a battle with an injured foot that went septic in spite of all we did
to treat, it we had to let Oscar go this afternoon, 2/24/2014. I am so grateful for
the care and concern that Dr Foster showed all of us as well as Oscar.
All through this battle Dr Foster has been available to us, honest with
us about what was happening and what our options were. We could not
have had a better experience going through a very difficult ordeal.
a world where parents indulge their kids with everything they want, it
would seem that these kids would be especially grateful. Instead, a
generation has become selfish, self-centered, and unprepared for real
A dictionary definition of a “prodigal” is “one who spends or gives
lavishly and foolishly.” You may think your teenager is acting like a
prodigal these days, but have you considered that according to this
definition, you may be the prodigal yourself?
Many parents lavishly and foolishly give material things to their
kids. Some say it is their “right” to spoil their kids — and there is
truth to that. The truth is not as much regarding the parent’s rights,
but that, yes, it will spoil their kids. Unbridled spending on kids can
lead to selfish attitudes and feelings of entitlement on the part of
the teen. And such kids are in for a rude awakening when real life
Sometimes a parent is being extra generous out of an “I’m giving my
child what I lacked as a child” attitude. Or, perhaps the gifts are
being used as leverage to improve the attitudes and cooperation of the
teenager. In either case, the kids on the receiving end can become
pretty comfortable with such generosity. It can lead to immaturity,
irresponsibility, selfishness and a hard time understanding finances and
the obligations of real life when they become adults. In other words,
spoiled kids later become spoiled adults.
I know it’s tough for loving parents to limit their giving of
material things to their children, especially when they have it to
give. But they may want to keep it in check to prevent the kind of
damage that I see every day in some of the teens who are sent to our
Heartlight residential program. For them it can take months of therapy
and doing without material things to bring them back down to earth.
The biblical story of the Prodigal in Luke 15 wonderfully illustrates
such a turnabout in thinking for a pampered, selfish child who suddenly
faced the realities of life.
In Luke 15:12 the son in the story says, ”Father, give me my share of
the estate.” For whatever reason, this young man had a “give me” sense
of entitlement that was pretty demanding. It was probably because he
never had a need for anything for as long as he had lived. The family
was obviously wealthy.
So, as was the custom in those days, the father went ahead and gave
him his portion of the estate. The son gleefully took it all and moved
away. But he had soon spent his entire inheritance, all of it, on
riotous living. What a great lesson in finance! Though he was given so
much, he lost it all in a very short period of time.
Then, half-starved and thinking that his gold-digger friends would
help him out in his time of need, he found out differently. In Luke
15:16 it says, ”…but no one gave him anything.” Whether they were acting
as selfish as he was, or just fed up with him, their denials told him
that he needed to do something different from now on, or else he
wouldn’t survive. The very next verse brings it all home.
In Luke 15:17 it says, “…he came to his senses…” He saw the light.
When the money ran out and everyone stopped feeding this young man’s
foolishness, he faced some pretty important decisions in his life.
It helped him realize his predicament and he quickly discovered what
life is all about, perhaps for the very first time.
The point is…it took a very traumatic experience for him to come to
his senses. Before he could get past his prodigal mindset, he had to
hit rock bottom. Then he finally began thinking more clearly about
finances and about the basic necessities of life.
Could you be the one responsible for your own teen becoming a
prodigal? Moreover, could you be the one acting like a prodigal
yourself? You are if you are catering to your teen’s every financial
want or need without teaching them the value of work and how to wisely
manage their own money. Perhaps it’s time to take a look at your
finances and begin to limit your giving to your teen, before it
contributes to them becoming a prodigal.
By the way, a good way to counteract selfishness and financial
foolishness in a teen is to teach them to give of themselves and a
portion of their finances to others who are in need. Take them down to
the local mission to volunteer in the food line. Require that they help
an elderly friend or a shut-in neighbor once a week. Take them on a
short-term mission trip to a place in the world where kids have
nothing. When they interact with others who are helpless and in
desperate need, they soon realize (without having to hit rock bottom
themselves), how important it is to manage their own life and their
If you’re an adult prodigal, you may want to shift gears to lavish upon your kids every good thing they need in life, not everything they want. One good thing they desperately need is to learn how to make money
and manage finances on their own. They’ll have to go without all the
goodies you’ve financed in the past, but it’s a lesson they’ll thank you
for one day.
About the Author Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder and director of Heartlight, a residential counseling center for struggling teens
located in Longview, Texas. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for
39 years, has two kids, and 4 grandkids. He lives in Longview, Texas
with the Heartlight staff, 60 high school kids, 25 horses, his dog,
Stitch, 2 llamas, and a prized donkey named Toy. His past involvement
as a youth pastor, Young Life area director, and living with over 2,500
teens, has prepared Mark to share his insights and wisdom about
parenting pre-teens and adolescents.
find out more about the residential counseling center for teens, or
call Heartlight directly at 903. 668.2173. For more information and
helpful other resources for moms and dads, visit www.ParentingTodaysTeens.org, It’s
filled with ideas and tools to help you become a more effective parent.
Here you will also find a station near you where you can listen to the Parenting Today’s Teens radio broadcast, or download the podcast of the most recent programs.
Our hopes that Oscar was turning the corner after his reaction to the medicine have been dashed. The vet examined his foot this morning and was still very concerned about the paw staying cold. Even though the pain has greatly decreased and he seems to have perked up and is even bearing some weight on that foot and the abscess seems to be draining he believes, and I agree, that the cold foot is a major concern and indicates a circulatory problem.
After consulting with a specialist O does not have a good prognosis. If circulation does not improve within the next few days it could turn to gangrene.
At this point our goal is to get the circulation going in that foot. Soaking and massaging the tissue to help drain it as well as keeping him on the antibiotics and as pain free and comfortable as possible.
It's hard to accept that his time with us may be coming to a close. We're praying for physical healing for Oscar.
The Bible tells us, "Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God."
I believe that the creator of the universe, who keeps track of the sparrow when it falls and counts the hair on my head cares for Oscar and understands our pain. It is only with His strength that I can comfort my daughter who is grieving the possible loss of her furry friend. I think a sudden and quick death would be preferable to caring for him for days, seeing what we think is improvement only to hit the valley of death again. The uncertainty and wait is so stressful.
About 6 weeks ago Oscar came in one evening completely lame in his right front foot. I thought it was probably a mild sprain and treated him for several days with aspirin. It didn't help. So a trip to the vets was in order. After a very painful, for Oscar, exam the vet thought it was probably a sprain and put him on a better anti-inflammatory. Which he took faithfully with no improvement. Fast forward 12 days...Taking
Oscar back to the vets this afternoon. The pain meds that he has been
on for over a week are not helping. He is not eating well and is really
miserable. This is really hard on Sarah, these 2 have grown up
together. We got him as a pup a few weeks before she turned 3. He'll
be 13 on March 11. The past 5 years or so he has had allergies that
turned into skin infections and now he has a lame
leg that is not responding to treatment. I hope we can find out today
what is wrong and get meds to keep him comfortable for as long as
possible. We don't want to selfishly prolong his life if it is
something bad, but it's so hard when an animal has been like another
sibling. If you're inclined would you say a prayer for all of us?
That afternoon...Just got back from the vets with Oscar. Thanks for all your kind words and prayers. Dr Foster took an x-ray and there is no cancer which is what we were
afraid of. Instead he thinks that O has an abscess in that paw. So he's
on antibiotics for 2 weeks at least plus his pain meds and he needs to
have that foot soaked in Epsom salts twice a day. So it looks like Oscar will be with us for a while longer!!
Two days later...Oscar feels terrible, constant crying in pain. It's worse at night. I'm calling the vet to see if there is something he can take to help him relax and sleep especially at night.
That evening...The vet prescribed a mild sedative to help him sleep tonight. It's an old, well tolerated drug. Hope we can get some sleep tonight.
Have you heard of Restless Leg Syndrome? Last night we experienced what I'm calling "Uncontrolled Barking Syndrome" (UBS). With his foot so painful, Oscar, and the rest of us, haven't been getting much sleep. the video above is just a fraction of the barking he was doing.
Having a drug make you feel all disoriented and weird is bad enough. And as a human you can at least communicate how you are feeling and understand what is happening. Imagine your fur-baby going through that. They. Can't. understand..
Anyway, "UBS" came on within an hour of Oscar taking the sedative. Preceded by rapid, shallow breathing and the loss of control of his tongue.
UBS lasted for 10-15 minutes at a time with only about a 10 minute respite. At first we thought it was just him talking in his sleep. But when it went on & on & on we knew something was amiss. The barking lasted from about 9 p.m. until midnight. Finally, quiet, sleep. For Oscar. Around 2:30 this morning he slid off the bed and is still sleeping where he landed 8 hours later. (I snatched a couple of hours here and there.)
After talking with his vet, who is befuddled by this entire problem, not just the drug reaction, I'm taking him back in tomorrow for further evaluation.
As I finish writing this post Oscar is still very groggy and unsteady on his feet. 24 hours after that one. small. dose.
Some friends have suggested I find another vet. I understand and appreciate their concern. I want the best for Oscar. But I've had drug reactions myself. It wasn't the doctors fault. You don't know you're allergic to something until you take it and react. So I view it the same for my canine child. His foot is finally draining, he's let Sarah soak and massage the gunk out of his foot twice today. The pain in the foot is much, much better. I think he's on the mend. We'll visit the vet again in the morning to let the doc and his colleagues check him out as we head to the weekend.
I leave you with a few recent pics of our "Monster Dog"
Here are pictures of my son Daniel's first blacksmithing project; a
machete. He's always been into knives and has wanted to make one. Now,
he's actually doing it.
We will start with a picture of the Furnace, a B & O Railroad #29 Union
Caboose Stove from his maternal Grand Father, that we fire by hard wood charcoal and Hickory logs from a neighbor's fallen hickory tree (no
Then we have a Peter Wight 100 lb. anvil and our "willing donor," a
bent lawn mower blade from his Paternal Grand Father's Sears Craftsman
Unfortunately, the current table is 30' away from the
Furnace, but under the edge of the carport. (We are building a new 4'
long table from 2" X 6" lumber from our old picnic table to hold the
anvil, a Wilton Vise, a Quench Bucket, and his tools. It will be kept
about a foot from the Furnace. We are also looking for a coal hod in
which to keep charcoal and small pieces of wood and a small blower to the
accelerate the heating process to the point where the metal is ready to
Here's a picture of the Forge heating very well, in the middle of a rain.
Here he is shaping the handle (Yes, it's raining steadily while he is
While we don't have any pictures of him shaping the blade, here is a
picture of where he ended up. He still needs to grind the blade,
sharpen it, and make a handle and then quench the blade (after
sharpening, so it will hold the edge and, yes, he's taller than me at 6'
3" and just 17 years old).
(His shirt is a nod to his love of "Dr. Who" and reads 'Bow ties are cool')
"Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but passing them by transfer your thoughts to God and say: 'O my God, if They creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!' Nicodemus of Holy Mountain
I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuity wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And is I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else.
mom tries to tell me when she hears of something new for migraines. I
really do appreciate it. Today she called to tell me about a product
called "Migralex". It's a combo of aspirin 500mg and Magnesium Oxide 75
mg. Nothing special, no new ingredients. Guess how much it costs for 1
bottle of 20 caplets? $39.95 plus 6.95 for shipping and handling.
Un. Be. Lieve. A. Ble.
Unfortunately people will pay this ridiculous price because they are
desperate for migraine relief. I am desperate for relief but I am NOT
I may try the combo on my own. I have aspirin on
hand, just need to pick up a bottle of mag ox. It would be great if it
works. But if it works I still won't pay this ridiculous price.
And this is the problem with a disease like Migraine.
There. Is. No. Cure. YET!
There are no guarantees that this treatment or that treatment will work for any patient.
I was supposed to be getting the Botox injections in September. I
won't be getting them at all because, 1. I have no assurance that they
will work for even a little while. and 2. Even with the insurance and
our deductible paid and we've almost hit the maximum that we have to pay
out of pocket for the year, I still was going to have to pay over
$1,000 for 1 round of injections. For medical reasons, not cosmetic.
It's been a while since I posted. Life has gone on. We've had a very wet, cooler than usual summer so far. This has caused our yard to become a jungle. Even though Daniel kept up well with the mowing, the vines and weeds grew out of control.
Sarah and Daniel have been cutting and hauling brush out to the road a bit at a time. We can't put out too much or the city will charge us to pick it up, so slow and steady it goes.
I've been trying to sell homeschool curriculum and other books that we are finished with. That has been slow going. Finding what we need for the next term hasn't been too easy either. I don't know why, maybe as they get older there are less used copies available.
I'm trying to start the planning out, I don't want them to have to do things that are just mindless repetition, but neither do I want to skip over truly important information.
It is truly a balancing act.
Oscar is slowing down. He moans more in his sleep and has become more talkative in his old age. He limps more even though he is taking his aspirin regularly.
But last night topped it all.
The kids asked David and me to come out to see how much they had trimmed from the "jungle". I know there are divots and other various irregularities in our backyard. I even know where they are and was telling myself to watch for them.
Unfortunately my eye did not see it but my foot found it with no problem and I was on the ground.
Long story short, I broke my right leg, at the ankle. It's the tip of the small bone in the leg. Nothing bad, but it is surprisingly painful and being on crutches is awkward.
The Vicodin they gave me for pain knocks the edge off but makes me grumpy. It's going to be an interesting few weeks. I hope when I get my permanent cast, it can be a walking cast or boot. I'm afraid I'll fall using the crutches and do more damage.
As many of you know, my wife, Susan has suffered Migraine Headaches
for about 25 years (for many years, I've often joked that if any of
"you" were married - 24 years, to me you'd
also have migraines!). The only time Susan has had any relief was
when she was either pregnant or nursing the children (a hormone,
relaxin, that allows women's joints to "loosen" for easier labor and
child birth is probably the reason she remained headache free during
this period). Two years after Sarah finished nursing, the headaches
In our long quest to find a cure (and we've tried many,
many different Doctors and treatments), it looks like we found a
Doctor (actually a dentist) that knows how to perform a "root cause
analysis" on Susan's Migraine Headaches. He asked Susan to bite
down 4 times and sustain the bite on the 4th time on oral device
that was hooked up to a computer. The results were plain to even a
simpleton like me: On a bar chart that represented the pressure of
the individual teeth, the back teeth (especially on the left side)
were at a pressure reading that was 4X the standard deviation
of the pressure range. Like closing a hard backed book,
with a pencil near the inside of the spine, would distort and tear
open the Spine of that book, her rear teeth are working as a wedge
(actually, a fulcrum) and distorting the mandible joint (the joint
at your jaw and skull).
The pain she is having is "referred pain"
from "hot" muscles (actually irritated much past the point of
spasms, to where Susan screamed when the Dentist touched her muscles
that close the jaw on the inside right of her mouth). Looking back
on historic events, Susan's migraine headaches started in February
of 1988, as she was having Orthodonic work (her Orthodontist had
originally suggested that she have her lower jaw broken, to correct
a recessive jaw line. She declined his suggestion.) When her smile
was 95% corrected she had her braces removed, a few months before we
We are going through with this treatment, as we probably spent at
least the same amount last year on Doctor's visits (to migraine
headache centers in Greensboro and Winston-Salem), Emergency Room
visits (2 in one weekend due to a drug interaction that caused Susan
to have a runaway Blood Pressure event (226/150 when we got to the
Emergency Room about an hour later at 5:45 AM Saturday!), and many
different pain relief drugs that leave Susan in what could be best
described as a "stupor." We think this very well could be a LIFE
ALTERING event. The first treatment is scheduled for Memorial Day
weekend and will go on for a period of 12 weeks. Treatments will
Dental work to reduce the contact between teeth (Bite
Adjustment) at the rear of her mouth, to lessen pressure on the
rear teeth and evenly distribute bite pressure (includes a
A dental appliance to prevent her from grinding her teeth
TENS unit therapy to calm the muscles that are "hot" to end
the referred pain and headaches and
Alpha-STIM Delivery Therapy as well as physical therapy to
retrain her muscles
So we are hopeful that by the end
of the summer, she (we) will have a new more active life (that
will help some of the secondary health issues that come with a
sedintary lifestyle, since she can rarely participate due to the
pain). We will keep you informed.
Last Thursday I saw a dentist who specializes in treating patients like me. Patients who have Migraine that are caused by things going on in the jaws and mouth.
I am a good candidate for his treatment because there is significant evidence that I grind my teeth and clench during sleep. I also have a lot of jaw popping and sometimes difficulty in opening my mouth.
It makes sense that my jaw not working properly would lead to muscle problems that in turn become pain.
I will start a 12 week course of therapy the last week of May that will include a device for my mouth, physical therapy among other things.
This is not a treatment that is isolated to the Charlotte area. I searched for 'teeth grinding and migraine' and got a lot of hits. You can also search for 'dentists migraine' and get a lot of results.
The treatment is expensive and the dentist treating me does not accept any insurance. So we have to come up with the money on the front end. But the office does the insurance filing for me and I'll get reimbursed directly.