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Healing Process

rose

Photo Credit: Darling & Talented Daughter

So today was Day I lost count of physical therapy.  I never knew cracking my neck and back could feel so liberating!  My trapezoids have been in the tightest of knots and with a couple movements, the chiropractor set my muscles free!  Well, most of them anyway.  I must admit I came into this therapy process with some apprehension of being worked on by a chiropractor.  But, today changed all of that.  🙂  I had a throbbing headache last night and this morning because of the tense muscles, so hopefully it eases.

As the tech was doing an ultrasound on my elbow, we began to talk.  She’s usually the receptionist and exceptionally pleasant and kind.  I was surprised to see her in the back doing physical therapy until she explained that she’s worked there for many years and has trained quite a few of the staff as well.  She showed me pictures of her four beautiful children, who are stair steps beginning with age nine on down.  It must be my age showing but I could hardly believe she’s a mother of four!  She looks so young!  Bless her heart!  She also shared that she’s in school to become a psychologist and wants to help abused women and children.  She escaped a decade long abusive marriage and wants to offer hope to other women.  Wow.  I was blown away that all of this was inside of this young woman!  She’s beautiful and appears happy.  I guess she is.  I’m sure she feels like she has a new lease on life.  Well, now I know how to further pray for her, along with the other staff.

I was really glad this lady performed the ultrasound as there’s one tech who I think would rather be anywhere but at work.  There’s a third tech who usually works with my kids while I get the unfriendly gal.  She’s not just unfriendly; she has zero facial expression and is almost as if she’s floating around but no one is home emotionally.  I just think that if you’re dealing with people in pain, which is why they’re doing physical therapy, that one should have a compassionate and caring disposition.  Call me old school, I guess.  I told my husband about there being two techs, one is awesome and the other one… well, you’ll see what I mean when you get there.  He came home last night and he told me right away that he knew exactly what I meant.

The chiropractor and physical therapy staff almost feel like family since we’ve been going three days a week for three weeks now.  I love how positive and cheerful the chiropractor’s demeanor is.  It’s almost as if his disposition promotes healing in and of itself.  How dreadful it would be if his attitude was like that tech!  I’m not sure we’d be progressing as well.  There are so many facets to physical healing.  I think faith has a lot to do with it.  Expectation.  Attitude.  Gratitude for even the smallest strides of progress.  Grace – giving yourself copious amounts as you heal, taking things slowly.  Peace in the midst of the storm.  If you have all sorts of inner turmoil, that can’t help your body heal as well, especially tense muscles and ligaments.

I’m so thankful to God for His healing power that is at work within our entire family!  So grateful for His matchless peace and grace.  There’s nothing like it.  Nothing in this world compares to knowing Him, to walking with Him.  We can search out the pleasures of this world, but they all lead to paths of destruction.  The things this world calls exciting and enticing are selfish and unfulfilling pursuits.  Nothing can satisfy like a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He loves us so!  We are the objects of His affection, the reason He sent Jesus to die on a cruel Cross, to be a propitiation for our sin, to stand in our place.  Salvation is a gift.  All we have to do is receive it.

There was a lady in the waiting area today that was in severe neck pain due to a recent car accident.  She spoke with a husky, smoker’s voice.  Apparently, she was relaying the details of her accident to one of the staff and my daughter was listening intently as I joined her in the lobby after my therapy.  Once again, we are reminded of God’s grace in sparing us from a more tragic accident.  As much pain as we’ve endured, we often see how much worse it could have been and our hearts are flooded with thankfulness to God!

God is a good God!  That’s all I have to say.  He’s good.  He’s merciful.  He’s the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  “Though weeping endures for a night; joy comes in the morning!” (Psalm 30:5)  His favor lasts a lifetime!

Only God knows why these things happen.  I surely don’t.  My daughter said today that between the accident and a recent workshop put on by an insurance company about teen driving, safety, etc. that she will be a much safer and mindful driver.  I know she will be.  She shared this statistic about teen driving –

“80% of teens involved in fatal accidents were not wearing seat belts.”

Wow!  That’s unbelievable.  So preventable.  She also told me that she recently told some friends they should really put their seat belts on when they got in the car from school.  She said it in a friendly way as to not appear bossy, but was surprised how complacent they were about it initially.  It’s typical for teens to be casual about these things, but the adults in their lives must insist on this basic safety measure!  The fatality statistics involving teens and driving are staggering, and now with the added distractions of smart phones and texting, it’s only increasing sadly.

Saturday marked one year since my darling daughter’s friend, Emily, died in a tragic car accident.  I don’t know the details aside from the fact that she hit a tree and it fell on her car.  I can’t imagine the pain her family has endured these last twelve months.  The blessing is that one day they will be reunited in heaven.

Today on the way home from physical therapy, the driver of a burgundy sedan wanted to become attached to my rear bumper as I drove along a small country road with a speed limit of 35.  My first thought was – “I was just rear ended by a drunk driver.  Can I tell you how uncomfortable your lack of distance feels?”  My second thought was – “We just got the SUV back from the auto body shop yesterday.  Don’t send it back!”  And thirdly – “You’re so young, fella.  Life will teach you to slow down and how fragile life really is.”

Vulnerable is what I feel when I’m driving these days, but also safe at the same time.  You know why?  I’m safe in God’s hands.  Nothing happens in my life or my family’s life (or yours) without His notice.  God is in control, even when I am not.  In that, I will trust and give thanks.

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 ~ I Thessalonians 5:18

 

 

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Physical Therapy & Recovery

cherry blossom

Photo Credit: My Darling & Talented Daughter

Today was Day #Umpteen of physical therapy since our auto accident three weeks ago.  It was a good day overall, one where we didn’t feel like we were totally falling apart, so life is improving all the time!  The chiropractor had me do exercises on a large exercise ball to kind of work the knots and kinks out of my lower back.  It’s a precarious thing balancing on that ball, but not bad once you get used to it.  As always, the electrotherapy and heat feel so good on my neck, shoulders and back, as does the ice on my elbow.  I’m just a mess!  😉  But today was a relatively good one.  I’ve developed headaches over the last few days but hopefully that passes soon.  Hubby begins physical therapy this week.  Can’t wait to hear his fun tales.

The chiropractor tickles me.  He has a French last name, so I assume he has some French lineage; but he has this affinity for style (of sorts).  For instance, today he was sporting a pair of white slacks with some sort of dress shirt (I can’t recall).  But, his shoes…those I remember.  They were snazzy … well, when they were in their prime, that is.  Who knows?  Maybe they’re new and are a throw-back style.  They had the Italian flag on them and were brown loafer type of shoes.  Definitely very European looking.  And, as my daughter so keenly pointed out, he always dons this brown, braided leather belt.  So, he’s stylin’.  He marches to his own drummer, let’s just say.  He looks very dignified and nice, just a little unique is all.  I noticed he had his shirt cuff turned over once and it had some snazzy design on the underside to complement the shirt pattern.  Interesting.  Can’t say I’ve seen a shirt with that design before.  But, his wardrobe makes our visits interesting if nothing else.  Haha!  … That said, since we do have to see a Dr. three times a week, he is a very nice person to deal with, thankfully.

The kids did their neck rotations on the occipital float (like a bean bag of sorts) and then had their electrotherapy as well on their necks, shoulders and backs.  After a painful weekend, today was one of my daughter’s better days also, which was a blessing.  Some days it feels like we take one step forward and two steps backward.

We had my dad over for lunch yesterday and it probably was too soon to do as much as we did, but it was good to see him after being away.  He has two Dr. appointments this week that I’ll be working into my schedule.  If they weren’t so necessary, I’d definitely postpone them.  His equilibrium seems to be way off and I want to get him in to see his regular Dr. to see about this.

The kids and I have a Dr. appointment next week and we’ll assess how much more physical therapy we require at that point.  I really don’t know what he’ll suggest, but I know we’re a long way from normal at this point.  We can be going along okay and then we try to do regular things and it flares up the injuries.  Just to do grocery shopping and laundry is a herculean effort.  Such as today … My darling daughter is attending a co-worker’s baby shower this weekend and needed to buy a gift.  It was all we could do to select diapers, wipes, and some onesies, along with our groceries without being totally exhausted and in major pain.  She will likely only stay at the baby shower for a little while as sitting too long is painful.  She’s also invited to her bff’s birthday party this weekend and will only stay a short while there also.  She was in so much pain on Saturday that she almost contemplated not even attending, which to a 16 year old is a huge deal!  I know she wants to see her friends, though.  The party is scheduled from 4-9p.m.!  That’s one long party!  There’s no way she’d make it that long.  She needs to pin a little sign to her shirt, “Please no hugs.  Air hugs only!”

I made a tuna casserole and peas for our lunch with dad yesterday.  And today I made meatloaf and my darling daughter made home fries.  We usually have a vegetable with dinner, but at this point, we’re doing well to prepare something that resembles dinner.  Two nights in a row!  We are making progress.  And, today I bought some chicken breasts and sour cream to make a Mexican casserole tomorrow night.  (I already had the tortillas, beans, cheese, salsa and corn on hand.)  Tic-tac-toe … three in a row!  Life is improving all the time!  One thing I know is that we can’t keep eating carry out and rotisserie chicken from the grocery store!

I finally took an inventory of our freezer and organized it last night.  You wouldn’t believe how much frozen fruit we have!  Three bags of strawberries, three bags of peaches, and some other fruit in a bag.  Darling daughter loves making fruit smoothies in the blender, but has been slacking off of late.  So, our stash has really accumulated and I guess I kept buying more not realizing how many we had!  We have one package of turkey burgers, four trays of ground beef, one box of shrimp that is begging to be eaten, some veggies, and a bag of mussels that is pleading to be tossed!  I nearly threw them away for the hundredth time, but my husband promises me that he’ll cook and eat them!  (Eww!)  At least now I know exactly what lives in our freezer (which usually is very hard to determine!) so I can plan meals to use it up.  We have a side-by-side refrigerator and the freezer space is very limited!  You might think there’s quite a bit of space, but if food comes in boxes of any sort, it consumes way too much valuable real estate!

And so it seems life is slowly but surely returning to somewhat normal.  We just have to bear in mind to be good to ourselves, take naps when possible, and take things slow.  It’s really difficult sometimes to not get ahead of ourselves and exercise patience with our rate of healing.  We’ve come so far since three weeks ago and are convinced our progress up to this point is a direct result of an incredible amount of believers interceding on our behalf!!  God is so faithful!

I am constantly reminded that as bad as our injuries are, they could be so much worse.  The four of us are true testimonies of God’s mercy and grace.  We will praise Him, even through the pain, because He’s so worthy!  He spared our lives and as far as we know, all of the others involved were spared also.  Mercy.

During times of great tests and trials, we often see God’s hand at work the most.  It is during these times that God’s power is on display and His presence evident.  In our weakness, He is strong.

I’d like to think of myself as pretty compassionate toward others, but after our car accident, I think my empathy toward others in pain has increased.  I’ve learned an important lesson through my pain.  I’ve been reminded that folks can look okay on the outside, but you have no idea of the battles that are raging on the inside.  They may be physical.  They may be mental.  Emotional.  Or otherwise.  The fact is, don’t judge a book by its cover.  Masks are everywhere and sometimes … many times … folks are fighting a war we may know nothing about.  People need love, no matter their appearance.  They may seem to have it all together or they may look like they’re falling apart.  Both may be in dire need of hope, grace, patience, and most of all Christ’s love.

And the greatest of these is love.  (I Corinthians 13)

Prayer – “Dear God, empty us of ourselves and fill us up with You so we can offer hope to a lost and dying world.  Help us to see others through the lens of your love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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Praise Report! … and food for thought

“I am confident to see the goodness of the Lord”  ~  Psalm 37

This has been my mantra since our car accident a little over two weeks ago.  I will see God’s grace and mercy revealed even in this!  What the enemy intended for evil, God will turn it around and cause it to be a blessing and a testimony for His glory and His alone!

Well, in previous posts I have outlined other praise reports related to the accident, but today I have two more!

1.) The drunk driver was underinsured to cover all of the losses (of course) and so we filed the claim through our insurance company.  Well, our insurance co. has decided to waive our deductible since the other insurance company has assumed liability!  Let me tell you what a huge blessing this is to our family!  We were looking at paying up to a $500 deductible when we pick up our SUV from the repair shop.  While it would’ve been reimbursed down the road, it’s a blessing not to have to pay it at all!!  So, this is a tremendous relief!  (Good news, my teenagers, you get to eat for the next two weeks!  Haha!)  God is good!

2.) Our vehicle was the only one out of the four involved that was not a total loss.  This is amazing considering our vehicle is the oldest (12 yrs. old!) out of all of them!  One was a shiny 2014, with a value of $30,000 at least; yet it was totaled.  That means three other families are shopping for vehicles.  Again, we are just thankful that our SUV is repairable and I always say that it will last until we’re ready to buy another vehicle.  The night of the accident, my husband was joking that it would last ten more years.  We both laughed, but, who knows?

We all stand in awe at the goodness of God in protecting us that night!  I believe the Lord dispatched angels from heaven to guard us and keep us safe.  There’s no human explanation of how our vehicle absorbed so much of the damage, yet totaled the mini van in front of us.  We were rear ended by a car and the offending SUV with an impact of at least 65 miles per hour!  It was the loudest crash you ever heard and the most unexpected!  We were sitting at a red light.  Everyone is supposed to stop.  Except those who cannot because they’re so impaired due to alcohol that they no longer have appropriate reflexes and are unable to process what red means, that is.

… I just searched online how many beers it takes for a 200 lb. man to exceed the legal limit.  It appears to be 4.  Wow.  Of course, many factors can affect this number.  For instance, interactions with prescription drugs, etc.  But, how one can decide it’s safe to climb behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming that much alcohol is beyond me.  Of course, I do not know the weight/size of the man who plowed into us, but am merely offering an example.  The greater the body weight, the more alcohol it requires to exceed the legal limit.  So, the scenario worsens.

According to the U.S. CDC, every 48 minutes someone dies as a result of a drunk driver.  It said that in “2010 nearly 1/3 of all automobile deaths were related to alcohol impaired driving.”  Those are staggering statistics.  Thankfully and mercifully, we lived.  Many don’t.

My daughter brought up an interesting note … She said, “Do you know how many people this one accident has affected?”  I’d been talking about the decision of one man to drink injured ten other people, in addition to himself.  She added: the first responders (who were so awesome that night!!), the helicopter pilot, hospital staff at two hospitals, those who were re-routed on the highway after it was shut down for hours, law enforcement, judges/staff, jurors, replacements in jobs that may have been hired while the injured recovered, families and friends of those injured, insurance agents/adjusters/staff, auto body shops, towing companies, Dr. offices, physical therapy and radiology facilities, churches, and the list is possibly endless.  I mention churches because during our recovery, we are unable to continue our volunteer work at our church.  Think of this replicated ten times over, potentially.  One alcohol related accident.  Affects hundreds of people, maybe a thousand.

This is an intriguing path because it demonstrates how no man is an island unto himself.  Truly.  Our decisions in life greatly impact others, even when we don’t realize it.  Perhaps none so dramatic, but influence nonetheless.  Now, that’s food for thought.

 

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A Little Perspective

…is all it takes sometimes.  We’ve had a rough few days around here with all our aches and pains.  What am I saying?  We’ve had a painful two weeks.  But it has reached the point where we’re tired of it!  Frustrated that we’re still in pain, tired of taking pain meds, Epsom baths, applying Biofreeze gel … and don’t get me started about the seemingly endless Dr. and physical therapy appointments!! … And, then she walked past us on her way out of the physical therapy office today…

She had some sort of brace around her rib cage and a cast on her arm as she spoke in a raspy voice.  Clearly she was in a worse accident than we were and her pain has got to be more severe.  I knew from the beginning of our ordeal how blessed we were not to have sustained far greater injuries and we are infinitely grateful to God for that!  But, today was an especially painful day for me where it hurts to sit.  It doesn’t feel a whole lot better standing.  And I didn’t sleep well and I have a lot of issues on my mind at the moment… And, and, and… Blah, blah, blah, blah… Well, you get the idea.  Not a stellar day for me.

But, when I saw this poor woman today, I couldn’t help but thank God once more for His grace and mercy over our lives!  Yes, we are all in pain from the accident still, but the good news is that we will recover in time.  Pain does crazy things to you.  Not only does it make one grumpy, but it also blurs the reality that the pain will pass in time.

I was sharing my accident story with the dermatologist this morning at my follow up appointment and she concurred how fortunate we all are that it was no worse.  That fact alone fills my heart with immense gratitute.  From the outside, we all appear to be just fine, but on the inside, not only are we still in a great deal of pain, we are also still processing the trauma of the accident.  That takes time too.  Since this was the first real accident I’ve ever been in, I never realized the anxiety that can follow a major accident.  I’ve gotten better each time I’ve driven or been a passenger since the accident, but I’m definitely uber cautious and aware that anything can happen.

My husband went to the orthopedic Dr. this morning and will begin his physical therapy routine this week.  He mentioned how much time all of these appointments are consuming and the fact that we have to get back to living our normal lives!  I couldn’t agree more.  I got to thinking how the actions of one person affected ten other people that night!  Because one man decided to consume entirely too much alcohol and get behind the wheel, he and his passenger were flown by helicopter to a shock and trauma unit.  The remaining nine of us were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.  He even still had alcohol in his vehicle, which I’m sure is one reason he attempted to flee the scene of the accident.  He received five citations.

This week alone I will have had six medical appointments, two on Mon. and Wed. and will have two more on Fri.  There have been no quiet moments since the accident.  The phrase, “No rest for the weary” comes to mind.  We just want normal life to resume.  Now.  Isn’t that our way?  We want everything instantly.  Apparently part of the reason for much of my pain is inflammation.  The Dr. advised to limit wheat and take fish oil (which I already do) to help.  I also came home and researched this a little and found out green tea, spices, almonds and many fruits can also help.

And, so my pep talk to myself today is that I will continue to take this healing journey one day at a time.  I will resist the urge to complain (too much anyway!).  I will count my blessings every day!  I will look to the hills from whence comes my help.  My help comes from the Lord!  I will do my part to help the healing process and trust God to do the rest.  And I will continually seek out the good that will come from this accident.  I know there’s more good that hasn’t been revealed just yet.  I don’t believe God wastes pain, so I believe there’s a purpose even in this.  And I will yet praise Him!

Signed,

Just Me Being Real

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Doctors, doctors, and more doctors…

If I had a dollar for every doctor’s appointment our family will endure over the next stretch, I’d have a nice little stockpile of cash!  There … That’s my complaint for the day.  Now, that I’ve expressed my disdain for my suddenly busy schedule, I must add that I’m very happy that our family is on the road to recovery from our recent auto accident…however slow that recovery may seem at the moment.

This morning, I took my darling daughter to the ear, nose and throat Dr. as she’s had an ear infection (not related to the accident) and the antibiotic ear drops she was using were affecting her hearing.  Thankfully, the Dr. said the infection has cleared up and he suctioned out some build up. (yuck!)  The good news is that she can hear perfectly once again… especially when I tell her to do her school work!  Haha.  Yes, we’re attempting to get back on track with our school work this week to finish the school year strong!  Last week, we all were in such pain and on meds that nothing got done.

This afternoon, my son, daughter and I have our first round of physical therapy.  So, we’ll see how that goes.  We met with the orthopedic Dr. on Tuesday and he referred us to physical therapy three times a week.  I bought this gel called Biofreeze on Amazon and my husband and I used it for the first time last night.  It works wonders!!  It’s my new best friend!  It is strong so you only need a dab.  (We learned that the hard way! Haha!)  It really helps sore muscles and joint pain.  I also recently bought an all natural muscle relaxer called Formula 303.  We haven’t tried it yet, but I plan on it soon.  We all detest the way the prescription muscle relaxers make us feel so groggy and out of it.  It feels like someone hit you over the head and then you’re supposed to be able to function?  I don’t think so.  🙂

Yesterday, my husband and I went to see our primary care Dr.  I am happy to say that she was compassionate and kind this time, which is my biggest complaint about her.  I’ve had the worst experiences with female doctors.  They just seem to either have a condescending attitude or no feelings at all.  Just treat me like a human being, please.  That’s all I ask.  Not a number.  Not a file.  Just a fellow human being, please.  Anyway, I digress… She’s sending me for three x-rays, plus a referral for my annual mammogram.  Oh, joy!  It is that time of year.  (My mother died of breast cancer at age 53, so it is especially imperative.  Of course, every woman over the age of 40 should have mammograms annually.  Even the orthopedic Dr. reminded me of such, which I’m grateful he did.  Because with everything else aching and such, it did slip my mind.)

Four out of five days next week will be consumed with medical appointments.  I also have a follow-up appt. previously scheduled with the dermatologist about the precancerous cells they found on the mole I had removed from my cheek in March.

We’re all still very achy, especially our necks and backs from the auto accident.  I’m very hopeful that the physical therapy will help a great deal with that.

The police report was finally available from the accident.  It was an interesting read, for sure.  The driver of the SUV, who plowed into a sedan that then hit our SUV and sent us into a mini van (and pushed it through the intersection), was, in fact, drunk, as we’d heard.  He received five citations.  He and his passenger were air lifted to a shock and trauma unit hospital.  The remaining nine of us were carried by ambulance to a local hospital.  Quite an ordeal.  I’ve only had one other car accident in my life and it was nearly 20 years ago, with mere scratches on a bumper.  But, back to those injured in this four car collision… I’ve been praying for their healing…even the drunk driver.  I’ve been praying that they will accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, if they don’t already know Him.

I’ve also searched for the good that could possibly come out of something so devastating.  So far, I’ve come up with three definites:

One – Twenty minutes before the accident, we stopped for some groceries after being away from home for nine days, and moved our daughter from the right side of the third row of the SUV to the second row.  We put all the groceries in the third row where she was.  Had our daughter still been riding in the third row seat at the time of impact, she would’ve been severely injured.  (She’d been riding in the third row for nearly nine hours!)  We were hit directly in the tail gate as well as the right corner bumper.  It’s just one demonstration of the mercy of God and His hand over our lives concerning this accident!

Two – We were not hit directly by the drunk driver, even though the impact was still severe and at highway speed.  The small car behind us was totaled and completely sandwiched.  Thankfully, the driver and his passenger are okay.  (at least as far as we know)

Three – We will recover from our injuries.  We know that it could have been far worse.  Despite the pain we feel today, we will move beyond our aches and pains.  We definitely feel like God protected and shielded us from what could have been catastrophic injuries.

And, so, despite all of our appointments, we are grateful for good medical care and the beginning of the road to recovery.  I’m thankful for the peace that surpasses all human understanding… that no matter how difficult the path, God still walks with us.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

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A Little Update …

Hey there, friends!  Just wanted to let you know that our family was on our way home from visiting our older son and was involved in a car accident on Sunday night.  We had driven 1,000 miles over the course of two days and were just four minutes from home when we were hit by a drunk driver in a stolen vehicle.  A Chevy Tahoe (SUV) plowed into a Volkswagon Passat (sedan), which struck us and sent us into the minivan in front of us.  We believe the Tahoe was traveling at about 65-70 mph and made no attempt to stop.  We had been stopped at a red light for about a minute when we were hit.

My husband, two children and myself were all taken to the hospital by ambulance and later released after CAT scans, etc.  Two people were flown by helicopter to a hospital.  We were very fortunate that we were not injured worse than we were.  We all have a great deal of neck and back pain, but, prayerfully will be okay in time.  The kids have Dr. appts. on Friday and my husband and I have appts. next week.

We are so grateful for the mercy of God over our lives and know that angels were dispatched to protect us from what could have been a fatal accident.  Our hearts are so full of praise to our heavenly Father for His protection.  He is so worthy of all our praise!  We may never know why these things happen, but we are determined that somehow, some way God will receive all the glory even out of this unfortunate situation.

We appreciate your prayers, friends.

We’re on quite a bit of medicine so I won’t be posting as much during our recovery.

God bless!

~Amber

 

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