God’s Work

Haven’t had much wilderness time these days with these long hospital stays with my cancer patient. However I do have a lot of time to sit around and ponder deep thoughts that I can put in my blog 🙂 So anyway, this week in the hospital was a particularly rough stay with some unpleasant suggestions being entertained by hospital staff. Throughout the ordeal I had a number of people praise me for my steadfastness in watching over my patient. I thanked them and wondered what they were seeing in me as I have never done this before and am not particularly good at it. In fact I really didn’t want to take on the task and had anyone else stepped forward I would have gladly let them.

But there was no one else. I was the only one. Which got me to thinking, most of the time when God needs something done He doesn’t need someone who is good at it. He just needs someone who will get at it.

I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel yet but I still have hope that this summer I will still receive the opportunity to visit some new places, hike on some new trails, visit the wolf sanctuary, enjoy some mountain festivals and go to some trail runs.

Unsung Heroes

It was a particularly rough day in oncology today and I am utterly humbled by the dedication and compassion of the oncology nurses. The oncology doctors are great with their amazing scientific words of hope in new advancements and medical technology that they provide on their long lap through the most hopeless ward in the hospital. However it is the nurses and techs who do the heavy lifting here.

While the doctors make their one round the nurses make their rounds with countless interruptions. Cancer patients are in unimaginable pain and their cries can be heard up and down the hallways. The nurses know their patients and are acutely aware of the pain medicine schedule of each one. Needs must be juggled, who needs something right this minute, who can wait another five minutes? Accidents are frequent and messy. Helpless patients must be assisted but maybe immediate attention will prevent another accident and the terrible humiliation that goes with it. Hundreds of decisions must be made every day, day after day, night after night. No one sleeps well in the oncology ward.

There are quite a few male nurses throughout the hospital, especially in the rehab center. But to my knowledge there is only one in oncology, and a great one at that. I think oncology nurses may need a strong motherly instinct to care for patients who have often been reduced to the physical abilities of children. I cannot imagine doing the things they must do for someone else but the oncology nurses clean up over and over while never letting a patient feel like they have become a burden.

I know tomorrow will be another difficult day, but I also know we won’t be going through it alone. We will go through the day confident that every time we have to punch the red button with the cross on it that it won’t be more than a couple of minutes before the beautiful face of a compassionate and professional angel in white appears.


A New Day

Finally got a little sleep after being awake from Tuesday afternoon when we went down to the ER until midnight last night. I was intercepted by my neighbor when I pulled in late last evening with a bouquet of flowers for Tricia and a card. All of our neighbors put together the gift to pick up our spirits.

This morning’s coffee finds me numb. My old body is stiff and tired and my brain is tired. We had a terrifying incident at the end of the day when her heart began to race uncontrollably. I have never heard of anyone’s heart beating at over 200 beats per minute for a sustained period of time. They brought in the paddles just in case, but got the situation under control with some magic medicine that they had up their sleeves.

It is a beautiful clear morning and my mind is finally starting to come to life as my coffee is starting to take effect. We lost our view yesterday afternoon when they moved us off the 7th floor back down to oncology but the room is a lot more comfortable. It is bigger and the chairs are softer. The rehab nurses that brought us there were jealous about the posh surroundings, but concluded that it is probably necessary because the oncology patients are there a lot longer than some and they and their visitors need the extra comfort for the long haul.

I didn’t have time to get my camera into our room on the 7th floor, but I don’t think I’ll let that stop me. There is still the parking garage that has the same view from the top floor and there are no windows to blur the pictures. I think today is the day. I will bring my camera and get the shots so everyone can see the view. Stay tuned!

Summer Rolling Along

Here high in the Colorado Rockies summer has entered the hot dry midsummer stretch where the outdoor activities can progress unimpeded. Two of the three Triple Crown of Running events have already been run with only the Pikes Peak Ascent remaining.

With all the trips I have had to accompany to hospital and doctor appointments, I regret to say that I have missed all of the summer races. However I decided not to let that stop me from writing a report for the Examiner on the progress of summer races with the fervent hope of being able to attend the last leg on the rugged Barr Trail leading to the summit of Pikes Peak.

Watching the sunrise bathing the peak in golden light from the seventh floor of the hospital makes me nostalgic for the times in the past when I would be making the early morning climb myself.

Morning in the Springs

The sun coming up on the city below with Pikes Peak in the background is magnificent. If it weren’t for all the phones ringing and alarms sounding I might think I was on the 7th floor in a five star resort! I think I finally found a place I like less than the oncology ward, the ER. But they do have the prettiest nurses there 🙂

The light is now hitting the red spires of Garden of the Gods Park and I am wishing I would have thought to bring my camera. If we have to stay I will go home and get it so that everyone could benefit from this fabulous view.

Time to head for the “Refreshment Center” for some coffee. I am looking forward to sipping coffee and watching the morning’s red glow on the alpine tundra of the Peak.


Importance of God’s presence

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me, the last known words of our Lord while He was still in the flesh. Many have tried to understand what Jesus meant when He quoted Psalm 21:1 while on the cross and there are countless complex linguistic studies to back the many theories. I think maybe the answer is more simple, perhaps death is not possible in the presence of the Father. The appointed time for Jesus to die in the flesh had come and in order for that to happen God the Father was forced to withdraw. For the first time in His life Jesus could not sense God’s presence.

Is it possible that God’s power is just too great to allow death in His presence? In the old testament, the priests were required to perform an elaborate ceremony to cleanse themselves if they became defiled from touching the dead. In the new testament, the dead became alive in the presence of our Lord. When Jesus touched the leper He was not made unclean, the leper was made clean. Lazarus walked out of the tomb alive. When God’s Spirit rejoined Jesus in the tomb, He too was again made alive. According to Matthew 27:52-53, And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”. God’s presence brings life and healing, not death.

I wonder if the same occurs in the lives of people who are dying. I was pondering this as I prayed and waited for Tricia’s treatment to be completed in the oncology lab. The pall of death is heavy there, you can feel it. Could it be that God’s Spirit has withdrawn a bit from those who are there? It is written in several books of the bible that a man’s days are numbered. When our time on Earth nears it’s end must God withdraw his power from our presence so our flesh can die?

I am of course not saying that everyone who is sick has done something to cause God’s presence to depart and not all sickness is unto death. The rain falls on the wicked and the just and we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However I believe that everyone can benefit from actively seeking the power of God’s presence.


I don’t do this often as I try to stick to uplifting subjects that fall within my outdoor recreation and adventure expertise, but every once in a while I am compelled to set the record straight on bible quotes. As the caregiver to a person battling cancer I frequently am subjected to alleged words of wisdom from the bible. Sometimes the verses are  taken out of context and sometimes they are simply mistranslated by misguided attempts at clarification by new versions.

The one I have been hearing a lot lately is actually a partial quote of a mistranslated verse and is as follows, “And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear”. This glib declaration sounds pretty good… God is in control and is careful to make sure we don’t suffer too much. But this of course is ridiculous as people all over the world are routinely forced to suffer more than they can bear. People suffer horrible diseases and were it not for modern pain killers they would often die screaming in agony. People in foreign countries are tortured and killed all the time and whether they bear it or not is decided only by the cruelty of their captors who through their own freedom of choice force them to. People lose limbs or are paralyzed in car accidents, injured in work related incidents and suffer unimaginable pain from accidents of all kinds. So the statement that God will not allow more than people can bear is simply not true.

The full and more accurate translation of the verse used to promote this misconception is provided by the King James Bible and does not relate to suffering at all, but to temptation and sin. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God is simply telling us that all our excuses for sinning are weak and there is a way out if we are willing to walk away. It has nothing to do with the suffering of another, only the degree of our own character and action that we ourselves might take in a time of weakness.

So the next time you are tempted to tell someone that God will not allow more than they can bear, just remember God may be calling you at that moment to make the difference between the bearable and the unbearable in that person’s life.

Dog Days of Summer

Now begins the long hot stretch of summer following the 4th of July that flies by with disappointing rapidity. I had intended to have a great holiday in the park enjoying myself and getting a bunch of great pictures, but it was not to be so. By the time I was done with my morning agenda dark storm clouds had moved in over the mountains and lightning, thunder and rain chased away the holiday revelers.

Things have also taken a turn for the worst with my patient’s health and I find myself in the visitors chair in the oncology ward of the hospital on this beautiful weekend trying to come up with an idea for an outdoor and recreation article for the Examiner. In the meantime, the Examiner is upgrading some servers and I can’t even get the site to come up even if I do come up with an idea.

As I look out of the hospital I can see the Garden of the Gods at the base of Pikes Peak. It is a beautiful place and I have enjoyed many hours of hiking and photographing the beautiful red sandstone spires jutting upward hundreds of feet from the park floor. I think I have my idea. I will write an article on hiking in Garden of the Gods Park. The good news is I have plenty of pictures for the associated slide show.

Have a great weekend!

4th of July

The 4th of July, the pinnacle of summer, the day we celebrate the birth of our nation. The day is upon us and I can already hear the preparations for festivities in the City Above the Clouds. There are sirens, megaphones and the roar of motors as people gather in the center of town for the fun.

I have a friend who contends that after the 4th, summer is over. Perhaps here, high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado she is right. Summers are short at 9000 feet. We look forward to the respite from the alpine cold for months and when the snows finally stop in May it seems like the 4th is upon is in no time. Before you know it, the kids are getting ready to head back to school.

But I can’t worry about that today. There are celebrations going on all over town and there is much for a Recreation Examiner to examine. According to the town web site, Memorial Park will be hosting the biggest event of the year for Woodland Park and today it is within walking distance for me. So stay tuned to my Examiner account, I hope to have a good article and a lot of fun photographs to share from the day.

Have a great and safe holiday!