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Comfort

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Confession: if you haven’t already figured it out yet, I am sometimes an emotional writer. I sometimes write what is on my heart-filtered and unfiltered depending on subject matter.

This is one of those posts.  If you are looking for a “Smile. Be happy” post then I’m going to say you won’t find it. However, I do hope you will read to the end.

As many of you know, I have back surgery scheduled for this coming Monday. Until then, I have to live with occasional intense pain. I have given up riding my bike because it was no longer fun. It hurt too much whenever I hit a bump or missed seeing a small hole in the road. I woke up this morning and within 10 seconds made the decision not to go to the Y (where I do upper body work) because of the pain. Even putting on my shorts would have been a nightmare, let alone my shoes.

I was whining. I was crying. I was definitely feeling sorry for myself. Wallowing in self-pity. Then I read this from New Morning Mercies (NMM) by Paul David Tripp:

God puts me in hard moments when I cry out for His comfort so that my heart becomes tender to those near me who need the same comfort.

Strange that 20 minutes or so earlier I was whining and feeling sorry for myself. But Tripp wasn’t done.

The hard moments are not just for my growth in grace, but for my call to be a tool of that same grace in the life of another sufferer. In difficulty God is softening my heart and sharpening my edges so that I may be ready to make the comfort of the invisible Father visible in the life of the weary pilgrim He has placed in my pathway.”

The Scripture reference was 2 Corinthians 1: 3-6.  If you get a moment, take a peak at it.

So I need to change my attitude. Stop complaining about the pain. Stop crying and belly-aching and start trusting and seeing it as a ministry opportunity (now or future).  I’ll be honest. I’m not there yet. Least not at this moment.  I can only pray that time will come soon.

Thanks for listening. (And yes, I shared this with my small band of brothers who are working through NMM with me).

Countdown

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

No…I am not going to play one of my favorite “secular” songs for you. I usually save that for the last post of the year or the first post of a year.

It’s not the countdown that is already beginning around here for the first day of school. (August 8th…seriously?)

It’s not the countdown toward the Pittsburgh Pirates march to the World Series. (No comment from the peanut gallery).

It’s another type of countdown. One that ends with a request.

As many of you know, I was hit by a car going about 60 mph while riding my bike on November 7, 2016. I rebounded pretty quickly from that… or so I thought. About 2 months ago my left hip started hurting and since then I have been through 4 diagnoses- with the last one the one that matters. A sciatic nerve issue. Nope. A slightly herniated disc (somewhat close). An unbalanced sacrum. (Possible but not the culprit). The final one involved an MRI which showed a bulging disc and bone spurs which were combining to squeeze the nerve in my vertebrae. The hit-n-run did not cause it but did accelerate it. Long story short I’ll have surgery on Monday, July 24th. They will be going in to shave off the bulging part of the disc and shave the spurs to open space for the nerve. People ask me if I’m nervous. The answer is no. If they knew the pain I was in; the sleep I wasn’t getting; the effort it takes to get dressed; and a myriad of other things, they wouldn’t ask that question. I’m looking forward to it. I trust my doctor. I trust my nurses. I trust Jo to take care of me afterwards. Most of all, I trust God to guide the hands and eyes of those doing the surgery. There can always be complications…I choose not to think of that. I choose to look forward to resuming my life. I will be out of commission for at least 30 days, i.e. no cycling, no lifting, no bending at the waist (may be the hardest of all), and generally taking it easy.

There is one downside to it right now. And here is where you come in. No meds. That means (in my case) no ibuprofen for 2 weeks prior to surgery.  I abhor pain medicine. The doctor gave me a nerve-deadening med which helped zero…or so I thought. It may have been helping more than I thought. Needless to say I could use some prayers as I wait for the surgery, not for my fear (because I have none) but for some pain relief. And you can also be praying that I will be able to rebound quickly. Thanks.

Someday

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

I was sitting in my chiropractor’s office Friday and since I had forgotten to bring something to read (DUH!), I picked up a Men’s Health magazine. I ran across an article about a trainer named Bobby Maximus. (Sort of reminds me of Gladiator.  🙂 )  I give you that, not as a stamp of approval on Maximus, but as a “give credit where credit is due” thing. Anyway, they had some sayings which Maximus is fond of using.  Several of them struck a chord…one I’ve heard before: “Do what’s right, not what’s easy.”

But the one that stayed with me so much I wrote it down and use it now is this:

There are 7 days in a week. ‘Someday’ is not one of them.

It is easy getting into that mode-whether we talk about our physical condition; our exercise program; a relationship we want to cultivate; a goal we want to realize; and especially our relationship with God. I don’t really need to go into detail as to each of these modes, so to speak. We all know how it applies to our physical condition or an exercise program, etc.

I do find it somewhat disconcerting when I consider how I have used the “Someday excuse” when it comes to cultivating my relationship with God. “Someday I will have that Quiet Time.” “Someday I will pray.” “Someday I will learn that verse.” Someday. Someday. Someday. And Someday never gets anything accomplished.

I’ve written about my two bike wrecks. No need to go into them again. If you want to read about it go here. But those two wrecks have taught me some serious lessons…one of them is don’t use “Someday” as an excuse to get things done which need done. Don’t keep putting things off.  For example, Jo & I are in a much better place than we have been for years, largely because of this philosophy.  Talking more. Hugging and snuggling more. Kissing more. I’ll stop there. 🙂 🙂  (I know Tami…TMI)

Don’t keep saying “Someday.”

Evolution

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

In my last post, I showed  a picture of my new steed. 

Two items are in that picture. Yes, the new bike but please take note of the T-shirt. Last November I was hit by a car while riding. For Christmas my daughter, Tami, bought me this shirt. Actually, she had it made just for me. She thought she was being funny. (In reality, I gave the okay). 🙂

Then on Friday, February 17th, I had another accident, an accident of the I-don’t-know-what-happened variety. I did a face plant (I split my helmet in three places); broke my collarbone in 4 places; broke 3 ribs, suffered multiple contusions; and still am dealing with a huge hematoma on my right hip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But all is well and healing. I still do not know what happened. Shortly before the accident Tami had ordered me a new T-shirt made by the same people. She ordered one (hi-viz yellow) and I ordered one. The hi-viz green one had some stitching issues so she ordered another. Here is the green one:

But Tami’s “evil” friends were not done. Along with the hi-viz green (sense a color scheme here?) T-shirt they sent another one. “Tami, your dad seems such a good sport we wanted to make a T-shirt for him.” And below you see the T-shirt my daughter and her evil twins designed for me.

This was following my opening the package.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The is a better picture after I “settled” down and got the look off my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually, I think it is funny. Laughter is good medicine. I certainly can’t change what happened for either accident. So…I can choose to wallow and whine or laugh. I choose the latter. I’m wearing the “stunt” one to preach in this morning. Might as well get others to laugh with me (and they will).

And one final message for my daughter and those “evil” twins. I know where you live Tami. Thanks for being good sports. And I wear a lot of T-shirts so keep the cycling ones coming. 🙂 🙂

Interrupted

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

If you saw the last post, it was a description of Sunday’s sermon: Black/white.

Well…it was supposed to be. Until that Sunday morning when God interrupts the thought-process and says, “I want you to go in a different direction.”

So “Black Hats/White Hats” was held over until this coming Sunday. God had other ideas. I want you to know I’m not really into that. I prepare for a reason. I study for a reason. I practice on Sunday morning to an empty auditorium for a reason. I am a firm believer that if people come on Sunday morning to hear “me speak” (to hear a word from God as He has taught me), they need to hear something worth listening to. Half-baked, half-prepared sermons which use the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as an excuse for not studying and preparing tell the people they don’t matter and the pastor doesn’t care.  That’s not me. So when I no sooner begin my sermon and I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me to put it all aside and talk from the heart, I don’t jump up and down like Horshack on Kotter saying, “Ooh ooh ooh.”

That is what happened though this Sunday. I no sooner made two comments:

“Along with the fake there will always be a real.”

“Underneath it all we need to see that Looks can be deceiving.”

At that point I told the people to put their Bibles and notes away. I confessed to them that for the past 9 months or so I have been wearing a mask. I wore a mask so when they asked, “How you doing?” my stock answer was, “I’m fine.” Problem is Bill wasn’t fine. Bill was running on fumes.  He was empty.

It took two bicycle accidents to get my attention. The first didn’t work because it wasn’t my fault and I was able to move on too quickly from it. But this second one was a doozy. I’ve written about it here. I’m healing physically, but spiritually is taking longer. If you would like to listen to the podcast of Sunday’s talk, you can link here.

Your continued prayers are very much needed. Priorities need realigned. Relationships need mended and realigned as well. Thanks ahead of time.

Released!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Needless to say, after this post, I’ve been waiting for this day.

WEDNESDAY

MARCH 1

1:20 P.M.

After having the 22 staples removed, a series of x-rays to check on healing, a chat with the doctor, a visit to the therapist (physical smarty pants), I was released to go my own way! I will check back in at the end of the month, but for the most part I am free and clear. The only restrictions are physical pain and movement. I’m allowed to return to the Y (but I have to be smart obviously). No incline bench presses. No shrugs. No…no…no.  I have to be smart he says and I hear the peanut gallery (composed of my wife) saying, “No. No. No.”  🙂

It felt good to be released. To be able to drive my Frontier to the office without being chauffeured. To experience that sense of well-being which comes from something new.

There have been several “something news” which have come as a result of this accident. I’d like to share some of them with you in a future post or two. But time has run out for me on this one. I have a bike to ride.

OOOPS JUST KIDDING.  🙂

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is the xray of the repair. I think it is safe to say no airport security line will be safe for me.

AFather’sPride

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

It was sort of hard to keep up with the one word titles I have been using for close to three years now so I had to put three words together.  Ha. But I figure it is my blog and I can do whatever I want.  🙂

I have two daughters as many of you know. The youngest has been married for almost 13 years now and is the mother of the greatest grandson in the world. Our oldest, Tami, lives with us for now. After 15 years teaching in mostly inner city schools in Knoxville, she decided a change was needed and moved closer to us. Real close. I mean, like in the same house close. 🙂 She took a huge pay cut ($20,000) to move back and to teach K students in a Bloomington, IN school. Ironically, it was like the previous 15 years were preparing her for the past two years at Bloomington. She is “falling in love” with teaching again, which is thrilling to see. She loves her kids and is a really good teacher.

Tami has battled some health issues over the years, some we were told she had as a child and possibly was born with. We never knew. But she has put her trust in Jesus and relies on Him to help her deal with the pain of those illnesses. She has refused to give up.

All that to say I would be honored if you would read the newest post on her blog. You can link to it here.

Counterfeits

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Last week I ran out of time in my consideration of idols. My last post, in fact, stated that I would list some idols we have today. Then time slipped by, life got hectic and I failed to finish my thought. (That happens a lot lately. Is that a sign of old age?) 🙂

So…what are some idols we have. Pastor Timothy Keller calls our idols “counterfeit gods.” He calls them “anything more important to us than God, anything that absorbs our heart and mind more than God, anything we seek to give us what only God can give.” So here is a list…albeit a short one…and an incomplete one.

Idol #1: Stuff. We live in a materialistic society. We like our stuff. But is it necessary? What place does it have in our lives? Questions to ask: do I really need all this stuff? If God asked me to let it go, could I?

Idol #2: Money. J.D. Rockefeller was once asked, “How much does it take to make me rich?” His answer: “Just a little bit more.” Tragically, our society has bought into this trap. I’m sorry to say many televangelists live off the pockets of others and become wealthy.

Idol #3: Sex. The statistics of internet use of pornography are staggering. It is more toxic and addictive than any other drug. Men and (more and more) women who would never think of taking meth, heroine, coke, or some other drug, find themselves enslaved by this drug.

My next post will list the next three. Absorb what you read here. Then ask yourself some hard questions. I already have and will continue doing so.

Christmas2016

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

godsgiftofchristmas

I have been virtually absent from this blog and others’ blogs as well. A comment here or there. A post here or there. I’ve had some time to re-evaluate how I feel about a lot of things, but in this case, Cycleguy’s Spin. Curiously, instead of slowing down, life picked up speed. Things which seemed second nature to me suddenly became more laborious. I chalk it up to the wreck on November 7th and the life-pace change which took place as a result. I have not been able to sleep horizontally (in my bed) since November 7th. My recliner has become my favorite place to spend my restless evenings trying to grab some uncomfortable sleep. That has lessened pretty much (for which I am grateful) but I still haven’t been horizontal.

The wreck. 6 hours in an ER getting x-rays. A huge dark purple hematoma developing on my hip which eventually moved down my leg to blow up my knee, then my calf and lower leg, and then finally my ankle/foot.  A visit to an Urgent Care Clinic. An ultrasound to make sure of no blood clots. Finally a reference from a PCP to a general surgeon for a possible slice and drain of the hematoma. After two weeks of Lasix and heat compresses and God’s amazing machine called the body, the surgeon has said no surgery will be required. YES!!!My body is absorbing it.

Add to that mix two weddings, a funeral, a growing & involved church in the community and the recipe is for busyness. The church is preparing for a Christmas breakfast for our community, plus a Christmas Eve service and one on Sunday morning. Fortunately, they are identical. I had planned on taking a Tuesday and going off to a retreat center for some solitude but even that blew apart.

My grandson is now with us for a few days. (Yeah, that brings peace and quiet). 🙂 But he is a joy to have around. And joy is something we all need. That, after all, was the message the angels carried to the shepherds that first night: “I bring you good news of great joy.”

So that is what I wish for you this Christmas season. A season of JOY.  My next post will be after Christmas so please have a blessed and joy-filled Christmas. And thanks for hanging in there with me.

Update

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

My presence on my blog and anyone else’s for that matter is not disinterest…trust me. I have taken the time to read other blogs but not comment. There is a reason.

Just read this post.

I thought I would give an update on my status with a comment from my sermon. It is still surreal at times when I allow myself to think about it, how close I came to having a total life change. I’ve calculated that change to be about 2-3″ in length. His mirror hit me on my left butt cheek (sorry if that offends you) and spun me up and then down. The injuries were bad enough to give me a huge hematoma on my left hip and blacken my whole left leg and thigh down to my knee and cause swelling to my foot. (I have pictures!  🙂 )  The reality I have faced it this: 2-3″ to the right and I am either paralyzed or dead.  So, I tell people I am bruised and sore but alive. I took one day away from work and God has given me the strength to get through the rest of my tasks: office work; a wedding rehearsal/event; preaching twice; attending White Christmas, a musical we had bought tickets for in the summer at the IU Auditorium with some friends; and continuing this week with all my work and another wedding coming this weekend.

I still believe God’s hand was on me. Some have asked about that. Sunday, I said this: “God’s love is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting love.” God doesn’t get up every day asking, “How can I make Bill happy today?” I didn’t do that with my children; He doesn’t do that with His. I do believe His is a transforming love. I will not always understand the “why” of an event. That really is not my place anyway. According to Romans 8:29 His purpose is “to conform me to the image of His Son.” No matter what that takes…that is what I long for. This, as I see it, is just one more step in my adventure through life.

So there’s the update. Please understand that I am reading but have very little time to comment. But I do thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words of encouragement and prayer. I’m not ignoring anyone. it is where I find myself right now.