BACK BREAKER and some inspiration!

September 2, 2014 (My grandfather Leith Todd would have been 95 years old today)

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

Before describing the week, I am hereby giving what is going on with my back. Monday, my back was intensely sore that I could hardly bend, get up, or walk on my left leg. (The place of injury is my lower left back and I had pain running down my left leg. Thus, walking hurt and so I limped.) Tuesday, after getting advice, I called Sister Hendrickson the medical officer, which was my original plan and everybody agreed. My companion thought I was toughing it out, but I was not. I could still do certain things, like drive the car. I called Sister Hendrickson who said to do what I did before. So, I took ibuprofen and a back relief over the counter medicine and iced my back and took a nap. Lying there helped, so when I was woken and was given the phone, I did not have any pain. Sister Hendrickson told me about your offer with the chiropractor, which I felt like what I was doing was going to work. So, not in rudeness nor in offense, I rejected and said I did not have any pain. After getting off the phone, I got up and had pain. Either way, I was sure that what I was doing was going to work. Well, after giving somebody their own priesthood blessing, the impression came to my mind that I should see the doctor. I love you two and all of that and I do listen, but if I can reason things out, then I become stubborn in my own ways. When God puts his vote in, it is best to listen, which I did. On Friday, my companion had his own appointment to go to and so we essentially stayed in Richmond all day. The clinic made do all of this paperwork, which I answered to the best of my knowledge. They x-rayed me and then I talked to the doctor. She gave me a prescription for a steroid (methylprednilosone), which is anti-inflammatory, and some muscle relaxant to use in case I need at night. (I picked up said medication via my local CVS. They apparently have record of us. Hopefully, that was okay.) I have been mainly taking the steroid, which comes with its own plan, with each day I use less. It tastes awful by the way for one time it melted before I had time to swallow with water. And it comes with some side effects, such as increasing energy, increasing heart rate, making feel more hot, and making feel like I have taken a lot of salt.

My choice by the doctor was either I take the medication or I get an MRI. Mission Medical will not pay for an MRI, so my option was the medication. She told me if it gets worse or there is no improvement, wherein the pain down my leg shoots down to my foot, there is a problem. With taking this medication, I have been taking it easy and what not. But, like the back relief over the counter medication, I am afraid that this steroid is only masking the pain. It has greatly improved wherein I do not feel the pain, albeit in certain circumstances, such as walking 12 blocks to get to another doctor's appointment for my companion. (With the medication, it does not hurt as intensely.) I am working on the priesthood blessing, because I have been stressed this past month, I have a lot of thoughts about this next transfer (I do think we are going to get a call), and now I have this. Trust me, I am trying to get better, because I do not want to be sent home.

And so, once I take the last medication and in the following days, the pain comes back, I will have to call Sister Hendrickson. Seeing as an MRI is out of the option list here, next could be physical therapy or whatever. I would say do not worry, but you're parents and you worry. I guess what I could say is be calm? I have no idea, but let's just see what happens after the days I am done with this steroid. Meanwhile, I will work on trying to get a priesthood blessing. Oh! And they have me doing certain exercises to try to help, which has helped somewhat, other than aggravate the nerve.

It sounds like you have been busy. And fun. I am glad that you are enjoying your time. I have been doing a lot better emotionally and I am excited, nervous, and scared. Mostly excited.

Monday, we, with our assistant ward mission leader, went up to Midlothian to St. Francis, where our hospital patient
(name withhled) was at the time. We get up there and I am limping along from the parking lot to the room. I was offered to be dropped off and get a wheelchair, but I thought I was fine. By the end of it, I was wishing that I had accepted the offer. We came to his room, where we learned that he had been moved to a hospital in Richmond. We never did go there on that night, but the member drove to CVS and bought ibuprofen and back relief medicine for me. I was honestly surprised and I thanked him.

Tuesday, we had a zone workshop where the assistants to the president and President and Sister Wilson came to our area and split the zone in half to directly teach us. We had to get there early to open the building. I manage to stay put and stay sitting. As part of the zone conference (and any other missionary meeting), somebody has to give the missionary purpose. I was the person to do that, or assigned to such task. I got up rather slowly, hobbled to the front, and gave the purpose. President Wilson was wondering what was going on, so when he and Sister Wilson got the chance, they asked me what had happened. The rest of the zone conference was good, except it hurt just to sit there. I could feel exactly where the nerve was, what its shape was. The pain was undoubtedly sharp. Upon getting home, I called the mission medical officer and rested. Eventually, we had dinner and then, a member wanted to see a few people. One of those people is a family where there is a do not contact and his reason for being so is that he requested to be removed from the church records and is highly antagonistic. We go there and that person was not home, yet. We had a good visit with the person of interest and family. It was going great until he showed up. Then, he turned it antagonistic by asking questions, trying to disprove the Church. The person of interest who is still in the Church was somewhat on our side, but also on his side. She was upset with us, because we did not say hi and neither did anyone else when she came to church. (Which was odd, because Elder Young blessed the sacrament and I passed and neither of us saw her that previous Sunday.) Finally, we left the house, after the member bore testimony just to shut down the person.

Wednesday, after correlation meeting that night (for not much happened during the day), we, with the assistant ward mission leader, went up to see our hospital patient, who had just had heart surgery (which was ahead of schedule). He was doing alright. Since then, he has not been doing well. He was supposed to be released on Saturday, but he has not been released. Thursday, we saw our new investigator. Now, I had looked over the smoking program of which you gave me in Powhatan. I had not realized that we have a binder in our apartment that has the same thing in it. So, we are both are trying to head up the project, but it is obvious that we do have different ideas. (He had looked at the binder before we realized that she needed to quit smoking.) We introduced it to her. As it turns out, that everybody that was there wanted to quit. Which was a bit of a shock, because that was not expected. Plus, she has to figure what she can do and not to. Citric acid inflames her pancreas, which causes pain. We are trying to figure that one out and luckily, she is going to a doctor soon to talk about it to them. Friday was a day of doctor's appointments. 

Saturday, we got a call from some fellow missionaries for help with a move in our area (the people who were moving were in the nearby military branch). We go over and I sat out. I apologized and had to explain. My companion was the only extra hand that they had and the person who was moving had a bad knee (and was doing a lot of the lifting). Eventually, they called movers and took us out to lunch. They were really nice people. Sunday, after church, we again went to Richmond to check up on our hospital patient. He was in a lot of pain and was very groggy. He was and is not doing well. We talked to the nurse about when he might be released; she shook her head and told us not any time soon. We had a great dinner that night with the family that usually feeds us on Sundays. We had them Thursday and on Thursday, they asked if there was anything we would want them to cook; it was our choice and they were willing. My companion requested grilled cheese sandwiches and we all looked at him. I suggested chicken parmesan, which was what we had that night. It was great, both the time spent and the dinner.

And Monday. It was not our P-day that day, but today. So, on Monday, we contacted a less active who we have not heard from in a while and could not contact. It was great timing, because he was getting ready for work. I realized an issue that he might have that could affect his church attendance. I am excited to work with him. We saw another less active after that, then lunch. I was wondering what we could do to help boost missionary work and excite the members and improve the area. It is something that we and the assistant ward mission leader have been praying about. I came to the inspiration that we should see everybody on the ward directory (minus a few names), whether they are active or less active. And rather than doing it secretly and slowly, make it aware to the quorums and auxiliaries, so that we can use hometeachers and possibly use them for rides for people who are far away (i.e., Amelia County, Sussex County). I was a bit nervous about this idea, because one, we are having a ward conference where the quorums and auxiliaries are reaching out to certain members (not necessarily, the entire ward roster) and we have a time set aside this Saturday to see less actives and such with the Elders Quorum. After talking to my companion about it and praying about it, I feel right about it and so does he. I am excited to tell our assistant ward mission leader and ward mission leader. I do believe this will work.

I am excited for what is coming next, which is something I am also nervous about. I finally have an idea to help this area and it happens to be the week of transfer calls. By pattern, it has been three months and by three months, I leave. But my pattern has slightly been broken, seeing as I had Elder Avision only for 6 weeks. I do not know for sure, but I think I might be leaving. I really do not know.

All is well.


Elder S. Todd

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