Joseph Herrin (11-03-2013)
I appreciate all the prayers and words of encouragement from my brothers and sisters who have written to me regarding my recent fall from my bicycle and the fractured ribs that I suffered. I am experiencing significant improvement. I still cannot find a comfortable position to lie down, so I continue to sleep sitting up. I have moved from a folding chair to my bed. This is a significant improvement as I can get my feet up higher at night. I found that after two weeks of having my feet down constantly that my feet and legs were swelling. After the first night sleeping in my bed, even though I was sitting up, the swelling was completely gone.
I remembered reading the testimony of Richard Wurmbrandt in the book Tortured for His Faith many years ago. He mentioned that his government captors made him stand at attention for days at a time, never allowing him to sit or lie down. When his tormentors fell asleep one time he was able to look at himself in the mirror and barely recognized himself. He said his feet and legs were horribly swollen. I can testify from experience now that if you do not elevate your feet for a couple weeks, this does produce swelling in the feet and legs. Gratefully I did not have to discover this in the same manner as brother Wurmbrandt.
I received lots of helpful advice from readers on how to care for broken ribs. Healing balms, ointments, compresses, horse liniment, and vitamins and nutritional supplements that promote healing were some of the suggestions offered to me. I tried a few different things. What ultimately worked the best was to tightly wrap my ribs with an elastic bandage. This made moving about less painful during the worst of my experience. Many doctors no longer recommend wrapping broken ribs due to the possibility that it may impede breathing and result in pneumonia or some other lung complications, but I was mindful to breathe deeply at regular intervals, though it wasn’t much fun doing so.
Champ, well, he has been a Champ throughout it all. He has not given me any grief by barking excessively while outside on a leash, despite an abundance of campers and their dogs walking by. He also showed unusual cooperation in allowing me to get his leash on him for walks. Champ gets highly excited at the thought of going on a walk, or on a dog jog. When he knows I am going to take him somewhere he will run over to the picnic table where his leash is and put his feet up on the table. As soon as the leash is in my hands he will begin leaping straight up in the air, bounding all around. I can imagine him saying “Oh boy, oh boy! Oh boy, oh boy! We are going for a walk!”
Champ really cannot contain himself when he knows I am going to walk him. He becomes all emotion and exuberance. I found, however, that if I sit down on the picnic table bench that he will quickly rein himself in enough to come and lean against my legs, presenting his collar to me. Holding this position more than a few seconds is difficult for him due to his excitement. If I am not quick to get the leash on him he will squirm and twist away and I will wait for him to come lean against my legs again. Once I get the leash clipped, he takes it in his mouth and begins bouncing some more as he says, “I’m ready! Let’s go!” He has gotten the routine down pretty well.
Yahweh answered the prayers of many saints by demonstrating His grace to me in numerous ways while I was laid up. A brother in Christ I have known for about ten years (Price Pickard) had arranged before my accident to come visit me as he resides in Jacksonville which is about 70 miles from my present location. He arrived a couple days after my rib injury and kindly drove me into Brunswick to get some supplies which he insisted on purchasing. We had a wonderful visit and shared lunch together. Lunch was purchased from the store deli, saving me the difficulty of trying to prepare a meal with fractured ribs.
A few days later I came back from a short walk with Champ to see a car parked by my bus that I had not seen before. A man was standing next to the car whom I did not recognize. When I drew closer he asked me if I was Joseph. He said his wife has been reading my blogs for some time. She is down in Tampa, Florida while he has recently taken a new job in Brunswick, Georgia, which is only about a 15-20 minute drive from Jekyll Island. When his wife read that I had been hurt, and was on the island by myself, she told him that they needed to do something for me, and this brother (Jimmy Johnson) readily agreed. He brought one big bag of groceries out of his car, all of it kosher as he and his wife are Messianic Jews. He then produced another bag which contained a bedding set with a nice large pillow in it. He said that he thought it might come in handy as I tried to find a comfortable position to relax and let my ribs heal.
The thoughtfulness of this couple blessed me greatly. I was also able to enjoy some unexpected fellowship with this brother in Yahshua. Before he left he told me to not hesitate to call him if I had any needs at all, since he was nearby. He was quite emphatic about this, and I found his brotherly kindness and concern very encouraging.
About the third day after my fall, some of my campground neighbors noticed that I was not taking Champ on bike runs each day. I told them what had happened. The next day the man whom I had spoken to came over to my bus upon seeing me outside about supper time. He brought portions from the supper his wife had prepared that night. This man and his wife, and a couple camping in another trailer who were traveling with them, repeated this for four nights in a row. It was good Southern home cooking, which I enjoyed very much. One meal was pinto beans and cornbread. Another time there was home made chicken pot pie which was delicious. Another time they brought rotisserie chicken, scalloped potatoes, and field peas. This was a great blessing as it saved me the trouble of preparing meals. It is also a joy to be met with the kindness of strangers, though I did learn that these people are Christians, so they are fellow “strangers.”
About 3 days ago I experienced a time during the mid-morning where I felt pain-free for the first time in a couple weeks. It was a great feeling, and I was able to walk Champ a bit further that day. The pain and discomfort did return, but it now comes and goes instead of being a constant presence, and it is not as sharp as it had been. I continue to be quite limited in my activities, but I have no trouble caring for myself. I have even been able to wash clothes a few times. I finally caught back up on my e-mail, have returned to printing newsletters for prisoners, and am able to write blog posts again. In a short time I will be able to return to riding my bike, though I am considering a three wheel recumbent trike for taking Champ on runs as they are much more stable and not prone to tipping over.
I have noted a number of campers here with recumbent trikes. They tend to be popular among older riders. I acknowledge that I am getting older and my experience with two-wheeled conveyances during the past two years has had its ups and downs (ouch). First I was struck by a car driven by a 91 year old woman while riding my motorcycle. Now I have taken a tumble from my bicycle and broken ribs and dislocated a finger (don’t worry, I found it again). Maybe I need to get a little lower to the ground. It seems that adopting a humble position (close to the earth) is far more stable and a person has a shorter distance to fall if he should take a tumble.
It is better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
I am considering getting a recumbent like the model pictured above. Champ (my lowly dog) would probably enjoy me getting down on his level.
Thank you for all who have prayed and sent notes of encouragement. They are very much appreciated.
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