Sunday, April 10, 2011

lessons from Learning Left

With TOS, there are many times, I have limited use of my right arm do to weakness or nerve pain.  As a result I am leaning to use my left hand more.  If we allow him to, God uses all of our life to help and bless others, teach us new things, open our eyes to what is there and many more things. Right now he is teaching me to slow down, ask for help and to make adjustments.

When I was teaching my boys how to brush their teeth, I would often get frustrated at their awkwardness of doing it. Lately I have had to learn to use my left hand more.  Things like brushing your teeth, carrying a coffee cup, eating, drinking from a cup, grabbing for anything, writing on the white board at school, signing your name, filling our paperwork are no longer brainless activities.  I have to slow down and think about what I am doing.  Do you know how hard it is to brush your teeth with your left hand or  use a fork or spoon with your left hand?  Let me tell you - VERY HARD and many times frustrating. 

I have good moments and bad moments with my right arm.  I get tired very easily.  I am leaning to say no.  I never thought much about that word.  I am a pleaser.  I want to help everyone.  As a result many times in the past I have overextended myself.  I was helping others so I never really thought about who I was hurting - my family.  I was not there to help out at home.  That changed about a few years ago.  During the school year, while I am teaching, I have learned to say no.  There are some things I do, but many time I have to say no or just do not volunteer.  I am just so tired.  Looking back now I can see that may have the beginning stages of my TOS. I was having the my primary doctor check for everything that could make you tired - everything but my blood sugar (which I have had trouble with since I was 16) was normal.  God was beginning to prepare me then for what I am going through now.  It was not clear then, but it is crystal clear now.  I have to slow down.  As a result, I have begun to see things more clearly. 

Asking for help has been the hardest.  I am very independent and can do it by myself.  God has been trying to work with me on this one and I knew it but was still  not letting go of some stuff.  Little things like setting up a room for summer spectacular at church.  I would do it all myself and never ask for help.  I did not know then that I was actually not allowing other people to server, bless and honor God and that was a selfish act.

Things have gotten a little more extreme at home.  There are many things I can no longer do or only do to a small extent.  Little things I never thought of before, I have to ask for help for safety reasons - especially in the kitchen.  If I have pasta on the stove that needs to be put in the strainer - I have to ask for help.  This is one thing I have to have my right arm to do.  I am dropping so much right now that I could easily drop it and burn myself.  Learning to brown meat and stir with my left hand has been difficult.  However, if I slow down, I can do it.  God is now telling me to teach my boys to cook so that they can be a blessing to their wives. Never thought of it that way.

Then there is laundry - the never ending battle in all families.  Scott has always washed and dried, I have folded and sorted, the family put up their own stuff.  Many times I can not pick up the basket to fold.  I have to ask for help.  I can put stuff on hangers, but I can not lift it into the closet - I have to ask for help.  It has been a very humbling experience. 

Making adjustments is also difficult.  I am a planner and I like things to go according to our plan/ schedule.  Having a child with high functioning autism has not helped me in that one.  However, one thing we must teach him is something I need to learn myself - how to adjust.  Having physical therapy every Monday and Wednesday has forced this on me. I have to leave school by 3:30 on those days to get to therapy by 4:00.  The world did not end because I left some stuff unfinished at work.  I can work on it tomorrow.  I have to adjust and be more organized - not my strong suite.  I have learned to make to lists, ask for help from parents on some stuff they can do and make sure my calendar is always up to date.  My friend Shelley posted on her facebook account about an app called Cozi.  It is a family organizer.  It has been a lifesaver in keeping things organized between home and school.  At home on therapy days I am almost useless when I get home.  Scott has been a life saver at home - on those day he has to do everything.  Adjustment - I can put dinner in the crock pot before I leave for work.  That way it is ready when I get home and we can just eat.  The other adjustment I have had to do is rest more - not sleep, just sit down and rest.  If I do not the pain increases.  I can use those rest times to talk with my family or just watch a tv show together or spend quality time with the Lord. 

Slow down, ask for help and to make adjustments - these are important lessons for me (and many others) to learn.  I am so thankful that God is allowing me to see my molding while it is happening. Molding can hurt, but it can also bless many people - if we allow it to.

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