Friday, February 24, 2012


I was in the hospital.

What does that have to do with the pic of J. (above) with the young man and our dear friend, McKay above? Let me tell you.

It is nice when your nieghbor and friend is your nurse. This is what happened for a couple of days while I was at EIRMC. (Yes, when you are chronically ill you are expected to visit the office on occassion; put in some real work hours.) Thankfully, I had the nicest, caring people.

When you have been on and off prednisone for a good 17 years, your veins go to pot. The skin becomes "thin" and painful when the needle touches it and seemingly prominant veins will dissolve at whim after much time is spent getting the needle and subsequently the medicine, into your body.

It can be the most excruciating moments of the whole field trip to the hospital. Or the moments where you feel the most vulnerable and so those moments are some of the purest forms of pleading in prayer that I imagine God receives up stairs.

I had just gotten moved from the ER to the 5th floor- The Forgotten Floor- as I had dubbed it in my mind. Maybe some of you know what this means. It means you aren't necessarily in the ICU. We'll just put it that way. But it was amazing that they had to bring in heli-medic nurses in whenever I needed a new port placed. And when those guys walk upstairs, in their clean-cut uniforms, carrying black bags- you know you are #1.

So, the nurse, my neighbor greeted me and my folks as I made this transition. She is McKay's mother.. She asked if she could tell McKay that I was in the hospital. "Sure..." I said and wondered if it would "worry" him. But Demaree assured me he would want to know and pray for me.

McKay praying for you is a big deal.


Well, you have to know McKay. Where he had been and know that if anybody's prayers are getting answered, it's his.

I watched Mckay as a child, crawl around the pews of church, noticed when he and his siblings sat with other members when their mom worked every other Sunday. For years.

My first hand friendship came with my Mom's calling to be a teacher for his age group, and I was a team teacher with her. Which was code for: "We can't put you in a calling because of your health, you are available on an inconsistent basis, so you help your mom." Which was/is just fine.

I sat between the girls and McKay and took it upon myself to help him read the scriptures. Because he'd suffered brain damage, it was difficult for him to speak, read. There were moments that I couldn't understand him before, and even now. And I just nod my head. But he's too smart, and knows when you are faking that you understand and will repeat it.

However, his repetitions can also be uncontrollable. This is only the speech area that I am referring to. McKay as a result of drowning as a child. Being dead for sometime. Resucitated and brought back to us, here, also deals with a slew of physical mountains as well.

Did you catch that? He died? As his mother visit taught me and mine over the years I learned that McKay had fallen into a little decorative pond in the yard while his mom was at work. The water was cold. We don't know exactly how long he was in that water, but it was the fact it was cold that meant McKay came back. His little personality changed. McKay became.. well I guess the purest form of himself. Which is why when his mom says he is praying for you-- you better be ready. And you better understand what that means.

Angels don't just come back from the otherside to hang out and bother those of us that are still trying to work out our salvation in the normal sense.

I have to tell you the miracle that happened as I sat next to this young boy who I am privileged to be friends with. I became to understand what he said. It was almost as if I had been given the gift of tongues, but it was for a different language altogether; it was the one God and His Son speak... the one that you must feel first and then put it into symbols and sounds that end up in what we call language.

With McKay's age he has gotten to bless the sacrament. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and there is a specific prayer for the bread and the water. Have you ever been nervous for someone to get up and sing a solo? Well, I never felt that way when McKay kneels to pray. And I know it is going to come out very much not the way you have heard it before. Each young man has to look to the bishop for a head nod on how he gave the prayer and sometimes you are so darn nervous for that head nod you'd think it was An Amercan Idol competition. I don't know what McKay's ramifications are for the prayer- if the bishop has to go by the spirit when he "grades" it. But I DO KNOW that those prayers, when McKay has said them. Have transported me. They are... pure.

It is hard to get through LDS 3 hour church when you are sick. Even if you are healthy. Maybe especially if you are healthy. I have been meaning to talk with those at the top about the time schedule, but think maybe I just need to go home if I am thinking it is too long. It's hard to gauge when you think you've hit your max of church time. You wonder: "Am I being a light weight?"

But the times that I have hung around long enough for the Sacrament, I have been rewarded by McKay's voice.

Every month we have what is called Testimony meeting. Without fail, Mckay stands and bears his testimony. It is rare when someone can beat him to the pulpit and that is saying something for McKay because for years he has worn braces on his legs. Every day he has had to walk with pain.

Another great moment for me has been when the sub teaching calls paired me with McKay. The pay is cheaper for some reason. He has an aide and they aren't paid on the same scale. If the School District knew that I'd do if for free, I'm afraid they would hire me. But he needs consistency.

I've carried his back pack, only on a few occassions and it is the heaviest bag I have ever carried. He had to cram all his books in order to make it to class, even though they let him leave early, to make the bell.

One time he hyperextended his knee when he hit a hole in the grass out behind the Jr. High. That meant a brace over his usual braces on his legs. Can you imagine? Just getting out the door would make me tire. But not McKay. Thankfully, I have never seen anyone tease McKay. I have seen them wait as what he said took up a few more moments of the teacher's time in class. And I have felt a need to "translate" for him when possible to keep the class rolling. But I look back at those times that I put my hand on his shoulder to "queit him" so that maybe we didn't "disrupt" class and I feel that I had kept someone from experiencing something beautiful, maybe.

Actually, he and I both know and have an understanding I guess of eachother's impediments and trust that one or the other will know when to step in and say what needs to be said.

Thank you, McKay. For your friendship. For sacrificing and coming back from heaven to endure who knows... but it means everything to me. And sometimes I think it was just for me. And I'm glad my son has gotten to be around you all these years. To learn to not be afraid of someone who is different than the norm. To get to love you, too. You are a part of all of your neighbors' lives and we love you. Know that. I think the most important message you brought back with you all these years was the reminder that God loves us; me.

Thank you. Thank you. I can't wait to see you next. (It's usually a surprise visit and we usually drop by our visits to you, too. I am thinking we shouldn't make them so far apart. That they should be more planned and more treasured.

That is McKay.

Blog Archive