Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The day our world stood still

Saturday, August 7, 2010 is a day that is seared into my memory. In the early evening I had to call 911 for my wife, Maureen because she was having trouble breathing.

Thank God, they got her to the hospital ER still alive. That fact brought little relief for her family because she still faced a difficult struggle. There were machines and tubes everywhere it seemed and Maureen remembered none of it for she was in some other than a conscious state of mind until sometime Sunday morning.

This coming Saturday will bring us to sixteen weeks since the event. I'm so very glad that she has recovered so well during that time. She will never be her old self and that fact represents GOOD and BAD in her individual and our collective circumstances.

It has been determined that she will NOT require a pacemaker at this time. Her heart appears to have repaired itself somewhat and is now stronger than expected. Her required medications may change in the near future but I'm almost certain that she will be on some kind of maintenance drugs for the rest of her earthly life. It may also be that she will require a pacemaker later on, for science has not yet learned how to alter permanently, the natural control mechanism that determines one's heart rate and Maureen's has been exceptionally fast for most of her life. Her blood pressure and heart rate have both shown a tendency to climb upward as her body grows accustomed to her current meds and her heart continues to gain strength.

For the most part, Maureen's daily routine is returning to what can be classified as "Normal" for her except for checking her blood pressure so often and taking meds three times each day. She already hates the way her condition and the treatments for it have taken over her life. Having diabetes myself, I can only invite her to get in my boat when she complains too often. It's not easy but it's much better than the alternative.

This Thanksgiving Day we will have so much to be thankful for. Our little family group will come together, hold hands while we stand in a small circle and join in a group prayer, led by our called into ministry daughter, who will speak the words that are in all our hearts before we sit down for our little feast. She has amassed a considerable group of prayer warriors during these last sixteen weeks who have joined with her to usher her Mother through this stressful time of testing and healing recovery.

I believe all of our individual faiths have added some spiritual muscle from being exercised so often and for so long a time. We will offer up thanks for that aspect of the experience also. That is not the end of our thankful list. As a side benefit, Maureen has been smoke free ever since that fateful day. She states that she doesn't feel any better for it. I find that difficult to accept for I too gave up cigarettes back in 2004 after a traumatic hospital visit. Funny how all we needed was some incentive to put us on a smokeless path through life.
I am more proud of Maureen for sticking with her determination to stay smoke free than I can possibly say. She deserves a great big ATTA-GIRL and a pat on the back. I'm not sure if she realizes that it's for her own good. I am also reluctant to tell her that from time to time, the desire to light one up returns but the visit will be short if she pauses and thinks about why she decided to quit in the first place.

Thank you Lord for hearing and answering our prayers.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Be thankful - - - It's for your own good

Another long day on the job is over, and after fighting your way home through stop and start traffic, all you really want to do is get something to eat, perhaps take a nice, refreshing shower and turn into your alter-ego "Couch-Potato Man".

Perhaps you are into the evening news or a short browse through the daily sports section of the local newspaper. Regardless of what your daily ritual is composed of, if you watch TV at all, eventually, you will be exposed to one of those heart-rending scenes of starving men, women, and children in some remote area of the world. If you are anything like myself, your response is to reach for the remote control, get deeper into the folds of your paper, shutting out all reception of the narrator's voice, or perhaps you are tempted to just get up and leave the room.

I don't think too much of myself when I get like that. Except for the Grace of God, there go I. I do have compassion for those people, but being realistic, what can I do about it? There are only so many charitable contributions possible before the welfare of your family is affected.

Let's face it, we take our own good fortune for granted too often. This Thanksgiving, if you are fortunate enough to be able to sit down at a table which is overflowing with a bountiful feast and one which is surrounded by family and friends, please take the time to reflect upon all you have to be thankful for and express yourself in someway. If you have a God you believe in, give Him, Her or them an expression of Thanksgiving; if not, express your appreciation to your wife, or husband, or children, or just some loyal friend who has enriched your life in someway.

If present circumstances find you in such a condition that you can find little or nothing to be thankful for, I will be thinking of you as I give thanks this year and pray that your circumstances improve quickly.

Clarence Bowles
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bathroom makeover

It all began innocently enough. We went to an annual Church auction where we spotted this beautiful vanity; bid on it and it was ours. It seemed to be one of those "predestined events" one comes across during their lifetime because once we bid $200.00 on an item that was valued at over $300.00, no one bid against us. Then we discovered that it fit in the back of our 2003 Rav-4 Utility vehicle. Now, how often does that happen?

Oh how I wish we had taken pictures of the way our bathroom looked before we began the remodel. I would have posted before and after images and you could toggle back and forth to appreciate the difference.

Anyway, the project took on a life of its own and it rolled itself into a tight tuck and began to roll downhill like a horrible avalanche. I lost track of the trips we made to Lowes Home improvement store but it wasn't long and the employees began to recognize us on sight and came running, knowing that we were going to need some help no matter what it was we came to purchase. Being totally honest, I sort of enjoyed our interactions with Lowes. They were so helpful and cheery, laughing at my pitiful jokes and adding a few of their own once they got accustomed to my demeanor and outgoing personality.

I knew I was going to be tested the moment I removed the medicine cabinet from the wall. I have never been afraid of a good challenge but I have always been stupid that way. Call it over confidence if you'd like; I don't really care.

I'm not even sure exactly how many days or weeks passed before the project was done. I walked around in a stupor of a kind, a million thoughts flooding my mind and keeping me from thinking carefully about the sequence of steps required to complete the task. In other words I simply blundered by way through to the end.

During this project, I managed to accomplish some feats calling for a skill level not even I knew I possessed. One of those feats demanded that I purchase a very special, close quarters nail driver. Sears had them on sale, so once again I was thinking that someone up there really, really likes me. I'm not afraid to pray for divine intervention when the situation calls for it. I did have to resort to paying someone to lay the tile floor. I did all the work I could, like cutting and installing the "backer board" that supports the thin-set and the tiles. When I was ready, Zeke brought over his wet-saw and all his experience and knocked out the floor in no time. We waited the required time before we cleaned the tiles of excess grout, then waited some more for the whole thing to cure. The next day we began the sealing process. It was difficult but well worth the effort. Our bathroom looks and performs better than when it was new. We are so happy with it, sometimes I just sit there and admire my surroundings. Now don't try to imagine that picture I just painted in your mind. It could have lasting negative affects.

Thanks for your time and attention.