Friday, August 28, 2009

Take a Deep Breath

Last night at 1am my sister, Robbie and I heard a scream and a bang coming from our Mom's room. Our mom is 86 yrs. old and lives with us. We had been up late watching a movie and Mom had decided to stay up and watch it with us. She had gone into her bathroom to take a shower and fell, hitting her ribs on the toilet. We were able to get her up off the floor and onto the bed, but she was in a great deal of pain. I called 911 and asked for an ambulance. We all ended up in the ER until 6 am because it was a busy night in the ER. After x-rays it was determined that Mom had indeed fractured one of her ribs; however, there's not a lot they can do for fractured ribs except give you pain medicine and wait for the ribs to heal. 

It was a long sleepless night as we waited in the ER, but Robbie and I did have a good laugh when the nurse came in and asked if Mom was able to sign. I had been busy telling everyone that she is hard of hearing and they needed to speak up. So when the nurse asked if she could sign, for some strange reason, I thought she was talking about sign language. (I blame it on lack of sleep). I went into a long explanation of why Mom can't hear and she doesn't know sign language. The nurse and Robbie looked very confused. Finally she just stared at me and said, "No ma'am, I mean can she sign papers." I felt sooo stupid, but we got a hearty laugh out of it; not the nurse, just me and Robbie. I felt bad laughing while mom was groaning in pain, but it was a diversion from everything that was going on. You know we can't do anything normal.

We also had a funny moment when the nurse asked us to remove Mom's bra so they could do x-rays. They pulled the curtain and, because Mom was in such pain, we tried to take off her bra without taking off her night gown. This was hilarious because the sleeves on her gown were kind of tight and we had her configured in every shape you can imagine trying to get that dang bra off. Mom was looking at us like we were crazy as I said, "Okay bend your arm. Now turn your head like this. Wait, put your arm back and bend your other arm." Robbie and I were starting to lose it while the nurse waited outside and listened to Mom groaning in agony while we wrestled her bra off. I know the nurse was wondering, "What are they doing to that poor woman?" It seemed like a simple task, but harder than it looked. I guess there's humor in everything if you look for it, but Mom wasn't laughing. 

Mom's been resting since the ordeal. We feel kind of helpless but we just have to wait for the ribs to heal and try to manage the pain and the fact that she will be very uncomfortable for some time to come as she recovers. The doctors told us to make sure she takes deep breaths as often as possible to ensure pneumonia doesn't set in. Apparently, with sore ribs you tend to take shallow breaths because it's painful to breathe and this can cause the lungs to collapse because they don't fully inflate. The doctor also recommended that we get her walking a little each day instead of just letting her sit still for long periods of time. 

I was thinking about this whole ordeal with regards to life in general. Sometimes we walk through difficult situations, or walk through them with friends and family and we feel helpless. We want to do more, something that will make healing come more quickly, but there's no easy answer. Often we can only be there for them, offering them comforting words and reminding them to take a deep breath and take one step at a time. Having faith can often mean you just have to trust God to walk you through difficult seasons and bring you out on the other side a stronger and better person. 

As a Christian, we often expect a fast miracle, or a supernatural event to erase our pain, but there are times we just have to take deep breaths, keep our spiritual lungs inflated, and keep moving forward, one step at a time, one day at a time, trusting God for everything we need. 

We can't just give into our pain and become immobile and cause even more damage. We just have to let the healing take place. There's no quick fix. No fast miracle. No supernatural burning bush. Just trust and faith that God can bring good out of every situation if we allow Him to manage our pain and our recovery. 

That's it, take a deep breath, keep moving and let the healing begin.

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