. Sherri was out of town for the weekend. Now, over four months later, I am back to work, doing relatively well healing from five fractured vertebrae and two broken ribs. My back hurts most of the time but not nearly as bad as the weeks immediately following the accident.

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Granddaughter Harper making all things better!

What have I learned?

I’ve learned that I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams with hundreds of friends who have faithfully prayed for me. My gracious neighbor Rusty has mowed my yard several times. Lots of folks brought food, chocolate shakes, and sent hundreds of words of encouragement and love. The five other couples in our prayer group have led the way praying for me constantly. The incredible Edmond Police Department has “had my six” from the start. First on the scene was officer Nate Fountain who not only escorted the ambulance to the hospital but also stuck by my family for the rest of the night. Other officers have checked on me several times everyday. It is a great honor to serve these amazing men and women as their chaplain.

I have learned that patience is required to heal properly. I want things to move along so much faster than they actually do. God has a purpose in moving me through the healing process day after day, seeing gradual improvement and finding encouragement each day.

I have realized God’s protection sometimes involves tragedy at some level. He uses physical pain and suffering to teach us his ways and how to truly trust him for the outcome. I know I could just have easily been paralyzed, had a horrible traumatic brain injury, or I could have died.

I have amazing clients who have faithfully continued to support me and take part in my recuperation. As I returned to work, their interest, patience, and continued compensation, all provided constant encouragement and blessed me beyond words.

Thank you…

  • The many who prayed for my healing.
  • Sherri, who has been so totally faithful and helpful these past months.
  • Those who supported Sherri in those first few weeks after my fall.   I’m not a good patient.
  • The incredible hospital nurses who took care of me for ten days.
  • My favorite people who brought me food to eat!
  • The cops who dropped by to help, talk, and brought chocolate shakes.
  • My family who showed so much concern during my recuperation.
  • My clients who continued to pay me as I healed.
  • The employees I chaplain who called, wrote, visited, and prayed for me.
  • My Panera Church buddies who prayed.
  • Mike, Sherman, Matthew, Michael, and Larry who stayed with me at the hospital and helped me move!
  • My orthopedic physician who watched me carefully and provided great care.
  • Krista, who aggressively led the way in my recovery turnaround.
  • My chiropractor, who just in recent weeks has had a hand in relieving so much pain.

 

Now, a little over four months from the Friday evening I fell off that bridge, I am much better. I am working everyday, working out three times weekly, am 26 pounds lighter, gradually taking on more physical tasks at home and in the yard, and finally getting peaceful sleep.

My advice to you is never fall off a bridge and fracture five vertebrae and break two ribs! Seriously, always take care of those you see are in need. Your provision and help may be exactly what they need at the time. Above all else, pray for those you know who are in need. Never be hesitant to ask God to heal. And finally, expect God to use you when you make yourself available to Him. People have made a difference in my life in the last four months no matter what they did for me!

“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.” Psalm 138:3 NLT

 

I have enjoyed success most of my life. Failure never seems to set me back very much and quickly turns positive for a variety of reasons. Hardship consists of things not going as planned, which does not mean things do not go well. I live a blessed life, full of close friends, great relationships, a wonderful wife, kids who love me and now, granddaughters who are just perfect. My health never holds me back and I enjoy a variety of activities that keep me moving. I exercise by working in my garden and yard. I walk with my wife and have a job that keeps me on my feet most of the day. A lot of people would choose my life over their own.

Life became more challenging the first week of October 2014, when I noticed a slight tremor in a muscle on top of my left hand.  It became more pronounced over the next couple of months to the point that I went to a neurologist in February 2015.  She diagnosed it as something called Essential Tremor.  That struck me as odd because I did not see much about it that was essential!  Over the next year I watched the tremor become more and more pronounced.  Last February, my doctor finally diagnosed my condition as Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a long-term disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. The symptoms generally come on slowly over time. Early in the disease, the most obvious are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking. Thinking and behavioral problems may also occur. Dementia becomes common in the advanced stages of the disease. Depression and anxiety are also common, along with sensory, sleep, and emotional problems. (Wikipedia)

I have a tremor in my left hand.  I have a slight tremor in my left foot that I can feel but cannot see.  I have some slight balance issues and shuffle my feet a little more than I used to.  My vision is presenting some bothersome challenges and my handwriting is getting smaller.

Having said that, I am doing really well.  I am on medication to deal with the tremors.  I have adjusted my diet and try to exercise and stay active.  Nothing has changed really.  I’m still doing everything I want to do.  However, I stay off ladders and am more careful than I used to be.  I am still working full-time and at the age of 63 I have no plans to slow down as retirement age nears.  My doctor has said she sees no reason why I cannot plan on working many more years.

Professor and theologian Wayne Grudem also has Parkinson’s disease. He says, “Parkinson’s usually does not shorten a person’s life expectancy very much, but in any case, I’m happy to live as long as the Lord wills that I live, and to keep on being productive for as long as he enables me to do so.”

Dr. Grudem quotes Psalm 139:16, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

I truly believe that God doesn’t waste anything in our lives and has a purpose in allowing the challenging issues with which we have to deal.  The apostle Paul had to deal with something in his life he referred to as a thorn in his flesh.

2 Corinthians 2:7b-10 NLT says, “7b …So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Dr. Grudem shares his thoughts regarding Paul’s thorn in his flesh. “After some study of 2 Corinthians 12:7, my own conclusion at this point is that there is not enough information in the text to decide what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. There are reasons that can be given in support of all three main possibilities: (1) a physical ailment of some kind; (2) a demon that was harassing him; or, (3) Jewish persecutors. The fact that we are unable to decide conclusively has some benefits, however: it means that we can apply this text to all of these kinds of situations in our own lives, when the Lord in his sovereign wisdom decides not to remove them from us.”

Dr. Grudem continues, “Whatever Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ was (and centuries of work by Bible-believing interpreters have failed to turn up a definitive answer), Paul realized that God allowed it to remain with him “to keep me from exalting myself.” (2 Corinthians 12:7), that is, to keep Paul humble before the Lord. So the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).”

I am choosing to look at my Parkinson’s disease as my thorn. It will serve as a constant reminder to keep my mind and life focused on the things of God. It will remind me how blessed a life I have had so far. It will remind me that God’s grace is indeed sufficient and, in God’s power, I am made perfect in my weakness.

For some reason God wants to use Parkinson’s disease to make a difference in my life and the lives of others.  I have already used the condition of my health in conversations with employees I chaplain who are struggling with other health issues.  Parkinson’s disease is something in my life that I have accepted and intend to use as a blessing.

Pray for me.  Don’t hesitate to ask God to heal me.  But also pray that God uses this disease in my life in a mighty way.  Thank you in advance for your prayers.