Sunday, December 31, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas greetings from Aunty

Greetings to all my siblings and cousins,

Our Christmas day has drawn to a close while yours is probably in full swing -- never mind, we're just taking this opportunity to wish you all a good day, and to send you all our love and greetings!

Aunty is doing well and sends her greetings to you all -- I told her I'd be writing. Bryan called last night, a little ahead of schedule, and we had a real nice talk. I was able to pass on to Aunty his Christmas greetings since he didn't think he'd be able to get through either. I'm not surprised, Joy, that you couldn't get through tonight. It is often very difficult.

Aunty is due to be transferred out of the rehabilitation hospital where she now is (Christchurch) soon. She was operated on in Poole but was transferred out to Christchurch within a couple of weeks.

The physiotherapist there has told her that she "doesn't belong there" any more since her mobility and independence are beyond the level of the average patient there.

She is now quite happy that she can move about on her own (without help -- but with a zimmer-on-wheels). The next place is just down the road somewhere between Christchurch and Southbourne (just near the Tuckton roundabout, to those of you who know the area).

She had a blood test yesterday (Sunday) and once the results are in she should be out of there -- probably Tuesday or Wednesday.

It is late for us here and I must now go. Please be aware of our love to you all and we pray you have a blessed Christmas time!

Love,

Derrick

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Life is funny

Life is a funny thing: just when you think you've got it figured out, everything shifts and you're not so sure any more.

It seems to me that there are few things one can really be sure of in life. The most basic, for me, is the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible. This is not a matter of "faith" to me; it's just basic fact; something I don't ever question or feel I have to try to believe or hang on to.

However, all our little ways of expressing that life seem to shift every couple of years and in the end, the only thing you are sure of, is that you're not really sure of anything.

I think we're going to find that a lot of us got things completely wrong -- everybody that calls themselves a Christian can't be right, can they?  But we all think we are.

God help us to slow down and be a bit more tolerant of our differences.

Friday, December 15, 2006

To Bryan re David

I was just cleaning up my locker at noon of junk, mail, papers, books and stuff, and I ran across an old letter David wrote me back in October of 2005 -- a little over a year ago.

This probably seems like a nonsense thing to say, but I think he's the only one of all my nephews or nieces that has ever written to me or answered one of my letters. So he has a special place in my heart.

And how is David now? And is there any more news you can tell? You don't have to worry about exceeding your limits because, as I told the family yesterday, this was the longest letter I've ever gotten from you since you've been on email (first one I have from you is dated Oct 25, 1996, congratulating us on the birth of Claire -- ten years now!)

Anyway, I don't even know what to ask you. So many questions, so many unknowns. One thing you can tell me is, what is an MRI? What does it stand for? What does it do?

Something that struck me was the fact that his chest pain was unrelated to the tumour on his lung. At the risk of saying the obvious and sounding pedantic, let me encourage you to pursue that. Have him see a cardiologist because I hate the sound of "chest pain" and heart trouble is not exclusive to older people, apparently.

In the UK right now they have a campaign and I saw the poster last week, which said, "Chest pain is your body's way of saying, Dial 999" and the picture was of a guy whose chest was restricted by a strap-like thing. Not pleasant, but the message gets out.

I know nothing medical, but I would check that angle, just to be safe. Because as in everything IF there is any problem, the earlier they find out, the easier it is to treat.

Regarding what you said, of course, take the "Godly perspective" -- what is your choice? Shall we receive good at the hand of God and not evil? said Job, who was in a better position than us to complain. And, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him."

As Paul said, we have not yet resisted unto blood. God help us. I'm speaking to myself, just as much. I've only come into the medical world lately but it's sobered me up a lot and I realize I am only reaping what I sowed for so long.

(As an aside, I have continued to lose a lot of weight till I now wear almost the same size clothes as Raph or Jonathan and have lost another 15 pounds just over the course of this year alone.

Ever since my first medical intervention in 2000 I've been on a determined, but slow, process of elimination. I was my heaviest at that time and have lost ever since. Now I feel great and have sustained the loss for years, changing my life-style in the process, so I know it will last.)

Well, these are just my ramblings, heart to heart. I've never been much good at knowing what to say when it really mattered. But God be with you, brother.

Believe me, if I don't know, I can at least imagine what you and Sally are going through. And David is probably wondering which side is up, not to mention the others.

Our heart is with you all and if you can think of anything we could do to help, I know you won't hesitate to say so.

"Nothin's thicker than blood on blood."

Derrick

PS - Just rereading your letter: Did not understand the reference to "dependency eligibility under my health plan" at all. How could your son not be eligible under your health plan?? Something I don't quite see here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Concern for my nephew

Oh Bryan, God is on the throne and I believe that everything that befalls us is according to His perfect will. The fact that often-times we can't figure out the beginning from the end is immaterial.

We've surely lived long enough now to know who is in control of things.

I pray that our Father will show us, and will give you and Sally and David peace. Give peace, Lord Jesus to all the children, peace and strength and joy ... that, after years of preparation their faith is about to be tried and tested and proved to be made of real elements.

Sarah and I will continue to pray that this issue resolves itself happily and I will of course pass on the information to Aunty Ruth when I call her tonight.

Love,

Derrick

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

To siblings and cousins

I hope everyone realized that "No news is good news" and that, really, very little is happening that I need to report: but I'll try to see what I can remember for you all.

First of all, Aunty knows very well how difficult it is for you to call and she's never once expressed any kind of expectations on that front; in fact, when I mention it, she even says how hard it is to get the time zones right.

She is still in the rehabilitation unit at Christchurch and I have to say, she is well -- as well as can be expected. She is certainly getting all the physical care she possibly could want, 24 hours a day.

Last week she went back to Poole Hospital for the day, to have her doctor check her condition. Christchurch is really rehabilitation and rest, nothing very medical goes on there.

She likes it there better than Poole because there's such a turn-over of patients that there's always something going on and people coming and going that it relieves the boredom of Poole. She still gets quite a lot of visitors from her church, which is real nice for her, though they often don't know when to leave and so it tires her out a bit.

Last weekend I went over for the day to see her and be a little encouragement and I think she liked that. I bought a few odds and ends of things for her, as well as some French chocolate biscuits that she is very partial to. :-)

Every evening I call her and we chat for ten or fifteen minutes. She recounts the (uneventful) events of the day; you know how she is, remembering all the dates and times of everything that happens. I think it's important to her for me just to be there, to chat, and to listen, and so on.

On the Sunday we went to the chapel in the hospital with her and she liked that. Good thing we did, too, since we were almost the only ones there! She's usually the only one from her ward that goes.

It's been a month, day for day, since she fell and there's still no word about when she'll get to go home. They say they want her to be autonomous first, which is understandable. She gets around all right with help and she is doing her exercises but I am starting to wonder if she'll ever get back home into her former routine.

Between her neighbor Frank, and her home help girl, Lynn, her place is being kept up and clean and her mail and things taken care of. But she is starting to look around for some kind of a nursing home to migrate to -- she has always been very realistic.

So you can all be reassured that I am doing what I can from here and it turns out that she doesn't even need very much, really. She is just getting to the point where she wants to go home and get back to her routine again. But I don't know how soon that will be.

This morning she was due to go into Bournemouth to have her pacemaker checked on. It's been two years since she had it put in and it needs rebooting, I reckon. :-)

Last week, when she went in to see her own cardiologist she was much relieved to be able to see someone she knew and who knew her. He changed her medicine slightly and so she's now getting used to the new one.

I'll try to write at least once a week from now on, but really, lack of news was simply lack of anything to say. It's business as usual at the hospital, and she's just going to have to let her body heal itself. Poor Aunty -- patience is probably not her greatest strength!

Please pray for her, that her moral keeps up, and that the medicine relieves her and makes her comfortable.