January 20, 2014

It Takes A Village

Hilary Clinton once made the statement that 'it takes a village to raise a child'. Whether that is true or not, I would like to submit that it takes a village to care for an ALS patient. Why do I say that? Because that has certainly been my experience. Let me explain.

1. Every morning Lou, my PSW, spends an hour getting me out of bed, washed up, dressed and in my chair. Lou has been with me for almost two years now.

2. A VON nurse comes once a week to monitor my blood pressure and listen to my breathing. Some of them are Christians and we enjoy fellowship with them while they work.

3. A family friend who is a dental hygienist, comes in once a week to clean my teeth. We have wonderful spiritual conversations together.

4. Ryk and Lori come in once a week to do range of motion physio on separate days. Lori often brings us a meal, and Ryk and Anke look after the lawn and flower beds. We really enjoy their weekly visits.

5. The four local FRC pastors (Bilkes, Pronk, Schoeman, Schouls) visit me on a regular basis and I am really quite spoiled for pastoral care. I am getting close to all of them.

6. Church ladies have been doing meals on wheels for about 2 years now, twice a week. Lena rarely has to cook, and it frees her up to care for me.

7. My brother-in-law Jack and his wife Cobie visit twice a week, bringing take out coffees and other treats. Jack reads to me from a daybook on Church history.

8. Steve and the TAC team from Chedoke hospital look after my DynaVox computer and communication needs. They are wonderful people.

9. My children take turns staying with me so that Lena can attend church service. We really enjoy visits with our children and grandchildren.

10. The ALS Society provides and maintains equipment for free so that patients can stay home with their families as long as possible. They raise funds through walkathons and dinners all over Ontario. I have many pieces of equipment in my home from them: hospital bed, hoyer lift, infusion pump, suction machine, etc.

11. The CCAC of Hamilton provides PSW staffing for three nights and relief time for Lena. Most of that is done by Christina. She understands my grunts, groans and eye movements, even in the dark. For the rest of the nights we have hired the services of a private PSW. Peter has been working for us for at least a year. He gives me great stretches to offset my cramping.

As you can see from the examples that I have listed, God is taking very good care of us through a 'village' of professionals, volunteers and family members. And I have not even mentioned the many encouraging visitors, phone calls, cards and emails that we receive every day. The Lord's gracious provisions make 'His yoke easy and His burden light'.



  1. I'm sorry, accidentally my previous comment is published on the account of one of our sons, who also used sometimes this laptop... Usually I comment with 'anonymous', because we don't know each other. But your blogs have been often 'a cup of water' for me.

  2. Jack,
    I peek in on you every once in a while to see how you're doing. How wonderful that you have a "village" to help with your care and to give rest to Lena. Praying .....
    Heather from Ontario

  3. I don't know you, and you don't know me, but I have been reading your blog for some time. It seems to me that all those care workers, visitors and helpers are truly blessed through you, Jack. Your ALS may very well be the instrument God is using to bless those people. I don't know if this is a comfort to you, but you are a true testimony of God's love and faithfulness, through your patience and dedication to Him. Your faith moves me to tears sometimes. Bless you!
    Thea Heyink, Binbrook ON