Where we wrestle with the sublime, mysterious, powerful and often frustrating paradox of God's necessary grace.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Grace and One Day Soon

Damn. Damn. Damn. Family being family, so here we go again.

Here's relevant bits of an email my sister G. sent to us sib about our brother, R.:

Saw R. today and talked to his doctor for about 15 min. [M]y notes:

+ has pulmonary emboli, both sides, why is confused [lack of oxygen to brain]

+ has a mass in brain near pituitary gland, may not operate. neurosurgeon is evaluating case to see, may be able to treat medicinally

+ has atrial fib, long term, will need meds

+ rt lung-infection, radiologist will review, on antibiotics

+ is wearing the C-Pap, doing better sleeping

+ blood pressure has dropped at times, heart rate has been off so went back to CCU

+ urinary tract infection, on antibiotics

+ has "Rickettssia" bacteria from animals [his pets], I think this is in his blood

+ short-of-breath condition is better (still seems a problem to me)

+ infections-in blood and urine

+ neurosurgeon may repeat brain scan (MRI), mass probably not cancer, diabetes is under control.

We'll get the advance directives filled out, dr. thought a good idea, he could have a heart attack anytime, I think. He should be DNR now.

So for the past few days, this is the last news I've had of my brother. Then, last night, I called my sister G. for an update. "Oh, he's home now, he went home yesterday afternoon."

WTF?! Way to keep me in the loop there, sister!

So I'm pissed as hell at my sisters they didn't tell me of his release and that so many important medical questions are still unanswered--what was the significance of the number 20, what about his pulmonary emboli, etc.?

So last night I called him and he sounded much better, almost his old self, except now he's channeling our dad. How can I tell? Read on.

R. asked me what the chances were of me coming down again and helping him for a few days. I replied, "Not good." (Driving that amount of time aggravates the edema in my legs and I have to deal with the consequences for several days afterward.) Even if I did go down, the amount of help I can give him is limited, I'm not strong enough to move him or help him if he falls.

Knowing R., he wants me there so he can avoid paying for a nurse or "imposing" on friends by asking them to help--even if they've volunteered. My dad was exactly the same way. Two years before he died, he was on one of his last cases before retiring, treating a horse, which kicked him and crushed him against the stall wall, beating Dad up pretty well. Dad's "friend," Dave (a fellow vet and a shitbag of shitbags) was there offered to take 82-yr old Dad to the hospital. Dad, being Dad, refused so Dave took him home in his Rolls Royce and dropped Dad off on the couch and left. Dad, who was bruised, contused, cut, crushed, in pain, and also taking blood thinners. Did I mention Dad was 82?

Anyway, my rage aside, I'm afraid, deeply afraid, R.'s behavior will remain unchanged for the better. He was sent home without an appointment with a neurologist and without a CPAP machine. He was given phone numbers and told he would need to make those calls himself. R.'s track record has been one of him absolutely resistant to seeking help and recovery. O, he'll dabble in getting help, he'll see a doctor a few times and maybe take meds, but he refuses to commit to recovering his health and he hates any recovery ("All those losers talking about God!" or "The therapist just asked me questions!") that requires him doing anything outside of his own strength.

So I am tempted to predict his health will tank again and this mess will repeat.

I don't know if I can go through those emotional surges again. I'm still feeling the fallout.

So my question to me is, where is God's grace in all this? This is a blog about grace, right? Am I just yammering about grace when it's easy (or easier) and convenient? Do I forget about grace when life cuts deep into my bones?


God knows I'm fucking this up tremendously, displaying the emotional maturity of a toddler. No one's going to read this and admire me for my spiritual strength. But this is all I know how to do: I choose to accept God's grace, right here, right now. I choose to let my brother's choices be his own, with all the consequences, and I trust God will uphold me through any storm that arises from them. I'll still get rained on and seagulls will shit upon me, but God didn't promise I'd be pretty, He just promised I'd be perfected, and that's a long-term, painful process. It's not even the goal I'm shooting for, to me it's an incidental. I'm here because of relationship. God is my God, my Heavenly Father, and I want to be where He is, talk with Him, tell Him bartender jokes and learn to love and be redeemed.

I want to learn about grace. I want to give it as much as I want to receive it.

Perhaps one day soon I can give grace to my brother.


ctimby said...

Dude, I have found that as much as I want my family to "get me" and apologize and respect me as an equal now and say they are sorry for treating me like shi-ite growing up - it just doesn't work that way. I have had to give this to God to give me the power in my shattered heart to forgive my family for their sins against me, and just in the last two years my family and I have finally found some peace and reconciliation. Rich has not tasted God's amazing Grace - He is lost and clueless and does not have the heart to apologize and make peace with you.

ctimby said...

I know these are older posts and we talked most of this through already last week on that technological marvel - the telephone - This is a great blog, I am not the best source of scatological colorful metaphors - but your description of getting the trots was how would you say "spot on" - arrgh :-)