Ramblings from the Cove...

August 2009 -- Update on Elisabeth

By Lars Gren

Every now and then the question arrives, “What are your days like now that the travels are over?” Technically our traveling for engagements are over but since mid December we have managed to shuffle of to CA., to visit Val and family, Wheaton, IL., to see Jim Elliot’s sister Jane, to Peru for a time with Jim’s brother Bert and Colleen, twice to Dallas and I think there was one other jaunt but memory fails me. No, those were the trips. Memory just arrived—I started to count the one planned that took a strange twist. We were to go to Colorado Springs on the 20th of May but that “trip” turned out to be a bit different.

Jamall Badry a friend of many years has an annual week long Bible conference. Elisabeth was one of the past speakers and he had invited us to come out and just enjoy it as well as having a book table there, should anyone desire an EE book. So as man is want to do we made our plans but without remembering that the completion of such is in another’s hands.

20th May I got up early thinking Elisabeth could have another 20 min but she got up and came in the bathroom and I said that she could still rest a bit. Thinking she might be thirsty I gave her a glass of water and she drank ½ of it and handed me back the glass. I had slippers on, she was barefoot. In turning to go I think that her toe caught the front of my slipper enough to cause her to stumble and she lost her balance. I could not catch her and she hit the tile floor landing on the hip. I tried to ask where the pain was and put a bit of pressure on the hip bone but she said that the pain was not there. Then she tried to move and get up but too much pain. I picked her up on to the counter where I could hold her under the knees and around her back and carried her back to the bed.

It happened that Steve Price was going to carry us to the airport and so I called him and he came right away. As a doctor he checked her out and said that she would need x-rays and guessed that there was a break high on hip. He called 911 and the “brigade” came down. We had the foresight to tell them it was not life-threatening so don’t put sirens on.

Scratch air reservation and start the day driving to the emergency entrance at the hospital—which I just found out was a $1,300 ride for Elisabeth, for the ten miles or so. I guess my ride in the Honda ran about eighty cents or so. Called Jamall and said that he now had charge of the 450 books to offer. Then I settled down well not really—it was see someone and wait with a repeat numerous times until mid afternoon until it was time to go to OR. On the whole it was great handling of patient and everything was thought of with no mentioning that at your age we don’t do this procedure which may be the case in the future if Congress caves and do not listen to the people but foists on us Obama Care—at Elisabeth’s age someone might have dropped by to discuss “The ultimate negative patient outcome,” instead of, “Here is the break and this is what we will do.” That evening the operation of the fractured femur took place with a very good surgeon that Steve knew from the years he practiced. Operation went well—a clean break in the femur—no bone chips—and the bone fit back together perfectly. Oh yes plate and pins were put in.

The operation went well and surprisingly there was little after pain and only required a bit of morphine for a few days. I spent my days fixing meals at home and bringing them to her since for some strange reason she preferred that over hospital cuisine. The days passed quickly and on the following Thursday she was transferred to Blue Berry Hill for Re-hab. There were a couple of places to choose from but I liked the sound of the name—sort of a kin to Strawberry Cove. As it turned out the aides were very good and I fit in well with them for I spent a lot of hours there and became a sort of Junior aide. Along with the hours there, the meal preparation increased for me for—try say umm good at toast arriving on a wet plate—portions for longshoreman handed to the old folks—well ‘nuff of that. It was either cook or Elisabeth sat and stirred the Re-hab’s“offering” with her fork but hardly ate anything. There was a nice man whose wife has been there for five years and at dinner when I came into the dining area to use the micro wave he would say, “Here is the chef what are you doing this evening?” He celebrated his wife’s 88th during our stay. Sweet man who came every day to feed her and roll the wheelchair back and forth in the halls or outside when it was nice. Did we or rather I learn anything from this experience? One thing for certain there are a lot of folks who spend their days there with ailments much worse than a broken femur. Good health is a gift for sure.

In many of Elisabeth’s talks she quoted E.B.Pusey who sheds some light on the so called unexpected and this was surely unexpected. It is easy to read and say “of course that’s true” but it is not so easy to live it out. Have a go at it, as I think over the, “What ifs?” which I did that morning and for some days saying, “If only I had not offered her a glass of water there would have been no fall.”

“This, then, is of faith, that everything, the very least, or what seems to us great, every change of the seasons, everything which touches us in mind, body, or estate, whether brought about through this outward senseless nature, or by the will of man, good or bad, is overruled to each of us by the all-holy and all-loving will of God. Whatever befalls us, however it befalls us, we must receive as the will of God. If it befalls us through man’s negligence, or ill-will, or anger, still it is, in even the least circumstance, to us the will of God. For if the least thing could happen to us without God’s permission, it would be something out of God’s control. God’s providence or His love would not be what they are. Almighty God Himself would not be the same God; not the God whom we believe, adore, and love.” (E.B. Pusey, 1800-1882)

Perhaps an adequate and shorter answer is expressed by Amy Carmichael in the last line of her poem which is also its title, “In Acceptance Lieth Peace.” If you do not know it why just Google—what an awful term. After all it happened and that is generally the way accidents occur. “Suffering is not for nothing” as Elisabeth has said, “It can be material for an offering.”

We have appreciated the prayers of those who heard about this and the good news is that on July 30th we returned to the Cove. Our stay at the Hill might have been shorter but Elisabeth was bedridden or in the wheel chair for over two weeks since trying to get her to do only partial weight bearing on the right leg was too much so it was no weight on leg at all until the last week. What amazed all was her ability to walk once given the OK. She used strollers for a couple of days but then walked with the attendant holding her arm or with a belt around the waist. Then we switched to a cane which I prefer her to use but every now and then she escapes my eyes and I find her walking unaided. The only pain is with the first six or eight strides after being seated too long and then she falls into her gait. The Re-hab folks told us that it may take three to six months to get back to normal and we trust that “normal” will return. And Jamal Badry?—well we hope to see him in Branson, MO., where each October he has a five day music festival. Lord willing we plan to be there but...

And that’s it from the Cove.

God bless y'all,

Lars

 
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