My husband Ron had a frustrating day

I made dinner tonight. Big deal, right? Actually, yes it is a big deal, for me and for Ron anyway.  I made dinner tonight after almost two months of not touching any cooking materials. It’s not because I don’t like to cook; I do. It’s not because I was working on a big project. I wasn’t. Neither is it because I selfishly let Ron do all the work. That would be extremely unkind. I made dinner tonight for the first time in almost two months because my husband Ron had a frustrating day.

There’s a back story behind whyI made dinner tonight.

There’s a back story behind why I made dinner tonight. Almost two months ago, while making lunch, (told you I like to cook) I took a full jug of water out of the fridge. I intended to pour a glass to have with my lunch. However, that is not what happened.  The weight of the jug caused me to lose my balance as I stepped toward the counter in front of me.  As I felt myself fall, I tried desperately to reach the counter in front of me to set the jug on. I only managed to slam my upper arm against the counter, still holding the jug. I continued to fall forward. The jug, now on the floor, spilled out it’s contents as I landed on my face, smashing three of my front teeth. I’d dislocated my shoulder. Blood from my mouth mingled with the water on the floor.  My husband Ron rushed in to the kitchen as the ‘thud’ of my fall and my cries reached his ears,

My recovery is stalled

Doctors were able to put my dislocated shoulder back in place. However, much of the nerves were damaged in the process. Outcome: paralysis of lower left arm. It’s like a flopping dead fish. However, I have intense vice-like pins and needles and sharp shooting pain down to my fingertips.  My teeth need a root canal, partial plate and caps. The med’s just take the edge off because I refuse to take morphine. It makes me mental. My recovery is stalled because my arm bone came out of my shoulder socket in spite of me wearing the sling 24/7. The neurosurgeon has ordered an MRI (Aug 17) and a nerve test (Nov 20). And so I wait, in constant pain. That’s why my loving, wonderful husband has been making all the meals, doing all the clean up and supporting me in a 100 small ways.

Last night was the worst so far

Since my injury, many many people have come alongside us in support and prayer. The medical costs, gas for our vehicle and trying to get some answers are mounting. Last night was the worst night so far, however. The pain was so intense, the med’s didn’t even touch it. The swelling in my arm and hand has not gone down in spite of taking an ant-inflammatory. So why was I able to make dinner tonight? God brought His people to pray and to help financially. He called individuals like an expert tooth maker to offer his services, my daughters, a single mom and my niece to do a bake sale, a retired missionary to send me an article she’d written when she broke her wrist while on the mission field. He called a new friend to come over last night immediately to give me medicinal drops. In spite of being up four times last night, by dwelling on all God has done, I was able to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ as Rick Warren says, today.

The  van emergency took away that time

My husband’s day started with having to repair a leaking power steering hose. The fluid was going everywhere. Thanks to a friend who recommended a great mechanic, we were able to get it repaired first thing this morning. Bad news: our van needs new brakes, front and back as well as new front tires. Ouch! Okay Lord, where is the money going to come from for this? Additionally, he’d spent time yesterday on software to record our niece singing, with assistance of our nephew. There were glitches in the software that he’d hoped to work on this morning. The van emergency took away that time and He’d booked them for a recording session today. He had to cancel and re-book for next week. Add to that, two clients that he’s bent over backwards to make sure the work we did on their websites was above and beyond. They complained, were disrespectful and downright ungrateful today as he tried to deal with their issues.  Rick Warren calls them Crazy Makers.’  Great description, I say.

The humour behind making a meal with one hand

All that bad stuff gave me an idea today as we discussed what to have for dinner. My pain subsided a bit more when I took the drops my friend brought over last night. I was going to make dinner. It started with veal, bought on the ‘date due’ thanks to the fact that I’d dated a butcher in college who informed me that was when the meat was most tender because of the natural breakdown of fibres over time; bless you Charles Miesel wherever you are. Mushrooms and green beans and garlic from the farmers market. Add mashed red potatoes with garlic and that makes a yummy meal. The humour behind making a meal with one hand started with the onion. I couldn’t get the outside pealing off so I thought “If I hit it hard with the knife and cut it in two, I have a better chance of getting the outside layers off. Wham. The onion flew off the counter and rolled onto the floor. Great! I tried to pick it up. As an incomplete paraplegic as well as a gimp left arm, my balance is not that great. Picking things up off the floor is a challenge at best.  I was able to grab the onion only to find the outside layer in my hand. The onion rolled under the counter.

The humour continues

Holding onto the counter and using my foot, I pushed the onion out from beneath the counter, This time I was able to pick it up. I washed it and cut it in two. The layer closest to the fresh onion wouldn’t budge. ‘Hmm,’ I thought ‘This is not unlike Eustance in The Voyage of Dawn Treader, when Aslan hadto peal away the dragon layers to make him human again.” There’s and object lesson here somewhere.’ I thought. I finally got the pealing off, chopped the onion, pieces of various sizes, mushrooms the same. I would never win a cooking contest with these knife skills or lack thereof. Now for the garlic. Finely chopped was out of the question. Repeat the onion fiasco with the exception of me trying to smash it to loosen the peeling.Yep, it flew on the floor too. I had to laugh out loud. I could hear Ron still trying to deal with one of the crazy maker clients as I chopped up garlic chunks.  Ditto to the two potatoes as I tried to cut them up.  The floor was like a magnet to my vegetables. Someone’s secretly filming this right?

The great re’veal’

I saute’d the garlic, mushrooms and onions, seared the veal, added mushroom broth and let it simmer. Potatoes were cooking with the largest garlic chunk. Green bean tips were cut off not without trial and error and yes some transferred to the floor. ‘Okay, whoever’s taping this,’ I said softly out loud, ‘I spilled the beans.’ Finally the great re’veal;’ all was ready. The good smell brought Ron into the kitchen. He helped me dish everything up. No potatoes for me as I’ve lost 20 pounds on The Daniel Plan before my injury.  I don’t want to find them again Ron still had to cut up my meat and vegetables. I was exhausted from making dinner, the pain was still really nasty but boy was it nice to be ‘normal’ for a little bit of time. As I write this with one finger, I am still grateful in spite of not knowing the outcome of my arm, how we will pay for everything or if I will always be ‘winging’ it with a gimp arm and living with more daily pain than my incomplete paraplegia has given me since my MVA in ’88.

Frame the burden

This is the last quote from the article sent to me by my retired missionary friend. I couldn’t say it better.

‘And how shall we frame the burden? First, we probably need to name it and walk right up to what we are actually experiencing or maybe just fearing. Take a good look at it, frame it and consciously trust God’s Spirit to hallow that burden. Midst trials we think we could never bear, God has special delights. As we frame our hearts to the burdens entrusted to us, we will experience giltedge linings and rewards we would never have imagined, and others will also see in us a beautifully framed picture of God’s gilt-edged grace.’

Lila W. Balisky October 2008 –published in Women of the Harvest