Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving with My My Knee Immobilizer

November 16th held a most unexpected event for me. It began as any other Friday in which our family gets Mike off to work, then my nephews off on the bus, then the remaining six of us dart off to our homeschool co-op for the day, except this day would be different. During the P.E class in which I am a co-teacher, we are teaching the children the game of volleyball... one of my all-time favorites! Volleyball is MY game and always has been since 8th grade - I was co-captain of my varsity team senior year and was involved in the college program at MSU. I was enjoying focusing on it in the P.E.class for the homeschool group... until that day. It's amazing how everything can change in one simple movement that does not even take up a minute of time in your life, but can affect the rest of your life thereafter. Quite simply, I jumped in the air, I landed on my feet and my knee exploded leaving me to collapse onto the floor feeling intense pain that I had not recalled since i had broken the same leg in 3 places in elementary school decades previously. All pain, not able to see anything but blackness and stars, and feeling nauseated I focused on the deep breathing techniques I have used in labor and taught for years in the childbirth classes Mike & I present. I could do nothing more.. except pray - which I did repeatedly for pain relief and repeatedly that my leg was not broken or seriously damaged. Although people were talking to me, I had great difficulty responding with more than a head nod or shake and then I was alone and in prayer again... suddenly there was a incredibly substantial decrease in the pain and I was able to retain composure and open my eyes and actually see again; what I saw moved my heart and I understood instantly why my pain had so suddenly subsided. I looked upon the entire student group and the teachers halted from the volleyball activities and joined in prayer on my behalf... it is a moment I will not ever forget and a permanent testimony to the power of prayer that will remain in my mind forever.

To make a long story short, I was diagnosed with damaging/tearing my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in the middle back of my knee and put in a knee immobilizer to prevent further damage in the area during healing. This monstrosity was quite something to wear and while probably helping my injured knee, was sure taking it's toll on my good knee and hip due to the fact I had to walk around like Quazimoto.

Now with Thanksgiving soon approaching and me being "Gimpy" as my dear Brainerd friend newly adorned me, with doctor's orders to elevate and ice the owie many times daily, I was wondering how I was going to plan the holiday and cook. I had no choice but to call in.. "the gang". I had them get the best cookbooks off the shelf and we made our menu of regular family favorite food items and then I set them to work finding recipes for the items that we experiment a bit with each year, then we formed the shopping list - this is where Mike came in! We also had fun sitting and making place cards for everyone and reading some holiday stories and poems.

Thanksgiving day turned out to be very lovely. I had plenty of help in the kitchen, and with the cleaning; then we had a quiet day together which included a short Thanksgiving worship service here at home after our delicious feast! In the evening we broke out the Christmas movie collection and got off to a good start viewing favorites.

Interestingly, during the week leading up to Thanksgiving in our evening family worship time I came across something I was reading to the kids that struck me as quite profound. Ann Hibbard in her book Family Celebrations: Meeting Christ in Your Holidays and Special Occasions says the following: "Yet we don't always feel thankful.... When hardship comes, the natural reaction is one of anger, resentment, and complaining. Thanksgiving seems absurd at such a time. God's word, however does not command us to feel thankful, rather to give thanks. Thanksgiving is something one can do, whether one feels like it or not. It is a discipline, like prayer. Someone once said 'Pray when you feel like it, pray when you don't feel like it, and pray until you feel like it.' The same can be said about thanksgiving. It is an act of will, a recognition of God's goodness and provision in our lives. Thanksgiving is to take place in our solitary prayer, in corporate worship, in casual conversation, and in our thought life as we go about our day. Emotions sometimes accompany thanksgiving. More often they follow the act of giving thanks. Many times the feelings simply are not there at all - the business of giving thanks is a mere act of obedience, nothing more, nothing less."
I found that this passage hit me over the head like a 2'x4' because it had been that very day that I had been at the doctor, received the knee brace, and was told that surgery was probably necessary if I wished to play sports or be active again with my children... or quite simply, be able to do anything where I needed to jump. My half hour drive home from the clinic was one of many emotions - not very many thankful ones (but a few). That night when further contemplating what I had read, I realized that once again God was forcing me to have a stopover. I simply had not been doing it enough (or ever) on my own - so here I was physically forced to. What required my full attention so much? Many things, but mostly, just me I think. In all my years of sports and lifetime of physical activeness I had never sustained an injury until now... was it because I am just getting old (that nasty b-day creeping up again in December ya know) or was there something more to it?

My knee continues to heal and I abandoned the knee immobilizer early before I crippled my good leg... but the doctor forgave me! I have more appointments set up for MRI's, evaluations and physical therapy. I continue to be "Gimpy" and have discomfort, but I continue to try to find reasons to thank God for this situation and pray for his healing hand on me and guidance in the choices that lie before me.

Amick Thanksgiving Menu

Vegetarian Turkey Slices in Vegan Gravy
Mashed Potatoes with Vegan Chicken Gravy
Sue's Super Stuffing (adapted from Grandma Julie's recipe)
Fruited Wild Rice Salad
Spiced Sweet Potato & Sliced Tart Apple Bake
Herbed Bread
Cranberry Relish (our Amick family recipe tradition)
Sparkling Pomegranate Juice
Egg Nog Pumpkin Pie (Sue's recipe)
Pecan Pie (Grandma Helen's secret blue ribbon prize winning recipe)
Homemade Whipped Topping

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