History of the Ministry Con't
History of the Ministry Continued
My sister called a friend of hers and she took me to Saint Mary’s Medical Center. The reason they admitted me was not for the pain, but for kidneys that were failing because of the quantity of pain pills I had been taking to try and kill the pain. They didn’t work. However, God used those pain pills to get me admitted. If I had not been admitted because of my kidneys, I would be dead.
They stabilized my kidneys and then went to work exploring why I was in such pain. I was begging them to take the pain away. I got to the point where I could not feed myself. They took CT scans of my neck area and saw nothing. A few days later they took them again. This time they found abscesses on my backbone in the neck area. A few days later they sent me to get an MRI. That really concerned them. The abscesses were spreading.
They immediately contacted Loma Linda University Medical Center and arranged for me to be transported to them. When a bed was secured I was transported. Upon arrival they admitted me as a paraplegic. I was not able to move any of my extremities. The pain was from my neck all the way down to my toes. It was as if thousands of atomic bombs were being exploded in my body every second of every hour of every day. I wanted to die. I pleaded with them to shoot me. The pain was unbearable.
As it was getting close the end of the month, and the ministry had financial commitments that needed to be taken care of, I called John, a member of the board. He lived in Missouri. I explained to him what would happen if we did not pay our bills. Also, the mail needed to be collected and processed. Inmates would be expecting their books.
From ICU I was transferred to a Critical Care Unit. There, more miracles of the Lord continued. The devil wanted to destroy the ministry, but God was going to turn it around and show His great and mighty power. It was at about this time I learned what my medical condition was technically called: Epidural Abscesses. Nice name, but what pain. It appears to be very rare. It appears that there are no physical indicators for it. As in my case, it was the pain. And even with that, they had no idea what was causing the pain.
The medical staff thought I was going to be a paraplegic for the rest of my life. But one morning when the neurological team came in to see how I was doing, I surprised them by kicking my left leg into them. They were amazed. I told them my left leg was ready to play soccer. However, I informed them that my right leg wanted to sit in the bleachers and watch. Never did they think I would be able to make this progress.
As the days progressed, the pain was intense. I pleaded with them to take away the pain. They told me they were giving me the highest doses of pain medication allowed and at the closest intervals allowed. However, they gave me other medication that were not classified as “pain medication” but did the same thing. So, I was receiving huge amounts of pain medication, and still the pain was unbearable. I wanted to die. Through it all, even though I wanted to die, I let the Lord know that I was His and I would do as He pleased. I wanted to serve Him, even there in the hospital. Many of the workers were so impressed by my smile, good attitude and joy I was bringing them. I explained to them that no matter what the situation, we must always keep a sense of humor and trust God.
Over a few days, feeling came back to my body. However, just because I could feel, didn’t mean I could move. The pain was so great, I could not even turn from side to side without assistance. I was bed-bound. They still had to feed me. I was not able to scratch my head, my ears or my nose. Do you know how awful that is? A catheter was inserted. This was not good.
As I improved over the next few days, they transferred me to Del Rosa Urgent Care facility. There I learned how to feed myself. Soon they began physical therapy. First there was simply learning how to sit up on the edge of the bed.
Eventually I found myself at a standstill. I wasn’t getting the help I needed. Also, I had to get back to the ministry. Juan was doing a wonderful job of keeping the books and material going out to inmates. However, he had to drive over 200 miles every weekend to do the work. That was very tiring for him. He could not keep that up. I had to go home.
Alaska came to my rescue. When I was at my lowest, she brought her smile into my life. She walked into my room and gave me hope. She brought me sweets to lift my spirits. Praise God for Alaska. She even lent me her personal laptop to do any work I might need to do. So thoughtful of her. All I wanted was to see if my fingers could still type. Yes, they could. That was all I needed.
When I arrived home, I was greeted by my “kids”. What love. They missed me so much. Not to say how much I missed them.
Sabbath was truly a day of miracles. While at the Urgent Care facility they did not think I would be able to walk, let alone walk up stairs. Every time I came to their steps, I would get very sick and want to vomit. How would I handle being home with 11 steps up to the bedroom? Well, God works miracles. On Sabbath, I walked up the stairs all by myself. At first I used a walker to traverse the house. But within a few days I was walking without the walker. Since then, I have been able to keep the ministry going forward. For a few more weeks Juan continued to come and help with the mail. But then I was able to do the work myself. Little by little my strength came back to me.
My right side is till much like a person with a stroke. My right foot drags a bit. My right hand needed help to brush my teeth, shave and comb my hair. But slowly even it is learning how to move.
My biggest problem was the pain in my neck and shoulders. It was in that area where the surgeon had to remove the abscesses from the spine. The pain was intense. Then one Sabbath, exactly 60 days after surgery, I woke up, got out of bed and went down stairs. Then I stopped and realized that I no longer had pain in my neck or shoulders. Praise God. About a week after returning home I took the car for a drive around the property (see video to the left) . I wanted to see if I could drive. Yes I could. Sitting in the car driving was not the problem. It was after getting to where I was going: the walk. But God blessed and I was able to drive to the Post Office only 5 miles away. That was the start. Soon I was able to stretch out my drives. God is blessing. Keep an eye out for the old man at the end of the video. He is the one with the red cap on and a shovel in his hand. He is 91 years old. He is in perfect health. The benifits of working for God.