Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Getting my feet back on the ground.

What a surreal experience last week was! (see previous blog entry) I had to be back by Sunday ... not because my church required it. Multiple times during the week, people told me, "If you need to be gone through the weekend, stay down there." It wasn't just lip service, either ... they meant it. We had gotten enough taken care of that by the time I left there really wasn't a whole lot more that I could do by being there. I'm thankful that I could make the trip. There is more to do, to be sure, but the immediate need and the fast pace of "we've got to get this done before ..." have been met for the most part.

I had to get back by Saturday evening because the Lovely Wife was leaving Monday morning to take 7 of our Acteens to Blume (the National Acteens Convention) in Kansas City, MO. That meant I had to be back in time to tag up with her for the looking after of the household and the boys (Toothpick - age 16; and StickBoy - age 13). I needed more than just a few hours to get my bearings, instructions, etc. She manages the household so well that it takes a ton of input from her to get me even halfway up to speed.

I didn't get much work done yesterday morning because as they were loading up the bus we noticed a tire problem that put them one-and-a-half hours late getting on the road and tied me up making sure they were looked after for that time. I didn't get much work done yesterday afternoon because the StickBoy had an appointment with a cardiologist 45 minutes' drive away (4-year follow-up on a heart murmur that sounds like a VSD but doesn't show up on an echocardiogram). The story was the same yesterday. The sounds are there, but even with improved scanning technology there is still nothing discernable on the echo that would explain it. The cardiologist also said that the more adult-sized the patient, the harder it is to detect stuff on a scan. He offered some other possible explanations, but looking for them wouldn't change the therapy and/or prognosis for a long and healthy life, so it would just be an academic exercise to do more testing to satisfy curiosity. Bottom line? He's healthy as can be, but his heart sounds funny. We'll look at it again in 4 more years.

The boys and I were watching Dirty Jobs yesterday evening (recorded on the DVR ... wonderful invention) while waiting for the potatoes to finish cooking and one of the jobs Mike Rowe spotlighted was coal mining. Late in the piece (after the dynamite) he mentioned the pay scale and noted the danger involved. StickBoy multiplied the weekly pay and noted what it came to per month. I remarked that it was in the same ballpark with what I make (just so he would have a comparative). He then said something about there being comparable levels of danger as well. I noted that my job doesn't involve near the physical risk that coal mining does. His reply revealed a level of insight that I'm still trying to get my brain around. He said that coal mining has a lot of physical danger involved, but that my job is equally dangerous emotionally. Both boys know I've wrestled with the big D, but this was the first time I've heard one of them note that emotional stress is a particular occupational hazard in the ministry. My little boy is growing up.

Having gotten that digested (or at least chewed on it a bit) perhaps I can be effective at something today (Tuesday). I sure hope so. That's enough to think about for now.


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