Sunday, January 22

The Life of Jim...and Why It's Okay He Longs for More Than He Has

It's been really windy today...and chilly. But so beautiful. Mom and Sarah and i went to visit grandpa in the hospital today, he fell again about a week ago and mildly fractured a part pf his spine, got himself a nasty gash in the back of his head, and now has pnemonia for the third time in the last 6 months. Wow! He's actually doing pretty well...just weak and grumpy. Which is nothing new. I held his hand and told him what teams were playing in the NFL game on TV (The Steelers and the Broncos), and we gave him cookies.

While we were there we visited a man that mom met in the emergency room last week when she took grandpa in. His name is Jim...and all his life he's battled a horrible disease that causes constrictions in one's intestines that must be surgically removed. He had his first surgery when he was 7 years old, and has had 7 more since then. He's 51 and has virtually no digestive system left. He weighed about 100 pounds when he dragged himself into the ER a week ago, dirty and unkempt, and today told us in a bright voice that he's gained 9 pounds since then. His hair is cut so bad it's almost comical; obviously someone's quick remedy to the bedraggled mess he was when he arrived. He's got 5 IV's running into his arm supplying him with fats, sugars, vitamins, etc. because he pretty much can't eat. Last time mom visited him, he asked her to bring him some "snacky foods" that would just go straight through him and he could we brought him chocolate chip cookies, too.

He showed us his scars from the surgeries, and showed us how his skin was regaining elasticity. He trembled as he spoke to us about his award-winning knife and gun collections, his friend the Elvis impersonater, and told us about his two children, both around my age. His daughter in in college in San Diego, and his son just turned 21. "Your daughters are so beautiful!" he told my mom. "I wish you could meet my kids, they're good looking kids. I'm so lucky." He told us about his comic book shop that he used to own. That his wife had yellow-green eyes. That his parents both died of cancer when they were in their early fifties. "That's so young!" He told us.

He invited us to come to the next show he will have his collections in when he "gets all better", and we happily told him we would love to go. He hugged us all so warmly as we left that i hardly noticed how thin he was. And as we walked down the hallway we talked among ourselves of how fascinating it is for someone who treasures life so much and has so much more he wants to do with it...can be so close to death. A week ago as he, my mom and my grandpa were in th ER they witnessed a group of young gang members being rushed past and around them...victims of multiple stab wounds. "They have no idea what they're throwing away...they're just throwing life away!" Jim said to my mom that night.

We know he's probably going to die soon. The doctors don't even know how he was still alive or how he could have taken care of himself. He's being released later this week, and will be admitted into a convalescent home as sort of a halfway house deal. But after that??? Lord, i don't know. He told us he was "going home"...but we don't even know if he has a home to go to.

hmmm. I'm not sure how to wrap this up. I've written four different paragraphs...trying to end this post for the last 15 minutes. I just want so much to be grateful. And i hope i can learn to value my own life as much as God does. That would be better than anything i could ever imagine.


1 comment:

Jeff said...

This is my favorite blog I have read on here. That is not a derogatory comment either, just fact.