Saturday, January 05, 2008

Finishing Up, Putting Away, Ending Christmas Season

Usually our trees are not still up this long, but there they are in the family and living room asking me, “When are you going to get busy and take me down?” I always leave the trees up until after New Year’s Day as that is part of the holiday season for me personally. The wreath on the front door blew off a couple of days ago, so I did carry it inside. And I have started removing the smaller accessories and decorations and placing them in the guest bedroom. There they await my hauling the storage boxes out of that room’s closet. I should be free of tinsel and glitter by the end of next week.

On the other hand, I am just now getting Christmas cards sent to Gerald’s relatives. I have our addresses filed in four folders: my family folder of Martin-Rockenmeyer addresses, Glasco-Wenger folder with their family addresses, Local friends' folder, and Away friends' folder. I lost the Glasco-Wenger folder, which just showed up in the garage of all places this week. Ah well.

I still pass out cards at our village church rather than spend money on stamps. My dear friend and neighbor, the late Helen Beasley had the girls she led in a youth organization to deliver our cards at church so we could put more money into our mission offering. I still do this every year in remembrance of Helen.

We drove up to John Cochran V.A.Hospital on Wednesday to see Gerald’s brother Ken because Gerald and his sister were so discouraged after talking to Ken and Opal on Tuesday. We went late in the afternoon since Opal’s sister and husband had also planned to visit that day. We were thrilled at how rested Ken and Opal looked. Their night sleep is broken up almost every hour, so they can’t be getting much rest. But when Ken feels good, that refreshes them like nothing else. And Ken felt good on Wednesday. The platelets and antibiotics administered through the hard-to-place port in his neck artery had done their job. He looked good, and two successful therapy sessions that morning had reinforced his knowledge that he was stronger.

The next day Ken was running fever again. This has been typical through this long ordeal since he entered the hospital on November 28. Up and down. Hope and horror. After his diagnosis of leukemia on February 8 (I think it was.), Ken and Opal spent 73 days in the hospital, where she was always his willing personal attendant. Then with the remission, Ken was back enjoying life again--first slowly and then back on his bulldozer doing the work he loves. We were all ready to claim a permanent miracle and were not prepared for the leukemia to come back--despite being warned.

So with the 73 days plus the newest 38 days and counting, Ken and Opal have spent a large part of the past year in the hospital. Now if the antibiotics work to clear up the infection in his blood stream, the fevers go away, the fungus infection resulting from all the use of antibiotics doesn’t cause problems, Ken is anticipating being able to come home to Marion and celebrate his birthday on January 20 with his brothers at Cracker Barrel, according to their brotherly tradition. I suspect the crowd will be larger than usual that morning and the mood joyous.

With Ken, our grandson Trent, and our daughter Katherine all very ill this holiday season, it has not been a normal celebration for us. On the other hand, we are more grateful than usual for God’s gift of His son to redeem and help us through whatever the new year brings.

I better quit writing and take down and put away a few more decorations.

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