Tuesday, September 05, 2006


A few weeks ago the fair was in town. A steady stream of animal trailers slowed in front of our house so they could make they turn into the fair ground’s livestock entrance; the RVs and buses carrying cowboys and rodeo clowns paused as they negotiated the corner, and my kids stood in the yard soaking it up.

Brenda is a trooper. Even though she had a lot going on in her life (more about that in a moment) she took the time to go with us to the fair (My Fair Lady!).

First, it has been a stressful year for her (read the last 100 posts or so). We went on a road trip to Wyoming (a week together in the van can be a lot of fun, but... well at least the dog didn't get sprayed by a skunk this year). We got new floors in four rooms (and therefore felt the need to fix cabinets, fixtures, windows, and repaint).

She’s going to college, and this summer s she made the same mistake I made once. I took a nine week chemistry course in an accelerated 3.5 weeks, only she’s doing biology. She is maintaining her 4.0 GPA while washing clothes and dishes, cooking meals, and dealing with... family.

Her sister was staying with us with a teen daughter, and her other sister was having a baby. We went through wrapping up elements of Jeremiah’s informal probation.

The biggest issue is her father is in the hospital. He’s been there about three weeks and we have been worried.

He lives near Puerta Vallarta. He served in the Navy in the late 50s and so comes up to Portland to go to the V.A. hospital when he needs surgery. He needed surgery, and came up in March.

He argued, and threatened and pushed, and the doctors to work on him. They finally did, three weeks ago. They did bypass surgery for the arteries carrying blood to his legs. The operation was completely successful. His legs are getting enough blood now and he’s no longer in danger of losing them. In fact his feet are warm and pink and no longer tingle.

But he didn’t tell his doctors how much he drank. Three days after his operation he started having delirium tremens. He pulled out his IVs, and his catheter, and his stitches. So they restrained and sedated him.

He was so angry. He tried to fight them, bite them. Hs blood pressure shot up. He had a stroke.

We agreed to take him in, help his recovery. I asked you to pray.

So it has been nearly a week and I’m here to let you know where we are at, where he is at. (Even though I’m a trained English teacher, I find ending a sentence in a preposition satisfying sometimes, but I digress, which is also a comfortable thing to do sometimes, even when blogging.)

His stroke slurred his speech, his delusions increased. He had trouble remembering things, we worried.

And he started to get better. His speech improved. The slack side of his face began to tighten up a little. I tossed in a comment thanking you for your prayers and asked for patience.

His doctors told us his prognosis today. He has Alzheimer's, forgetting many things important to him. He has deliriums also, imaging things that do not exist. He cannot go home. He cannot stay in the hospital. A care facility will cost about $3,300 a month, which is apparently a bargain because of his VA benefits. Hmmm.

He has been a jerk for much of his life. He has been mean, and worse, to his wife. He has been self-centered, and opinionated to the point of exclusion of almost all other ideas.

Hey, I love him. Odd... He isn’t my father, but I still love him. I suppose love isn’t about blood or what someone has done for you. Hmmm. That was an obvious thing to say, coming from a man who has adopted three children and loves them more than his own life (now I’m talking about myself in the third person! I’m in a very strange mood today...).

Anyway, I love him and want to do what I can for him. He can’t stay here... He sees turtles under his bed and hummingbirds over it. And though he says that he owns the land the V.A. hospital sits on, that doesn’t mean he should be living in my home.

What I am more concerned about is his soul.

When I was visiting him yesterday I thought a lot about who he is. Though he hasn’t been the sort of person who loves others easily, I wonder if that can change.

I asked such a question of my friend and pastor.

“Do you think some people can’t be saved?”

“Oh no!” he said. “It’s never too late.”

He had an experience this past year, of praying and watching for someone close to him who rejected God throughout his life. And just before this person my friend loved died, he accepted the Lord.

He had kept putting it off because he felt he needed to change, to get his life in order, before he could go to God, go to church, before he could go to his knees.

My friend told him that he didn’t have to change at all. All he had to do was accept the gift that was being offered, salvation.

My friend told him that the changing would happen later.

And he’s right.

For this person who was so important to my friend the change came, a change of the heart. The change made him smile bright and often, for the short time he was still mortal.

My father in law can know that change too.


Jim said...

Hi CS. Well, right now 'there is no rest for the weary.'
We had a friend just die unsaved. It is so sad. There were a lot of things wrong here, but that wasn't an excuse for him.

Sometimes I end a sentence with a prepostion. I started doing it as a senior in high school to harass my young English teacher. She liked me so I got away with it.
Now I do it for my sister's sake, she does it a lot and blames it on her being a Midwesterner. Then sometimes I 'just do it,' or it can be for effect.

We are still praying.

jel said...

Morning CS,
I'm sorry to say that English wasn't my best subject in school,
as you can tell! :)

you do have quite a wife there,
may she grow in God's love ,

As for your father-in-law, it is never to late , to be saved, my Dad got saved just a few weeks before he die,

hung in there CS and Family

God bless

curious servant said...

Thanks, both of you. It was a strange post... It got almost silly in places. I think it's because I'm tired. School is starting up and there has been a lot of construction in the building, and of course it isn't nearly ready for the kids coming next week. I suppose we're just tired.

My mother in law is sleeping on the couch right now... I need to be quiet.

Next Monday is the 5th anniversary of 9/11 and I have a few words I wish to put together for that, as well as a video I made to express some thoughs about it.

Well, today is district inservice, a real high light of the year!

Vicki said...

Just stopping by to check on you and see how things are going. Please know that I'm praying, especially for your father-in-law's spiritual state. My own father got serious about the Lord on his deathbed. I'm not sure my mother ever did--but I could be mistaken.

David said...

Oh I so know what you are going through - finding care at a reasonable cost is just about impossible.

I wish and hope your FIL finds that salvation while he has the mind to do so.

Hang in there, you have almost made it through a tough year.

Squirrel said...

My father talked to my grandmother on her death bed and she accepted Christ's salvation. It is never too late.

Jada's Gigi said...

Yes, he can...my father supposedly "made things right with God" before the end...I don't really know...sometimes knowing the end is in sight is helpful..it doesn't really bother me, the not knowing...God is God and He can get to anybody so I know that He can certanly get to your FIL....I pray He does get through...I pray you find a solution to the care problem...seems life is just one trial after the other doesn't it? But God is in it and over it all....still praying, my brother...

Kathleen Marie said...

That is so right. I worked Hospice for years and it is never too late and you have to have hope, lots of hope as you never knows what goes through the mind at the very end. "The peace that surpasses all understanding..." is imperative.

Thanks for a thought provoking post and know that I am praying.

gracie said...

I'm not sure that we can ever know someone's heart enough to be able to say they 'died unsaved'. God looks at the heart and has been present at every point of choice in the life of each person, we cannot know what communication takes place between God and another person. We think we know what 'saved' looks like... I think the more important thing is to know what God looks like - and that is mercy, love and open arms. Trust that.
(not trying to freak out the fundamentalists but to encourage you to trust God with the ones you love - he loves them too.)

curious servant said...

These are all really good comments, and I am thankful for them.

I have more news!

I came home from work today and the doctors are saying that his delieriums have nearly disappeared and they believve he will not need to go into a nursing home after all. He will stay here for a couple of weeks (hmmm...) and then they will try to get him home to Mexico.

Wow! This didn't look possible!

He does not think he had delerium tremons, but admits that the alchol has been unhealthy for him. It's a start.

So things have changed again. First we thought the stroke was debilitating, but he has slowly recovered. We thought the delrium was too much for him to live normally again, but that has also improved (no more strange animals in his room, though he was still saying yesterday that he owned the property the hospital rests upon). He still has signs of alzheimer's but it isn't severe. though he feels alcohol did not cause the delierium, he admits that it may be a problem.

Thank you, all of you for your prayers!

Hope said...

There is a kind of Alzheimer's that is brought on by alcoholism. My husband worked in an Alzheimer's unit and saw it often. The saddest time was when his great aunt was a patient because of this particular kind of Alzheimers.

What a lot you have had on your plate. I pray for the strength for you and Brenda to be very gentle with one another. The stresses of life are enough without the added ones you have had this summer.

I pray this will have been the bottom for your f-i-l and he will get the help he needs for his drinking.

And I agreee with Gracie....we can never know the state of someone else's heart. Only God knows. That can be a comfort or an added stress. I coded once and was close to dying. I had this conversation with God when I regained consciousness and was too weak to speak audibly. Had I died no one would have known that conversation took place. That experience helps me remember that God alone knows the heart.

Fox's Mom said...

Gracie and Hope (very cool names:) are right, IMHO; and Faith teaches us a soul can reach out for a path Home even as her or her last breath is being spent. It is called The Wordless Prayer...What is prayer, if not the ultimate act of faith?

The alcoholic Alz' is called Korsakov's and is caused by lesions on the brain. There are a few meds available to mitigate the symptoms.

I'm glad to hear that your F-I-L is showing some improvement! BTW, do cardiac patients still get the meds that cause post-op hallucinations? Some of those are QUITE vivid.

God is with you, CS, Brenda, and beautiful sons; may He magnify His presence for your F-I-l, CS, that he finds living peace and his loved ones find comfort and strength in his reconcilliation.

Peace, Bianca

curious servant said...

Thanks for all the comments and prayers. I appreciate them.

Update: We have moved Jeremiah upstairs to share a room with Isaac. My father in Law is here now. A little argumentative, but we can manage.

Work is keeping me hopping. There is a lot to do between now and Monday when the kids start showing up. And there are a lot of new ideas about how we are doing things. Also, I am putting together a TV studio there so kids can make their own videos we can show at school and on local access TV.

I got a little frustrated at Brenda over a small thing, she got worried that I was mad.... Nothing big... just an indication of rising stress levels.

The boys are being troopers.


wilsonian said...

Your pen name here is so very apt. You are such a servant.

Praying for peace over your household... rivers of mercy and grace... enough rest for everyone... continued healing for everyone...

Thank you for your powerful example of what it is to apprentice under Christ.