Down Time

This past week The Fella and I were going to be in Portland Oregon, for the Portland Rose Festival. Obviously, that didn’t happen and you know what? I don’t even care. Instead, we were dealing with #3 and his life. Phone messages flew back and forth, The Fine Wife keeping us updated on #3’s slow-but-steady progress, baby steps of encouragement and lessons on patience and endurance.  I feel funny saying that, because it’s only been a couple of weeks and to me, endurance through something like this calls to mind something along the lines of months and years. It still may mean that, but the little signs of open eyes and the way his eyes follow The Grandpunkin around the room mean so much.

I’ve said before I have no idea how all this is going to unfold and play out. But then do any of us? We make plans, and forget that God is the one who’s directing this show. (Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21)

But in all this…I was exhausted. I can only imagine how The Fine Wife feels, or #3, too. She’s been with him nonstop through this. I will be going back to where he’s at tomorrow, so she can go home for a few days. I hope she will be able to take a breath, maybe sleep an entire day (like I did Thursday). I am holding so hard to God right now He’d have fingerprint dents in His arm. I have this image in my mind, that sort of thing you see when a toddler is frightened and she’s holding on really tight to her father because she knows he’ll keep her safe, and he’s holding on tight to her because he wants her to know he’ll protect her.  (Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me. Psalm 138:7)

I read somewhere credible that the sense of smell is used with therapies for people with brain injuries. Smell is the most powerful memory-kicker. Think about what your grandmother’s house always smells like, or a particular perfume, and how smelling a pot roast reminds you of Sundays after church. I’ve been making a list of things I know #3 likes, and figuring out how to capture those scents so I can wave them under his nose. Mexican food, cordite, pickles, coffee…how to bag those aromas up and take them to him. What kind of shampoo does The Fine Wife use, what does Grandpunkin get washed in, what does home smell like? Today will be spent bagging aromas (or trying to). I’ve got some herbs in the garden- mint, cilantro- that will go as well.

Today will be packing and planning, gathering stuff for #3: a bluetooth speaker so he can listen to music from my phone. Fragrant things. Reading material for me. Planning and making lists and getting things in order. I want to take walking shoes because there’s 2 bits of time I’m not supposed to be in the room and those would be good times to take a trot around the hospital grounds for exercise. Last time I went was in an all-fired panic and I forgot to pack shirts and underwear, and had to make a quick trip to Stuff-Mart for such. This time, I’ll probably overpack but whatever. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. I need to remember a coffee cup, as refills are cheap (or free, if I can figure out which floor has a volunteer that day) Chargers for phone, speaker, and laptop. There I am, already listing. ( Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. Proverbs 6:6-8)

Preparing makes me feel like I can be useful. The past few days of not being there with #3 was a little unnerving, but I know that he didn’t need me hovering and crying and flapping my hands. The time allowed me to gather my senses and rely on The Fine Wife’s calm spirit and sensible manner to take care of him exactly how he needed. Now I can go there, follow her lead on things, and let her take a break. The plan is to take care of him in this way- tag-teaming so we each can recuperate and be who he needs.

But the down time…so important. Doing nothing, thinking about nothing more pressing than whether to use peanut butter or almond butter on a sandwich, being able to put the situation in God’s hands completely (as a control freak, I have trouble with that) and trust Him to take care of #3 (which He has, far beyond my expectations),  has meant I feel rested and ready to give The Fine Wife a break.

I want to thank everyone who has been praying for #3 and Family.  God hears our prayers, and answers them according to His will. (I cried to Him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me! Psalm 66:17-20) (And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. 1John 5:14-15) (and many many other bits all woven throughout the Bible that assure us God hears our prayers). It is so incredibly encouraging to all of us involved in this. I will pass your messages of love and encouragement on to #3.


About rootietoot

I do what I can.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Down Time

  1. BB says:

    I’m thinking of you and #3 and his wife. I know this type of injury takes time. A friend of mine went through this with her son. I’m wishing you everything that you need.

  2. pheenobarbidoll says:

    Get some space bags. Put linens from your home in one, and his wife’s clothes in another. Seal them up and take them. Nothing keeps a scent like blankets or clothes. If you have anything unwashed that still smells of his father, or if he wore cologne…even fresh wood chippings, put those in their own bags too.

  3. pheenobarbidoll says:

    Oh, Wal-Mart carries the space bags. You use your vacuum hose to seal them and it makes it easier to transport several things. Walgreens MAY carry them, but Wal-Mart I know does.

    Play music he likes. Not just what he likes now, but things he liked as a kid. Surround him with scents and sounds of his childhood and his present life. Nostalgic music has been found to be effective for dementia patients. If he has a pet, see if the hospital will allow a brief visit. Some do, and it’s worth asking. All they can say is no, right? Sing to him if you sang when he was a kid. The goal here is to try and ping those memory areas of his brain. The things we grew up with as children have strong pulls on us.

    If I think of anything else, I’ll post it but that’s what I can come up with off the top of my head. If he likes sports, have a game playing when music isn’t. That kind of thing.

    • rootietoot says:

      I’ve done many of those things. Herbs I know he likes, coffee, limes. A friend is coming Friday and will bring a bottle of his favorite beer. I have a bluetooth speaker and have been able to stream Pandora radio on his favorite stations. As for the pet, well…his dogs are great danes, so…unlikely. The idea is to stimulate all of his senses.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        I wonder if there are therapy dogs you could enlist. The feel of fur under his hands might be stimulating. You might try one day of nostalgic things from his childhood, then the next all things from his present and have like, a theme day. If that makes sense? One whole day of nothing but the year you were 8, or when you were 21 etc. All the sounds and smells reflect that time period. Full immersion of that time.

        Also, please remember you. Get plenty of rest. Stay hydrated. Don’t forget to eat. Go get a massage. Seriously. It will help. Healthy you is better you. You are loved and being thought of.

      • rootietoot says:

        I like the idea of the theme days! I’ll have to think on that. Mostly he played in the dirt…not sure they’d let me do that. I’ll talk to his wife about the therapy dogs. That’s an excellent idea. She and I are rotating taking care of him, so we both have a chance to have down time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s