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.
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.
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.
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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The Gray Nomad ….. Read and pray and care for another.
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]