When I was in seminary in the 1960s, there was a popular theology proclaiming that God was dead. We could figure out through science why things had happened. We no longer needed God as a reason for things happening. We were capable of doing things for ourselves. We no longer needed God to do things for us.
Before I was injured, I felt capable of controlling my world and to be very able. My pastor at the time, a Lutheran, said that the injury was God tapping me on the shoulder and telling me that He was still in control By the grace of God, I write this to communicate that God lives and cares for us. So I hope, by the grace of God, that reading this will inspire you to make your life easier and better. God lives and is in control and cares for us.
I was out running for my health and practicing for my second marathon run. Having just finished eight miles and heading for home, I came to a control intersection and waited for the green light. I got it and the walk sign. A car stopped for me so I took off running across the street. Another came, along passed the stopped car and hit me in the cross walk going approximately fifty miles an hour. I broke its grill, scratched its hood, and broke its windshield. I was bleeding quire profusely into the car so she decided to dislodge me and stopped rapidly, throwing me for approximately thirty feet in the air and I landed on my head. This is God’s first act on my behalf for I landed near to a fire station so the first responders could quickly get to me and give me life support and a transfusion.
The next way that God intervened on my behalf was then the estimated my age. They thought that I was thirty-five when I was fifty-nine and made arrangements to airlift me to the trauma center. If they had known my true age they would not have called the airlift because they would be wasting their money. The third way God acted on my behalf was that when I arrived at the trauma center there was a University of Washington professor there who was a specialist in the treatment of brain injuries and he convinced them to open my skull so there would be room for my brain to swell and the circulation would not be obstructed. I was in a coma for three weeks and as of yet had felt no pain. While I was in the coma, death came by and asked me to come with him. With him he said there would be no more suffering and pain. I said no, I would not go. When I came out of the coma I first felt pain and I rejoiced for it meant that I was alive. I did not know my name could not recognize my family nor speak without squeaking. The doctor thought that I would not walk and had me locked in my bead for my own safety being afraid that I might fall and spill my brain out. Now I never complain nor am I sad when I have to get up early or get up. I rejoice because I can do it. At least now no one can say that I don’t have a brain because they have seen it. God was not through with me yet. I was given a wheelchair and regained some mobility and knew my name. While I was at the hospital some students had theorized that abundant potassium would help the brain to become more resistant to damage and repair itself more effectively and I was the test case. Thanks be to God. They were right. They then replaced the piece of my skull that they had removed and I graduated to a walker. I then was allowed to leave the hospital and to come home. The doctor told my wife that I would not recover nor recuperate.
When I arrived home I was dependent on a walker and had difficulty standing up. But God was not through with me yet. I went to aquatic and land based physical therapy and was blessed with skilled instructors. God enabled me to progress rapidly and they replaced the walker with a cane. I then continued to work in my yard blessed with sixty fruit trees. I reached for the fruit and my left arm which previously, as result of the injury, could not be raised above my waist recovered and although it was not as good as my right, it through adaption, allowed me to get the job done. And God used my gardening struggles to improve my ability to stand up and I discarded the cane. The only way that I could get to a place that I need to get to when I wanted to get there was to run. God was with me and I ran to stores within a twenty-five mile round trip. I went on hikes up mountains to look out points. Getting up to the top was no problem. But getting down was another deal. I have been able to care for my garden with two hundred feet of rows growing carrots. Also rows with beets, squash, pumpkins, peas, beans, cabbage, broccoli, radishes and two hundred dahlias. God has blessed me with productive soil and the ability to use it. The garden which God has given me has been essential to my recovery.
In order to renew my driver’s license the department of licensing required a sign off from an optometrist and a medical doctor. The optic nerve of my left eye had been severed in the injury. God had caused the peripheral vision of the right eye to increase sufficiently that I could see almost as well as I could before the injury. I went to a doctor of Optometry and she refused to sign off on me because I could not see with my left eye. I, with God’s help, persuaded her to judge me as I am not as I should or cold be and she signed off. The next problem was with the general practitioner. He said that I should never be allowed to drive because the text says that an adult person with traumatic brain injury never recovers. With God’s help I persuaded him to judge me as I am not as I could or should be. He spent four thousand dollars sending me to specialists. First a Speech-language Pathologist. The only thing he could find wrong with me was that I talk too much. Secondly, a clinical Psychologist, the only thing that he could find wrong with me was that I should have a deficit and he could not find it, and I did not recognize it, so he recommends that I be sent to another specialist who would be more equipped to find it. The GP decided that he had spent enough of the insurance company’s money and decided to sign off and let the department of licensing determine if I would qualify for a license to drive. God provided a good driving instructor for me and I passed the written test and passed the driving test. I amazed the test administrator because I was the first person being tested that had verbalized what he was thinking. When we drove through a suburban development I said here we are going through a suburban neighborhood I am watching the driveways on both sides of the street to see if anything is moving that might be a hazard. I did that so that he would know that I was aware and was doing it even if I did not appear to be doing it.
The next mental area is working for my company. Three people have called me with problems. Things were not going right in their process and I have solved the problems and got them back to operating correctly and properly. With God’s help I was even able to get them to operating more efficiently.
My wife left me because I was not following the doctor’s instructions. He wanted me to inventory what I could not do and no longer try to do it. He was afraid that I would hurt myself or others. My wife was afraid of the liability that I was risking. God never provides something that cannot be endured or overcome. He provides one with a lot of abilities. He wants us to use what we have. I chose to see what I wanted or needed to do and then to figure out how I could do it. By using your brain it repairs itself and strengthens itself. That which is not used is discarded.
I get up with joy at six thirty after spending about six months of my recent life chained in my bed. And feed the cat and prepare myself oatmeal with apple juice that I have made from the apples that grow on my trees instead of water and if in season, some blueberries that I have picked from the bushes that I grow. I then weigh myself, do my toiletries and eat my breakfast. After breakfast I go out into the yard and go on slug patrol in my garden. I find between no and thirty-three slugs in the no crawl zones that I have around my plants. I then place them on the street that goes in front of my house and they get run over by the cars and trucks as they pass. I then do some other gardening work, weeding, pruning, watering, or fixing my fencing or trellises. I then come in for a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. After lunch I take care of the company, shipping, billing or paying the bills of suppliers. I then try to arrange to make sales. Since I was injured I have been able to solve the problems of three plants by the use of one of our products. Then I do my cooking. I have had my daughters my guests for dinner, coworkers guess for dinners, and my neighbor and her daughter. If I have no guests I then watch sporting events on TV or study the course about brain health or religious documents.
It has now been over twelve years since my injury that I was not suppose to have lived through never mind recovered and recuperated from. I am alive and well thanks be to God. I am not in heaven, nor the same as I was. I still make mistakes, have pain, and cannot do things in the way that I did before I was injured. But I can function independently. I have lived alone for eight months, cooked my own meals, keep and balanced my own check book, done my own shopping, maintained my house and extensive garden and taken care of my own hygiene and dressing.
I have chipped the debris from the pruning of a cedar tree to use as mulch. Another day I cleaned moss off the roof as much as I could safely do from a ladder. Another day I repaired the apple drying rack that I use to dry the apples after I wash them before I make apple juice with my press. I also drove downtown to seek a place that I could volunteer to help with social service. It was unsuccessful, unfortunately. I took a vegetable medley to church for a church lunch and very few people tried any so that was a failure. I was able to drive myself to church for choir practice to make a joyful noise with the choir and then successfully drive myself home in the dark.
So thanks be to God that I am alive and functioning. Not all turns out good but I can try to do it with the tools that God has given to me and compared to where I was and where I could be it is wonderful. God is alive and good and is our help.
If you or someone you know is in need of a room in Renton, WA, please contact Everett. He has a room available, rent-free, for those in need. Large house with fresh fruit and vegetables from his garden!