Show Compassion. What Matters More?

Homecoming hugs nov 8

[headline_arial_small_centered color=”#000000″]There Is No Bad Day[/headline_arial_small_centered]

There is no way I could list all the amazing acts of love and selfless service that were extended to me and my family during this time.  Each act was immensely appreciated, and gave me energy to continue forward.  This experience opened my eyes to just how loving and compassionate people are inherently.  Daily I received calls, visits, emails, and expressions of love and concern.

One particularly poignant and touching act of love came from a close friend who was and is still dealing with his own chronic, intense pain with accompanied full body convulsions at least every other day.  He had already suffered over 18 months and there was no end in sight for him.  His undiagnosed ailment had completely changed his lifestyle from active and always going, to almost no energy and always suffering pain.

But despite his constant pain, this loving man who I will always call a true friend was in the hospital with me nearly every day for the entire week after my surgery.  He would massage my calves and feet giving such relief to the atrophied muscles.  He read scripture and words of life and positivity bringing me hope and reminding me of the truth.  An amazing blessing in my time of need, I could hardly believe he had the energy to do that for me.  Love in the purest sense, it taught me a new meaning to the word.  I will be forever grateful to him for his compassion.  More than anyone else, this friend truly understood my pain.  I hope to become more like him, he set an example for me to follow the rest of my life.

I think his love for me, and the compassion and service from so many others, contributed to this dream and a blog post I wrote about it:

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November 6, 2012

What Matters More?

 Love

Last night was a really rough night for me.

After being able to eat throughout the day and feeling decent, my bowels started majorly cramping just before bed time.

Then the heartburn and hiccups kicked in.  A couple strong narcotics took the edge off just a bit, but it was a long and painful night to say the least.  And the suffering gets compounded at night when it becomes a mental battle of discouragement in addition to the pain, as my mind naturally wants to know when the setbacks are going to ever stop.  At this point I don’t know when I’m going to be able to go home from the hospital…it feels like I have so far to go sometimes.

But here is something I am grateful for last night that I want to share.

I had a dream….

It was late in the day and my family had made the last order of food at a convention of some type.  The kids were all hungry and ready to go home.  We were tired.

When our food order was placed on the warming table I didn’t get to it until another rather large family had already arrived on the scene and began to claim it.

Matter-of-factly and hurriedly I informed them that was our order and I proceeded to gather all the food and usher my family into the adjoining cafeteria room.

As I closed the door on them after successfully ‘protecting my little flock’ of a family and getting all of our food, I saw the dejected looks on their children’s faces and noticed the family wasn’t going to get any food because everything was closed and that was the last of it.

As I sat down to eat, I immediately started bawling.  I was so ashamed of myself.  I ran back out the door in tears in my dream and begged the man to forgive me and to come and share our food with us.  The fact is we had plenty and probably more than we were going to eat anyway.

Their whole family with 4 or 5 kids came in and we shared a meal, and some tears, laughter, and hugs.

I woke up from the dream in tears.

Not from the pain in my chest or my bowels, but from a heart full of the joy felt from service and forgiveness and compassion.

I hoped I could live while I was awake with compassion also, and not just in my dreams.

Then in the morning after that really long night, my angel wife came in to see me early at about 8 am.

I was discouraged and still in pain.  And I was trying not to be negative but it was really, really, REALLY hard.

But Nan managed to pull me out of it with her bright spirit, her love, and her compassion.  And my goal the rest of the day has been to brighten those around me with at least a smile, and a kind word, regardless of how I’m feeling.

Life is too short to live it without loving.  I’m grateful to be learning these lessons more deeply through this intense trial.  I am finding joy every day, even amidst a lot of pain sometimes.

And really, what is the point of it all if we are not showing love to others in some way?

I can’t see one.

Let’s live today like it’s Truly Amazing! (because it is;)

-Aaron

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Life had turned into such an emotional rollercoaster that the new normal was fluctuating many times daily between tears of joy and tears of sadness.  Even though I was filled with so much joy, hope and feelings of love that day, the pain never fully left, always grinding away at me.

 

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Discharged[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

Living life in a hospital leaves much to be desired:  all day in a reclining bed, never changing out of a hospital robe, showering only occasionally due to the pain and hassle of it all, staring at the same wall for weeks on end, looking up at a blank TV that I refused to turn on because it could only possibly elicit depression.   And the food!  Terrible!  Repetitive and ironically super low quality.  You would think a place of healing would put at least some focus on healing foods, but definitely not. Even my surgeon acknowledged this irony.

The nurses I had the privilege of being served by were amazing though.  Their tender, loving service, blessed me day and night.  On the night before they sent me home, one of my nurses compassionately talked me off a ledge of insanity for over an hour at 2 in the morning.  I woke up at about 1:30 AM sweating and filled with anxiety, in the middle of a horrible nightmare.  I dreamt I had woken up with a major setback, everything going completely wrong.  My bowels locked down again and I would not be able to go home.  Petrified because everything was worse than ever and I would stay in the hospital indefinitely since there was no solution.

As I woke up in the same place as my dream I couldn’t distinguish dream from reality.  I kept checking myself to see if I was in pain, but I couldn’t tell because the dream seemed so real.  I called for the nurse.  “Am I OK?  I can’t tell.  Can I still go home?  I feel like everything is horribly wrong!”  I panicked.

After giving me more pain meds, my nurse sat by my bed and just talked to me.  I asked her if she could stay because I couldn’t tell if I was dreaming.  She assured me I was awake and just fine, but I couldn’t quite believe it.  So she stayed and we just talked for over an hour.  I learned of her family, and her background, and how much she adores her now grown up children.  And how much passion and love she has for being a nurse.  I told her of my background, and we discussed philosophies on living happily.  The anxiety left and I fell back asleep.  Just another example of a loving act I will never forget.  People are so good!

That morning after nearly two weeks holed up in my hospital room, I was discharged.  Is that a weird word to anyone else?  Anyway, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when Nan picked me up and took me home!  Seeing my house, my kids, and their welcome home sign filled my soul.  Still moving slow, barely walking, and only weighing 130 pounds, but I was home!!

 

Homecoming hugs nov 8

 Homecoming smiles nov 8