(Mom’s version of the Wiggle Dance once she was home!)
Some days in the hospital mom was much more coherent than others. Some days she slept… a lot. Other days she would sing, have deep conversations, and crack jokes. However, every day she needed encouragement for certain tasks that were difficult or painful. One of the issues Towanda, the tumor, created was blocking the drainage of mom’s right leg causing it to swell greatly, hurt unbearably, and weigh mightily. Her leg was retaining so much fluid that she could not raise her leg on her own. This made little things like getting in and out of bed extremely difficult.
One night somewhere around 2-3am mom needed to go to bathroom. This simply meant sitting on the edge of the bed, standing, turning around (so the tubes connected to the IV pole wouldn’t tangle), and sitting on the poddy chair – sounds simple – but it wasn’t.
Time out: one of mom’s rules for her hospital room was no tears, no sadness, only happy moments and encouragement. Unless you were immediate family and then any and all emotions were allowed. This is important to know because that just meant that I went overboard in the cheering and encouragement side of things…
So, as the weariness has set in and the craziness of the wee hours of the morning were impairing my word choice, I cheered “SPIN MONKEY SPIN!!” We both began laughing and mom did her best impersonation of a spinning top as she got back on the bed. The laughter was so good for our souls!
We also began having dance parties anytime mom was getting in the bed but not just any dance party a Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Dance Party. She would have to wiggle to the other side of the bed so I wiggled with her even the baby girls (my nieces ages 10, 8, and 2) started wiggling when they would visit. It was silly but it made all of us laugh and got our minds off cancer, blood clots, infections, and death.
Other moments of great celebration included the first time mom used her walker to cross part of the room. It seems like such a little thing now – 10 step, 30 steps, then down the hall. Mom had walked herself into the hospital – she was in pain but she could walk for hours and now 10 steps was a great accomplishment and something to cheer for.
How had we gotten here? How did turning around, getting in the bed, and walking a few steps become something to celebrate? Well, the answers were caner, Towanda, blood clots, infections, a swelling leg, and so much more. However, the bigger answer is Jesus… You see God had allowed her to experience all of those things – yes, that means I am saying God allowed crap to happen to a minister, a good person, a woman after His own heart, a woman who loved and served Him deeply. I don’t have the theological answer for why, other than sin. When sin entered this world everything changed… that’s a long conversation for another day. But God allowed it and after the other nights we had experienced I was determined to celebrate EVERYTHING!
Yes, crap had happened but also His Spirit living in that room happened, His healing was happening, conversations about the gospel were happening, people couldn’t figure us out (Maw always said we were weird!). Good God –sized things were happening so we yelled “spin monkey spin,” we wiggled, and cheered for each and every step!!!