It's very early in the morning, but I think I'll share something I've hesitated to share since it happened. In short, this afternoon as Kari's legs were being stretched, she actually felt her muscles stretching, and all evening has had feeling returning to her rear end, parts of her legs, and especially to her feet. Though the feelings are still quite spotty, what's come back isn't just feeling pressure either. She can feel temperature and specific touch. I can scratch her feet lightly, even through socks, and she can tell where--and, well, it tickles.
Of course, I hesitated to share this because I didn't want to get up any false hopes. It might go away tomorrow. More important, feeling returning doesn't mean that any more movement or function will return to her legs. It's a necessary condition, but NOT sufficient. Yet everyone else here is happy, including nurses and doctors. Some are ecstatic, flashing thumbs up everywhere and saying over and over, "This is a good thing, girl! A good thing!" So I figured we ought to join them. You don't want to let your guard against false hope keep you away from hoping and being thankful, and sometimes it does. It's too complex to get into here, but outside of really obvious instances, I sometimes think the distinction between false and real hope isn't ever very clear anyway.
Also, I thought how this shows how we can both hope and still be pulled down by the gritty realities of things. "This is really scary," Kari said. "It's so weird to feel my feet again." Though she was so happy and we called Aaron as soon as we could, the reality is that regaining feeling has made her much, much, much, much more uncomfortable physically. Her legs and feet hurt a lot, burning and aching as I described in the last post. She's become hyper-sensitive to the touch, and the new feelings set off spasms much more easily. It's almost impossible to feel her whole lower body, especially her legs, is ever positioned right, and it's doubly, triply frustrating to feel them and not be able to move them. "I just have to move them; they hurt so much," she has said over and over. Yet, of course, she can't move them. Tonight the pain and frustration has made it hard to get to sleep again, and her fear level is spiking, because she and everyone knows what pain and lack of sleep did to her for six weeks. It's now past 2:00 a.m. and she's kept tossing and turning and moaning. So out here we are at it again: rejoicing and being truly thankful on the one hand, yet feeling reigned in by the minute by minute realities of pain and frustration and fear. Sometimes I've thought that if we were really thankful we could just rise above those other things easily, but that doesn't seem right and certainly not real. Better than talking about false hope might be distinguishing between easy and hard hope, or even cheap and costly hope, somewhat like when Dietrich Boenhoeffer (sp?) distinguished between cheap and costly grace in "The Cost of Discipleship." The first, he said, was the real enemy of the church. As always, we covet your prayers.
--Richard R. Guzman