Discouraged/Encouraged

September 11, 2018

My heart sank a bit today when I found out that I will not be released for least another 11 days. In the end, I will have been in the hospital for nearly a month. I do understand the importance of rehabilitation and certainly, want to walk and to be able to use my left arm, but it was disconcerting news.

I was encouraged when I came back to the room to all of these cards from my Route 56 students. Thanks to Mary Miller for bringing them and for the visit It is great to have people from our church, Mission Hills (missionhillschurch.com) stop by. I enjoyed great conversation with Barry Miller this evening.

It was also a nice surprise for Lori Cervantes stop by with a card and a plant. Lori works at Santa Ana High School along with a number of other people (including the principal Jeff Bishop. I know they have been facing difficult few days right now. Praying for peace and healing for myself and for peace, healing, and reconciliation for Santa Ana High school.

 

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Freedom​​

September 10, 2018

Let’s be honest, I’ve never been one to easily accept what I’ve considered to be ”stupid rules.” I’ve often challenged such rules and argued against them, but in the end, I just frustrate people and usually lose. Freedom is important to me. Freedom is important to society, but freedom is earned and at times there are purposes in its limitations.

Do you remember the first time you were allowed to cross the street without permission? How about staying up past your bedtime? I knew to look both ways when I was a child and knew if I stayed up too late there would be a consequence the next morning. Was it wrong for my parents to limit that freedom to do those things?

Why this musing on freedom? Since the stroke, there has been a severe limit to my freedom. If I could get out of this wheelchair, I wouldn’t be allowed to. There is still an alarm hooked to my shirt that will go off if I try. There’s also an alarm on the bed should I attempt to get out (but that isn’t really a possibility right now either). It honestly bothers me when they tell me not to stand and walk on my own knowing that I can’t do it even if I wanted to. The rules exist to keep me safe, not to be a barrier to my independence, but rather a vehicle to get me to that point.

I try to see the spiritual lessons within the practical aspects of life. There are plenty here. I shouldn’t be fighting with aspects of Christianity that I don’t necessarily like or with scriptural commands that seem impractical. Those things exist for my safety and to get me to the ultimate goal of being like Christ. I can think of plenty of other ways that could’ve learned or re-learned this lesson but and I’ll be content with what has come my way at least for this minute. #Goddidnotdothis #bodiesbreakdown #workinghardtogetbacktonormal #hardlessons #voicetotextisfrustrating

SGS Diet

September 10, 2018

I am on the third week of stroke recovery and the third week of stroke recovery and the second week in rehab. Ever want to lose weight? I don’t recommend the method but I found that SGS (stress, grief, stroke) seems to be very effective. I am down to 164 pounds from a high of 192 pounds. That seemed great until I realized that I can’t button my pants nor put a belt on by myself. Rehab is exhausting in my muscles are sore but I did walk a long way today with a cane. #nomarathonin2018#letsberealisticnomarathonever #nothingtodowiththestroke

Overwhelmed

September 9, 2018

Throughout this experience, I have felt a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, prayer, and concern. Today has been no exception. I have plates of homemade chocolate chip cookies, a basket of pumpkin spice flavored snacks, and Amazon gift card from these two. I have a very old friend told me today that I was wealthy and relationships. I have to agree.

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Bed Alarms at 5AM and Dinner at 5PM?

I’m pretty sure that I am at least 20 to 30 years younger than everyone else who is staying here at the rehab hospital. This presents a few interesting challenges. Morning begins around here at about 6 o’clock when many of the elderly patients decide to break out of the confines of their beds thus setting off all their bed alarms at an ungodly hour. Mealtimes are also quite interesting, especially dinner which gets served between 4:30 and 5 PM. It seems the majority of the population goes to bed around 8PM when we are normally eating dinner at home. All of this made me think of a Seinfeld episode. Enjoy!

 

Connectedness​

September 6, 2018

 

For those of you who know me well, this will come as no surprise. The four people that I’ve interacted with The most here at the rehab center are connected to me through mutual friends. It’s always interesting to find connections just by talking. This, in turn, is giving me ample opportunity to talk about what I do for a living and why I do it. As much as I hate being away from home I am seeing God work in good ways. The therapist worked me pretty hard today for about four hours. I am hoping that will help me sleep tonight. Since I’ve been in the hospital I’ve slept less than four hours night. Praying I get mobility back in my leg and arm soon. Thank you for the cards, visits, texts, phone calls and help with things around the house. We truly appreciate everything.

Transparency

TRANSPARENCY  September 5, 2018

Little known fact, I can rarely go to the restroom in a public place. If we go to the movies I wait until the movie has begun. If someone is standing on the outside of the bathroom door at home I can rarely go (my daughter Katie finds this amusing and sometimes stands on the outside and knocks on the door or just talks to me for her own amusement). So now I have been thrown into a situation where I an having to go in front nurses, aides, and doctors. If that’s not bad enough I had to be showered today by a nurse. These are only big deals in my head, I can’t imagine people in situations that are not temporary and become a frustrating part of everyday life. I told my pastor today that I will never look at a person in a wheelchair quite the same, especially those who don’t look like there’s an issue. #humbled

Community in Action

September 15, 2018

I am now on a week countdown to go home. Bob Miller and Mike Thompson came out to the house this morning and built a ramp which will be very helpful. Yesterday I almost fell stepping over a sidewalk step and the threshold of the house. the therapist does not want me walking unless they are there, for now, it’s a wheelchair for the time being. We are very thankful for our church community for all the support and help they provided. We are also very appreciative of the wider circle of friends that have stepped in as well. I honestly had no concept of the depth of friends that I have. My perspective has certainly has been altered in a positive way.

 

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Bathroom Adventures in Rehab

September 20, 2018

I shared earlier about my stay here at the rehab hospital and how uncomfortable I have been with the idea of people accompanying me in the bathroom when I’m showering, and the general lack of privacy. For the most part, I am now resigned to the fact that that’s just part of what happens here. This morning shower was unusual because it was the first day that I had to completely undress somewhat awkwardly and do everything completely by myself including drying my backside which difficult with one hand. The whole process took almost 10 Minutes while one of the female therapists supervised. Awkward.

But it was after the shower that something extraordinary happened. A nursing assistant came in to assist me in the bathroom. She was a lady I had not yet met and had heard from someone that I was a pastor. I shimmied my pants about halfway down when she asked me what type of church I was associated with. Basically, in her words, she was asking if I was “Catholic or Christian.” I did my best to say that Catholicism was a part of Christianity and we were all brothers and sisters that follow Jesus She was trying to find out if I was protestant or in her words Christian. When I confirmed that I was not Catholic, she grabbed my hands and proceeded to tell me that she wanted me to pray for her. She told me all about her adult sons and the problems that she was having with one of them and asked me to pray with her right then and there in the bathroom with my pants barely hanging on by my hips. Once again being in the bathroom was awkward but a divine appointment kind of awkward. I prayed for her sons Absalom and Rehoboam, and I made a new friend. Please pray for the boys and for Maria, that God would heal her mother’s heart and draw her sons back to Himself.

Sorry for the typos and editing mistakes that you’re going to inevitably find. Siri dictation is not always reliable. What’s funny is it picks up my neighbor’s voice much better than mine. if you could only see some of the things that I almost missed because of that you would’ve laughed and just maybe passed it off as “Perry’s stroke is worse than I thought.”

 

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No, God​ Did Not “Do” This

September 25, 2018

Exactly one month ago I was standing around talking to all these people pictured. It was both a happy and sad reunion of many friends from our high school youth group. We gathered together to say goodbye to one of our own who passed away a week earlier. Most of us hadn’t seen each other in a very long time. Little did I know that less than 10 minutes after this photo was taken that I would lose complete control of my left side. God was very gracious to us and we were able to get to the hospital in record time. I was calm most of that initial experience. It wasn’t until late that night that the gravity of the situation hit me as I laid in a hospital bed and I cried.

The past 30 days or so have been like the memorial we had attended the day this happened. It has been both sad and joyful. For the most part, once I accepted the idea that it was simply going to take a long time and was going to require much of both Judy and me, my attitude has been relatively good. Am I anxious? Absolutely. Am I hopeful? Definitely. Do I have spells of depression? Yes. Do I believe that God has this? No question.

Some people have asked me “What do you think God is trying to teach you by this?” My response has been that I am learning a lot by the experience but I in no way believe that God caused this to happen. We live in a fallen, broken world and our bodies simply break down. There are lessons to be learned and for me, most of them have been spiritual. I try to see what the possibilities are in any situation. The neuropsychologist I have been seeing warned me that I should not be in a counseling situation with people from church. Basically, he was telling me don’t get in a situation where you’re having a listen to people because you’re possibly emotionally unstable. The funny thing is, the people I did spend time listening to were not from our church or from my friend groups, but from people on the hospital staff. I got known around the rehab as Pastor Perry and had numerous conversations that led to Jesus. Honestly, I don’t think I could have avoided any of them and I’m glad it did not.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that I have amazing friends and am reaping the rewards of investing in people. This is something that I tried to avoid when I was in high school and early college until the Lord grabbed hold of me and showed me that I needed to take the risk of loving people even though they may leave (I moved around a lot as a child). I learned that lesson on a trip to Australia back in 1980 when all my fellow teammates were saying goodbye to the people we spent a month with, and I was simply looking forward to going home and was glad that I was not crying and saying goodbye to people I’d never see again. That experience changed my life. It was one of many moments that I’m reflecting on now and seeing how God moved me from one place to another for his purposes.

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