When Dave was working at Lowe’s, he had a crazy schedule. We never knew when he would be working…what days, early or late, how many hours. Oftentimes, we had less than one week’s schedule in front of us. To say that it made planning for anything pretty much impossible was an understatement, not that we could plan for much anyway due to his increasing pain and our decreasing finances.
Toward the end, as they kept cutting all the part-time employees hours, we found it to be a mixed bag for us. We needed more income, yet his pain was becoming worse and he needed increasingly more recuperation time so that he was able to work. The time finally came, back in January, when he simply could not force himself to work another day. On January 15, he went in to quit. He could barely walk, yet he had only worked 4 hours the morning before and was off for four days prior. Still, 28 1/2 hours later, he was in so much pain it was all he could do to even come in and quit. My hard-working husband had reached the end of his endurance.
When he quit, I expected some changes. One of them was to finally get back to some sort of regular schedule. Alas, it was not to be. His work was no longer the driving force behind an insane schedule, now his pain was. And it still is even now.
He is usually in too much pain to sleep through the night, so he gets up and works on his computer to distract himself. He finally gets to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, which means that he gets up late in the morning. He has tried going to bed earlier, but to no avail. So, it is late to bed, up in the middle of the night, late to rise and then either napping or laying down off and on during the day.
Sometimes, he needs to sleep, but oftentimes, he needs to lay down in an attempt to stop the pain. He has pillows that he places a certain way. If he lays face down on them just right, the pain eases for a bit. But he cannot stay that way all day. When he gets back up, it starts all over until it gets so bad he has to lay down again.
When he is up, he is typically in the recliner. Being at an angle does seem to ease the pinching and the pain diminishes…slightly. He is on medications for muscle pain and for nerve pain. They help, but only enough to keep him from having to lay down 24/7.
Stenosis is an ugly word to me. It is robbing him of so many things and it is hard to see what is happening to him. There are so many things he could be doing…that he wants to be doing, but it is just not possible. In those times when he forces himself, he ends up even worse. He really has no options.
He has applied for early Social Security since he turns 62 in May. Thankfully, he is getting it. He would much prefer to be working, but it is what it is. In the meantime, our assembly has graciously paid for one month of bills and we have been living on our income tax return. We found out that SS would not start until the 3rd week. We figured we might be able to make it that far with little to no help. But it turns out that it won’t start until the third week of July. So, now we are facing a one month shortfall on top of a lower SS level due to his applying early.
He has also applied for disability. We are praying he will get it since he is simply unable to work. He can barely get through a day. Any time we go anywhere, he comes home and has to lay right down. He has to be reclined or on his face on his pillows. Walking around hurts worse. Sitting not reclined hurts worse.
Some might wonder how our faith is holding up in all of this. This one thing we know: absolutely NOTHING happens that G-d does not either allow or cause. Either way, He promises to use it for good. There have been times in my life when I totally did not understand what Abba was doing or why. And yet, afterward, sometimes I could look back and see His hand in things, guiding and directing and even protecting. And then there are the times that I could see Him at work in the moment – times when He let me see what His plans were/are.
We know Abba is doing something. He is working things out for His glory and we are willing to be a part of that. We have been through many hard things and others have been encouraged in their own lives because we did not give up…because we did not walk away from G-d. Truly, it is not we who hold onto our Creator, but our Creator who holds onto us.
Here is our neighbor. He has been singing his heart out for a mate, in between banging his beak into our windows.