The Armstrong Archives (94): Life on the Wards

AA 94:07.19.14 Jon on Rocking HorseWednesday, February 4, 1981 Hi! Did you notice the missile launch from Cape Kennedy has been postponed until April 7th? Wouldn’t it be great if we got to see it?! You asked so many questions about the trip that I don’t know where to begin! Alan was the first one to mention “how he wished we had a nanny” because a.) he goes nuts being with the kids 24 hours a day, and b.) he would like me to be able to be a part-time wife as well as a full-time mother. I suggested at least asking you because I thought you might actually enjoy it as well as being a great help to us. So—as far as I know we are not only sure we want you, we are thrilled that you’re willing to come, and we’ll try not to overtire you, but rather make it fun for everybody.

January has really been hard work-wise, and I don’t think February will be any better. I think Alan was working more than half the evenings: sixteen out of thirty-one. Now he’s in the Intensive Care Unit. By March he will have worked all but eight days out of the last four months and about two-fifths of them were sixteen-hour shifts. Needless to say, I will be very relieved when March comes…if it ever does! He is on an elective then and will get every weekend off!

Last week I took the boys for two sled rides through the woods at the botanical gardens. It has been gorgeous here, but cold. Guess what? Aaron’s learning to read a little bit!

Thursday, February 19, 1981 It sure was fun talking to Mom the other night on the phone. We are getting very excited about going south. It’s been so warm that much of the snow is melting, and the boys are out splashing in the puddles… Correction! I just had to go out to put Michael’s boot back on. They’re playing with Mark Grieshaber (neighbor), and all three are muddy from head to foot. Ah, sweet spring!

Last night Alan took me out to Weber’s for our eighth anniversary dinner. He also bought me a beautiful red rose, and another tiny one to put in my hair, and a new bottle of my favorite perfume. In recounting the events of the past year, we realized that Alan has been on the wards (which means 80—106 hours per week) for thirteen out of the last fifteen months, so it’s not surprising I’ve spent some time being discouraged! I can hardly wait for March to roll around!

Everybody’s well here now, and the boys have been “sugar cats” lately. It smells like winter’s melting, and we’re ready!!

 Monday, February 23, 1981 How are you? It’s beginning to look like spring outside. All last week we had rain and fog, and now there are only a few muddy patches of snow left. The kids are back outside riding their bike and trik, and Jonathan stands at the window and calls to them. I would call Jon a walker now, although he’s far from being steady on his feet. Goodness, I’ll have to start sweeping under the table again because I won’t have anyone crawling around devouring all the spare crumbs!

I’m starting to prepare for the trip. Each week when we go to the library I get one or two records extra (whatever I can slip in without Aaron noticing) with stories that I think the boys might enjoy hearing and record them, so the kids will have lots of new stories to listen to on the trip down.

Before I forget, the boys haven’t chewed a single piece of gum since they went to the dentist two months ago, and I think gum-chewing may finally be a thing of the past around here, so if you’re ever thinking of treats for the boys, please avoid gum, even sugarless. THANKS! They have become very dedicated to brushing their teeth and avoiding junk. Hurray!

Well, Jon’s asleep, and it’s time to read out of our Childcraft Stories and Fables book. We’ve finished three and are nearly done with a fourth book. They’re great!

Tuesday, March 3, 1981 Tomorrow is Alan’s last day in the intensive care unit. What a tremendous emotional strain to work day after day with people who are dying. What a life! I know I’ve been saved so long I can’t remember anything else, but without absolute confidence in the authority of the Bible and the promise of heaven, I don’t know how people can “survive” death—or life. But what joy in surrendering to the prodding of the Holy Spirit and resting in His Word! Then there’s hope, comfort, encouragement, and reason for living and dying. 🙂

I am so thankful that God became flesh and dwelt among us, dying so that “whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That takes the sting out of death. Graduation is a lot of hard work for everybody, but at least it can be graduation day to heaven when we die. Can you tell I’ve been agonizing over a lot of Alan’s patients?


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