Redefining Part II: Saturday
“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me — today.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Saturday has landed squarely in my lap, full of potential and promise. Saturdays are supposed to be full and fun and maybe even a little exhausting. As I lay in bed, clearing the sleep from my head and waiting for my muscles to feel ready to get out of their cozy nest, I consider the day ahead while a children’s tune for Psalm 118:24 playfully dances through my head — “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” The day is bursting with things with which I could fill it. Or not fill it — rest is a viable option too, I suppose. Then another thought clouds my exuberance: Today is exactly three weeks since my injury.
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Monday September 16 — The young Physician’s Assistant I saw at the walk-in clinic meant well when he eagerly declared that my knee would be “back to normal” in three weeks. My eyes met my daughter’s and we each suppressed the laughter that wanted to bubble out. She and I both knew better. Although he had heard of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), the P.A. clearly doesn’t really know it. Every injury is met with a harder and slower recovery for those with EDS, a connective tissue disorder.
So, the injury? I dislocated my left kneecap . . . while turning over in bed; at 1:30 on a Sunday morning. Yep — you read that correctly; I managed to achieve this stellar accomplishment in bed! And a rude, painful awakening it was to say the least.
Actually, as comical as it sounds, it’s not unusual for us EDS folks to get injured in bed. With our overly elastic connective tissue our muscles have to work extra hard to keep joints stabilized, giving them double duty and over taxing them. While sleeping however, the muscles eventually relax and the joints can easily slip out of place and either partially or, as for me three weeks ago, completely dislocate. We also experience painful muscle cramps and spasms as the overtaxed muscles complain.
I’ve had plenty of partial and a few full dislocations over the years (many in bed) and until my diagnosis at Mayo this past spring, my husband and I could never figure it out. “How do you manage to hurt yourself in bed?!” he would teasingly ask with a playful twinkle in his eyes. And it’s okay to laugh because honestly, I did that night, with my knee screaming in pain and propped on pillows as I lay there trying to figure out just what I should do. It is a bit absurd. Fortunately, after a couple of hours of excruciating pain, I was shifting and inadvertently managed to exert enough pressure to allow the kneecap to slip back into place with a POP and instant relief from the worst of the pain. Being Sunday though, I decided to wait till the next day to go to a walk-in clinic. I really wasn’t in a hurry to try and go somewhere anyway. In the mean time, to hold me over, my daughter picked up some chemical ice packs, a brightly flowered cane, and – best of all – a hot pink walker! She and my grand daughter were having some fun at my expense. But I did not care one bit; I gladly used that crazy walker for almost two weeks since I could put almost no weight on that leg. Now I was going to miss more church. >deep sigh<
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“This is the day that the Lord hath made . . .” The song looped around again bringing my attention back to this day. Laying in my nest a while longer, I think about the idea of Redefining, a blog topic begun a while back and I realize how my Saturdays are now, of necessity, being radically redefined. A day that used to be so full to overflowing with activity and ministry and family fun is now entirely a rest day. I can fight against that or I can see how to make it work best for me. Trust me, I don’t always get it right; sometimes there’s some fighting against it.
If I have any hope at all of going to church on Sunday I must keep Saturday clear of commitments. I minimize physical work around the house and I try to not do errands. Even at that I’m still only able to attend the evening service because my mornings are still too slow and painful to make even the morning service let alone 9:30 Sunday school. But right now that’s what I need to do and I’m finally accepting of that. That acceptance has taken a long time because I love church and want to be there every time the doors are open. But not right now. Acceptance removes the mental and emotional stress I was placing on myself.
As my knee is deeply aching, I begin to move out of bed and I’m reminded that not just Saturdays but all of my days are going to be very different from what Stephen and I had planned and hoped. But I’m also reminded that in Christ, they can still be glorious. I just need to be patient and see how he redefines my life as I allow him to work. The response is up to me, the choice is mine.
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Epilogue: Boast not thyself of to morrow;
for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth (Proverbs 27:1)
Or in my case I knew not what a night would bring forth. I was careful that day, Sunday, October 13. And I honestly didn’t over do things the day before. I wore my brace to church to keep the kneecap stable. I even used my cane to assist my gait. I propped on pillows that night when I went to bed. But still, it happened anyway. That night I had a partial dislocation, called a subluxation, of the same kneecap. The ligaments are seriously stressed now and the muscles cramp more easily increasing the risk. I’m now set back in my rehab. I’ll try to not get discouraged. And I’ll try to keep my eyes on today alone, leaving tomorrow in the safe hands of my Lord.