On Pain, Pacemakers and Purpose

Dearest Rachel –

I figured I should give you a follow-up on my previous post. Either it stopped raining while I was working on converting our convention and vacation footage, or it never really blew up into a real rain in the first place. By the time I emerged from the basement at about three o’clock, it was dry outside, despite being pretty heavily overcast. So, while I wasn’t committed to run-walking my way back home (and I did have my car in the folks’ driveway, so I would have to drive home at some point), I decided the least I could do was three times around the block (hey, don’t look at me like that. It’s a pretty large block, running from 20 South to 140 North – and in circling it, I’d be running that length at least six times), two at a run and one at a walk, and see how it went.

It felt like a decent pace to start with… but I think my body agrees with my mind from yesterday: I’m out of it for thinking this was even feasible, let alone a good idea. I’d barely gone past six houses – I wasn’t even to Kensington yet – when my lower left leg started stinging like I’d been smacked by a wooden paddle (thank you sir, may I have another?). No, it wasn’t Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding levels of kneecapping, but it was that sort of “oh, that hurts when you do that, don’t it? Well, then, don’t do that” kind of pain.

I had fully expected to get a stitch in my side on my second lap, honey. I was not expecting something like this, and certainly not as soon as all this.

This does not bode well.

I did take the time to circle the block all three times that I told myself I would, but I was walking almost all the way (actually, one could have called it storming, like the way you stomp when you’re amount to meet with someone you want to have words with. But it sure as heck wasn’t running).

I will force myself to do something more in terms of distance tomorrow. I’m dropping your car off at the mechanic’s for a lube/oil/filter, and to get that front tire looked at – it’s been losing air way too fast, it may need to be changed out. Either way, I’ll be going home from there under my own power one way or another.

And I still owe it to Erin to attend the group run on Saturday, just to let her know what it’s like. But that may wind up being the extent of it. We’ll see.

Sometimes, you have to know your limits.

And sometimes, you have to start smaller than all that.

Meanwhile, I haven’t told you about the recent… excitement… with Dad over the weekend. He had called me up as I was on my way to the Saturday service to work in the booth to say that he’d developed an infection. He’d be having it looked at once the new week started, but until then, he needed prayer. And while I hadn’t gone as far as to bring it with me, I got out your little tin when I got home to remind myself of his situation.

By Sunday morning, however, he was experiencing certain troubling symptoms that really got both him and Mom worried. They weren’t painful, as such, but they seemed familiar. Both of them were worried that it might very well be 2019 all over again – and between his weakened state and the specter of Covid these days, the fear was that things might turn out considerably worse than they had last time – and we all know how close things came last time. So they rushed him to the emergency room on Sunday morning.

But as it turned out, there was some (relatively minor) issue with his newly-installed pacemaker that was causing his nausea and general ill-ease. I mean, he still has the infection, and some adjustments need to be made to his gastric feeding tube, but it’s nothing that’s life-threatening. In fact, shortly after I finished my laps around the block and got in my car to head home, I got the call that he had been discharged and was to be coming home. Had I worked a full day, I might have even welcomed him back home. But it’s the last day of Sparks, and I need to prepare for that and get there early so that all the kids get the awards they have coming to them for their hard work in memorization and what not. Still, it’s nice when a prayer gets an answer; most of the time, it’s an indefinite thing that never seems to end. Not a complaint, as much as an observation.

I have often wondered if, since He brought him through such a tight spot as he went through two years ago, that God still had a specific purpose for Dad that he had yet to fulfill. Even before your accident, I was fairly convinced that this was the case; all that remained was to determine what that purpose was.

I’m tempted to suggest that one of those remaining tasks was to support me while I dealt with your absence. I don’t know what I’d do without him and Mom to help me through. At the same time, I’m glad this wasn’t some kind of choice offered to me: “Your dad will survive this traumatic illness, but it’s going to cost you your wife.” And yet, there are times it feels like I’ve been handed this terrible bargain (not terrible insofar as I got the raw end of the deal, so much as having one or the other terrible option given to me).

And meanwhile, such thinking begs the question: what about you? Was your purpose fulfilled? Aside from Daniel and myself, I can guarantee that there are several of your friends that are completely adrift without you, folks who, like Chompers, needed you because well, who else would stand beside them as a friend? I can’t accept that you were somehow no longer needed.

So I’m probably completely mistaken in this form of magical thinking, assuming he has some further purpose, and you didn’t. I just don’t understand how it’s all supposed to work. Perhaps all I’m required to do is to accept what’s happened and move forward, without spending so much time and effort guessing the “why”s of everything.

But I’m only human, and I wish I knew.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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