Archive for the ‘spinal cord injury’ Category
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“Then he told this parable, ‘A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down” (Luke 13:6-9 NIV).
Looking back over my life, I see God’s hand in every day, even before I knew Him.
Eight months later an accident severed my spinal cord. I came home weak and weary six months and nine days after my injury. My power wheelchair had one true asset then—it reclined. I withdrew from life, laid back and hid behind veiled eyes. I refused to face my future.
Do you ever feel like God has forgotten you? Or forgotten a promise He made to you? I have. A few months before my injury I attended a spiritual gifts workshop. We filled out surveys then broke into small groups. My group determined my gift was “healing,” a repeated theme in my spiritual walk that I had ignored because everyone knew I was a nurse. That day I believed it and it scared me.
I talked to a friend who listened and prayed with me. When he got up to leave he said, “You have to be healed before you can heal.”
I didn’t understand. I wasn’t sick.
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After three months in ICU, Earl had me transferred to a rehabilitation hospital that focused on spinal cord injuries. I felt comfortable there, surrounded by others in wheelchairs with injuries like mine. Yet once at home, I felt lost. Who am I? A pastor’s wife? A mother? A nurse? I’d had those roles before the accident.
“God, why did you let this happen?” I prayed. “I’m a Christian. I read my Bible. I go to Sunday school and Bible study.”
The church we were serving, Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, remodeled the parsonage, held fundraisers and gave me time to recuperate. The churches in our Conference, and people everywhere, who had heard about my accident, prayed and took up special offerings for us. Strangers visited, prayed with me and lay down checks.
At our second church, Maple Spring UMC, I tried my hands at teaching Sunday school. At the third, East Dyersburg UMC, I wrote for the church newsletter, taught Sunday school and started a telephone ministry with women who had difficulty getting to church. While serving our fourth church, Concord UMC, I added many areas of ministry within the local church, the district and the conference.
God’s love and the continued prayer and encouragement of you who are reading this carry me through the hard times. Today my life is everything I thought it couldn’t possibly be.
I talk about my injury with people everywhere I go, and I hear this often: “You’re easy to talk to, but I don’t know what to say to most people in wheelchairs. They seem angry. How do you do so well?”
In Christian Love,
My physical therapist is doing sensory testing on me today. With my eyes closed and head turned away, she begins. Following a dermatome chart, she touches different areas of my upper chest and arms with a pin. I respond “sharp” or “dull.”
Laughing she says, “That’s incredible, Berta. What level are you supposed to be?”
“I’m a C-4* complete. My spinal cord is severed.”
“That means all you’re supposed to feel or move is your head.”
She checks her chart again. “You’re testing at T-4** on your chest, C-6/7 on your arms, and even some distant sensation that is difficult to classify. Tell me again about your injury.”
“The initial classification was C-5/6 complete with very little strength, and no stamina or control. A year after the injury I was still struggling with weakness in my arms, and I couldn’t hold my head up. An x-ray revealed that my neck wasn’t fused, and I needed surgery.”
“In surgery, broken pieces of my fifth cervical vertebra were removed, and a piece of my hipbone was wired in place from C-4-7.”
“Four months later I returned, and after several tests were completed the surgeon began the exam. He seemed perplexed, rude even, as he tested function and sensation. I was able to do most of what he asked. He looked over my chart and shook his head. ‘Well, I’m going to release you to go home and I recommend you go to physical therapy.’”
“Seventeen years later a friend, who is also a radiologist, encouraged me to have a cervical MRI, ‘Just to see what’s going on in there.’ What was going on was an obvious lack of spinal cord from C-4-7. I’m thankful no one told me that little bit of information in those early days. I might have quit trying.”
“That’s amazing. What do you think it is?” She’s still looking at the chart.
“A God thing.”
“God is healing you, isn’t He? “
In Christ Alone,
* C: cervical
** T: thoracic