Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ashamed of the Pain

I talk about my injury with people everywhere I go, and I hear this often: “You’re easy to talk to, but I don’t know what to say to most people in wheelchairs. They seem angry. How do you do so well?”

Honestly, I only do well sometimes. I have to face my enemies every day.


I had just accepted the unconditional love and forgiveness Jesus offers eight months before I drove through an intersection and under a logging truck.

After coming home from rehabilitation at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA, I felt worthless. I refused help from everyone but my family. I sat day after day, and year after year, with my eyes closed. Sometimes I was asleep, but mostly I was hiding.

I was ashamed of the pain I caused my family and friends. I prayed God would take me home. I can’t describe the depth of my pain, guilt, depression, and frustration of facing life dependent on other people.

Today I can tell you, “God is good!” He uses people like you every day of my life to bless and minister to me. A Sunday school teacher invited me to teach once a month. The church secretary asked me to write for the newsletter. Friends asked questions and I began telling what God was doing in my life.

Do I believe Gods will for me is healing? Yes. Does that mean complete healing of my earthly body? I don't know. I do know I’ll have a glorified body in heaven. Today I have continuous healing of my mind, body, soul, and spirit. I no longer live in guilt but in the joy of my Lord and Savior.

Through Jesus life, death and resurrection I have been made whole.

I pray my testimony blesses you. Though we may never meet here on earth, we are all sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus and heirs of the Kingdom of God.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV.)

In Christ,
Berta  

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Photo, A Dry and Barren Land, courtesy of iStock

Friday, May 29, 2015

If I Lived

You may have read this statement before:

“After my accident, January 1, 1991, I developed pneumonia and the doctor put me on a ventilator. He told Earl if I lived, I would be brain damaged, ventilator dependent and bedridden for life, and he was too young to be stuck with an invalid wife. Then, the doctor offered to let me die—comfortably.”

Earl remembered his wedding vows and had me transferred to Shepherd Spinal Center for rehabilitation.

Hospitalized with pneumonia eighteen years later, I lay in bed for thirteen days. Earl had me discharged. At home, he kept me to my normal daily routine.  I saw my doctor two weeks later and he said, “Do you know we couldn’t see your diaphragm on your x-ray when we sent you home? Today’s x-ray shows your lungs are clear. What did you do?”

Four years after that, I had three non-susceptible to known antibiotics bacteria in my pressure wound. I never heard a diagnoses but my infectious disease doctor wouldn’t deny it was osteomyelitis. I had a PICC line then a Groshong and Earl did three rounds of multiple hard-hitting IV antibiotics at home over three months.

I came to my senses in ICU before we finished the antibiotics. Admitted for “Changed Mental Status,” I was malnourished. [I don’t eat much.] The eighth day, Earl requested a feeding tube. It was placed in surgery. Then he asked my doctors to discharge me. A few hours later, I was home.

Four months passed and I was recovering well and doing active exercises to increase my strength. Suddenly I was back in the hospital with sepsis. Day five started well with full intention of going home. One doctor wrote the order early that morning. 

At eleven-thirty, an aide started my bed bath. When she rolled me to my left, my sinuses drained and mucus blocked my airway. I panicked. Earl put me on my back and my airway cleared. I continued to gasp for air. He put me on oxygen at 2L/minute (O2) then set up my BiPAP and switched me over.

My O2 saturation was critically low and I heard someone say, “Raise it to six”. A while later I became aware of a large number of people in my room. I told Earl, “Need. Quiet. I can. Relax. Breathe.” He told them and most left. I rested and felt better. 

When my admitting doctor came in a short time later, we told him what happened and that we still wanted to go home. He wrote the order and we arrived home at seven p.m. [Earl told me later that the group of people in my room was the “Rapid Response Team” waiting for me to code.]

Earl’s response in each situation was foolishness in the eyes of many. I heard the questions addressed to him. “When are you leaving (her)?” “She IS a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ isn’t she?” “Don’t you want to make her a ‘DNR’?”  “Sign this. It is an agreement that you won’t abandon your wife while she’s here.” “What do you think your wife wants?”

My paralysis is hard work for Earl and me. In the beginning, I thought it would be easier for everyone if I died. I succumbed to depression – I asked God to take me home.

With Earl’s insistence, I began ordering my medicine, calling my doctors and scheduling appointments. He encouraged me to write devotions for church newsletters, teach adult Sunday school classes and lead Bible studies.

Earl and I are running the race set before us and fixing our eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-2). We pray people will know we belong to Jesus by our words and our actions.

I share my testimony and tell what God has done for me everywhere I go. Earl’s sermons are always Holy Spirit powered. He wanders through Wednesday night meals talking to everyone there. He takes every opportunity to be with the children and youth.

We know Satan has our names on his short-list. We bind and cast him and his demons out as we pray out loud. [Satan cannot read your mind.] We praise God and remind Satan we belong to Jesus and he has no power over us.

The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:15 NIV).

 In Christ,
 Berta
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Insignificant

When I woke up in the hospital, Earl told me about my accident and that I was on a ventilator. Paralyzed from my neck down, I couldn’t move. I could see a black ring around my forehead and what looked like two bolts sticking out. “What?”

“It’s a halo brace. You have four screws in your head,” He leaned toward me touching them two at a time and said, “These two in your forehead and one behind each ear. They hold the black ring you see in place and four bars connect the circle to a leather vest. It’s to keep your neck still so the broken bones can fuse.”

Though I had no pain, we called it my “crown of thorns.’”

After wearing it three months, a doctor came into my room and said, “Your x-rays show the bones in your neck are fused so I’m going to take your brace off.” When she loosened the bars and the vest, muscle spasms shot through my neck in searing stabs that felt like heated daggers. She put a cervical collar around my neck but I still had to lay back in my wheelchair to let the headrest support my head.

As the doctor prepared to remove the screws, she assured me it wouldn’t hurt. When she began unscrewing the screw from my behind my right ear, several strands of my hair tangled around it.

Unable to speak, I had difficulty communicating my distress and my hair began tearing from my scalp. When I got the doctor’s attention, she cut the remaining hair.

A young Christian, I couldn’t understand why God had allowed this to happen to me. I had recently accepted His forgiveness for a sinful past and was daily growing stronger in faith. As I sat in tears, God reminded me it was Good Friday.

Traditionally the day Jesus’ Crown of Thorns pierced His brow – mine was removed.

When I see the scars in my forehead, I remember Christ’s sufferings and how He gave me a new life filled with love and joy, grace and blessing. I live for Him wherever I am.

My crown of thorns was insignificant. His Crown of Thorns was my healing.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV).

In Christ,

Berta
 
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SnapShots: Devotions from Life