The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Day 37: My brother-in-law’s accident and the mending, part 2
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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By simplyfaithful
March 27, 2013 11:25 a.m.

Today, a powerful lesson from my sister, Jaquita…
Jaquita and Jessie in 2008.

Jaquita and Jessie in 2008.

So we found out that Tony had a severe concussion, bruises and cuts all over (about 30 stitches). He had seven damaged vertebrae in his neck and back, torn ligaments in his right arm, a bruise on his left kidney and possible liver damage — but NO broken bones.
He left the hospital after just 36 hours but I had to wake him every two hours for another 48 to make sure he was coherent. I had to call our son in from college for a week to help me lift Tony up and down off the bed and to help him in the shower. But through it all I was positive that he would mend and everything would be back to “normal” in a few months. Well I was wrong.

Photo by Lori Ostling

In the first year we saw probably 10 different doctors and specialists. Tony was on a horrible amount of pain medication. He lost his job of nearly 20 years. He was not the same man that he used to be. (I wish I had a dime for every time I thought that!) Over the first two to three years he became more aggressive, forgetful and more detached. All of his doctors kept saying it was side effects of the medicine or it was depression so they changed and added medication but he kept getting worse.
He had now lost three jobs. I finally called our family doctor and begged him to listen to me. I told him that I was almost to the point of having to put Tony in nursing home or something, I was afraid he would hurt himself or someone else. He was becoming too unpredictable and sometimes just flat out mean. In a nutshell, I was becoming afraid of him. I begged God to change him, to make him like he used to be…OK I admit, I was even a little angry at God.
The doctor finally recommended an endocrinologist. I had never heard of one and didn’t know what kind of doctor he was but I was desperate so I made the appointment. I see now that God directed us there but at the time I was too angry to see it. They did several tests and the doctor explained his theory that Tony had a tumor on his pituitary gland. He was right and started Tony on a very strong medication to make his body produce hormones. He said if the medication didn’t work it would mean brain surgery…
The medication worked but Tony was still not Tony. He lost two more jobs and then finally gave into having back surgery. In November of 2008 we filed for disability for Tony. He had seven major surgeries in 23 months.
It was while Tony was recovering from one of those surgeries that God had a talk with me! I was in my sewing room, moving back and forth from the cutting table to the sewing machine, and I was having myself a good ole’ pitty party! I was ranting on in the inside about how it wasn’t fair that Tony was not the same man that I had married.
As I stood at my cutting table, God softly spoke to me: “Why are you cutting up that perfectly good piece of fabric?”
“Well I am making a quilt out of it,” I said.
God then said, “I did the same with Tony. I sent my angel to save him and then I took the pieces and put him back together. He is not the same, just as that piece of fabric will never be the same, but he is my work of art and he is there with you. Remember that as you wrap yourself in the warmth of that beautiful quilt.”
Well, I was in shock and not just a little embarrassed! Tony is now doing great. The hormone medication is working, he is still on a lot pain medication but they have finally found a good combination for him. He was approved for disability. And I no longer HOPE for Tony to be back to normal! I have accepted God’s gift. (I know I am a little slow!) I have realized that my “quilt” has been pieced together with new fabric along with some of the old, but most importantly it is sewn together with love and HOPE!
The three sisters: me, Jaquita and Kathy. (Photo by Lori Ostling)

The three sisters: me, Jaquita and Kathy. (Photo by Lori Ostling)

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