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Nephew Update: Attitude Is Everything

Monday, January 15, 2018

My dear Spark Friends,

Just a quick note because I have to get ready for my trip to the US. I'm leaving home the day after tomorrow for South Carolina and then Florida, and I haven't packed or done any preparation whatsoever! (Panic City here.)

On to my nephew Perrin. When I first heard, less than a month ago, that he had been in a car accident, that his spine had been fractured in two places, and that he couldn't move, I assumed the worst, as I always do when something bad happens. I thought Perrin would be forever immobilized, a quadriplegic. His life was over, I thought, his wife would leave him, he would never again hold his nine-month-old daughter in his arms, and as she grew up, she would come to dread visiting him wherever he ended up being institutionalized, motionless forever on a hospital bed.

Thank God my dark outlook was WAY wrong! Over the weekend, due to the very diligent efforts of his stepmother, Perrin was transferred to an excellent rehab facility specializing only in spinal cord and brain injury. Perrin is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and the VA at one point tried to send him to a facility in New Mexico, many hours away from home, where his family would have been unable to visit. But his stepmother Becca researched, emailed, asked, badgered, prayed, and persisted, the result being that Perrin will be only a short drive from his wife and daughter, his in-laws, and my brother's son Austin, who lives in Denver. Counting all the friends Perrin has made since he moved to Colorado a few years back, there is a multitude of people who can visit him regularly. He won't be stranded alone in New Mexico, which I'm sure is a good place in every other way, but it's too far from Perrin's wife and baby.

Perrin's attitude throughout has been deeply moving. I have not heard of him making a single complaint. I'm sure that in the privacy of his mind or in talking with counselors, he has expressed sadness and fear of the future and maybe regret at aspects of the accident (I don't know yet exactly what happened, whether all seat belts were fastened or the driver was going too fast, etc.), but in all interactions with medical staff and whoever has visited him, Perrin has displayed nothing but good will, cheerfulness, and an ever-present sense of humor. These qualities are surely what has brought him through to the point where he faces a life as good as anyone else's, perhaps even better than a lot of us who still have the use of our legs but cannot overcome the feeling of being handicapped. The fact is that we are all handicapped in different ways. Some of us have visible handicaps while others suffer from maladies invisible to the outside world. Ironically, Perrin's new physical handicap has shone a spotlight on the fact that spiritually he is a champion.

Scenes I have heard about that have moved me:

Perrin weened himself from painkilling drugs as quickly as possible. In his younger days (he is 32) he had a drunken fall at a wild party and was seriously injured, and it no doubt scared him enough to be wary of addictive substances.

As soon as he knew the prognosis--that he would be in a wheelchair most likely forever--there appeared in his room a doctor who sat down with him and helped quell his fears about his future livelihood. The wonderful thing about this doctor was that he was a paraplegic himself, counseling Perrin from his own high-tech wheelchair, living proof that the world belongs to paraplegics, too, and that Perrin can do whatever he sets his mind to.

One day when Becca was deeply engaged in conversation at the nurses' station, exhausted at being far from home (Georgia) and dealing with so many new problems and worries and forms, she barely noticed that a wheelchair had rolled up beside her. Wheelchairs are ubiquitous in hospitals, so she did not even look down until the nurses started smiling. When Becca finally looked down beside her, there sat Perrin, going for his first ride in his new wheelchair, on his face an expression of delight at being able to make his stepmother shed tears of joy.

And I've seen photos that show Perrin lying in his hospital bed, with his laughing baby daughter seated on his chest and his wife smiling proudly by his side. These photos show that in spite of the huge change in their circumstances, this little family has the same huge love for each other, and the joy of living as they all had before their accident on December 22. Maybe more so, for they have seen darkness, too, in the past month.

I have learned so much from this. Be grateful. Everything could always be much worse than it is. Never give up. Trust God. Prayer works. You won't always get everything you ask for, but you will usually be taken care of, and if you don't get what you had originally wanted, you adjust your desires and keep on trying to be the best person you can be--strong, generous, loving, and hopeful! The famous Bible verse comes to mind, the one from Corinthians, when Paul wrote about faith, hope, and love. For me, love (or charity), which Paul considered the most important, has always come fairly easily, but Perrin's example has taught me that faith and hope are very important, too.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support! I wish I had time to write to everybody individually, but if I don't pack my suitcase and find my passport, I will truly start to sweat and have palpitations. I still have one more day to get ready, but I'm a procrastinator, so I must be strict with myself and sign off.

Everybody please take care and stay safe while I fly through the sky looking down at all our beautiful states of America.

Love, Carolyn
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Beautiful post and I loved it!
    703 days ago
    This is a lovely blog! emoticon
    856 days ago
    Dearest Carolyn:

    Thank you SO much for this lovely uplifting and hopeful blog! I know Perrin and his wife and daughter will weather this life challenge in the best way possible. I always say God gives his deepest challenges to his fiercest warriors. We don't like it much but we accepted the challenge (in my mind) before we ever accepted this life mission.

    How long are you here for Carolyn...my fondest wish would be to meet you if you have time for lunch one day. I believe you are in Sarasota...is that correct...MUCH closer than Japan...I hope you are still here.

    I keep losing your blog subscription...DRAT!
    910 days ago
    915 days ago
  • PCOH051610
    Such a beautiful, love-filled blog! emoticon for sharing this and for writing in such a way that I actually felt I was there in the hospital with Perrin and his family.

    915 days ago
    Such an awesome guy Perrin must be. He's in my prayers for a speedy recovery and for you to have a safe trip. Now you need to take care of yourself and just enjoy your family and friends...

    Carpe Diem

    919 days ago
    Glad you able to get over to see Perrin. He sounds like an amazing guy.
    924 days ago
    Thank you so much for the update on Perrin. Lives were definitely changed that December night. Continued prayers for strength for this little family.

    I hope your visit to the US is a good one. Safe travels!
    925 days ago
    This is such an uplifting post. These words really spoke to me: "Ironically, Perrin's new physical handicap has shone a spotlight on the fact that spiritually he is a champion." So often we find that inner strength and beauty during or after some of our biggest life challenges. Thank you for sharing these updates with us.
    927 days ago
  • HEYRED221
    Carolyn I am so happy to hear how well your nephew Perrin is doing and will keep him in my thoughts for a speedy recovery. Just so you know, I would have visited him for you if he was send to the VAMC in NM, but thankfully his step-mom got him into a much better facility.

    Wish you could stop by and visit me, some day we will will.

    Love and hugs,

    928 days ago
    I do hope your trip to the states was a huge success for you and your family.
    929 days ago
    My dear Carolyn what an amazing letter to all of us . Thank you for the update, Perrin is in my prayers since this happened. God bless his dear step mom. God is not finished with Perrin he has many great things for him. God bless his little family
    I know now how much you worry Christ says to us Psalm 46;10 "be still & know I am God"
    We can take comfort in letting go and resting in God to provide help, strength and safety.
    Praying for traveling mercies for you
    Take care my friend emoticon
    930 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/16/2018 8:36:21 PM
  • PHOENIX1949
    Safe travels.
    930 days ago
    Safe travels and continued healing prayers for Perrin emoticon emoticon
    930 days ago
    Such good news about Perrin. I'm glad you are coming stateside to see your family. You didn't say anything about seeing Perrin, but I hope you do. There is nothing better to putting fears in perspective than a live face to face visit. Seeing Erik took my MIL out of her HYPER FEAR mode after Erik's accident. She was still fearful, but not devastated, depressed and a total basket case.
    My prayers continue for Perrin and family as well as your safe flights. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    930 days ago
    What wonderful news! Thank you for sharing. Perrin is going to thrive.
    930 days ago
  • no profile photo CD17374413
    I am happy for your nephew! A great example of faith in action! Much love and safe travels! God bless you, Carolyn! emoticon
    931 days ago
    I hope you have a wonderful trip!

    When my grandpa got hurt, they sent him and my grandma to Colorado for two months. He was learning how to live in a wheelchair and they taught her how to be his caregiver. She said the most important thing she learned there was how to prevent bedsores. That's very important, because they can kill you! That's actually the reason that Christopher Reeves died, he had bedsores that got infected. It's really wonderful that your nephew is at the place in Colorado, because they have a LOT of experience in treating patients with spinal injuries. They're literally the best in the West!
    931 days ago
    What a wonderful blog. There is so much all of us can learn from your nephew Perrin. He is truly a champion.
    931 days ago
    Oddly enough, the VA in New Mexico is the one I used to work at. It’s in Albuquerque, the only VA hospital in the state (although there are many clinics scattered about). The Spinal Cord Injury unit has an excellent reputation, but, there is no place like home to recuperate amongst family & friends. (I never worked the SCI)

    How wonderful that Perrin is improving so quickly. Take care of yourself, Carolyn.
    931 days ago
    Thank you for letting us know the latest news - it's great to hear.

    May God bless you in your packing, preparations and travels.

    931 days ago
    That is so wonderful that Perrin will be close to home, family and friends during his rehab. He definitely has the right attitude to do well. And that the Dr. himself being a parapalegic, took the time to talk "turkey" with him . . . . that is absolutely wonderful. I am sure that helped Perrin immeasurably.

    Safe travels to you.
    931 days ago
    Thank you so much for letting us all know how Perrin is doing... what a wonderful attitude and spirit he has. Simply remarkable and so very admirable. Blessing to you and your family and have a safe trip. Looking forward to hearing all about it.. oh.. and love your new profile picture!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    931 days ago
    I suspect you realize from all the replies before mine just how grateful we are for your message and for YOU, Carolyn, a wonderful Spark friend AND AUNT. With all you have behind you and ahead of you, how kind and thoughtful of you to update us! Perrin's dark cloud certainly has a silver lining, as he helps show so many how to be positive. Blessings for your trip, and thank you again. Hugs and peace, Lynn
    931 days ago
    Safe travels. Thanks for sharing your better news.
    931 days ago
    Carolyn, I was just thinking about you and Perrin this morning, so I am very happy to get this update today. Yes, attitude is everything and a lesson we can all learn! Perrin is so lucky to have a step mom who really went to work for him in the face of the US Army - I know what red tape is involved with that! Good for her for making sure he would be in a care facility where he would not have to be alone, without family or friends! YEAH!!! This is such good news.

    I continue praying each day for his recovery and adjustment into his new life.
    931 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your faith. Prayers work. I truly believe that the Eternal Father who knows all gave you a special gift that you will be there at this needed time. My prayers are that you'll have the strength you need. Sending love and hugs.
    931 days ago
    Safe journey my friend and please give my bet wishes to Perin and his family. Also give your sister whois needing the kidney transplant my best wishes for a successful transplant and renewed health.

    Hugs Susan emoticon
    931 days ago
  • no profile photo CD22518161

    Your blog made me cry, to hear how a person with great gratefulness and optimism functions, in this world,
    when terrible things happen to them. I'm truly amazed by him.

    Have a good, safe trip, eat well, sleep well, and take care of yourself in every way.

    hugs, Sue
    931 days ago
    This makes me very happy...Perrin and his family still have a long road ahead, but you are so right...attitude is everything.
    That is exactly how my son has survived stage IV colon cancer for a year and a half. emoticon

    931 days ago
    Carolyn, I am so glad to read this update on Perrin, and such an uplifting one. Have a safe trip. I'll be thinking of you!
    931 days ago
    Yikes, packing! When I flew to visit my daughter for five days at Christmas, I spent the week before making a list of everything I was afraid I was going to forget - my various electronic chargers, my meds and supplements, my old-person toiletries - but the truth is except for the meds I could have just bought something there if I forgot it.

    I'm wondering what your nephew did for a living before his accident and if he'll be able to continue it from a wheelchair or will have to find a new field.
    931 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/15/2018 9:28:06 AM
    emoticon emoticon
    931 days ago
    Thank you for the update on your nephew. He is an inspiration - showing that there is still life and love no matter what your circumstances.

    I hope you have a good trip as you travel to the States!!
    931 days ago
  • DESIREE672
    Have a safe journey, Carolyn. Perrin is obviously a very resilient person and his stepmother is a fighter too.

    Have a wonderful stay, despite the difficulties, and come back refreshed.

    931 days ago
    What a wonderful blog Carolyn. Thank you. I know I would not be anywhere near as accepting as your nephew. A wonderful example to be sure. You wrote beautifully and conveyed your thoughts and your nephews trials so beautiful What an example.

    Have a safe trip. emoticon
    931 days ago
    You have also journeyed far this past month. Blessings abound for Perrin, he is emotionally and spiritually gifted...and he understands this. May his recovery continue so he can rejoin his family at home where his happy lives. God speed, safe travels for you...enjoy your visit. Love and hugs for you, sweet friend.
    931 days ago
    I just prayed for you and yours. I live in South Florida and the sun is rising and putting on a brilliant sky display, orange, pink , blue whiteish, as only God and do. He is faithful, he is with all of you and most of all your nephew. Air Hugs, Pat
    931 days ago
    So glad to hear your nephew is making progress and getting the care he needs close to his family. His positive attitude will be so helpful in his recovery.
    Good for his step mother in pushing to get him the best care close by.

    Enjoy your trip to the states. Have a safe and fun journey. Looking forward to hearing about it when you return.

    931 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    Thanks for the update, I've been wondering how Perrin has been doing. How fortunate that he can be close to family and friends while continuing his recovery! Will you be able to see him while you are visiting the US? Have a safe trip, I hope all goes well ~
    931 days ago
  • no profile photo BOOKREADER8
    Wishing you a speedy trip home and very best wishes to you and all your family. Perrin is an example to us all.
    931 days ago
    In the midst of darkness, we find blessings still abound! So happy for the continued blessings and positive outlook of Perrin and his family and support team. Hope is what keeps us fortified and looking forward. Love and prayers continue for Perrin and family and for you, dear Carolyn. May you have blessed travels and visit with family and friends in the US. Wish Utah was on your itinerary, but I count my blessings to call you friend and keep in touch online. Remember to BREATHE and enjoy!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    931 days ago
  • P61763
    Thanks for sharing
    931 days ago
    Continued prayers for a full recovery of your nephew.
    931 days ago
    Holding you all in the Light.
    931 days ago
  • WHITE-2
    Thank you for the update abuot Perrin. I hope his recovery will continue in the best possible way.
    931 days ago
    Good to hear such wonderful news on Perrin, such an inspiration to have pulled around from such an horrific incident.
    Safe trip emoticon
    931 days ago
    Enjoy your trip! Good news all around for your nephew!

    931 days ago
    Such wonderful news about Perrin. I did not realize that he lived just a few hours from me. I live a bit north of him in Wyoming. I truly wish him and his family all the best and if there are any spare miracles floating around , may they float his way.

    Safe trip my friend.
    931 days ago
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