On Tuesday of this week, I finished another major milestone in my progress; I graduated with my certification of one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. The class consisted of 17 weeks of instruction (8 classroom hours every Monday), 24 hours a month of on-call chaplaincy at Methodist Medical center (8pm-8am one day during the week, and 8am to 8pm on one weekend) each month, January - May, and then 300 total hours of clinical work (fulfilled by my work at St. Croix Hospice). For those of you keeping score, that's 140 hours of classroom work (we met 4 times for a 1 hour individual instruction), 120 hours of on-call work at Methodist Medical center (and, by the way, when we were on call we had to be on location, meaning we had to be at Methodist for the entire 12 hour shift), and 300 hours of supervised clinical visitation. I have already been endorsed by the Converge World Wide for chaplaincy; this is one more requirement down. May is stroke awareness month; I am now 7 1/2 years post stroke, I love what I do through Hospice and I am so thankful to God for what He has allowed me to do, and for all the people who have been praying for me through this process. For those of you that might be reading this blog who have recently had strokes, or know someone who has recently had a stroke, please, never give up. Your stroke may have taken many things from you, but don't let it take your determination! Drs told my wife I would never walk, talk or feed myself again, and here I am working as a chaplain for St. Croix Hospice; Drs know a lot, but they don't know everything! God is in control, let Him take over.
On December 8, 2008, my life changed forever. I had a double sided cerebellar stroke with 2 brain stem compressions. It was not until December 10, 40 hours after my stroke, that surgery was finally done to relieve the pressure. Dr. Piper, the neuro-surgeon from Iowa Methodist hospital in Des Moines, told my wife that surgery was nothing more than an attempt to save my life, but that it would not erase the deficiencies as a result of the stroke. Although she admits that she did not really understand what Dr. Piper had just said, my wife, Laura, agreed to the surgery and the care team performed a decrompessive craniotomy, to hopefully relieve the pressure and allow my brain to function somewhat normally. For those who have followed my blog for the last 14+ years, the surgery was successful, I returned to the church and I now live a relatively normal life, although I do have some pretty severe, though not always visible, defieciencies. I really thought that life could not get any worse th