Thursday, July 02, 2009

Leaving TFC

Yep, Margaret and I are retiring from Transport For Christ (TFC) at the end of July. That will be eight years and one month since our first night on the chapel as volunteers. On August 1, 2009 I will no longer be the Lead Chaplain for the Life-Saver Chapel in Elkton, MD., but I will still be an ordained Chaplain, just not with TFC. And before you ask, we have no idea yet what TFC’s plans are for the Life-Saver.

This will be the third time I have retired.  The last time Margaret put up with me at home for six months and then told me I had to get a job or volunteer someplace.  She had enough of me home underfoot.  It will be different this time because now Margaret is the one working and I’m at home.  Just call me Mr. Mom!  I will still be filling in as a relief preacher when requested plus teaching an adult Bible study every Thursday night at church.  I’m sure the Lord has other things for me to do as well.

My main focus initially will be to get some health issues under control.  Last November I had two sleep studies which confirmed that I have Complex Sleep Apnea which is a combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. From December through May I spent six frustrating months trying to get a V-PAP breathing machine to relieve the apnea.  I tried six different masks and they all failed to work correctly.  My apnea is so severe that it takes a lot of air pressure from the machine to force air into my lungs while I sleep.  At full pressure, all of the masks leaked which defeated the purpose plus the leak was loud enough to wake me.  At one point I had a serious infection in the bridge of my nose caused by a mask.

Life without a breathing machine means Chronic Sleep Deprivation for me.  That is much more serious than just being tired all of the time. When we consistently don’t get adequate sleep lots of health problems develop and the effects are cumulative.  The longer you suffer Sleep Deprivation, the more severe the symptoms get—some of which are irreversible.  The biggest immediate issue for me is that it causes migraine headaches. When I get a migraine I don’t get pain, I get vertigo which puts me completely out of action for hours.  Right now I don’t do mornings!  I need ten to twelve hours in bed at night to not wake up with vertigo.

There is surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnea but my pulmonologist did not recommend it for me.  The only other alternative is to lose weight.  My apnea is related to my being over weight  Gee, where did I hear that before?  So, this afternoon I have an appointment with my doctor to begin a 800 calorie per day diet.  I expect that it will be an easy diet to follow—if it tastes good, spit it out!  I also expect to hear my doctor use that awful word “exercise".  Please be in prayer for both of us as I do this.  I will be posting my progress here so you are all my accountability partners!

On a happier note, Lord willing, our goal is to move back to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia after the Lord gives me victory over this health issue. That should be in 1.5 to 2 years.  I would rather not change doctors in mid stream.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

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