Monday, January 4, 2010

The Power of Prayer

Robert called me at work this afternoon. I discourage people from having personal calls come through our receptionist and here I am one of the biggest offenders. Rob calls me when he is out of shaving creme. He calls when he is low on toothpaste. Rob calls to ask me to come over to play cards. You would think with all these calls from him needing supplies and company, I never visit him. Far from the truth -- I visit Robert at least 3 to 4 times a week and diligently check his supplies each time I am there. I keep Robert well stocked with supplies and visit frequently, playing cards most every time.

I have no idea why I am suddenly gripped with the urge to defend myself! Caregiver guilt? Always thinking I don't do quite enough for him? Well, you will have to trust me that I manage his supplies (there's even a backstock in his cupboard!) and care for him quite well, thank you very much.

Yet, he persists in calling my office. I have asked Robert to call my cell phone when he needs to talk to me; I have posted my cell phone number above his phone; I have posted it on a big red sign on his door; I stopped short of writing it on his hand and resigned myself to the fact that Robert is going to call my work number. Lucky for me, I have a very sweet and patient receptionist.

Rob calls and, each time, says, "Can Robert Wright speak to Trish Hughes Kreis please?" I am grateful my receptionist does not respond to him with, "And may I tell her who is calling?" No, she's much too nice to do that. She puts him straight through to me and then tells me later what a sweetheart Rob is.

Today, Robert called while I was updating our library budget. Yeah, it's about as fun as it sounds. I was focused on numbers when I answered the phone and Robert's enthusiasm immediately changed my mindset. After our initial greeting, "Hi, Trish. This is Robert. How's your day been?" "It's just fine, Rob. What's up?" Pause. (Rob pauses in his speech due to his medications, seizure effects and past brain surgeries, but this time, I think he purposefully paused for dramatic effect). Pause. "I won two games of bingo today!!" He was very excited about his wins and I heartily congratulated him, my library budget now a distant memory.

Rob went on to say that on his way to bingo he prayed that he would win a game. "Rob, really? You prayed to win a Bingo game?" (Don't worry, I didn't say that out loud. I may not be as nice as my receptionist but I'm certainly not that insensitive!) Now, Rob is much more religious than I am and I truly believe it has helped him cope with everything that he has had to deal with in his life, but I have to wonder if you really should be praying for a win at bingo. I mean, aren't we allotted a certain number of prayers? Do we want to use them for trivial requests? Should we be praying to win a game when maybe we should use it for safe travel or improved health or peace on earth? 'Course, on the other hand, I could use a really good shoe sale. . .

On the heels of that comment (hey, there's a pun!), Rob told me how he hasn't had a seizure in four months and he thanks the Lord for that. I have to admit, his seizures do seem to have diminished. I haven't seen him have one in a while (not as long as four months but it's been a while) and his care facility hasn't called me to report any in a long while. They did change the timing of his medication so a couple of his meds don't counteract one another so maybe that made a difference.

I told Rob how happy I was that he hadn't had seizures in a while (it's hard for him to self report because he usually forgets he's had them before he can even log it into his calendar, but it does seem like they have gotten better). That's good news, Rob. Good news.

"I don't think I have to take my medication any more." What??? "I prayed to the Lord and now I don't have to take them." Hold on; did Rob just say God talked to him? My thoughts started to pour out of my mouth and I tried to rearrange them so Rob would understand what I was trying to tell him. He can't process what he hears as quickly as I can say it. Slow down, Trish. As a coworker walks by my office, I shout, "Stay on your meds!" Well, I may have simplified that a bit too much. The volume could have been a tad lower. Not quite the professional image I try to maintain in the law office I manage.

It took several more attempts to get my message across to Rob but I finally got him to agree stay on his meds. I think.

We said our goodbyes. I could hear a tinge of disappointment in his voice as we hung up but I have to be blunt about the meds. Rob has to stay on his meds. Ten years ago, "well-meaning friends" from Robert's church convinced him to go off his meds and he landed in the hospital with uncontrolled, non-stop seizures. No, that won't happen again. Not on my watch. Stay on your meds!

I called the nurse at his care facility to give her a warning that Rob may start refusing his medications. I told her that I convinced him to stay on them but if he refuses, she should feel free to call me. She then told me that Robert has, in fact, been having seizures and I should have been called about them. Somehow, the process of calling me after each seizure got lost in the shuffle of new nurses and the holidays. Well, it did seem too good to be true.

I will have to break it to Rob that he has had seizures. He will be disappointed but then he will forget and tomorrow or the next day he will again tell me that it has been four months since he has had a seizure.

Rob, you can believe that. You don't have to think you are having seizures. You can praise the Lord for taking them away and giving you a few wins at Bingo. You can do whatever makes you feel good about your situation. But. You do have to "Stay on your meds!"

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