Friday, October 24, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Never give up.

Oh, I am quite sure I will never tire telling stories of the lessons I've learned from the men and women I serve and love at Edgewood. Because these folks inspire me in ways too numerous to count.

I've told you before about B, the man who lives across the hall from the Activity Room. He's the one who used to be a preacher and has suffered two strokes - which have left him unable to communicate verbally (Except for saying yes, no, I don't know, and "For dinner, for dinner, for dinner".) and unable to use much of half his body.
The one thing we know for sure is, when B is yelling, "For dinner, for dinner, for dinner!" he wants or needs something. And when I hear him yelling that way, I often go across the hall to see if I can help his wife determine what he's trying to communicate. So, the other day I heard his familiar call and went over to see what I could do. Ooooo. That one was a toughie. Each of us felt like giving up several times, but we kept at it and finally figured out that B wanted a drink of water. And when his thirst was satisfied I suggested a sign he could make with his hand when he wanted a drink. Then he (we!) wouldn't have to get so frustrated trying to communicate. B seemed to like the idea, and I reminded him about it (and had him practice) a couple more times when I saw him that day.
After one of our practice sessions, our office manager asked me if I'd ever heard B sing. I smiled and started singing "It is Well with my Soul" and B joined in with gusto. It was beautiful. Then the office manager started singing "You are My Sunshine" and about four or five of us standing around all joined in. Including B, of course.
That was beautiful, too.
Then it was time to get back to work and I made my way back to my desk.
Moments later, I heard B coming down the hall. And it wasn't just his wheel chair I heard. It was his voice. B was singing "You Are My Sunshine" all by himself. Over and over again.
That was the most beautiful thing I'd heard all day!
And I called the office manager to share the moment with her. *smile*

But, wait. It gets better.

Not too long after I heard B singing on his own, I was back in the office for some reason, or another. The office manager handed me a piece of mail for B which hadn't been put into his mailbox because it didn't have his apartment number on it. She asked if I would take it to him when I went back down the hall. And I was happy to do it.
I knocked on the door and slowly opened it, to see B sitting in his chair, and U napping in the chair beside him. So I entered and explained what I had, and handed B the piece of mail. He said, "Thank you," I said, "You're welcome," and I turned and left the apartment.
As I was closing the door I thought to myself, Wait a minute. Did he just say, "Thank you" to me? That isn't one of his phrases. Is it? And I asked one of the ladies who was playing cards in the Activity Room, "Does B say, 'Thank you'?" She looked at me as if I were a little crazy and said, "No." And I said, "But he did! B just said, 'Thank you' to me!" And we had a little celebration there.
See, we've all been praying for B for quite some time. Asking God to restore his ability to communicate. Not just so he can express his needs and wants without frustration, but so he can proclaim the Name of Jesus again. And these new words which he had just spoken brought so much hope.
I quickly realized THAT was the most beautiful thing I'd heard all day.

I don't know if all the singing we'd been doing had anything to do with B's break-through, but you better believe I'm going to be singing with him on a regular basis. Yes, singing and praying, and trusting God to bring his words back.

Never give up.

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.


Leah Adams said...

What a blessing these Edgewood posts are to my heart. They are rays of sunshine in these days of horrible tragedies around the world. Thank you.

Karen Hossink said...

Leah - I am so glad! :)