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The Best Laid Plans of Mice And Men Often Go Awry

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
September 10, 2023 9:17 am

The Best Laid Plans of Mice And Men Often Go Awry

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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September 10, 2023 9:17 am

Robert Burns penned the line "...the best-laid schemes of mice and men can go awry" more than 225 years ago in his poem "To A Mouse." The phrase seems appropriate for the constant changes to the best of plans. John Steinbeck turned the term for his classic, "Of Mice and Men," and the phrase in various forms permanently resides in our cultural lexicon. 
This is the phrase that came to mind over the last few days.  
On Friday (Sept 8th), Gracie was scheduled for another serious back operation (9 hours) in Denver. As we prepared to leave for the airport in Montana  - the surgeon's PA in Denver called and said that a stress test Gracie had the week before showed something concerning her heart. So we unpacked the car (we were leaving for at least a month's stay in Denver), and the surgery is postponed until she meets with a cardiologist (in two weeks).
This operation (her 86th) is to straighten her back another twenty percent - so that she's less bent over (which is extremely painful while also causing her to fall easily). Part of the reason Gracie's had so many operations is the extensive work undertaken decades ago to save her legs - but over time, it resulted in significant damage to her back. 
Gracie's life is hard - but she has "...strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow." 
In the meantime, I recall the adage, "Blessed are the flexible ...for they shall not be bent out of shape."

  "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."  Proverbs 16:9

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What do you say to a caregiver?

How do you help a caregiver? I was talking to this billing agent at the doctor's office and said, how are you feeling? And she said, oh great It's Friday. And before I could catch myself, I said Friday means nothing to me. Every day is Monday. And I felt kind of ashamed of that and I'm sorry for that, but I realized that whole principle of every day is Monday. What that means for us as caregivers, we know that this is going to be a challenging day. And I wrote these one-minute chapters.

You literally could read them in one minute. And I'm really proud of this book. It's called A Minute for Caregivers, when every day feels like Monday. It's filled with bedrock principles that we as caregivers can lean on, that we can depend upon to get us to safety, where we can catch our breath, take a knee if we have to, and reorient our thinking and the weight that we carry on our shoulders. If you don't know what to say to a caregiver, don't worry about it.

I do. Give them this book. Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver here on American Family Radio.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. How you feeling? How you doing?

How you holding up? What's going on with you? With more than 65 million Americans serving as a caregiver, you would think we wouldn't feel so isolated, but we are. And I have found that caregivers can feel isolated in the crowded room.

We can feel isolated on a crowded pew. So, heads up to you church leaders that there are caregivers in your midst who feel very cut off, and you may be looking at them while you're preaching your next message. And yet, is it going all the way down to the core of who they are? Are you speaking in a way they can understand? This program is broadcast exclusively in Fluent Caregiver. Yes, that's true.

You heard it right. I speak Fluent Caregiver. And I want to speak to my fellow caregivers in a way that they understand because I wish somebody had done that for me. A lot of people spoke to me. They gave me all kinds of great scriptures and everything else, but it didn't penetrate because they didn't understand what the core issues were going on in my heart. They didn't understand what was happening there. Well, I do. And so I'm speaking to you in a way that you can understand now as a caregiver so that you can go and talk to someone else.

Part of understanding the language of caregivers is understanding how flexible we must be. I was not supposed to be on the air today. Gracie was supposed to have a surgery. Yesterday, a very large surgery, but she took a nuclear stress test to check out some things with her heart about a week ago. Well, she finished up on Friday.

Well, guess what? Monday was a holiday. So when you have Labor Day, you don't get the call back to say what the results were, but we just assumed they were fine.

Well, they weren't. And I had Gracie in the car getting ready to drive to the airports about an hour drive from our home here in Montana. We had transportation, the right hotel, everything.

I remember we talked about this a couple of weeks ago. I double checked, triple checked, quadruple checked, had everything going. Everything was right. And then we got a call from the doctor.

Gracie is in the car. I come in to get one last bag, got everything in the car. I've been weighing all the suitcases to make sure we had everything right, because we're going away for probably a month at least. The last time she had this type of surgery, she was in there for 10 weeks.

So I was prepared to stay down in Denver for a while. And we get the call from the surgeon's office. Hey, there's something going on with her heart. We want to check this out.

She needs to see a cardiologist. We're going to postpone the surgery until we get this done. Which is, you know, that's good. They caught it.

I'm glad they caught it before we were in the air. It does require a bit of pivoting kind of quickly. And so we're trying to get her into a cardiologist now, which is no easy thing because cardiologists tend to be backed up a good bit. So that's where we stand at this point.

And then as soon as we get that done and figure out what's going on with her, then we resume the surgery. But we're dead in the water until that gets settled. Such is the life of a caregiver. How many of you understand how important it is to be flexible?

How many of you all have got road rash from skidding to a stop when you're going 90 miles an hour with your hair on fire? You understand that, don't you? This is our life as caregivers. So what are we going to do? How are we going to adjust? Do we get mad? Do we scream, cuss, fuss, or do we take it in stride and think through it? Now, I had to mentally shift gears quite a bit because I had a lot of things in play.

And Gracie was certainly very unsettled about this. But here we are. So we can't guarantee that any day, no matter how much we plan, that it's going to go smoothly. That's a hard way to live, isn't it? Most people do not have to live that way. We as caregivers have Christ as du jour and things can go wrong so quickly because there's so many moving pieces. You know, in a normal life, I don't know what a normal life is, but I'm surmising that a normal life doesn't have quite as many pieces moving as we do as caregivers. Where things can go wrong very quickly and they have pretty significant consequences. There's just no margin for error. And we're already kind of stretched thin. But part of being a caregiver is being flexible.

I don't think this is in scripture, but somebody once said, Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. Do you ever feel like Gumby? You remember Gumby and Pokey? Do you ever feel like, I mean, you know, it's for those of you a little younger, Stretch Armstrong.

That's the way we are sometimes as caregivers and we get pulled in six different directions and you've got to take a moment to kind of gather your thoughts. And as soon as I change the flights around, which I did, cancel the hotel, which I'm going to have to eat one night, I may be able to get some of that back because I put it on American Express. Some travel insurance benefits on there with them that I may be able to get it back.

May not. And I didn't have any groceries in the house, so I had to do some grocery shopping. When we went to Bozeman, I got some takeout and so we had dinner. But the next morning I had to get up and make a pretty substantial grocery run because I really was so proud of myself. I had turned it up beautifully so I wouldn't have any fresh things or things that could spoil in the refrigerator.

And we were good, you know, because when you're going to go away for a month, maybe more like I did last time. So I, you know, it was one of those things where I tried to be as organized as possible and I'd done all the laundry. So I was grateful for that, clean linens and everything else.

So the place was clean, but it just, you know, when you wake up, you don't have your food. So I made a pretty good size grocery run. We're stocked up.

We'll figure what to do next. Stopped by my neighbor on the way home and got some fresh farm, fresh eggs and some fresh milk from their cow. And I used the cream on top of the milk to make Gracie's coffee.

That made her feel a little bit better as we started the next day and tried to regroup and go to next steps. On a side note, if you haven't had fresh cream in your coffee, I would highly recommend it. It's a delightful treat.

And when you deal with the ups and downs that we have as caregivers, sometimes just the little things that make it a little better and fresh cream. I mean, really fresh cream in your coffee. I drink mine black.

I mean, black with just brutally black. But Gracie likes a lot of cream and sugar in her coffee. And so you look for the little things. What are you going to do? You're going to sit there and cry, cuss and fuss and everything else. I mean, what are you going to do?

You can't fight this. I mean, it's beyond our control. If she goes into a surgery as big as what was planned and she's got some kind of heart issue going on, well, she's not coming out of that surgery. So you have to respect the process, but it does require you to catch your breath a little bit and say, OK, I've got to think through a whole series of things that need to be done immediately. I mean, there are some things that need to be done like within the first 30 minutes, some things that need to be done within the first hour and a half, and then some things need to be done within the first 24 hours. And that's kind of the way you have to think as a caregiver. I don't know. That's how I do it.

What do you think? I mean, do you have a different mechanism when you're faced with things that require an immediate adjustment? I mean, hard right turns, sometimes hard 180 degree turns. But, you know, it's a little unnerving and you do get a bit of disorientation and you have to kind of catch your breath for a moment because it's a gut punch to change your plans that quickly, particularly when you have somebody who has significant impairments and challenges, and she can't move that quickly.

You know, she can't adjust on the dime. And I got to tell you, I'm not getting any younger, so it's getting a little more challenging for me to do it, too. But that's part of the journey of us being caregivers is that we have to be flexible and recognize that even in that, his sovereignty doesn't change. His presence doesn't abandon us. And, you know, I look at Paul, he wanted to do such and such and he couldn't do it. He was constantly having to make adjustments in his life, shipwrecked, all those kinds of things. And he talks about that. I mean, we'll talk about that a little bit more because those are things that kind of stick with me through moments like this, when buffeted by the swirling things that affect us as caregivers. But that's our life. That's my life. And I bet you that's a lot of your lives as well. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver. Hopeforthecaregiver.com.

We'll be right back. As a caregiver, think about all the legal documents you need. Power of attorney, a will, living wills, and so many more. Then think about such things as disputes about medical bills. What if, instead of shelling out hefty fees for a few days of legal help, you paid a monthly membership and got a law firm for life? Well, we're taking legal representation and making some revisions in the form of accessible, affordable, full-service coverage.

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An independent associate. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg, and this is the program for you as a family caregiver. Hopeforthecaregiver.com.

I hope you go out and take advantage of a lot of the things that we have out there, products, books, music, articles, all kinds of stuff. Our podcast is free, and everything that you hear on this radio program, we put on the podcast, and then we have other things that we put on there as well. From what I understand, it's the largest podcast in the world for family caregivers.

That's what they tell me. And I know that sometimes that may sound like, well, yeah, you're number one at curb jumping with a bulldozer. I mean, how many podcasts can there be for caregivers? Well, evidently, there's quite a few. And this program seems to resonate with a very large audience, and I'm very grateful for that. I'm also very grateful for American Family Radio for broadcasting this, as well as the other affiliates, Truth Network and others, who see the value of going out to the family caregiver and penetrating into that loneliness, that isolation. You know, isolation is the toughest issue I think we face long term as caregivers. We're just cut off. Sickness cuts people off.

Disability cuts people off. You know, emotional distress and things such as that. We all we feel we just kind of withdraw or we are cut off or we are shunned. Either way, it's it's a very lonely journey. There's three I's that every caregiver deals with. Isolation, loss of independence and loss of identity. And all of those things make towards very dark times for a caregiver.

Well, how are they going to get any better? How are we going to get healthier unless somebody comes to us? And that's what we're doing on this program. And why do we do this? Well, first off, as a caregiver myself, I understand the value of what it means when somebody comes into your distress and fellowships with you and just. Be with you.

They just just hang out with you, spend time, listen to you. But more importantly, that's the gospel. That's what Christ did for us. He came to our isolation. We were cut off because of sin.

No way we could go to him. He came to us. And so as we do this for one another, we're modeling what Christ did for us.

And I'm grateful to all the people that helped make this show possible and get that out. We were talking about disappointment and flexibility. Paul, in Acts 16, I reference this verses 6 through 7, and they went through the region of, I don't know how you say that, Phrygeria? Phrygeria?

How do you say that? Phrygeria? They went through this region in Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they come to Mysia, M-Y-S-I-A, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. And Paul really wanted to do these things, but God stopped him. And, you know, Paul had to learn how to pivot and be flexible. And he gave an account in his letter to the Corinthians about him beseeching God to remove a thorn in the flesh. God didn't do it. He says, my grace is sufficient.

And you can look through all of scripture and you see instances like this. Joseph really did not want to be imprisoned. He didn't want to be a slave in Potiphar's house. He didn't want to be imprisoned after Potiphar's wife falsely accused him. He interpreted the dreams for the butler and the baker.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-07 20:48:51 / 2023-10-07 20:55:25 / 7

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