Recombinant DNA

Who knows what challenges new parents face?? I have four children and each is a recombinant !!! None exactly alike, none with the same personalities, and none of them came with instructions! I think it is a miracle that any child survives because the parents – any parents are shooting in the dark trying their best and dueling with recombinants. When someone tells me they treat all their children exeactly alike then I think they must not be paying any attention to their children unless of course they have  only one.

Today was another day of more questions than answers in my house although they were not spoken. We have a silent house for the most part. When the youngest finally let us know about the voices we learned that several things spoke to him, like the TV, the radio, the cat and the vacuum cleaner. I did not mind not using the vacuum cleaner – I don’t like housework anyway, but I did and still do miss the TV and the radio because even though he is out of psychosis he still doesn’t like the noise. So we live quietly without noise or conversation much.

Today the youngest was in a funk. Just in a mood so we sat on the back porch early and played some Yahtzee – it helped that I lost 2 of the 3 games but still in a mood. After lunch he began obsessing over his pulse again which pushed it higher so that made the mood even darker. I let him pout and lie on the bed squirming and not sleeping or napping  occasionally taking a deep breathe and sighing – this went on for about an hour. And I wanted to just shake him and say get over it, but then I thought would I do this to someone who had diabetes, pneumonia,or any other disease – No !  I refuse to be sucked into this mood so I sat there pondering recombinant DNA and crocheting snowflakes for Christmas – I would leave but that would make things worse. Then he said “bitter” as I had earlier asked him if he could tell me what his mood was because sometimes he doesn’t have the words to tell me due to his confused thought processes and sometimes he just doesn’t want to talk. So I paused and said ” well that is a choice you can make , not the one I would choose but a choice”  and that was that. No big change but a small one, he became more interactive with me and played a word game. I gently suggested he should write a poem about his feelings and someday he might but not today and not now.

Pray without ceasing yes, I can speak to that! Prayer for patience and wisdom and a lot of other things too!! But most of all perseverance in this struggle – no one signs up for this but the recombinants can throw you a loop and I pray for grace and patience.  It has been said that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle- I disagree. I think He does give you more so you learn to rely on Him each and every moment of each and every day – complete dependence upon the Source. Still learning this but it is different now, I have learned to pray first and then act – at least some of the time. I do see how families are broken when this disease comes into their lives – it is hard and I am thankful that for now the youngest let’s me into his world, even if I struggle with what to do and say because their are others who have lost that connection and I cry tears when I think that this could happen so I try to think about it – too painful but I pray for those families who struggle because I know how hard it is . Thanks for reading. Peace and prayers

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Happy Birthday

Today my eldest delivered a healthy 7.1 pound, 20 inch baby boy. He came into this broken world without any anesthesia and he is perfect. But of course I am a proud grand mom. His parents have cherished him for nearly 39 weeks and now they get to hold him and teach him and guard, guide and direct him. What a challenge and blessing also.

Today my devotional spoke of running and not growing weary ( Isaiah 40:31) , but I am tired and as for running I haven’t done that since I broke my ankle in 2004! It also spoke of receiving rest in the Savior (Matthew 11:28) and I need that too!! perhaps I am looking in the wrong place. I can’to speak to not being tired or rest but now ask me about praying without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17) now that I understand. This also speaks of joy but I dealt with that yesterday.

Today is a hard day for the youngest. Perhaps he got whammed by stress chemicals or excitement when he learned he was an uncle. Or perhaps it is because the barometric has moderated and we are enjoying a sit outside, listen to the July Flies kind of day after so much heat. I don’t know and perhaps this is why I am tired or maybe I am just old! My first devotion of the day assured me that I would not be alone in this day and indeed I am not. I feel the Presence of the Source surrounding me like the Araphel which surrounded Moses. I cannot see the Almighty but I am assured of HIS Presence. And I am thankful. So today another pray without ceasing day goes on and I am not alone which reminds me of another Randy Travis song”Through the Fire” . On days like today it is good to have your brain filled up with assuring , nurturing songs – even if they are country songs. Peace to all who read this .

HOPE

So I had hoped to get to church today, I think it has been about a month since I was there. Just sort of fell of the planet – not really  but it felt like it on some days. I didn’t make it – skyped with my daughter in Africa and the youngest was wavering on letting me go so I offered options and stayed home. Sometimes I wonder if I should offer choices but today it felt right to do so. Hope is this funny thing – you only hope for good things at least I don’t know of anyone who hopes for anything bad.

After the youngest was hospitalized for the second time we of course were given a lot of information from the hospital. Again the state of mental health care is so disjointed and not very clear as to how to get help, where help is and how to access appropriate care for whatever condition you are dealing with it it truely amazing that anyone gets help at all.  Ok enough of the rant this is not the focus; the focus is hope.

So we were sent to a new practice to see if they could better deal with what the youngest was going through . The very first time I met the doctor I was impressed. She was kind, soft spoken, and she told the youngest ” I want you to have hope, because I have hope. I have worked with similar clients and I have hope . Will you let me work with you.” And of course the youngest said “yes, but I don’t think it will work”

You see he was still in psychosis and trying to deal with it himself without help, without hope. Reading stuff off the internet and listening to the voices in his head. It was a difficult time and I have to say the struggle goes on. So you hope, for calmer days and clearer thinking and just when things get better they crash and you still think you are doing what needs to be done only to find that you are stuck.

Hope – in 1 Corinthians13:7 love -always protects , always trusts , always HOPES, always perseveres .  I think we persevere because we hope. So I hope, for clearer thoughts and calmer days. For healing for the youngest . For perseverance to continue  this journey.  I also hope that  none of the experience is wasted and that is one reason for this missive so that others can have hope.  And I have hope that I will get back to a routine of doing things  like going to the church , grocery store and appointments without the ten texts in twenty minutes asking where I am and can I come home early and when will I be back. I hope for the light to stay on for the youngest even when I am gone however briefly and that he once again feels safe. That is my hope.

Wrestling with God and tears

Some days just are made for tears. Tears for me flow as easily as the rain in spring – just ask the folks at church who have seen me sit and weep and try to sing the songs and weep some more . Tears are NORMAL saline which the body produces for various reasons. The shortest verse in the bible indicates “Jesus wept”. The son of the most high God wept and He knew the ending to the story. I cry daily. Now do not fear some days it is because I am tired, frustrated or just plain lonely. Some days it is because I know things are a little better like this morning when I asked the youngest ” so you think I can go to church tomorrow.? ” and he said “yes!” Now this does not mean I will get to go but it does mean he can future think and that it is a possibility!!  Crying, weeping changes your body’s chemistry, it lowers your blood pressure it is like a release valve to pressure and men need to cry too!! So have a good cry ; somewhere in Psalms I think there is a verse about the Angels collecting our tears in bottles, well I think they must moan when they see me crying, surely they petition God and say something like” can’t you make her stop we are running out of room ” He of course is ever patient and just sends them out for more bottles !!!

and today my hip hurts which led me to thinking about wrestling with God. You know the story of Jacob who wrestled and was blessed but got his hip thrown out of joint. Well mine hurts and I do wrestle with God though He always wins. I think God appreciates a good discussion even In the form of wrestling and these day I do wrestle with Him. Especially about verses from Paul – who learned to be content in all things – well I am not content in this time how can you be content when your child is sick ?? What is this contentment thing all about and how do you get it ?? All I can say is that I’m not there yet – like that Randy Travis song around the bend maybe contentment is around the bend . And then there is that verse in James “Consider it a joy when trials come” REALLY????? Not at joy yet either so around the bend it is!!! Here and now I am assured that God is over all, in all and through all (Ephesians 4:6) so that will have to be enough in the meantime as I wrestle with God and travel down the road and around the bend !!!!

A little brain anatomy – fearfully and wonderfully made

The brain is absolutely fascinating!!! As a former neurosurgery nurse the brain fascinates me. And these days that is a good thing. The brain has many parts the amygdala, the sympathetic,, the parasympathetic ,the brain stem and so on. The dictionary defines the amygdala  as a ganglion of the limbic system adjoining the temporal lobe of the brain and involved in emotions of fear and aggression. Ok too much medical talk so here is the way I think about the youngest and his brain.The sympathetic area of the brain says danger!! Alert!!! run/or freeze to whatever is causing the anxiety. The parasympathetic say ” now wait there is no danger , let’s be calm and reason about what is going on” so the youngest is stuck in this loop of anxiety to which his parasympathetic brain has been overwhelmed and cannot break the loop. His vagus response isn’t responding 😦 so we are trying to break the sympathetic loop which throws out stress hormones and increases anxiety which produces more stress hormones and more anxiety on and on .

It takes time, patience and some creative thinking about neuro pathways and channels. Here are some things for you to try the next time you feel overwhelmed.

  1. Try rocking in a rocking chair – yes this rocking motion stimulates the vagus nerve which in turn stimulates the parasympathetic brain . I love to rock now I know why , once the preacher said he was going to do a retreat with rocking chairs – well sign me up great idea  calming and peaceful rocking.
  2. Meditative deep breathing – this helps to reset the  brain also slow deep breathing in 5-6 minutes sessions
  3. there are also some acupressure/puncture points in the ear – we haven’t fully explored those yet but it is a possibility.

4.there is also a point mid sternum in yoga the pose is called the prayer pose look it up on YouTube while              you are at that stop light that never turns gently place fingers over this point and give a gentle massage with deep breathing

so this may all sound mystic and mysterious but remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator and while you are doing all that deep breathing remember to say a prayer to to one who gives breath and life and as Ephsians 4:6 say is over all things, in all things and through all things .

Waiting, waiting, waiting ………….

Today is appointment day, which means waiting. If you live in America waiting is inherent in anything you do and with waiting comes impatience. We wait at stop lights, grocery check out lines, doctor offices and  many other places. So I choose to always take my knitting with me because it is calming and productive as I wait, even though my carpal tunnel hurts some days.

These days I am waiting for the youngest and for his anxiety to diminish and for him to feel better so that I can leave the house and not get 20 text messages from him in 30 minutes , yes this happens right now so I am waiting for it to get better. The only time I have left the house this week is to come with him to his appointments and wait.

I looked up waiting, wait in the concordance of my bible an found it had 9 verses( I feel like there are more just not in my concordance)  related to waiting, and not one verse on rushing or hurrying. Huh! At least not the rushing that we do daily to get to work, do whatever and get home again only to sleep and get up and do it all over. Most of the waiting biblically is to wait on the Lord!! Today my devotion was about Psalm 118:24 this is the day the Lord has made , let us rejoice and be glad in it!! Does anyone ever wait long enough in their day to rejoice in this day? Or do they just rush out the door and get on with whatever? When we rush, we miss the gifts that God has prepared for us, though I have to say this requires patience which I am not very good at practicing. I learned a Greek word it is -makrothymeO- it is used in the New Testament to indicate super patience so I have it on my phone so when I get antsy and restless, I just look at  that word ponder it’s meaning and pray for more patience. And take deep breaths, this healing of the mind takes a long time so I choose not to think about how low because I fear I will fall in a puddle of tears and I try not to think about the future because that too, can lead me down the road to the infamous pity pot. So Today, this minute is all we have, the past is past, the future unknown  today let us wait on the Lord but also WITH Him as He is over all things, in all things and through all things, pause look for the gifts presented and be thankful this is the day the Lord has made and you are placed in it!!!

I am also awaiting the arrival of my first grandchild, soon!! Or so his mother hopes. This event will be bitter sweet because I probably will not be able to go and visit this new life because I am waiting for the youngsest to get better!

ISAIAH 41:10

This verse came up again today. I have this verse engraved on my heart and in my mind – I don’t even have to look it up any more and it is a great verse to remember. So here is the back story from 2012 about this verse and the current situation.

In 2012 we sent our youngest off to college. Congratulations you are now an empty nester!! During the orientation at some point the parents were shuttled off away from their children into a big auditorium. There we heard several speakers about the wonderful attributes of said University. I had done this three prior times so it was no big news. However, the Dean of Student Affairs talk caught  my ear. He said 1/4 of the students would flunk out during their first semester; and I though “not my child.” Then he said 1/4 of students would get drawn into drugs , alcohol and other unsavory things, and I though “not my child.” Then he said 1/4 of the students would have to withdraw under medical reasons and I though “not my, well maybe could be a possibility for my child.” You see we had struggled with the youngest during his last year in high school. He was withdrawn and sullen and snarky. But having 3 before going through the same stages made it easy to write off as just a stage. This was not the case as we were to find out.

Somewhere in late in August Isaiah 41:10 started appearing on various devotionals so I thought that is a good verse and I memorized it. Little did I know I was going to be saying it a lot the next few years. In September the off sounding texts started from the youngest. Some in the evening, some late at night, some at odd times and I tried to make them make sense. They just didn’t make sense. Complaints of not sleeping followed by answers of “stay away from caffeine,”  and ” I think I have diabetes” followed by “see the student health person.” And things did not get better. By fall break mid-October – I was making various appointments to deal with the complaints – the doctor to deal with his physical, the chiropractor , to deal with his back and so on. I did not make a mental health appointment – it never occurred to me.  And then the call came ” I think you need to come and get your child and take him to the psychiatrist, he is talking of suicide and we are not capable of handling this” And so we did October 19, 2012, it still brings tears to my eyes because when we picked him up, it was obvious something was seriously wrong. More on that later.

So Isaiah 41:10 will always be my go to verse when I am in deep water, hopefully none of you will have such deep water but it is a solid, rock solid verse to remember that God is over all, in all and through all things and I am thankful that it was provided to me at an hour when I did not feel I needed it but really did – isn’t it amazing what happens when you listen to the Master !!!

Check my pulse, check my pulse and other little things

Check my pulse, this is a request heard hundreds of times in one day from the youngest to me. As a nurse checking the pulse is a elementary skill , you take the subjects hand place your index and middle finger over the radial artery located just below the thumb on the wrist and you count the beats. These days for the youngest to have his pulse taken is almost an obsession. And yes I do know there are pulse oximeters that tell you the pulse and oxygen consumption, however for the youngest this produces anxiety as he watches to little red lines beat and of course that causes them to beat faster and faster so we have one here at the house but he doesn’t use it! As I was reading my devotion today ( Colossians 3:12-14) (Ephesians 4:6) I was also getting the request to check my pulse. And I thought how often does God , the Source of life check our pulse?? Are we putting on patience, compassion, mercy gentleness? Do we realize that HE is truely over all, through all and in all??  What is your pulse like today ?? Also a shout out for the Abide app for prayer download it – it is free and the prayers are meditative, reflective and can be calming and I for one am thankful that I found it. If God were to check my pulse what would He find? Would my heart beat faster at being touched by the Master, the Lover of my soul, or would it beat faster in awe, or fear or in disbelief??

I can tell sometimes when I check the youngest’s pulse that he is upset and small things make his heart race like the thought of having to take a shower, when I feel this quickening I speak in calm slow tones hopefully to soothe. Sometimes it works. Sometimes when I check his pulse it is rapid but as I count the lub-dubs it slows – just at my touch , my presence. What if we tuned in to the Presence of the Source for that calmness , that assurance that HE IS, and as Ephisians says “over all,through all, and in all! “

SUSTAINED

This morning I was reading my devotional the one that says I can do all things through Him that strengthens me. And the word SUSTAINED popped into my head. As I think and meditate on that word I can surely say that I have been sustained. This journey which started the day the youngest was born has been constantly sustained by the church family while all the children were small up to the present moment in this place of chaos and confusion. SUSTAINED, I remember so many people helping and even on one occasion being told to “just go home we will look after the four of yours for the day !! really??!! So I left my four in the hands of my church family for a vacation bible school day and had a day off !! Of course there was laundry to do and a shower to take without interruption but what a blessing – and did I say thank you?? probably not or at least not loud enough. So when the youngest had his psychotic break I was again sustained, by those very same people who saw me cry nearly every Sunday and of course there were hugs and  prayers- Today 2 years after the diagnosis we are at a different place and I AM STILL BEING SUSTAINED.  This church family knows how to pray and hug and call. Sometimes they take the direct approach and say things like, ” tomorrow I am bringing a picnic lunch for y’all ” other times it is an email saying I am thinking about you or ” call me if you want to talk., I don’t have the answers but I can listen”  since the lesson Christ brought to us is Love, how come it is that we hold back or think I don’t know what to do , Love is an action word and we have to be other focused rather than me focused because sometimes love in action is uncomfortable. It is reaching out when you don’t know what it is you are reaching into and it is receiving that sustenance (that being sustained) when it is hard to move forward because you are stuck

Apparently stuck is a clinical diagnosis

who knew??? When my son was diagnosed with schizoaffective/schizophrenia we ( the family and the church family ) started a journey. It has now been two years and things seem to be as chaotic and confusing as ever. At the last doctor’s appointment we ( my son and I) were told he was stuck  as a nurse  I have heard some strange diagnosis but this one was dead on target. For the schizophrenic’s brain does indeed get stuck and the unsticking can be short , long or somewhere  in between – not sure where we are on that score cause we have been stuck since April and it is now June.  For me that means that I am stuck also because my son describes me leaving (even for a short trip to the grocery store) as ” the lights goes out and the darkness comes and I don’t feel safe” any parent wants their children safe!! It is hard to explain this to others, after all “he looks well” doesn’t quite say what is happening inside his head and he does look well , exercising, lifting weights eating healthy all good things but the stuck part is harder to deal with on more than one level. If anyone watched what was going on in my house they would say how strange as I go where my son goes up the stairs, downstairs jut about anywhere – not to the bathroom but when he showers I have to sit in his room so that he knows I am close! This is a strange life I will post more later