When the Bottom Falls Out


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Lovely flowers, brought to me by my fine son while in the hospital this week.

It has been a strange and difficult week, one that I wrote about in detail in my newsletter, which went out on May 1. If you’d like to read that account, simply subscribe, using the link provided at the end of this reflection, and I’ll be sure to send you a copy.

But in this, more public space, I want to spend a few minutes reflecting on what often feels like the capriciousness of this life we live in our earthbound home. 

Sometimes things happen suddenly, coming from left field and slamming into your gut, throwing you completely off balance, leaving  you stymied as to what in the heck just happened. I cannot even count how many times in the last six days I have uttered the words, “I cannot believe this has happened.” 

And I can’t.

Except it did — I was hit with a sudden, life-threatening condition, putting me in the hospital for 48 hours and sending me home to rest and move slowly for about a month. Say what?

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The beautiful new hospital wing I was privileged to stay in, as seen from my window.

The combined effect of the event itself, the powerful pain medications I was forced to take to survive, and the complete disorientation of being in a hospital and then coming home again, unable to do the things I do every single day of my life — well, it’s a more than a little bit unsettling.

Who am I? In my own mind, I’ve always been the strong one, the capable one, the one who takes charge and gets ‘er done. I’ve said it before in this space — I’m a large person, an increasingly confident person, have been known to be ‘bossy’ in my time (though I’ve worked on that quite a bit!), and I like to be the person who is helping others, not so much the one in need of help.

At this moment in time, that is no longer true. It is not even close to being true.

My amazing adult children rallied this weekend. Both of my daughters brought their youngest sons and they shopped at Costco and cooked in my kitchen all day yesterday. I now have two fridges full of home made chili, salmon chowder, delicious quiches and bunches of good, packaged salad mixes plus an enchilada tray from the Big Box store we all hate to love. Our son and his wife came over for dinner, bringing their lively, fun girls and I could listen to everyone having a great time together — best medicine possible. I was even able to be up with everyone for dinner, and that was a gift. But I was not the one doing meal prep or clean-up. I cannot be right now.

As I struggle to recapture some sense of balance and wholeness, I take deep joy in thanking God for the lovely slingshots of grace amidst this chaos — our son’s fine medical instincts which sent us back for a second ER visit and ultimate stay; the care of the best medical team I’ve ever seen, the loveliness of our new hospital and its nursing staff, the grace of business colleagues who have extended some deadlines for us, and the sheer fact that I am here, breathing and upright (some of the time!)

Here is the deepest truth I am learning right now: we simply do not and cannot know what is around the next bend in the road. For me, that bend was the simple act of rising from bed on a Tuesday morning. We plan, we program, we research, we scout out contingencies. But we are not in charge of our own lives, at least in any ultimate sense, are we?

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The other view from that window in the hospital room. There IS a bigger picture.

I am not downplaying planning — believe me! We have done some good, healthy planning and we are in good shape for this last bend in the road, this last leg of the journey. But we assumed it would be an easier leg than it has proven to be — and those assumptions now need to be set aside.

A good friend said to me on the phone this morning: ”This is the new normal, Diana.”

Yes, it is. The new normal is the unexpected, the sudden, the quick drop in the pit of your stomach when you realize the entire universe is shifting on a very tiny pivot. Very tiny indeed.

But what I’m trying to remind myself — sometimes from moment to moment — is that none of this is a surprise to God. And I am not alone in the midst of the terror and the pain.

I am held, I am cherished, I am seen.

And that makes all the difference.

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Comments

  1. Goodness, Diana! You’ve had a lot of life complications to deal with recently! As much as I said earlier that I don’t use my e-mail address for subscriptions, I felt I needed to subscribe to your newsletter just to keep up. 🙂 Not sure what this current incident is all about, but I’m uplifting you in prayer. May you rest well and soon return to full health.

    • You can unsubscribe anytime, Carol. I’ll send it along soon. Yes, I’ve had a lot the past year or so. And almost all of it is connected to taking Coumadin. That, plus the foot surgery, which seems to have left me with a bit of a balance/footing problem. So I will return to PT in a week or so to work primarily on those issues. My foot has done remarkably well, but you know, they broke and reset my heel bone in a new way after nearly 70 years of walking on it as it was, my foot is still numb down the outside and all of it somehow affects my ability to step over small irregularities in the pavement here and there. And I fell on my keester getting out of my car last week, which is what they think may have begun this process you’ll read about. But mostly, this event is a direct result of Coumadin – it’s a rare condition, but it happens most often in those of us on that medication. I am now OFF, Thank God.

  2. Oh, Diana, I’m so very sorry! Bless you for being so strong, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You have so much God-given practical wisdom and it’s clearly still very much a part of who you are. I rejoice with you at the way your friends and families have stepped in. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    Be of good cheer,
    Linda

  3. How frightening and upsetting! I thank God for how your family is lovingly caring for you.

  4. Oh, mercy, goodness. You really have had so much on your plate lately, Diana. So thankful to hear that you have been surrounded and loved and cared for. Prayers for restored health, quickly.

    • Thank you so much, Karen – yeah, it’s been a heckuva year. I’m deeply appreciative of your prayers. Truly.

  5. I Iove this post so much … truth in such sweet balance … pain and joy AND I love you.

    Prayers continue.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  6. Lynn D. Morrissey says:

    Diana, I’m so glad that you will be okay, and it amazes me that you are even up to writing! That is astounding….and sharing beautiful life lessons to boot. We don’t know what to expect, but the Lord does, and what is so reassuring here is that we can expect his love, grace, and provision (and for me, this is sometimes I the most unexpected ways). How wonderful that you have such a loving family, and I’m sure that is THEIR pleasure to serve YOU. Healng praying headed your way.
    Love
    Lynn

    • Writing was actually therapeutic. I wanted to get the story down while it was fresh and the newsletter gave me the perfect opportunity. And then reflecting on it here, two days later, was helpful, too. Thanks for your encouragement and especially, for your prayers.

  7. Such a scary and frightening time for you, Diana, but praise God you are on the mend!
    Yes, we all have those times of saying, “I can’t believe this is happening!” Thank you for reminding us, through your own journey, that God sees it all and holds us closely at the times when we experience the unwelcome unexpected. Sending prayers for healing and for God’s grace to enfold you and yours.
    Blessings!

  8. Diana – this “just wondering” is a good one to save – a deep reminder that in the midst of our ordinary days when we are slammed by the unexpected, God is ever present and providing. I am SO sorry that you are going through another serious event – and yet thankful for your witness thru it all. Your kids sound beautiful.

  9. So sorry. It was so good to see you and Joy. You are in my prayers. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    • Oh, Lyla – your lovely party was one of the highlights of this past year! Thanks again for including us and for celebrating in such a lovely way. And thank you for your prayers and good wishes. I have felt carried the last week or so and I am grateful.

  10. Dear Diana,

    I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I got the newsletter while at Jumping Tandem Retreat. You have stayed on my mind and I have been praying for you. I am glad you are off Coumadin. I got your newsletter, i know I did. I read it and now I can’t even find it! so responding here.

  11. I hate surprises like that, and I understand. Take it easy and give your body the time it needs to recover completely. I am so glad your daughters did all that advance cooking for you. What a blessing they are.

  12. Diana, I’ve been thinking about you today and wanted you to know I’m sorry for the hard, hurtful stuff, praying for the redemption of your circumstances and for physical healing. Please take cake of yourself.

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