First, to my American friends recovering from Tryptophan overdosing – you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hopefully you’ll feel wider awake as the week progresses.
My last post had a little fun at the expense of you USAmericans (as Len Sweet likes to call yins), when I commented that Thanksgiving was long over for we CanadianAmericans. (Now, wouldn’t that be awful if we had to call ourselves that.)
But. Really. We Kinnons have much to be thankful for. Not the least being the three fabulous children (now almost 22, 20 and almost 18) God has blessed us with. I’ve bragged about them numerous times before – I won’t bore you with more bragging just now.
One of the reasons they are as fabulous as they are is the impact of their Grandmother Kinnon. Grandma was actively involved in helping to raise them, being their primary caregiver in the multiple times Imbi and I have been away on mission trips. (Since 1996, we’ve spent more than a year in total in Africa.) Her faithful praying for them has probably kept them safe from more than we care to know.
My Mom’s cognitive health began to noticeably decline in 2004 and in early ’05 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. From the spring of ’05 until a month ago, she was living in a retirement home. Unfortunately, the disease took a rapid turn for the worst and my sister and I (along with our spouses) were forced to find a crisis placement in a nursing home . The first place we saw was like something out of Dickens’ nightmare. Our only other choice was dramatically better – though not even on the same page as the fully booked home where we wanted Mom to live. We were told that that home would probably take a year to have a room become available for her.
It has been a month of hell for my poor Mother. Somewhere in the transfer to the new home, my Mother’s meds were messed up and she went into withdrawal. We were told the new presenting symptoms were just the progress of the disease. At one point, two Sunday evenings ago, things were so bad, we had Mom taken via Ambulane to Emerge at one of the Toronto Hospitals. (Where she was well taken care of but they could not find anything wrong.) Upon returning Mom to the home around midnight, I mentioned that she had missed a dose of the antipsychotic she was on. I was informed by the night nurse that “according to the chart, we stopped that drug last Tuesday.” Imbi and I knew that the drug had been increased to three times a day from two, for a week after her move – to help her cope. We discovered at that point that she had only been getting a single dose a day at the nursing home as they wrongly assumed she was being weaned. The withdrawal symptoms when you are not weaned properly are rather horrific.
Imbi and I were both in shock, as was my sister when we told her. Of course, the nurses could do nothing until the Doctor came in on Tuesday. This wasn’t good enough and we began calling Monday morning. Finally that afternoon Imbi and I went in and ended up in a phone conversation with the, forgive me, stupid doctor who missed the message that he wasn’t a stand-in for God. “I’ve been working with these kind of patients for ten years and I know what’s best for your mother.” Of course, he’d only met her for ten minutes once and had only glanced at her chart. After informing him that his answer wasn’t good enough, he put her back on the proper meds. And within hours we saw a marked improvement. (The Ontario health system is investigating what happened and we are to receive a report in the not too distant future.)
What is there to be thankful for in this story. Well, last Tuesday while setting up the production we were on, I got a phone call from my sister who sounded both in tears and happy. An odd combination. Through that mildly out of control voice, she told me that the Christian home where we wanted Mom to live had a room available. We see it as nothing short of a miracle. Mom moved in on Thursday morning.
The building is virtually brand new (though the home has been around for 20 or more years) and Mom has a wonderful private room at the end of a light-filled hallway. The care is exceptional. I confess that I don’t know why God answered this prayer whilst seemingly ignoring others, but I am very happy He did.
Happy Thanksgiving, indeed!