January 18, 2010
Lately, Richard and I have been known to call the kids “Wild Indians” as a sort of tribute to his Healthsouth Hospital roommate Bob. Bob was a super nice guy and very patient, he was in his early 70’s and had a stroke. He didn’t get a lot of visitors mostly because he didn’t have a big family; it was just his wife and 2 daughters. He was the caregiver for his wife when this happened to him so she couldn’t get over to the hospital to see him without his help. One of his daughters married, the other never did, but neither ever had children. They would visit as much as possible but they were caring for their mother at home also. From the beginning I was concerned that we would disrupt his peace because I brought the kids almost every day. Bob insisted that we not worry about him. He was a fun roommate for Richard to have; they would often watch the same football game on their own individual TV’s and talk about the players and the plays. He sometimes would assist Ben in finding the therapy baseballs around his bed, left there from occasional over throws. The kids always greeted Bob right away when we got there. When the kids came to the hospital, upon their entrance into the room, Bob would always say in a friendly welcoming voice; “The Wild Indians are here!”
I’m starting to wonder if it might be less stressful for Richard to go to work and deal with 250 teenagers every day than to stay home and participate in the chaos of 4 “Wild Indians” and 2 psychotic dogs each day.
By the way, if you were worried about the dogs, don’t be; they finally made it home that night. When they got home I left them in the back yard. It was cold and raining so they probably wanted shelter. Maddy was shivering and staring in the back door--with her pity me puppy dog eyes--waiting for someone to notice her.
So our 9-year-old Emily said, “Dad, can Maddy and Bogey come in the house? Look they’re freezing!”
Richard says, “I don’t know, ask your mom.”
So she asks me and I tell her, “No.”
“But why not, they’re freezing!” she whines.
“Because they pee and poo everywhere.” I tell her.
“But Maddy’s shivering really bad and she’s freezing.” Emily pleads with me.
“Well she can freeze” I tell her.
“WHAT?!?!” she yells, then says to her dad in a shocked--mom’s an animal abuser--voice, “What did she say?!?!?”
“Well she’ll get warm with ease.” Richard told her I said. I guess he thought that sounded similar but nicer and less abrupt than “Well she can freeze.” He was just being funny, but she fell for it with a sort of blonde confused stare, until I busted up laughing, then she was MAD—Pre-teen hormone mad.
I couldn’t believe he lied to her with such a straight serious face as if trying to protect her from the trauma of my insensitivity to such sweet precious animals. So I lost it and couldn’t stop laughing…I guess you had to be there, it was late and I needed a good laugh. Emily thinks I’m evil.
You see…I kind of wasn’t in the mood really and was not sympathetic to the dogs being out in the cold. Probably because I had just driven home in the freezing cold and I had survived so I knew the dogs would. You see, my driver’s side window had broken while I was out and it had fallen into the inside of the car door. It wouldn’t roll up or down or anything, it was stuck inside. And of course it was dark, cold and raining at the time, but funny thing is, as soon as the window broke it started dumping down harder, the wind kicked up a few notches and it was even more freezing outside (probably because the window was stuck open (-: So it’s Sunday night and the forecast says that the rain is going to keep dumping down hard so I knew I had to get the van fixed pronto. It didn’t help that we still haven’t cleaned out our garage and that we can’t park a car in it. I attempted to put a tarp over the window but I couldn’t get it to stay on good and the wind was picking up. I called Hardin Honda Service Department to see if they would be open for the holiday the next day so I could make arrangements to get it in right away, but there was no answer. So being the busy person that I am, I just called my neighbor and friend Dennis Hardin at home. You wouldn’t believe what happened next, I tried to tell him not to worry about it and that I had put a tarp over the van but he didn’t listen. Within 5 minutes he was at our house taking my car to his house to park in his garage, which is a very prestigious place for a car, because the Hardin’s take good care of their cars. Then he leaves me his car and offers to take mine in to work with him the next day. So he gets in to drive away and tells me, “Kelly, your check engine light is on, did you know that?”
Feeling a little embarrassed because that’s slightly important, “Um, yeah, I know, I haven’t had time to get it looked at.”
Good thing it was dark, because I was still embarrassed thinking to myself that there are worse things wrong with my car that he can’t see, like the bald front tires, which are not nice in the rain; but the squeaky brakes I couldn’t hide, as soon as he pulled out of my driveway they were screaming at him. I asked Dennis if he wouldn’t mind just bringing it home when it’s done. I told him to just tell the service department to call me and I would give them my card over the phone. They all know me over there and all my phone numbers are in their computers. I had no idea how long it would take and I didn’t want to ask because I didn’t want him to feel rushed. I assumed a couple of days because I know they have to order parts sometimes.
So the next day was dumping down rain all day long. I wasn’t going to drive his car because I was a little nervous to take his car out in all the flooding rain but then I remembered Richard had his Neurologist appointment so I had to.
Later that night Dennis pulls up in my car. I was surprised that it was already ready and that he brought it back so quick. I was still expecting to get a phone call telling me what it would cost and what I wanted to do because that’s what they always do, and I hadn’t paid yet. But the part about not paying yet wasn’t a big deal because there have been many times when I have sent someone else to get my car and had to call in later with my payment. They know me over there, so they trust me, and they would know where to find me if I tried to skip out on paying them. (-: But that was the exact opposite of what happened. Dennis returned my car to me with brand new brakes, 4 brand new tires, engine light off, and of course the window repaired; some electronic mechanism was broken. This van is 10 years old so none of that is covered under warranty. When I tried to find out how much I owed and reassured him I would call tomorrow and get it taken care of…Dennis reassured me that I wouldn’t need to do that and that he was taking care of it. WOW! I felt like that was extremely generous! I tried to tell him that he didn’t have to do that and then I got choked up, I felt so overwhelmingly grateful. I probably scared him with my crazy female emotions because he skipped out pretty quick. But seriously, please if you're buying a car, please buy it from the Hardin's. http://www.hardinhonda.com/ I know a lot of people are going through hard times financially right now, and I know that the auto industry is not immune to this, so that was a big sacrifice for them. I work for our family business http://www.anaheimjewelry.com/ . I sell Rolex and other high end watches and jewelry on eBay. Probably 1/3 to ½ of my annual income is made in November and December so when Richard got sick, of course I couldn’t work so, yes, we took a big hit and yes, I am extremely grateful to people like the Hardin’s and so many generous people who have helped us out with monetary gifts. I do feel VERY grateful that Richard is a teacher and that his job is secure. The way things are going, it looks like he might get back to work right about the same time that his sick days run out. The Lord does work in mysterious ways.
Richard is still improving daily and for that we are very grateful. He is walking around without his walker now and feeling pretty good as long as he is in an area where he knows he can sit down any time. He had an appointment with his Neurologist on Monday and she has a very positive outlook on his recovery. She says that he should continue to work hard and put all his effort into getting stronger and not worry about potentially regressing because he is past that point now. She wasn’t sure about Richard’s facial muscles and when and if they will regain their strength. She said that it’s not a Bell ’s palsy but is actually the Guillain Barre Syndrome.
Today I was reflecting again on how truly blessed we are to have such wonderful friends and family. I love my kid’s school, Imperial Elementary, and the support and love the staff and families are to us. I love Richard’s school; Canyon High, the staff and faculty and students and families have been such an awesome support to Richard. They sincerely care, and that’s what really matters. My family and Richard’s have been there for us at the drop of a hat whenever we need anything. I have to say that knowing and having a testimony that God lives and loves us individually, that he has a plan for us and that the trials that come our way are part of that plan; this is the foundation we need to get through these trials in life with a positive outlook. We may not understand it now but someday when we reflect back on our trials, we will see it more clearly and that the true test was how we chose to react to the challenge. Richard has been a great example to me in taking this illness with grace, not murmuring or complaining “why me?” He’s taking it in stride and just resolving to overcome it. All along he’s been looking for ways he can serve others when he is better, beginning with the nursing home shower chairs that have broken wheels that won’t roll. He made a promise to the staff that when he is better, he will go back to repair them. I think our attitudes are what make the difference in the end and it’s been easier to have a good attitude when our friends, families, neighbors and congregations are all there helping, loving, and serving. You are all such great examples. You don’t just ask what you can do, but do what you can. You actually walk the talk.