Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Little Girls Are Made Of

Although certainly not one of my favorite movies by any stretch, there's a scene in "True Grit" that's always stuck with me since I saw it as a kid. During a tense shoot-0ut, 14-year-old Mattie falls into a deep pit, breaking her arm, and then is subsequently bitten in the same arm by a rattlesnake. Yow. The aging Rooster Cogburn takes her on an arduous journey to get help, and Mattie's chances look bleak. But Rooster knows, from everything he's seen of Mattie in the story leading up to the snake pit, Mattie will survive because she has 'grit' -- that toughness to persevere in the midst of the arduous.

Over the last couple of years, I've seen Pat show grit, but never more so than during the last week at the Mayo. Wow. The various tests necessary to help the doctors track down the source of the mysterious illness that's plagued her were nothing short of excrutiating, each and every one of them. So much so, that the doctors and technicians administering the tests were beside themselves, yet always impressed with our girl's attitude throughout. I know, because they told me. (Had to throw that in because Pat will hate that I'm saying all this. Oh well.) She never gave up, never crumbled, never grumbled, never took it out on the people doing these things to her. Nope, sreaming and writhing were always followed with smiles and jokes, and tootsie pops if you were helping her on and off the shuttles.

What did I learn? What I already knew. Pat is tough. Scary tough.

And what else did we learn? Good news! While a distinct 'cause' for the illness may or may not ever be pinpointed, the folks at Mayo believe they have a physical therapy regimen that will help her. [Insert celebration here.] In essence, they'll retrain her brain to do what it already knows how to do, but isn't. If you know computers, it's sort of like doing a reboot when things lock up. If you don't know computers, it's sort of like when a model train slips off the rails a bit but continues to run, though very roughly and ineffectually. So you lift it up and put if back on the rails. If you don't know model trains -- oh come on, work with me here.

Anyway, there's nothing phyically wrong with her brain and spine, etc., that would require drastic measures, or worse, be untreatable. She'll be up at the Mayo at the end of September for a full week of all-day therapy, then we'll see how she's responding and take it from there. Honestly folks, this is about the best news we could have had, so we're so thankful! God has blessed us richly in this.

Shout outs to Mom(s), Jen, and Karen for holding the ropes for us when a one-day trip turned into a week-long trip; to everyone(!) at Mayo, they're nothing short of fantabulous; to all the friends who've prayed and encouraged; to Susan and Mary for the handmade quilt (Wow!).

And to God, for giving Pat the grit in the first place. It came in handy.


Anonymous said...

Never bet against the Iowa farm girl. Go Pat. You are in our prayers - Nick and Sandy

deb said...

As I sit here in tears (happy tears) I am once again amazed at the strength of my dear friends! Of course I'll attribute that strength to our Lord (Pat and Kevin wouldn't have it any other way)! I immediately identified with the comparison to True Grit (Kevin - even though you are older than me I remember that movie too!). Pat truly has "grit" and more moxy than most. I count it truly a blessing to call her (and Kevin)my friends. To God be the glory about the news from the doctors. Funny thing is, even if the news had been different, bad or whatever, I know that you would both be praising Him anyway. Love you guys.

Anonymous said...

Amazed, Grateful, Blessed, Praising God, all from knowing how God is working through you, you wonderful servants of the Lord.
Thank God for answers, big and small!