Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

Monday was a special day, as Vickie and I made a visit to Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento. Mercy was the hospital where I stayed from early July until towards the end of August. It was here that I had the opportunity to have some wonderful nurses and rehab specialists do their tremendous work on me. They were used to help me make great strides in my recovery.

It was an incredible feeling to walk into the section where I spent that time - being recognized, glad to be seen, and to encourage those who were there. I recognized a number of staff (though I didn't remember all their names), the wing of the hospital was familiar and memories . . . some of them very funny . . . came to mind.

The men and women who work in the rehab department of Mercy General are truly gifted. They do a tremendous work on a daily basis to help people like me who are trying to make their way back to living somewhat of a normal life. (Yet, I'm sure without a lot of credit.) They were glad to see me and communicated that they don't always have the opportunity to re-connect with those they've helped. I was happy to see them too; they were such a blessing to me.

I think another visit will be in order one day.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a service at the church in Elk Grove where I spent about eight years on staff. It was great to visit and see a number of people I knew - some who I haven't seen in a very long time. A lot of changes have taken place since I left, but they're good changes. What hasn't changed are the friendly, loving people who worship God there.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The words "DRIVE AGAIN" have a couple of connotations for me. One it is the name of an organization that assists people who have been unable to drive for mobility reasons to possibly begin to drive. Secondly, it was something I have really wanted to do. I hadn't driven a car in about ten months. The thought had crossed my mind once or twice whether I would be able to drive again . . . ever. This past Sunday I had the opportunity to drive again!

I worked with a man by the name of Duane, an Occupational Therapist, who conducted some tests - about an hour to and hour-and-a-half. He was very pleased with how I did. Then, came the exciting part: to go driving. I drove Duane's equipped car and we eventually made it to Roseville and then back to El Dorado Hills.

How did it feel? It felt normal; it felt good; it felt relaxing (for the most part). Duane told me that he would have realized that I hadn't driven in such a long time, along with having my injury, if he had not already known. WOW!

After the class I was excited, I was encouraged, and I was fairly tired - all good stuff. Passing this evaluation was huge for me; it was another positive step in the recovery process.

On Wednesday of this week I have an appointment with a physical therapist who will be looking at my knee that was injured a tad in the accident. I've been having some aches and pains (nothing too severe), so we'll see what I can be doing to strengthen the knee, if that is what needs to happen. Then on Thursday I have an appointment with the Department of Rehabilitation that helps people getting back into the workforce. I really don't know what to expect at this meeting, but I'll find out soon enough.

It has been a fairly busy couple of weeks. I'm encouraged and grateful for all that is happening. I have been volunteering at a couple of elementary schools in the area, I had the opportunity to visit with two friends from my hometown in Washington that I haven't seen in quite a few years, and I attended an introductory/informational workshop for a 5-part seminar called the Brain Gain.

All the things listed above are a part of my rehabilitation process . . . positive steps in the right direction.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

How Was Your Easter?

A week ago, many of us took the opportunity to celebrate Easter. How was your Easter this year? Any different than in years past?

I was a tad concerned because I wasn't sure if I was going to get an Easter basket this year. (Yes, as an adult, there is still a hankering for the chocolate sweetness the Easter basket can bring.) But I was pleasantly surprised: no, I didn't get an Easter basket; I got two of them!

At my church, we had a weekend of Easter. In order to allow as many people as possible to hear the incredible story of God's love and sacrifice for us, Lakeside Church offered Easter gatherings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Throughout the six worship gatherings over those three days, many people had an opportunity to hear and respond to the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus. An act of sacrifice that was done by God, on behalf of humanity, in order to have a relationship with the people he created.

As I sat and listened, to be honest, I was a tad distracted. A couple of days before Easter, I began looking at some photographs of me taken in the hospital shortly following my accident that took place in June. My body was battered and bruised; my eyes were black, blue and swollen. I had tubes going into me and coming out of me. I was connected to monitors that communicated to medical personnel how I was doing.

It is these pictures that communicate to me how serious my injuries were. I have no recollection otherwise. But it was these pictures that were coming to my mind on Saturday evening. My life on earth nearly ended at that time.

This Easter became very special to me, because I almost wsn't here to be able to celebrate all that God has done for me through His Son, Jesus. Jesus went through a horrific death for me - and for you. But it didn't stop there - Jesus, who had been dead for three days, was raised from the dead. He was alive!

Journal Entry: "At church last night, my accident was constantly on my mind. My mind was flooded with pictures of me following my accident. I almost died. Actually, maybe I really died. (Is that what is called 'metaphorical'?) What if the 'old Kathi' was supposed to die that day, but the 'new Kathi' was to come to life?"

I told someone recently that I wasn't necessarily liking the 'new Kathi' (if that was who I was seeing and/or experiencing). BUT, what if God is showing Kathi a little more clearly the old, icky stuff in her life in order that the 'new Kathi' can emerge from the gunk and to present a 'resurrected Kathi.' (Far, far from God-like, but evidence of God's powerful, transforming work.)

Transformation, that is what God is about doing: working within people's live to change them and bring about a lasting, eternal work that only God can do. Sometimes God uses things like car accidents and physical limitations to do part of that work. God can, and does, a good work in bad or unexplainable accidents. But because of God's character, He can be trusted.

This recovery process has had good days and hard days, but God has been there each step of the way. He continues the physical, mental, and emotional healing aspect of the accident, but He is also doing a work within me that reflects an even deeper healing.

This Easter for me was different for me, not just because of some limitations in my life, but because as someone who faced the prospect of death a little too closely, a deeper appreciation formed in my heart and mind of what Jesus went through on my behalf.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Who or What Are You Waiting For?

I had this lesson a few years back, but I recognize it is a tough one for me to learn. I was waiting to hear from someone regarding a possible job, but she wasn't contacting me . . . I was growing a tad impatient. While taking a walk one day, I complained to God: "Why haven't I heard from 'Suzie?' I've been waiting for her for a long time. Decisions need to be made." The answer was impressed upon my soul - "You're not waiting for Suzie, you're waiting for Me."

This answer was not an audible voice from God, but I knew it was from Him. In the process of waiting, often times, it seems like we're waiting on people and circumstances. God is one whose timing is perfect for His plans and purposes . . . and it often seems such a different time frame and plan than my own.

I feel like throughout this process I have been waiting for: doctors, medical personnel, appointments, referrals, phone calls, emails, healing, getting back to work, driving once again, getting on a bicycle, and the Chicago Cubs baseball team to return to the World Series. This is just the short list!

I'm in the process of memorizing the Bible passage of Psalm 37:1-8. I have made it to verse 7. This morning I read, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him." Stillness and patience! Those aren't necessarily easy words for me to hear, but they're the right ones . . . and they really are good words for me.

God is teaching me a lot about His character, His grace, His sovereignty, and that He is in control - and that it is about His timing. He is doing a work within me (in my character), as well as this healing process. God has been healing me, inside and out. For that I am truly grateful. It doesn't necessarily happen according to my time frame, but I am going to seek to find out more about being still before God and waiting patiently for HIM.

God is worthy of my trust. Much good will come out of waiting on Him for His plans and purposes to be accomplished.