Monday, October 03, 2005

One Mind

Early Saturday morning I took off in the van that
was donated to Kari and Aaron. (More about the
vehicle later!). I arrived late in the evening. "I
love you. You've come here so much," she said when I
walked into her room. She remembered that Linda
couldn't come because when the accident happened she
had taken an incomplete in the last class she needed
to finish her degree, but now was up against the
deadline to make up the work. She asked about Daniel
and Bryan and a few more things. Aaron wanted to see
the van, and as we walked out to it he said that that
was the longest, most coherent conversation Kari had
had in three days. He and Jan Yessa were both
exhausted, so I am glad to be able to stay the night
tonight so they can both get some rest.
Kari still struggles to find some words, and gets
things mixed up now and then (and now and then it's
funny and we all laugh at it!), but she is doing so
much better these last few hours. She worries about
doubting God and not being good enough and that makes
everything harder on her. Hopefully, she'll work
through these things as we talk to her and tell her
she's OK--all of her, even her doubts.
The pain in her arms, especially the right one,
continues and is sometimes so intense that she has to
bite down on a towel. Yet I noticed that when her arm
went into a spasm she wanted people to hold it down
really hard. We're trying something new, and it seems
to be a little better. When the arm spasms, I've
tried to tell her to let it go, not fight it, and
breathe with me deeply in rhythm. Fighting it, the
intense pain would last 30-45 seconds, but going with
it seems for now to have reduced the time to 10-15
seconds. "It's like Lamaze, Kari," I said. She asked
a nurse who was standing by, "Have you ever had a
baby?" "Yes, dear," the nurse replied. "Does it hurt
as bad as this?" "I don't know, I've never had arm
spasms, but I think probably having a baby is more
painful." So I'm thinking that if Lamaze can help
with that, it can help with this.
Very early on, I remember how she fought so hard
against the ventilator and the tubes--so hard that
they had to put blocks in her mouth and her brother
Dustin had to get pretty severe with her. It's a
theme we come back to again and again: letting go, not
fighting things, relaxing. So much, much easier said
than done, of course, but we can all see the truth in
it. The physical pain is still there and very
intense, but not quite as much if we can let go more
(again, easier said than done). Sometimes we can even
cut the severity by half or two-thirds. Spiritually
we have to let go of feeling we're not good enough,
feeling that our doubts are things we can't have.
Worry, too. Sometimes when Kari is only on the edge
of coherence she's kind of free to say anything that
pops into her head. "You have such a deep line in
your forehead," she said to me last night. "Now Kari,
let's not focus on Dad's forehead so much," Aaron
said. "But it's so deep," Kari continued. "Richard,
how did it get so deep." "Worry," I said. "In fact,
I've had it since I was a little kid." I have, too,
and these days when I see it in a mirror it's become,
ironically, a sign which helps me worry less--though I
still do plenty of it.
When you pray for Kari please pray that she can
relax and let go, physically and spiritually. Imagine
peace and sleep and laying down of worries and other
burdens. Feel these things flowing through her mind
and body: relaxation, letting go. But as I write to
ask you to pray and imagine this for Kari I feel even
more strongly that we feel all this for ourselves too.
We are one mind and one body and one spirit, and
tonight this means to me that we can all pray for and
feel this peace and relaxation and letting go as one
people, all of us praying and thinking one set of
thoughts. What Kari is going through has made me feel
how much we need peace and rest and letting go both as
individuals and in what we are as one mind, one body,
one spirit together. As often as you think of her,
pray for peace and letting go.

--Richard R. Guzman

5 comments:

Kathy Timmers said...

Richard-
It seems God has brought Lamaze to many minds of late, we've had several conversations about it this week, even just yesterday after church. If Kari could be given a short course in the basics of riding those waves of pain with the breathing techniques and a focal point it could be very helpful, even in making her feel she has some control over what is happening to her. The fear-tension-pain cycle that Lamaze teaches you to break sounds so much like Kari's spasms- and evidenced by the duration of her pain being shortened with the deep, rhythmic breathing you have been doing with her I think you're on to something. I'll be praying for sweet relief for her and more and more letting go. And as you so well put it, for all of us...
Peace,
Kathy

Diane Brodeen said...

Hi,Aaron&Kari:Thanks for Richard's update. I, too have been thinking of LaMaze techniques. I was a LaMaze instructor for several years. Relaxation techniques don't always remove all pain, but they really work in reducing the severity of the pain, and make it tolerable. I've been praying hard for pain relief for Kari. Childbirth pain was severe, but I knew there would be an end to it. I've had other kinds of pain, but nothing like what Kari is going through. Having been a childbirth coach,I know how exhausting it is for Aaron. Coaching someone in pain is taking on some of the pain yourself. It's so hard to watch someone you love hurt so much. I'll keep praying for relief and rest,for both of you.May God bless you with peace and comfort and rest. ---Diane B.

Anonymous said...

hey kari, hey aaron--
I am so glad that you have this site and we can read the updates. I have many people praying for you both and Julie and I pray for you continuously. You are always present in our thoughts throughout the day and we pray that your body will be renewed and that you will be strengthened by god's grace. We wish that we could come to visit and help out but it isn't possible.
Aaron, please try to get some rest and relaxation as often as you can. Maybe a good game of tennis or riding a bicycle would help. They are both good stress relievers!!! We are praying for you daily also Aaron. We know how worried you must be and that you feel badly about doubts. I think it is more fear and frustration than doubting God. But it is understandable that you would go through these thoughts and feel abandoned. Just know that you have the strength to get through this and so does Kari. All things are possible with gods help.
I have worked with patients doing Lamaze and it is amazing how well it works. I also used it when my children were delivered and I didn't need any pain meds at all and I am a real wimp when it comes to pain!! We have had men use Lamaze when they had gall stones and it helped them a lot too. Anyway, try not to doubt that our god is a loving god and has the power to heal you and to comfort you. Keep praying and keep praising him.
Much love to you both.
Linda Clubb and Julie Bramblett

Anonymous said...

hey kari, hey aaron--
I am so glad that you have this site and we can read the updates. I have many people praying for you both and Julie and I pray for you continuously. You are always present in our thoughts throughout the day and we pray that your body will be renewed and that you will be strengthened by god's grace. We wish that we could come to visit and help out but it isn't possible.
Aaron, please try to get some rest and relaxation as often as you can. Maybe a good game of tennis or riding a bicycle would help. They are both good stress relievers!!! We are praying for you daily also Aaron. We know how worried you must be and that you feel badly about doubts. I think it is more fear and frustration than doubting God. But it is understandable that you would go through these thoughts and feel abandoned. Just know that you have the strength to get through this and so does Kari. All things are possible with gods help.
I have worked with patients doing Lamaze and it is amazing how well it works. I also used it when my children were delivered and I didn't need any pain meds at all and I am a real wimp when it comes to pain!! We have had men use Lamaze when they had gall stones and it helped them a lot too. Anyway, try not to doubt that our god is a loving god and has the power to heal you and to comfort you. Keep praying and keep praising him.
Much love to you both. Linda Clubb and Julie Bramblett

Diane Brodeen said...

Hi, Kari & Aaron: I sent you a comment earlier today, but I guess it didn't go through. That happened once before. I was saying that the other helpful thing besides relaxation techniques is praise and worship, even when you don't feel like it, because the Lord deserves our praise. I was also thinking of I Peter 5:7,"Casting all your cares on Him, because He cares for you." Many times I've had to cast the same care on Him repeatedly, because I keep taking the same worries back onto myself again. I've had different kind of pain than what you're going through, but praise and worship helped, got me closer to the Lord, and got me through it. I'm ashamed that I probably wouldn't have taken as much time to pray and worship if things had been going well. I've had the pain of a violent, abusive, loveless marriage. In the worst times, I would turn up the praise tapes, scrub my dishes, and sing my heart out to the Lord, who was in control after all. The Lord has brought me through the pain of seeing a sweet baby girl go through a few years of rebellion, drugs, etc. She is now a dear young lady. My time with her is very precious because of that time of worry for her. I went to counseling at Harvest at that time, and did the "fear homework," which is the study of every bit of Scripture dealing with fear. What a help! I still struggle with worry about my son, who has a disability, and so wants to become an independent adult. When things were very violent at home, I used to take my baby girl to the most peaceful place I knew, the nursing mothers' room at the back of Harvest. I sang and sang those worship songs, rocking my baby. All this to say: Put on those praise tapes and sing your heart out! ---Diane B.