253. Here comes the sun! | At the Ready

Ezra SO has his game face on.

Ezra SO has his game face on.

Here comes the sun! Here comes the sun!

I know this song not from The Beatles, but because Hannah had a baby book when she was a wee thing that featured “Here comes the sun!” as the title. I love its expectant exuberance, but “Here comes the sun!” has not been how the last two years have panned out for me.

Yes, of course there have been moments of great happiness and my days flow with an undercurrent of joy, but it’s more of a cautious optimism rather than an expectant exuberance. I know that the Lord’s hands are full of good things for me, and I remind myself to believe this several times daily – it’s just that things have been so bad sometimes in the past that I kind of live in a habitual cringing stance. This is unconscious, BTW, and I think it’s related to how I startle easily and cannot bear the idea of a threat (real or perceived) to anyone I care for since I am largely unable to do anything effectual about it – but I’m working on it (freaking out less often), promise. Mommy told me she’s going to take a picture of me without me looking one of these days, so I can see how my “resting” position in a chair features shoulders that are tensely raised.

I used to get told all the time to loosen my grip on my walker by everyone at The Place. They all saw me walking around and noticed the tense shoulders immediately. When I got a bad headache at the beginning of the summer my neurologist felt my shoulders and told me, “You are SO tense!” I thought everyone’s shoulders were like that. My bad.

A while ago M (37) decided that walking outside on lots of uneven terrain was a good exercise for me, so we would traipse around the hospital’s grounds for an hour. There was even crossing of streets – the oncoming traffic hastened my steps – and we went to visit a garden across the way. Once we were walking along a tall fence so we could get out to the main sidewalk.

“Put that hand away,” M said, indicating the right hand I had raised unconsciously, ready to grab the fence at any time.

“M – I’m at the ready!” I protested. I did end up dropping my hand to my side, though.

I’m not here to tell you to prepare for a catastrophic medical event because one is sure to be on your horizon. No one knows what’s in store for them. I’m just saying that I wish I had done a few things prior to getting sick. If I had done these things – the logistics would have been easier for my family at a time when logistics were far from their minds, but needed to be attended to:

  • Keep a list of your financial institutions and contact info if you have it – e.g. name of bank, account numbers for savings and checking, credit cards.
  • Keep a list of the items you have set up on AutoPay – e.g. utilities, cell phone, etc. These will need to be stopped.
  • If you pay rent, write the due date, amount, and property manager’s name down so your family knows the appropriate contact.
  • If you live away from your family like I did, ask someone to come to the hospital in case of emergency and document this agreement. I asked A (of DnA) but never formalized the agreement by email or anything. It was just understood – but I never thought she’d need to act on it. When my brain bled she tried her best to get the hospital staff to let her go back to see me in the ICU but the rules said she couldn’t. My friend L, though, insisted that she’s the closest thing I had to family in that city, and was eventually let through to my recovery room.

The list above is in no way exhaustive. It’s just what I can remember right now. In all likelihood you will never need to press these preparations into service, but just in case…

The bottom line is this: Life isn’t going to be a succession of parties. Bad things happen. Sometimes, REALLY BAD things happen. But for the believer, your ship won’t sink. This is how I know:

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because it is the Lord who holds his hand.

Psalm 37.23-24

27.  Emergency Preparedness - One of my handbags - "Alex Dragonflies" in blue The Washington Post, August 2003

27. Emergency Preparedness – One of my handbags – “Alex Dragonflies” in blue
The Washington Post, August 2003

4 thoughts on “253. Here comes the sun! | At the Ready

  1. Really practical list Ning. This is important for young people to do and think about as well. I have a younger (half) brother whose wife was suddenly killed in a car accident last April. (It was the same weekend O was born. ) I also recently had a talk with the hubby about what our thoughts on DNR and on who would take care of our son should something happen. We should also be brave enough to ask our parents to do the same since the more common occurrence is for children to outlive their parents. Very practical — though Talia just says I’m paranoid!

  2. Ning, thank you for putting this list out there for us… it’s definitely helpful to hear what others have learned (“lessons learned” as we used to call it at work) through their hard-won experience. It shows your heart of care.
    Soooooooooooooooooooo good to spend time with you this weekend. So glad we got one-on-one time.

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