My days begin the same. I get out of bed, which is no easy task, wipe my eyes, grab my cane, which I cleverly named Dean, and make the twenty-foot journey to the bathroom. Once my teeth are brushed and face is washed, I return to my living quarters and ease into a lift chair. Now it is time to strap on the mask which is connected to the ventilator that helps me breathe. The small chore of freshening up takes so much of my energy and leaves me needing air. The day is spent in my chair tethered to the ventilator. Here I read, watch news, ballgames (if available) and cheer on Matlock and Marshall Dillon. Since I do not sleep well at nights, there are a couple of naps to be had each day.
There are short excursions to gather the mail, let the dog out, grab a morsel or two from Cindy’s Café and stretch my body after being nestled in the chair.
I have heard people say, “I wish I could sit around and watch television all day.” I would like to go on record and say it is ‘no bueno’. Day after day, hour after hour, it grows so old.
Now, please allow me to tell you how much God has blessed me. Each morning I wake, I am grateful. No matter the quality of sleep the night prior. Each day I am allowed to hold my wife and tell her how much I love her, I am grateful. No matter how jumbled my speech from this disease. Every time Cindy places a meal before me, no matter how long it takes me to chew and swallow, I am grateful. When I am able to stand to my feet and put weight on my legs to walk, I am grateful. No matter how awkward or wobbly while walking.
Climbing stairs has become a major chore, as well as a hazard for me, so I have been sleeping downstairs. Cindy and I no longer share a bed since there is not enough room for our king size bed in the living room. I have not been upstairs in my house since this past June. While at times I feel like a prisoner in my own home, I am grateful for each and every day God allows me to be here with my family and loved ones.
Someone told me that ALS is a moving target to the medical field. No two people progress the same. From my diagnosis in early 2019 until today, I consider each day a blessing from God.
This is one of my favorite hymns. We could each save ourselves much grief if we learn to apply the lessons of this hymn.
Count Your Blessings
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings—name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings—ev’ry doubt will fly, and you will be singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold, think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; count your many blessings—money cannot buy your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
So amid the conflict, whether great or small, do not be discouraged. God is over all; count your many blessings—angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Chorus: Count your blessings—name them one by one; count your blessings—see what God hath done.
The Plane Tree – Aesop Fable
Two Travelers, walking in the noonday sun, sought the shade of a wide spreading tree to rest. As they lay looking up among the pleasant leaves, they saw that it was a Plane Tree.
“How useless is the Plane!” said one of them. “It bears no fruit whatever, and only serves to litter the ground with leaves.”
“Ungrateful creatures!” said a voice from the Plane Tree. “You lie here in my cooling shade, and yet you say I am useless! Thus ungratefully, O Jupiter, do men receive their blessings!”
Our best blessings are often the least appreciated.