Thursday, January 8, 2009

School of Life

So, formal school lessons have taken a back seat this week due to Kev's emergency surgery and all the trips back and forth to the hospital. When we're not at the hospital, I'm at home doing the work of two people and that includes all the snow shovelling, fire-building, laundry, dishes, and all the regular household stuff. The kids have been helping as much as they can but they're pretty short and can only do so much. Needless to say, I'm pretty tired. And sore. Such is life.

Even though formal, sit-down lessons have taken a back seat this week, we've had plenty of learning experiences and lessons in various fields. In no particular order:

Elevator Etiquette

Yes we live in the country and yes the kids are homeschooled so no, they don't spend a whole lot of time in elevators. Neither did I when I was a kid, and I lived in town and went to a public school. Today in "school" the kids learned how to NEVER enter an elevator, and they had a very rude example to learn from. I guess I just assumed it was common knowledge that everyone understood you always allow the people ON the elevator to get off, before you try to get on. There is a 30something year old man in town who apparently never learned this, and shoved his way into the elevator as soon as the doors opened and we all attempted to get off. We had a little chat about this as we walked away.

Dementia Class

Kev is (was) sharing a room with 2 other men, until last night. One of the men is suffering from some form of dementia and last night he sort of lost it and created quite a commotion. Kev was telling us about it today and telling us some of the things the man said to him and the other man. The older man called in the nurse to tell on Kevin regarding all the awful things he was doing, and how the room was contaminated and there were little green things everywhere. The way Kevin was telling the story was sort of humorous but we had to remind the kids that this poor old man was suffering and he didn't realize what he was saying. As Kevin was telling us about it, the older man was taken into a room across the hall and I overheard the nurse assuring him that the men in the room (Kevin and the other man) had showered and been de-contaminated and everything was fine now. Kev only wishes he could have showered.

Yesterday while Kev was having some tests done I was waiting for him and there was an older lady (at least 90, maybe older) sitting in the hallway strapped into what looked like a large highchair. I don't know what her medical condition was but she was crying and holding a stuffed kitten and kept saying "I just want to go home!" then shaking the tray holding her in the chair. Clearly this lady was also suffering from some kind of dementia and she looked like a 2 year old in a 90 year old body. It made me cry. It made me think of how odd it seems sometimes that while God designed our minds and bodies to adapt and adjust and recover from all kinds of things, we are at the same time incredibly frail creations that can crack and break so easily. Sometimes we just don't bounce back.

With the older lady I was reminded of the time I spent working in the retirement home years ago. She was alone in the ER, no family, no friends, no one except the ER staff trying to comfort her as she waited for her ride to wherever she was going when she left there. Like the vast majority of the wonderful old folks in the retirement home, her family was no where to be seen. In a few cases the reasons were legit for the families to be absent, but in most cases it was simply a matter of abandonment. I can't remember how many times I wanted to cry at work and how many nights I did cry at home, thinking about how so many people with so much to offer could just be discarded by the very people they gave life to.

Organ Functions and the Way God Made Us

We had a really good talk (all of us) at the hospital today about what your appendix is, what it does, and how you can get along just fine without one. It was a good discussion in that we don't want the kids to grow up with the common idea that many people have about it just being one of those organs that we don't need. Being created by a perfect Creator, do we really want to assume He didn't have a purpose for the appendix? I thought this was a pretty good article on this subject.

First Hand Exposure to the Emergency Medical Profession

Of all the youngest 4 kids, only two of them have ever been in the ER as patients. Rachel about a year ago with an ear infection, and Samuel four years ago when he burnt his foot in a bonfire. Rachel was too sick to care about paying attention and Samuel was in too much pain to care (and too young), or even remember much about it. This week however they had a really good opportunity to see all kinds of people in action, taking care of other people, and how they do it. They've asked a million questions. "What does triage mean?", "what does that wall pump do?", "what is the iv for?", "why is papa's tummy bright orange?". I'm glad they ask these questions and I'm glad I know how to answer them. What's more, I'm really glad they've been able to see so many people dedicating their lives to helping other people. All the nurses, doctors, and various medical staff coming and going from room to room, helping people walk down the hall, pushing people in their wheelchairs or beds, and just serving others in so many different ways. I've always been incredibly impressed with those in the medical profession, and I'm really grateful that the kids have been exposed to it this week the way they have been. It's been a very good learning experience for them.

This has been a hard week in a lot of ways for all of us (Kev more than anyone) but there have been hidden blessings all over the place too. God is indeed very good.


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