Remebering When…a Day In the Life

I was admitted to the hospital last Friday due to yet another pneumothorax, or in layman’s terms, a collapsed lung, ugh.  After more than four of these, you’d think I’d be used it!  So, after a chest tube and two days in the hospital it has re-inflated, and I’m good to go, with one exception, I was also diagnosed with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) AND still tested positive for Type-A Influenza.

I started treatments which have prolonged my stay in the hospital for 5 more days! Yippee!  I’m thankful though, had I not been admitted last Friday chances are I would have turned right around and driven four hours back to be re-admitted on Sunday.  So, it was very providential that I had a collapsed lung!

While in the hospital in the Pulmonary Unit, you are encouraged to walk as much as you can.  Today I walked a mile and I’m going for more tomorrow.  As a lung transplant patient, you are VERY grateful that you can!  However, this unit has pulmonary patients that are in various stages of health.  Some are waiting on a lung transplant, some are post-transplant and others are freshly out of ICU following transplant, and have been moved to this unit, which also serves as a step-down unit.  Then there are those of us dealing with rejection issues, and other issues, that need treatment, like me.

As I walked the halls today I saw folks struggling just to take a few steps.  Some were old, some were really young.  Most were on oxygen to some degree.  Everyone I saw caused my mind to flash back to my days before and immediately after my double-lung transplant in July 2008.

If you’ve never struggled to breathe you probably can’t relate to what someone whose lung function is severely compromised is going through.  Let me just say, you feel like you are suffocating.  Or perhaps drowning.  It robs you of energy, stamina and strength.  You constantly feel like you might die from whatever is going on.  You gasp for breath with every step.

I remember fighting to take a walk around the hallway right after transplant.  You use a walker, or a rolling walker, you might be on oxygen. You have multiple chest tubes hanging out of you.  You feel very fragile with each step.  You have to make your body press on.  Everything in your mind is screaming, “I can’t do this!”  Everything in your heart desperately wants to keep going.

What I took away from seeing these patients in various stages of their journey is this; I will NEVER take for granted how far the Lord has allowed me to come in the past 5 plus years. It brought back SO many memories, and here are just a few.

I can remember struggling just to get dressed.

I can remember thinking, “There is no way I can even walk today.”

I remember the hot summer, and how it robbed you of even more oxygen.

I remember struggling for air just to eat a meal.

I remember the only comfort came when I was lying in bed, being still.

I remember constantly being on oxygen.

I remember dreaming that I was running, or hiking, or doing normal daily activities.  Then I would wake up to reality.

I remember wondering if the pager was EVER going to go off with the news that it was my turn!

But the best part is, I remember the day we received “the call” that there were, as the hospital put it, “A pair of beautiful lungs for me,” and that it was time to come in for surgery.

Every now and then, different parts of the journey flash across my mind.  Today was one of those days.

Today, I remembered, and was humbled yet again.

Chariots Of Fire and the New Year

During a recent quarantine due to the flu, I decided to watch the 1980 movie,  Chariots Of Fire.  For those of you who have seen it, you know the plot line well.  For those of you who have never watched it, you should.  It won many Academy Awards as a “Cinderella” film, including motion picture of the year, and has remained a classic to this day.  It is WELL worth viewing.

I started thinking about how the message of this movie, if implemented, could affect my life in the coming year.

Here are some quotes and how I will attempt to apply them for the New Year:

 Eric Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

God intends for us to use the gifts and abilities He has given us for His glory.  At the same time, He is honored when we do and it delights Him when we find our joy in doing what He created us to do.

  • I will strive, in the coming year, to only do the things that I know God created me to do.  Any other expenditure of energy is wasted.

Harold Abrahams confesses,  “I’m forever in pursuit and I don’t even know what I am chasing.”

How many of us, me, spend too much time pursuing what doesn’t matter.  A pastor friend of mine once said, “You are in the process of becoming forever what you are right now.” I don’t want to spin my time in frivolous pursuits.

  • I will know what I’m pursuing and why, anything else is in vain.

The Rev. J. D. Liddle, “You can praise God by peeling a spud if you peel it to perfection. Don’t compromise. Compromise is a language of the devil. Run in God’s name and let the world stand back and in wonder.”

Colossians 3:23, a favorite of mine speaks to this.  “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”

So does Psalm 37:5, “Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”

Bring what to pass? Verse 6 tells us, and I believe that’s what Rev. Liddle is speaking of,  “He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.”

When we honor God in all that we do, and we do what we do with excellence and commitment, people will see.  But they won’t see us lifted up, they will see God lifted up.

  • I will not look to man but to God, even when doing the simplest and most mundane of tasks.

Eric Liddell, “You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It’s hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul.  And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.” If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.”

Our motivation should not come from external pressures or deadlines or influences.  If it does, it will be fleeting.  We must concentrate, we must think, we must ask for wisdom and then pursue.  Like Paul says,  “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.” (I Corinthians 9:24-25aESV)

But why do we run?  He answers that question in the following verses,  “They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (I Corinthians 9:25b-37 ESV)

That’s it!  Exercising control in ALL things!  Boy, do I need to learn to do that.

  • I will commit myself to pursuing Christ and discipline myself, mind, body and soul to that end.  That will be why I run and how I run this race of life,  “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)