Friday, July 13, 2012

Whirlwind in Wonderland

Whew!  Since last Thursday it has been a whirlwind in wonderland...whimsy and joy have been drowned out by worry and a wild ride.  Not to worry, life lessons have taken a front seat.

My husband and I spent the weekend in Dallas volunteering for Pathways.  Awesome.  Hard.  I fought my own personal demons (anxiety, fear) the entire time.  I just heard so much that resonated with my story and brought up some tough issues for me to work through...all while serving the ones I was there for.  I fought that feeling of disconnection at times and I am proud to say, came through the weekend well.  Arrived home exhausted to the bone and absolutely rewarded in my heart.  Still working through some things I discovered for myself, as written in my earlier post. 

My Daddy had a full correction of his ileac and aortic aneurysms on Wednesday.  I feel that much of my weekend anxiety had to do with what was coming.  His last surgery recovery was difficult to say the least.  The physical part was great, the dementia and the anesthetic made for some very rough days.  Just as he was fully recovering, it was time to go in for the second surgery. 

Again, physically he did wonderful.  (Thank God).  The day of the surgery was extraordinary, Dad was cooperative and sweet and not alot more confused than usual.  Then came the evening.  The sundowning classic to dementia victims set in and seemed to last well into the next day.  I had come home to rest and slept so hard that I missed my Momma's 2:30 a.m. text telling me they had to restrain my Dad.  Grateful that two of my sisters woke for the text and were there.  Logically, I understand that restraints are quite preferable to him not laying flat, injuring himself further and bleeding to death.  Logically, I know that my Dad is one of the many, many patients that go through this (even without dementia).

Emotionally, it is so hard to know that my Daddy, my powerhouse and the lover of his baby being restrained to keep him safe but has no clue why b/c his mind is so fogged up he can't comprehend the current reality.  Reality.. my Mom and sisters were there to hurt and could really do nothing but observe and let the medical staff work.  Even worse, to imagine that this might be just a little glimpse of what is to come as the dementia progresses, even without the anesthetic.  Too. painful. to. bear.

Last night brought peace and rest; praying that the new day dawning continues to bring healing and calm. 

As I fell asleep last night with a sweet girl on one arm and a precious boy on the other, I woke a enough to hear the lyrics of the song playing during the movie trailer they were watching.  The movie was Alice in Wonderland...a very special story to me.  I have watched the movie with them a billion times and never listened to the lyrics.  The words that pinged me last night were sang in April Lavine's haunting melody and she kept asking 'is this real or is this pretend?' 

 In my anxiety, I have suffered a feeling where I am totally present and suddenly, I am silently fighting panic or staying connected to reality.  I have experienced an almost floaty, surreal feeling that leaves me feeling so detached I have to fight to get back to reality, back in touch with me.  In those moments, I have wondered 'is this real or is it pretend'?  Am I someone's made up story?  Am I a little remote control toy in life?  And I remember that perception is reality.  I am real.  I am here.  This reality gets oh so painful at times, but there is not other choice to be made for me.  In my reality also dwells everlasting beauty- so the fight to stay connected, even when it's terribly hard is incredibly worth it.

God has been sending heart friends to me left and right.  I am deeply grateful.  One of those friends sent me the following scripture, telling me that she is working on memorizing it.  I am joining her in this, though she doesn't know it yet.  I have kept it secret in case I'm not able to (stupid after stroke lack of confidence).  I'm telling her today.  I wanted to share, because it's so awesome and maybe it will be a tincture for your heart as well.  I especially like the thought of treading on a lion and a cobra!  :)

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.

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