Saturday, July 27, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Saturday!  Today, our friend Sebastian came over and cut Geni’s hair and my hair. In trying to cut down on spending as I am the income for the foreseeable future I can polish my own nails, but I can’t cut my own hair. So I called the dear woman who has become my friend and told her I needed to stop having my nails done for a while. My nails do not look as pretty as when Cathy does them, but the price is right and I feel sure with continued practice I will get better!

I love visiting Bruce. I try to go after he has finished his therapy for the morning. He is always interested in what I have done during the day. So I try to make laundry and hair cuts sound as exciting as possible.  I ask him about his day and sometimes he can tell me something and sometimes not. But he continues to greet me with a hug and a kiss. Geni and I visited him as we do each night to say good night. Geni brought our grandog; Penny to visit too. Bruce and Penny had a great visit. He also received a sweatshirt from Alaska from some friends who just returned from a cruise. Tonight he asked what happens after this; meaning after he is discharged from Kindred. I had really been dreading this conversation. So I explained what I thought would happen and why he needed to go there.  He seemed okay with it, but I also remember he is only processing about 25% of what is said to him. I am sure I will explain this change several of times before this next step takes place.  

Also, I text messaged Bruce a few minutes ago to say good night and I love you. He wrote back, “Sleep up.”  I took it as a sign of great things to come. God is good.

“Let us hold fast to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 10: 23

This scripture was the verse given to me when Casey was ill. Its meaning is still the same, that God’s glory will be revealed in Bruce’s healing. God is faithful. When things are going terribly wrong all we can do is hold on to God, the Master Healer, giver of hope and every good and perfect gift. God will not let us be tempted by fear beyond our ability to endure. When fear begins to creep in we can escape by just whispering, “I trust You Lord, my hope is in you.”  Since there is nothing else I can do to reverse what has happened I will live in the hope of the resurrected Christ and believe that God through the sacred Word is faithful.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, let us cast our cares upon God and get some sleep. God is up all night anyway so there is no reason for both of us to be awake. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene


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Friday, July 26, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Friday!

Tonight Geni and I went to visit Bruce. He received a "sweet" basket from his brother and sister-in-law.  He took the card and read it to us. He read all of the words correctly. It was a moment of joy for both of us. Bruce has bits and pieces and we give thanks for when they show up and we are given the gift of being able to witness God extraordinary grace. I was also told today that he is a joy with whom to work and that he is the hospital jokester!  (No great surprise!)

Things are going to move rather quickly in the next few days. Two hospitals have picked up paperwork for Bruce's admission to their brain injury rehab programs. He will go for a CT scan in Fort Worth on Monday. We will go for Family training and tour one of the hospitals on Monday also.  I have to believe that these two hospitals believe that they can make serious progress with Bruce's unique situation. His estimated discharge date is Tuesday, July 30. I will keep you posted. Both of the hospitals are in Irving so that is not so terribly far away. Ephesians 1: 18-19 "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Courage comes from the French word for "heart." God lives in our hearts and we can and must call on our Lord to help us live with courage when we face the time ahead. Bruce must have courage to face each day and work very hard. I have to have courage and faith to surrender him over to those who can help him best. I pray that God will take pleasure in helping us cope with each new normal that we face as he hope and are assured of God's steadfast and unfailing love. In the words of cousins who live this our every day with their wins.  Please keep praying and love you all, Gaylene

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, let us cast our cares upon the LORD and get some sleep.  God is awake all night anyway so there is no reason for both of us to be up. Love you all, Bruce and Gayleneappy Friday

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Thursday! 

We were told today the extent of the damage the stroke has had on Bruce. Briefly, Bruce is unaware he has a right side. He has lost half of the vision on both eyes which is what causes him to bump into things on the right side of his body. He possibly has some hearing loss, but unable to be assessed until he can better to communicate. His has a balance issue. His receptive as well as his expressive language has been damaged. He is only able to process about 25% to 30% of what is told or asked of him. There are plans being explored for the next phase of this journey. The plans could range from a different facility where he would receive intensive inpatient rehabilitation to intensive outpatient rehabilitation also in a different facility. We have had some ups and downs today, but by God's good grace he is alive, motivated and I think making some progress. It is just slow and will take a long time. I am of the opinion if the case manager at Kindred is recommending further intensive rehab they must believe it will be of benefit and improve chances of better recovery. If he goes in patient he will be there for six weeks. Please pray for all parties involved in this decision making. We want what is best for Bruce. Today he knew it was Thursday and told us that they may release him on Tuesday or Wednesday.  When the language works it is spot on.  The hardest part about leaving him tonight was that he is so ready to come home.

Tonight, the opening line of my devotion is “I AM ABLE TO DO IMMEASUREBLY MORE THAN ALL YOU ASK OR IMAGINE.”  Boy did I ever need to hear that assurance tonight. God is so good and reassures me when I need assurance from the Word. Bruce has already begun to be God’s miracle man in that the MCA Hospital personnel told us he would be in a bed for the rest of his life and one of the docs at Plaza told me he hoped Bruce would not die. God has already worked in Bruce far more that the experts imagined. We have an awesome God. I think I have prayed without ceasing.  I have prayed that the Holy Spirit would be completely involved in the processes to come and that Bruce would be exactly where he needs to be and in the hands and care of the perfect people who will help him to relearn that which has been forgotten.  

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

Ephesians 3: 20

When someone asks how I am doing I have begun to answer “My halo’s on straight, but my hair’s on fire!” God understands perfectly everything we are going through and is holding Bruce so very close. God is already so involved even more than we can imagine. God wants us to bring to Him our praises and requests. I know that the power of prayer does not lie in the one who prays, but in the One who hears the prayer. But I believe that God is a collaborative God and fare more capable to do more than we can ask or even imagine. Pray, pray, pray!

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, let us cast our cares upon the LORD and get some sleep. God is awake all night and there is no need for all of us to be awake. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Wednesday!  Bruce is doing well. Geni and I attended his PT session today and we have been granted permission to walk with Bruce without staff presence. The PT is working to strengthen and correct the weakness on his right side. He is working very hard and is very motivated.

Our bedroom is almost ready to receive the new bed tomorrow evening. Geni (whom I have renamed Handy Mandy!) dismantled the waterbed and together we carried it outside. After the clean-up and vacuuming the space is ready for the bed. I still have some work to do to make sure the room is safe and ready for when Bruce returns home. There will be trips made to Mission Arlington over the next couple of days.

I think I am preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. I pray for Bruce’s healing and restored wellness almost constantly. I also pray for money to pay the bills. I wonder if we will have to close the business. How can I support us until or if Bruce is able to return to work? And then I am reminded that God’s gentle voice reminds me that I am given one day at a time and to take care of what I can in one day. So today, I paid the gas bill and car insurance. With the help of my precious daughter we have prepared our room for a new bed. A friend of ours is giving us a bed. Blessings abound.  We will tackle tomorrow’s list tomorrow.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91: 1-2

I do not know what the future holds in the next moment, or hour or day, but I know God is present with Bruce and our family. God knows how all of this will turn out because God is absolutely Sovereign. Holy Scripture proclaims that God is The Almighty; and nothing is beyond The Divine control of God. Sometimes I feel so helpless and so sad when I see Bruce struggling to make sense of what is going on and what he wants to say. And then I remember that he is alive. And then I get a special blessing of a hug, a kiss and “Love you darlin’” and I know I can live on that for a long time. As we face each challenge I am counting and trusting our compassionate God. God has compassion on His afflicted people. And I am finding ways to rejoice even when I am shedding tears.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, let us cast our care upon the Lord and get some sleep. God is up all night anyway and there is no reason for all of us to be awake!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Tuesday!  I promised you the story.

            Around 6:00 pm on July 16, 2013 Bruce was working at a client’s home. She heard a noise and went outside to investigate. She found Bruce on his hands and knees searching for something and he looked up at her and said, “I don’t think I can do this.” Bruce sat down. She got him some water and he took a few sips. After asking him several times if he was okay, her daughter came out and told her mom to call 911. But this time Bruce is not speaking in understandable language. The ambulance got there in five minutes. The ambulance took Bruce to MCA Hospital in Arlington, Texas. MCA  is the certified stroke center in the North Texas area. They ran a CT scan to check for blood and found none. Next they ran an angio-CT scan where they injected Bruce with dye and the blood clot was discovered. Bruce was in the helicopter within 10 minutes and was being flown to Plaza Medical Center where they performed emergency brain surgery to extract the large blood clot located in Bruce’s brain stem. They were unable to extract the entire clot so there is some residual still in his brain. The good news is that it is that the remainder of the clot should not be of great danger to Bruce. 

Bruce has made a remarkable recovery. His physical condition is really great. He has experienced some diminished capacity on his right side and the clot was located on the left side of the brain. The primary deficit he is experiencing is in speech and language. He has some natural language and responses, but a great deal of speech difficulty. His diagnosis is called expressive aphasia. Bruce comprehends most of what is said to him, but is not able to respond appropriately. He tries and works very hard, but gets frustrated when the words don’t come out the way he knows they are supposed to. He is in Kindred Rehab hospital behind the Arlington Villa in Arlington. Today he did all kinds of evaluations. His team will meet tomorrow and begin setting goals for discharge planning. I do not know when he will be home. I miss him so much even though he is just down the road. I can’t call him on the phone because his language will not allow him to respond in an understandable way. The kids and I are preparing for his return home. We have slept on a waterbed for about 30 years. The bed was drained today and some furniture was moved out of our room to make room for the new bed and to create more space to accommodate safety issues. I worked until 10 pm tonight and stopped due to fatigue. I will continue tomorrow. This is a huge job!  Please pray for me as I continue the task tomorrow. And please continue to pray for Bruce’s for healing and recovery.

“The LORD gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40: 29-31

God is so good. Tonight I have been given the word that both Bruce and I need to hear. I am weary. This was not the adventure I had planned on. And once again I am in uncharted waters. As Bruce has recently said several times, “this is weird.”

Tonight my devotional reading reminds me that when I become emotional and just a bit frightened about the future to take time to be with God and “bask” in the Light of His Love. I need this Word and Presence for strength emotionally, spiritually and physically. I need to receive abundant joy, peace and unfailing love. My faith is strong, but my heart is in pieces. Help me friends to take on this adventure with gladness. We have received the richest of blessings in Bruce surviving this stroke. Please pray for him to recover.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, let us cast our cares upon the Lord and get some sleep. God is up all night anyway so there is no reason for all of us to be up. Thank you all and love you lots, Bruce and Gaylene



Monday, July 22, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Monday!  I have missed writing to you and sharing over the last week. If you are a FB friend then you know what has been going on. If not, the basic story is that Bruce has had a major stroke. The good news is that he is having a major recovery. I am at home and Bruce is not too far away. He is at the Kindred Rehab Hospital in Rm. 149. Tomorrow he will go through evaluations to find out what kind of therapy he will need.

I promise to write more tomorrow. I am super exhausted. This is my first night back at home since Bruce became ill last week. So tonight I am going to write briefly and share a scripture and try to get some sleep.

“As for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”

Micah 7:7

God is so very good. Bruce is making a remarkable recovery for a stroke that was so large. They were unable to extract the entire clot and so there is still a small portion left, but it should not be of danger. I promise to rewrite the story of the last week and bring all of you up to speed. Thank you for all of your prayers. The soaking prayer we have received is what is getting us through.

Tonight I find hope in thinking about who God is. God is the great I Am who is sustaining us. God made us and is carrying us in His most powerful arms. He has rescued Bruce and is our Savior God that gives us every reason to watch in hope.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, I am praying with a heart filled with gratitude, I am casting my cares upon the Lord and hoping to sleep. God is up all night anyway so there is no reason both of us to be awake. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene
PS Red is the stroke Awareness color.