I haven’t recorded all the things that Dennis has gotten through lately, and since they are remarkable they should be recorded.
We’re in a stage where the doctors seem to be done with him. No one is checking him or recommending new treatments. He has discontinued some of the supplements that didn’t seem to have much effect, but were costing a lot of money. It could be viewed as a discouraging time, but he remains outwardly hopeful and unperturbed.
He was a little unsure about the travel we had planned for the second half of July – it was ambitious. We went from our home in Wisconsin to Seattle, by car for “wedding week”. He wanted very much to be present to see this daughter get married so he did what he could to prepare, and tried not to put any trouble in the mix of all we had to do.
We spent five days driving out, in which we learned to get in and out of hotels, restaurants and restrooms with all our “stuff”. It was very different from being at home and I was unsure what that would do to him, but he adapted. There were a lot of times when the challenge of steps, inclines, small spaces, and long hours made him very tired. We had a wheelchair/walker with us but by the end of wedding week and the four day return trip, he was riding in the wheelchair most of the time. I was very worried that he might fall.
It was a good trip. We were relieved and amazed to be back home after two weeks away. He has recovered and not experienced any lasting changes from all the unusual routines. I thank God every time I think back on this time.
Yesterday morning, praying about the day ahead, God and I came to an agreement. Our new son-in-law’s parents were coming for their first visit to our town and I had arranged with a friend for a boat ride on our favorite lake. I knew it would be kind of weird for Dennis not to be there with us, but I questioned whether we could get him in the boat easily. Even he had said he would just stay home because it sounded hard. We had done this same excursion two years ago with different friends and it had been hard then. He has declined a lot since.
Back to the agreement. I felt that I should ask Dennis again if he wanted to go on the boat, and if he did we would plan on it and God would help us. As I suspected, Dennis wanted to go. Here’s how it went down.
We arrived at “Lunch on the Lake” and talked with Mr. Jacobsen. He allowed us to drive down the steep embankment, on their lawn, to get near their boat dock. Dennis used his walker to finish the distance and get out on the long narrow dock. It took a great deal of coaching and encouragement from all five of us to tell him where to hang on, which part of him to move next, how high to lift his feet, when to duck under the boat awning, etc… , and we were ready to catch him at any moment if we had to, but he made it. It was remarkable because this is a guy who often has trouble just getting in bed.
We had a good hour long boat ride and a nice lunch with our guests before we had to repeat the whole process in reverse. I think we all had a sense of accomplishment when it was over and we were in the car again. We did a little more sightseeing with him riding in the wheelchair, and by the time company left, he was ready for his overdue nap.
But, can you see what hope can do? Sometimes God gives us challenges and wants to see what we will do with them. With the challenge, he promises to help, to teach, to show up in some way to demonstrate remarkable things. I am so thankful we are not on this journey alone.