Friday, September 28, 2012

One Family's Story

I love pictures; beautiful, colorful, wonderful pictures that tell a story, help with a story and just make the appearance of my stories overall better looking. But, unfortunately, I don't have a pretty picture for this story.

This story is about a family; a set of unemployed parents sandwiched in between a retired set of parents and two children of their own. I met this family through one of my children. My son made friends with their son.

Gordo, at 80+ years old, is the oldest of the clan. He is retired, grandfather to the young children, and has been suffering from a myriad of serious illnesses in the past two to three years. He has been hospitalized numerous times during this period, in which he has suffered from strokes, seizures, a serious infection, and kidney failure. He receives kidney dialysis several times a week. I was certain that he would pass away on several different occasions, only to see him rally, his vitals stabilize, a return to lucidity, and then be sent home. When I think of these occasions, I think about what my pastor, Rev. Kyle Toomire has said so many times in sermons: We need to face the fact that we are not God, and then we need to celebrate that fact and be glad that we are not the ones who have to make these very difficult decisions.

In the past three months, Gordo was diagnosed with cancer of the lungs and pancreas. I was sure that was the final straw. He would not last long. It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to last, it is just that he had been through so much.  How much can one body take? As long as I have known Gordo, he has been sick. There are others who seemed to lead very healthy lives who have died since I met Gordo. And still he keeps on keeping on. Then came the cancer diagnosis. And that is when this man, this very tenacious man, decided that he was going to fight the cancer. See, he had cancer years ago and beat it. In his mind, it would be just one more hurdle. And Gordo, well, he is one tough man! So the doctors honored his wishes and put him on chemotherapy.

Gordo and his wife have three grown children. All of them have children of their own. One of the children is Missy. Missy and her husband Tom live with Gordo and his wife. As many people are having to do now, they are helping each other out. Missy helps to care for Gordo, and his wife and she works together with Tom to raise their own kids. Gordo and his wife give Missy and Tom a place to live, and help with the kids.

Missy and Tom have had recent health problems of their own. Missy was hospitalized with staff infection this summer. She is better, but still has some relatively minor recurrences. Tom has had these infections as well.

Neither Tom nor Missy are currently working. I am not sure why. What I am sure of is that they are having a difficult time right now trying to feed six people on the Social Security income of one person.Their conditions have improved but not completely resolved.

Last week, things were operating within the status quo, not going well, mind you, but staying even with the status quo. And the family car was repossessed, while the grandfather was at dialysis with his wife. He and his wife had no way home. They called a social worker, who helped them to get a ride on CARTS, which is a type of low cost transportation system here. Since then, Missy and Tom have been walking  about four miles round trip in the heat to and from the grocery store to get the daily bread.(literally). They are receiving food stamps or Lonestar  as it is called in Texas, to subsidize their families meals. Without that, they would have been unable to eat.

A few days later, still with no car, and no money, they needed to get the grandfather back to dialysis. But they had no way to get there. They tried to call the Social Worker. She was on vacation. So, Gordo did not receive his dialysis.
Several days later, he was throwing up blood. He now qualified for an ambulance ride. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and put in the critical care unit. Gordo’s wife was having to depend on the kindness of others to go to the hospital.

Things are really hard for them.

A pastor friend of mine recently traveled to Uganda to minister to the people there. She speaks of the extreme poverty. She told me that some of the women have to walk ten miles with a pot on their heads to get water. We take water for granted in our country. She said that there are women who hold their children while they die because they do not have simple antibiotics like we have in this country or immunizations that would save lives. Compared to the quality of life of the Ugandans, this family probably is not too bad off. But my friend also made the point that  living in the middle of the affluence in this country and being in the minority of people having to deal with these kinds of issues is difficult. It is heart-wrenching at times.

Missy told me that it is hard enough going through this, but tempers get short because of frustrations and physical discomfort and fears about what tomorrow will bring. She said that they are having to learn to walk off when they are frustrated.

So, in the midst of the uncertainty, and physical discomfort and pain, this family is living their love for one another in spite of the difficulties. They are setting a tremendous example for their kids about putting family first, and perseverance in the face of adversity. They are sticking together, in love, in spite of fear about tomorrow.

Please pray for Gordo. He is a tough man. Please keep him and his wife and Missy and Tom and the kids in your prayers.

I am glad that my son made friends with their son. 



Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare

Today, I am Thankful for:

283. Sickness-For Paul says that we are to be content with whatever our condition is. His grace is sufficient for me.
284. My voice on a good day.
285. People who respond quickly to text messages.
286. Blessings of others in our lives.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

No comments:

Post a Comment