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MARY ANN has had chronic pain for 30 years. Several lower back surgeries, neck fusion, fibromyalgia, RA (rheumatoid arthritis). On top of all this, she has to take oxygen all the time, and a C-PAP at night to help her sleep apnea. She has suffered more than anyone else I know.

In the past two years, her shoulders have caused joint pain, which became unbearable. Bone-on-bone said the orthopedic specialist. Surgery to replace her right shoulder was deferred twice due to a potential heart valve problem.

Mary Ann is a fighter and has remained remarkably positive while under all this duress. She has leaned on her Christian faith for many, many years.

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Mary Ann recovering with her morkie Chanelle: a maltese – yorkie cross.

SHOULDER REPLACEMENT. On Tuesday November 5 Mary Ann had the shoulder replacement done at Labette Medical Center in Parsons, Kansas – about 40 miles from where she lives in Independence, Kansas. They have an orthopedic specialty in a little town called Parsons, Kansas? Ever hear of it?

I hadn’t heard of it until my right hip gave out, and my research showed that Dr Mosier and Dr Meister came with huge positive reputations. Dr Mosier replaced my right hip, and two years later I’m playing Pickleball like a young man (Pickleball is miniature tennis, played with a wiffleball).

Mary Ann and her daughters Kim and Lisa voted that the care in the hospital (two nites stay) was exemplary and the best they had ever experienced. Dr Mosier is a humble man, who answers all questions gracefully.

OVER-MEDICATED. On Saturday 9 November, Mary Ann was barely able to speak or walk, and we were near a state of panic. Took her to Emergency, and along the way I laid my hand on her forehead and simply said, “Lord we need help. Please help Mary Ann.” A prayer that was straight to the point.

In EMR, Dr McIntosh did the usual tests – blood work, EKG, CT Scan, etc. Dr McIntosh is Mary Ann’s GP, so she knew she was in good hands. She is an excellent doctor, thorough and reliable, plus takes all questions and explains the health situation logically.

Dr McIntosh diagnosed the problem as over-medicated. Although we were following the hospital scrip, she was already wearing a fentanyl patch, and the extra opiate dosage pushed her over the top.

The next day she improved greatly by using a lower dosage. Almost like her old self again. I was very thankful to God, because I knew about the dangers of being over-medicated by opiates – slowing heart rate and impaired breathing rate. But I never knew about temporary confusion and detrimental effects on balance and walking.

Mary Ann’s daughters have been terrific in their carer capacity since the surgery. Kim even cooks a meal occasionally, which surprised everyone. She and her mom fell to pieces one nite as Kim tried to get the tight stockings on Mary Ann’s legs. They couldn’t stop laughing! Kim comes every nite to check on her mom.

Third daughter, Lisa, acted like a nurse when Mary Ann came home from the hospital. She took charge of the myriad breathing tests, meds that had to be taken, and physical therapy exercises before she went back to Dallas.

And Mary Ann’s morning carer, Melinda, came when Lisa went back to Dallas. She had gained her experience when she worked for Mary Ann in a nursing home years ago. Melinda’s caring knowledge and versatile daily help is greatly appreciated.

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Family Christmas 2018. Kim reading her children’s book The Carefree Tumbleweed. Mary Ann second from right. Lisa just to right of baby Riley.

PRAYER. We thanked God for Mary Ann’s recovery from being over-medicated. And I remembered thankfully some others who have been praying consistently for Mary Ann:
• Jimmy from Tulsa, in his eighties, has been praying and sends uplifting texts. Jimmy lost a daughter 2-3 months ago.
• Sheila lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, and has called at least once a week for several years, even though she faces health challenges.
• Don and Lola from Albuquerque pray regularly from Albuquerque, despite that they are struggling with their own health. Starting in the 1970’s Don and Lola ministered for many years to the hippies who lived in the mountains around Santa Fe.
• Karen in Albuquerque prays regularly for Mary Ann. When she was 41 Karen almost gave up and died due to a variety of illnesses, when she found faith in a Spiritual Center.
• Don and Julie in Idaho pray steadily for Mary Ann. They are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are tremendously reliable in their praying and caring.
• Marlene who lives down the street pops in with regularity. She offers to baby-sit Mary Ann if I want to go play Pickleball sometimes.
• Barbara and Reid in Albuquerque pray often for Mary Ann. Barbara knew Mary Ann from years ago when she lived in Tulsa. Although they have been through the wars recently with family health difficulties, their faith is strong.
• Garrick and Janette, in Lincoln Nebraska. Garrick is an old Australia friend with a very active prayer list. We sometimes argue about the age of the earth but our friendship is rock solid.

INCLUSIVE. The above list is only a partial list of many others who care, but Mary Ann values ALL the caring and prayers and friendships. She is not out of the woods yet as shoulders are long difficult recoveries, her other maladies still need to be dealt with, and she just doesn’t feel well a lot of the time (body seems to hurt all over).…. and so we say thank you to all of you for continuing prayer.

I am struck by the above list of praying friends. All of these folks believe in God and are willing to reach out consistently to pray for Mary Ann, even though some are from a different spiritual heritage. The image that comes to my mind is inclusive rather than exclusive. Reminds me of Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, whose spirituality was regarded as second rate by the Jewish faithful. But this “second-rate” businessman has stayed a hero and a role model for 2,000 years.

When I communicate and care for other people, and people I don’t know well, and people who are different from me, I want to be more inclusive.
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Thank you to ALL those who have helped Mary Ann or prayed for Mary Ann. There are many such folks – too many to mention in this short blog article. May God bless you. Our hope is the shoulder replacement will eventually remove the intense pain from one area of her body.
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BLOG TOPICS: I write blogs about a curious mix of topics: Inspiration and Hope, and Science and Energy, and Health and Hiking. Something for everyone!
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The Gray Nomad ….. Read and pray and care for another.
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Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
[Book of John, chapter 4]

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6 Responses to MA: One tough lady with a shoulder replacement.

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  2. Charles Dale Bryant |

    Good to see photos of everyone involved. It adds much to the understanding of things. Excellent that Mary Ann has made these advances. Would like to see her doing well and feel mobile again. Dr McIntosh is my mother’s doctor, too, since she’s been in Kansas and good to hear feedback like this because I always question if our doctors are good. I really appreciate your openness to respect everyone’s way of faith in God. Any other way, a person will end up dis-respecting a lot of good people that are God’s creation just like us. You and I are the same on that. I am making a commitment to pray for Mary Ann through the end of 2019.

  3. I so enjoy reading your blog, Ian, especially this one about sweet Aunt Mary. She has been in my daily prayers for at least five years. I’ve never known anyone else with her strength and faith, to say nothing of her gentle soul. Love her dearly!

  4. Oh dear, didn’t know about the shoulder replacement, but definitely have been praying for her health issues. I am believing for quick recovery from the shoulder! Bless her heart, she is one person who doesn’t deserve any of this. Thanks for sharing this, Ian. Tell her that her Tulsa friends are all praying.

  5. Julian pfitzner |

    We are sorry to hear that Mary Ann has been suffering so much lately and we will join all those people who are praying for a return to reasonable health and less pain for her. Please give her our best wishes. Julian and Jane

  6. Tom and Shirley |

    We will definitely pray for Mary Ann. It’s good to hear how we can be specific in our prayers for Mary Ann. Thanks for sharing and caring. God will do His healing and restoring for Mary Ann’s body and spirit. Keep strong encouraged. ❤️🙏

  7. Barbara Leachman |

    My goodness! We now know where you’ve been for sure. We pray for divine intercession for Mary Ann’s health. We speak health and vitality to return to her body. Give her our love. When you get back, let’s have lunch. Blessings all around her and you!

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