Thursday, November 5, 2015

Henceforth we shall call this, the year that nearly killed Josh

That post title might seem a little dramatic but I suppose I have the right to be a little bit dramatic about this whole thing. Since getting back to Thailand, Josh has been to the emergency room multiple times. Once because he gave himself an electrical shock from a mosquito zapper in the kid's bedroom, and once because he sliced the top of his head open on corrugated metal which led to some majorly debilitating anemia. Oh yeah and a few weeks after Noah was born he threw out his back which took him out of commission for a few days.

Then came "the concussion" aka a mild traumatic brain injury. Such a freak thing but ultimately he would not have gotten a concussion if his day hadn't been insanely busy- so busy that drinking water was apparently not a priority that day. Dehydration followed by trampoline jumping with our kids equals concussion. Then while he was still recovering from the concussion, we had to spend an entire day at immigration, leading him to get really tired and hit his head hard on the car while trying to get the kids out. Then while he was still recovering from both previous concussions, work pressures led him to what was probably a poor decision (I blame myself as well) to travel to Myanmar for some disaster relief efforts, where he gave himself the third concussion. The fourth (and hopefully final) concussion was when he was playing hide n seek with the kids. This one was maybe partially my fault for leaving him alone with the kids for awhile one day. It might be the only one we can't totally blame on our life and work overseas.

We have been talking a little bit lately....honestly not a lot because for the past 3 (almost 4) months, most of the times I have tried to talk to my husband, he has said something like "honey I can't talk right now, it hurts my head." Except he didn't always say it that nicely. In fact I have had my feelings hurt by my husband's lack of desire to talk to his wife more than a few times over the course of this. The logical part of my brain says, "hey, he has a brain injury, this isn't really him talking", but the emotional, illogical and let's face it, often dominant part of my brain screams "this stinks, my husband hates me, what's the point of marriage if I don't even have a companion who will simply....talk to me." That may be the hardest part of this whole thing, not trying to bear the weight of caring for three children, not chauffeuring him to all his appointments in addition to taking the kids everywhere, and running every single errand including the kind he used to do. But feeling the partial loss of my companion. He's been here, but not here. There were weeks he spent the majority of the day hiding from the world in his room trying to shut out light, sounds, and thoughts. There were days he was around the house, but so moody I think I wished he would go back and hide in his room again. And then there's now, he's feeling a little bit better, and finally willing to engage in non-essential conversation. In the past week specifically he even started to have a sense of humor again, yeah it was pretty much gone for three months.

Anyways, what was I saying before that long diatribe about how my husband wouldn't talk to me? Oh yes we have been talking about why he has had a very very long list of difficult medical issues this past year. He finally admitted that he may have been doing work life at an unsustainable pace. He currently has three jobs, in addition to studying Thai and being a dad to three young children and husband to me. Not all three jobs are full-time, and two of them he does NOT get paid for in any way. The third one is the one we have to raise support for because it only pays us if we have enough donated funds in a staff account. For awhile this past year we were not getting paid at all- talk about stressful!!

So apparently when you are very busy and very stressed, you are more likely to have accidents and a weakened immune system. And when you have many accidents and health problems while overseas, it makes you start to question being overseas and you begin to consider going home. Lately I have felt like I can't handle any more medical incidents for Josh. Like for reals, "if there is one more thing, I just might lose it..."

So hopefully this is the last one. But what can we do to help ensure it is the last one? Take it easy for starters. Josh is finally realizing he needs to let go of some of his responsibilities. I may have said something along the lines of "I told you so," wow, I'm a jerk. I mean....yes I was right, but I suppose rubbing it in while he had a brain injury isn't really being a helpful or considerate wife. I should probably work on that....

People tend to like to say things like "God always has a reason, what is God trying to teach you?" but really, I don't think brain injuries are caused by God. Allowed by him, yes, but caused, no. That would be that other guy, you know, Satan. And Satan would love to grab ahold of every opportunity to tear us down and send us back to the U.S. And that is what we are fighting against. It's a definite spiritual battle.

Now can God bring good out of this bad thing?! YES PLEASE! Romans 8:28 is a good one to hold onto. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." And that's what we are seeking, God what good do you have for us in this difficult time? Show us.  Work this thing together for good. I hope in a year we will look back on the positives that God brought out of this, but honestly we are a little bit too deep in the thick of it to see them clearly or talk about them right now.

In the meantime, we would love your continued prayer for a full recovery of Josh's brain. This mama is weary- both emotionally and physically. I feel anxious to have my husband be back to himself again. I know he is desirous of this too.

Because I know people will ask, I want to say I feel confident that we have an excellent medical team consulting and advising us on Josh's brain injury. He has a neurologist here in town, a Chinese medicine doctor consulting and treating him with acupuncture, and another neurologist based in Canada who he talks to over the phone and e-mail who actually specializes in concussions. He sees 200 concussion patients per week so he definitely knows what he is talking about. If Josh can manage to not hit his head again, we expect he will continue to make great progress towards full recovery.

Here are a few pictures from different stages in this journey.

Here we are at the airport, Josh is leaving for Myanmar. He must have been feeling pretty decent since he actually smiled for this selfie I forced upon him. He came back from this trip in much worse shape sadly.

Because sometimes if you have to take a walk, you might as well wear a baby. His brain is hurt, but his body is fine. :-)

We had 70 degree temps for a couple days and took advantage of the opportunity to hoodie up and venture outside. This was in the "I don't smile for photos" stage of concussion recovery.

Life has started to breathe back into him, smiling a little bit and going on a walk with both of the noisy kids. :-)

Getting prescription sunglasses to increase his tolerance for outings. He is more sensitive to light since the brain injury so this will reduce the amount he is exposed to. He thinks he looks "kind of special" in this picture. "Well honey, you do have a brain injury." 

That's all for now.