Hospital bed for Elaine
My first stop was at the Farmer's Market for fresh salad greens, avocados, celery and sweet yellow bell peppers for the salad; plump purple grapes and walnut halves for snacking. Then, to the French Gourmet Bakery for four individual-size spinach quiches. I was proud of me! I bought only 4 fudge frosted brownies and 4 pecan balls. I usually buy 6 each of desserts-- one to eat soon as I return home; one for the party; and one for the day after! It's SO quick to put on those pounds, and SO slow to take them off. My next stop was at the B&W Meat Market for cheese and ham slices to top the quiche. Finally at Krogers, I bought little grape tomatoes to complete my salad. Also for snacking, I purchased 8 scoops of chocolate covered almonds, big sweet red Driscoll strawberries and cubes of orange cheddar cheese. Tomorrow would be such a fun day at my house: Spades games all day with sisters Elaine and Cora, brother Jerry and me.
It was about 8:00 that Wednesday night, July 19 when I answered my phone. Elaine said: "Tillie, we can't play Spades tomorrow. I'm in the hospital. I fell and fractured my spine."
Talking to her on the phone the next day, I asked, "Are you sure you can't play? What am I going to do with all this food? Do you realize I've got to eat 4 brownies, 4 pecan balls and 8 scoops of chocolate covered almonds?"
Her sympathetic reply, "Oh, you poor thang!"
The next Wednesday night, July 26, she called me from "home" (daughter Beverly's house). "Tillie, I need to borrow your hospital bed. I'm on pain pills constantly. It's very difficult for me to get out of bed and unbearably painful. But when I was in the hospital, my bed would raise me up to a sitting position and it was easier to get out of it."
My thoughts, "NO! I can't give up my bed. At age 85, I could need it any day now." I said, "What about Medicare? Surely your doctor could order a bed for you. When I fractured my knee, my doctor had a walker delivered the very next day. I didn't pick it out. He took care of it…didn't cost me a penny. Have you tried Medicare?"
"No. It would probably take too long. I just need it for 30 days."
"It takes four men to move my bed. It's the top-of-the-line. Ronnie sleeps on it when he comes over to help with my letters. How about renting a bed? You could get it tomorrow. They'll deliver and pick up. I just really need my bed. Check this out and let me know."
I had a sleepless tossing and turning night -- not ONE, three! I prayed and prayed, "Lord, what am I going to do? I just can't let go of my bed." Jack bought twin adjustable orthopedic beds with in bed massage on July 23, 1984 costing $3,788.50. He said, "We'll need these someday. We have the money now. Later, we might not!" His bed was most comfortable for him the last five years of his life.
When Ronnie fell off the ladder, he spent six months flat on his back. He could not turn on either side. He endured six months of unbelievable pain and seven surgeries to save his foot. The massage feature was like life saving. The mattress was completely worn out, and had to be replaced. He still has it at his house. It is needed for elevation of his swelling legs.
I desperately prayed to God: "My sister wants my bed. Her right side is paralyzed from her stroke, four years ago. It happened while sleeping. She woke up one morning and couldn't talk, or move her right arm. Couldn't the same thing happen to me? I need my bed. I tell her I love her and care about her, and God forgive me, I don't want to share my bed. What will I do if I suddenly need a hospital bed? It's not like my sister has no other options. Why does she want MY bed instead of getting one of her own through Medicare? What am I supposed to do? I never offered it to her…she just wants it. Lord, help me. Help me. Am I supposed to say 'yes?'
I believe I am a generous person. But what about this? I wish she hadn't asked me. I KNOW her doctor would have made arrangements for her through Medicare. If she were to die, I'd hate myself and my bed the remaining days of my life. I pray for peace. I'm so distraught. I need You, Lord. When will I ever rejoice again? I pray for that 'peace that passeth understanding.'"
By Friday night, I made the decision to call her Sunday afternoon. If she hasn't gotten a bed, then I will rent the best one available and have it sent to her. I'll get this done on Monday.
I could not justify a description of the inside of the house on page 2. Ten years ago, an acquaintance came to my house, handed me a note book saying, "I have made you executrix of my estate!" I protested, but she said, "I have no one else." She was an only child, never married, and had only one known living relative, a cousin residing in another country. She died at age 78 on July 6. I called her cousin, the only heir of her estate. He said he was physically unable to travel and would have to be totally dependent on me to handle everything.
I had never been inside of the home of the deceased. The pictures faintly tell the story of what I saw. Two friends volunteered to help me clear out the clutter. We had worked long hours over weekends together since they both work days. I spent some extra time. I searched through mountains of papers stacked everywhere. She never threw anything away--not even junk mail or magazines--during the 24 years she lived in this house. There was a 2-drawer and a 3-drawer filing cabinet filled with mail in her bedroom. More was piled up all over the den, living room couch and chair; in drawers. I decided to discard every thing dated prior to January 1, 2006.
My friends were helping me on Saturday, July 22nd. They came early at 8:00 a.m. I arrived at noon. We worked all day. They left at 7:00. I continued working. It was just past midnight when I came across an invoice on yellow paper dated 12-12-96. Then I saw the words "Portable medical bed." What is this? Truman portable adjustable bed system … for household use only. An instruction pamphlet read "Place Motor Unit Under Bed Here (after assembly)."
Not being a mechanically minded person, I couldn't imagine what this was all about. The back bedroom was piled high with boxes, magazines, clothing, etc. We couldn't tell what kind of bed was under all that. I went into the front bedroom and looked under the bed. There was some kind of motor. I pushed the two buttons on a bedside shelf. Nothing. But there was
something about that motor. More puzzling was the price, $218.38.
Sunday morning, I was back over at the house, tossing away old papers, saving current ones; searching for documents like insurance policies and the deed to the house. Where are they? My friend came at 2:00. I said, "I've been anxiously awaiting your arrival. Come with me to the front bedroom and tell me what we have there." He plugged in some things, pushed a button, and the three-inch mattress pad began inflating at the top, bringing it to an upright position! Another button raised the foot of the bed. WE HAD A HOSPITAL BED! I had never heard of a "blow up" mattress like this. I cried. I just cried. This was from God. The timing was perfect! Just like He reached down and handed it to me. How many more weeks, months, before we'd discover the motor? Most invoices, I only looked at the date and threw it in the trash.
Elaine sleeps on a 3/4 bed--bigger than a twin, smaller than a double. She loves it. Won't sleep on any other. She brought it to Katy, TX when we sisters went on a 30-day diet together. I ran to the nearest phone (service had been cut off at this house). I called Elaine: "Have you got a hospital bed yet?"
"No. I'm waiting on George to find one for me."
"I have the perfect bed for you. It is a mattress about three-inches thick that you can throw on top of your bed. It inflates at the head and foot just like a hospital bed. Seems like it would be better because the air makes it softer. I believe it's just what you need."
Her granddaughter and husband picked it up. Two days later, I came home and heard the following message from Elaine on my answering machine: "Tillie, the bed is great. It's wonderful! I feel so much better already."
I praised God over and over again. What an awesome God we worship. I say this over and over again: "He takes care of all our needs. He loves us. It is His good pleasure to answer our prayers." Later, I found an unopened box from Truman Products labeled "Extra Motor."
It's been two months. I talked to Elaine this week. She is still in pain. The X-rays show a little improvement. Her doctor says it will take a long time because of diabetes. Again, she told me how wonderful the bed was. My prayer group joins me in prayers for her recovery.
> Hospital bed for Elaine