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Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Thursday, February 22nd marks the 20th anniversary of Michelle’s accident. For over 18 years she has been living at home with us. This is not the life we would have chosen but it is the most meaningful life we could ever have. All of the pretenses and posturing that occur in every day life have been stripped away. We are living with someone who wakes up every day with a smile and thanks God that she is still alive. She tells us how she is surrounded by love and lets everyone know how much she loves them. Being in her presence brings out the better part of all of us. When she was unconscious our neighbor, Charlotte Baecher, wrote a poem that describes the transformation Michelle has brought to all of us:
In her sleep
her spirit is one with His
both so alive to the other
What immense transactions are going on
undistracted
by mind and urge and sight
a complete “hearing” and surrender,
a knowledge we cannot know or guess.

But now we ask Him, please to bless
her even more – and give her back
to us and all distractions
a messenger transformed by you
to lift us who love her
to where she has been.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE SUPPORTED US THESE 20 YEARS

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The film, “Your Health: A Sacred Matter,” will be on the World Channel on July 7th. For FIOS users it is channel 473, for Cablevision it is 133, for Spectrum it is 1277. It is an excellent film on the relationship between religion and medicine and Michelle and I are in the last 12 minutes. Enjoy!

https://yourhealthasacredmatter.com/

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I was in Houston Texas this weekend at a conference on Religion and Medicine. On Saturday evening there was the premier screening of a film entitled “Your Health: A Sacred Matter.” It will view on PBS in May and Michelle and I are in it as are some of Michelle’s team members as well as members of our parish. You can see the trailer at the following web site. You can also check the web site as to when it will be shown in your area. yourhealthasacredmatter.com

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This Friday, April 26th, Michelle is being honored at a Gala Dinner for her high school’s 85th anniversary, as a woman of faith.  Who else do you know who could undergo ten brain surgeries, be unconscious close to eight months, be tube-fed for two and a half years, undergo four to five hours of therapy every day yet wake up every morning thanking God that she is alive? She is truly an inspiration.

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Had a great conference on disability at St. John’s University yesterday. The keynote speaker was Mark Shriver. Be sure to read his new book, “A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver.” One of my favorite quotes in the book is when Sargent Shriver, who was in the clutches of Alzheimer’s disease, says to his son, “I’m doing the best I can with the gifts I’ve been given.” Isn’t that what we’re all called to do?

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This is Michelle. In 1998, while a fourth year student at the University of Chicago, she was hit by a car and suffered severe brain trauma. She remained unconscious for almost eight months.

We are an upper middle class family and at the time of Michelle’s accident both my husband and I were working full-time. We paid our taxes, contributed to social security, and made sure that all our family members were covered by good health and car insurance. Yet, only three months after Michelle’s accident our insurance company told us that any further treatment of Michelle was futile and informed us that they would only pay if we would put her into a nursing facility.

Because Michelle was 21 at the time of the accident, she was soon able to qualify for Medicaid and later the Medicaid Waiver. Because of Medicaid she was able to continue to receive rehabilitation services and eventually emerged from the vegetative state. For the past twelve years she has lived at home with us.

We are not asking the government to take over our responsibilities as her parents, even though she was a legal adult at the time of her accident. We devote our lives to giving her the best care possible. Yet without Medicaid and the Medicaid Waiver we would probably have had to put her into a nursing facility.

What happened to Michelle could happen to anyone of us at any time. As the national debate about health care and Medicaid funding rages, we all need to reflect on what is more important. Should we fight for more discretionary spending so we can purchase more technological gadgets and other material things or should we fight to support people like Michelle?

If you think Michelle’s story is worth being part of the national debate please repost and twitter.

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Michelle just got back from Ohio where she went to her college friend JP’s wedding to Kelly. Had a great time.

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