Back at the Ranch…

Dear readers;

Please forgive me for neglecting you for ever so long, but I had a really good reason and could even produce a note, if necessary.

Mimi had surgery!

And it was a Christmas miracle. First of all, we were on the merry-go-round of tests, more tests, and tests to get us to the next tests, for the past five months. Her mystery ailment alluded the finest medical minds I was able to gather up. Meanwhile, she was wilting before our eyes.

So one Thursday morning at Mass, I told Jesus, “It’s all yours. I can’t carry this another second. You decide what to do with her. Tag – you’re it.”

Within an hour and a half, we had an appointment with a surgeon. Four days later we sat in his office as he explained his plan to fix Mimi, once and for all.

“Sounds great,” I said. “How about tomorrow?”

“I’m busy tomorrow. How about Thursday?” (Surgeons don’t mess around!)

It was a blessing that we only had two days to prepare. It cut down considerably on “dread time”, and there was plenty to dread. Surgery is always a risky deal for the over 80 crowd, especially lung surgery. But Mimi has special needs. Because of her muscular dystrophy, issues of balance, fear of falling, and the ever present terror of getting cold (requiring temperature regulation gymnastics usually reserved for pet lizards) make a trip to the hairdresser a major event.  We managed to navigate all the “regular” stuff, but it was the “after surgery confusion” (nearly universal among the elderly) that made our fifty-hour hospital stay seem like fifty days. And not just for us! (She hadn’t been in the hospital since 1963, and I’m sure the staff hopes it’s another fifty years before we show up again).

Fast forward – the surgery was successful, Mimi finally gathered her wits again, and we accomplished a bloodless coup, hiring Mina, the Mennonite wonder-worker.

We’re getting sort of back to normal.


Grieving For My Country, Trusting In My King

All elections have consequences.

Now Obamacare will be fully implemented, and there will be rationing. I expect my job to become increasingly difficult, as hospice becomes the only choice for people declared unworthy of the expense of treatment.

The HHS mandate will levy such insurmountable fines that Catholic hospitals and charities, maybe even universities, will shutter their doors. Next year!

But overshadowing all of that, this election was a major victory for the culture of death. And It was a wake-up call for those of us who held whatever tiny sliver of hope that politics would get us back on track.

One day, those who come after us will shake their heads, as we do over the German people’s support of Hitler. “What were they thinking?” they’ll ask. The numbers can’t help but make them dizzy. 50 million abortions since 1973. And we’ve just re-elected the most pro-abortion president on record. (Before he was elected the first time, we knew he couldn’t bring himself to vote for a law requiring doctors to render aid to babies who survive abortions.) Evidently, forcing states to fund planned parenthood (a for-profit baby-killing machine) is a bigger concern for him than national security or the economy.

But I will not despair. I will strive to grow in faith, hope and love. I will beg the Lord for sufficient grace that I will not disappoint Him in the dark days ahead, when I will surely be persecuted for my faith. I will take comfort in the words of St. Thomas More: “The times are never so bad  but that a good man can make shift to live in them.” (Of course, he was a great man living in terrible times, until he was martyred!)

And I will pray. I will beg the Lord to wake us up. I will pray for the lukewarm, for those who have fallen into error, for those who march for the culture of death, because I believe that every prayer is heard and answered:

“Just four years ago, I was celebrating the victory of Barack Obama. My heart has been changed. All hearts can change. We must pray and fast. Now is not the time to throw in the towel. “This too shall pass.” Be committed. Be in prayer. Be active. Use your voice. I was not voted out of Planned Parenthood. I was prayed out of Planned Parenthood.”

Abby Johnson, founder of And Then There Were None


Miracle In Progress

Warning: This might be a little tedious, but I want you to be my witnesses to a little, or big, divine intervention. We’ll know how this plays out by next week.

We’ve been on a healthcare adventure with Mimi since the end of July, when she was diagnosed with a pleural effusion (fluid in the lining of the lung.) Since then, we’ve had four trips to the hospital for diagnostics, and five visits to the doctor. So far, we have lots of questions, but no answers.

I chose her new doctor because I know for a fact that he is a great internist, and I trust him. Turns out, he has the world’s worst office staff. They won’t return phone calls. They won’t fax orders to the hospital. They. will. not. do. right. I’ve been busy on workarounds to make things happen, but I’m getting weary.

One of my workarounds is calling my new best friend at the hospital. Her name is Lovelina, and her mama named her right! When I’m getting nowhere with the doctor’s office, I call her, she calls them, and presto-chango, things happen.

Last Tuesday I realized while driving that, once again, I’d gotten the brush-off with my messages to the doctor’s office. Mimi had lobbied vigorously to have her procedure on Monday November 12th, not on the 8th or 9th as the doctor suggested.  She’d started to sound a little like Rain Man: “Monday would be best. Your brother is off on Monday. definitely Monday. Monday would be best.”

So I called information to get the number for the hospital to get Lovelina to arrange our field trip for Monday (which definitely would be best, or so I’ve been told). This is how it went, via the automated prompt:

Me: Plaza Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas.

Automated operator: Did you say Reynolds Animal Hospital, Allen, Texas?

Me: No!!!

Automated operator: All right. I’ll connect you to a live operator.

Live operator: What listing?

Me: Plaza Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas.

Live operator: I’ll connect you.

Receptionist: Trinity Medical Center, may I help you?

Me: Is this Plaza Medical Center? (For a second, I thought I’d landed at the veterinary clinic).

Receptionist: No, but I can get you that number.

Me: Did you say Trinity Medical Center? Is this the office of Dr. X?

Receptionist: Yes, it is.

Me: Then let me talk to a real person, not an answering machine, about scheduling my mom’s procedure.

I explained my plight to the office manager, and she assured me that I’d get a call back right away with some answers. Sure enough, she actually called back twenty minutes later, and announced that my mom was scheduled for her procedure on Thursday the 8th. Definitely not Monday.

Since I don’t believe in luck, or coincidence, I have to believe that for some reason, divine intervention scheduled Mimi’s procedure this week, against her express wishes. (And what are the odds, if you did believe in coincidence, that I would be accidentally connected to our doctor, as opposed to the hundreds of doctors in Fort Worth, not to mention other options, such as veterinary clinics, tatoo parlors, or dry cleaners? Answer me that!)

So now I’m wondering, what in the world will Monday bring that would have made a trip to the hospital a really bad idea?

I’ll keep you posted.