Tuesday, November 03, 2015


For my 63rd birthday I bought these shoes and dyed my hair red.  I am celebrating life.  I always liked funky shoes and I always wanted to dye my hair red.  If not now, when?  Why wear sensible shoes when you can wear fun shoes?

This was my best birthday ever!  But I think I say that every year.  Maybe because every year I realize what a gift it is to just live another year and hopefully I am learning not to take life and the people I love for granted.  

What a glorious day it was!  I woke to my kitchen table decorated with flowers and gifts and homemade cards.  Fred and I had an early morning date planned, and the kids were still asleep.  We celebrated just being together, made even more meaningful after another scary incident in our lives.

A couple of weeks before, Fred was adjusting a new patient downstairs.  I was in the kitchen making dinner.  This woman I'd never seen before suddenly came upstairs saying, "Your husband is not doing well."  I rushed downstairs to find Fred on the sofa holding his head in his hands.  "I'm so dizzy," he kept repeating.  He does suffer with vertigo occasionally so at first I was not alarmed.  But then I noticed sweat pouring down his face and neck and his skin was icy cold. And he was incredibly nauseous. My brain was searching for the answers, symptoms and diagnostic skills long forgotten.  What was this??

Heart attack or stroke.  It had to be.  But Fred had no chest pain.  I took his blood pressure and pulse.  Not unusual.  But he felt worse and worse.  I told him I was taking him to the ER and at first he protested, but then agreed.  He couldn't walk so I called 911.  Here we go again.  Now it was Fred in the ambulance and me following in the car.  Fred was lying on the bed being wheeled off for tests, and I was the one waiting in the chair.  

After a night of testing the conclusion was Fred has a blocked vertebral artery.  He had a cerebellar stroke.  He was put on a heparin drip to get his blood flowing properly again and admitted to the hospital.  When I left at 3 am to check on the girls, he was doing better but still could not walk alone.

The next day Fred was a new man.  He was feisty as ever, walking normally, ordering big quantities of food from "room service" at the hospital.  God is good.  He has healed and restored us once again.  After a couple of days Fred was released and sent home with meds.  No surgery.  No angiogram.  At one point he was ready to be sedated for the ordered angiogram when the neurologist rushed in the say it wasn't necessary.  She saw all she needed to see on the MRI.  God intervened to save Fred from a potentially dangerous test.

When I think back on this night and what could have been, it takes my breath away.  To lose my Fred?  It is unthinkable!  So today, on a glorious autumn day with brilliant sunshine, we celebrate our lives!  We drive out to a country village and our eyes are dazzled with the oranges and reds of the trees.  Arielle has planned secretly to meet up with Marissa and Anthony and there we all are together.  We eat lunch at a restaurant with a ridiculously incompetent staff, but instead of being angry we laugh and enjoy.  

Damien and Gretchen have invited us to dinner and we sit down to a fabulously delicious meal that only Gretchen knows how to prepare.  We celebrate family--sons and daughters and grandchildren to hold and love.  We celebrate all the assorted people that have joined our family in different ways.  What a joyful day!  My heart is full and ready to burst.  The windows of heaven have poured out a blessing and I cannot hold it all.  God is gracious and merciful, abundantly pouring out his favor on us all.  We live and love another day.