Monday, November 23, 2009

Mom's Fragile Plateau

It's been a while since I've given you all an update on Mom. She seems to have reached a plateau of sorts, where she is neither getting worse nor getting better. Through the daily combination of oil of oregano, magnesium oxide, back massages, resting in the recliner, and incredible quantity of prunes, dates, and raisins, she's been able to force her reluctant colon to keep moving.

It appears she has developed a painful dental cavity because of eating so much fruit and not being able to brush her teeth often enough. She has a dentist appointment for next Monday. Getting into a dental chair (and staying in it long enough to get a filling) may be tough for her, so your prayers continue to be appreciated!

Some days are worse than others. Nevertheless, we're grateful for each new day with her. By God's grace she's been able to spend some of her strength ministering to others in the middle of her own suffering.

On Sunday at church, I discovered just how well suffering can prepare for ministry. A bubbly older woman with a cane greeted me. I had first met her on Sunday the 8th. I was embarrassed to discover that she remembered my name while I had forgotten hers. Even more impressively, she remembered that I had not been there on the 15th. I explained that Dad and I take turns staying home with Mom.

After the service as she was leaving she said, "I hope your Mom has a good week." I was immediately struck by how perfect these words were and wondered why I had never thought to say something like that to others who are going through times of extended pain. A person unfamiliar with long-term illness would normally say, "I hope your Mom gets well soon." But in these situations, one doesn't normally think ahead more than a week (or even a day, at times). There are good days and bad days and they can change either direction quickly. Her wish for a good week touched us right where we are living.

Then I found out why her words were so appropriate. And why her bubbliness was not fake. She is caring for a man in the final stages of cancer. And the man is her ex-husband.

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