Friday, 25 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Friday 25.3.2022 (9 months till Christmas)

Dear Friends,

The days are bleeding into each other now.  Which is good.  We don’t have that terrible hour-on-hour uncertainty about what will happen anymore.   Thank God.   Mum’s days are now days of building her up.

Mum has achieved some new milestones.  She is able to eat on her own using her left hand and a spoon.  Her right arm and hand are slooowly beginning to function again.  With a lot of effort, she can manoeuvre her right hand to get a grape into her mouth – but it is still a huge task for her.  She can sit up at the edge of her bed, and lie down from a seating position.  Sheba has been working on getting Mum to stand up using a walker – and by God’s grace Mum has now started walking a bit.  The journeys are very short – from her bed to the dining room table – but we are so glad for this big step (literally) that she is taking.

When our dear friends Tej and Vanaja had lunch with us on Wednesday – Mum was out at the table which is a joy.

And of course she loves Sheba’s wadas

Mum’s days are at this point full of…. well, full of simple things.

Eating.  Sleeping.  Listening to the Bible.  Meeting people.  More eating.  Toilet.  Physiotherapy exercises.  Phone calls.  More sleeping.  Coffee.  Medicines.  Meeting visitors.  Praying.  Talking.  Resting.   Repeat – and shuffle.

It is a very different life from what Mum has been living for the past 5 years – one where she was very independent and able to do everything on her own.  She currently has been in our home for the past 2 weeks – and has been in only 3 rooms (including the bathroom).

Today much of her life is dependent on others.  It is never easy for anyone to have such a large change take place – especially for someone who has lived life as fully as Mum has in her beloved Shanti Kunj in Mussoorie.   A person who is fiercely independent and loves going on her 1 hour walk along the Mussoorie mountainside every day. As you can imagine, life here it is not always “happy, happy.” 

The pictures that we have included show her in an upbeat mood – but there are other times too.  Yesterday Mum was quite tired.  We found out that she has a UTI and have started her on some meds.  She found her physio-exercises hard and left her very tired.  She slept a lot during the second part of yesterday and during today too.

But overall we have seen so much to be thankful for. In all of this God’s word keeps helping.  Mum has been listening over and over to the Gospel on John in Hindi.  Over the last few days she has started listening to the German audio bible too from her mobile. 

Mum repeatedly tells visitors how grateful she is to be here and for the care that she is getting.  And that she is glad to be alive.  She has told a number of people that she is also very ready to meet Jesus – and that she must still have work to do since she is still here.

And so we start each day anew.   Sheba and I are slooowly getting ready to get back to work again.  We still have some areas where we need help and appreciate your prayers in this. 

If you would like to call Mum you can do so at +91 6371338132 or by Whatsapp at +91 9557267515.  

Thanks to everyone who has continued to pray for Mum – and for all who have come here to visit.

-        Andi and Sheba (for Eichers everywhere)

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Saturday 19.3.2022

Dear Ones, 

For the last 4 days we have had a team from the Anugrah project of Herbertpur Christian Hospital visiting us (  It has been wonderful to see the 2 Physiotherapists and the senior Occupational Therapist at work – assessing the condition of 25 children who are living with disabilities (primarily Cerebral Palsy).   The team met with the children and their families on 2 days here at the Asha Kiran Hospital and each day also did village visits with our Caring Communities staff.  We also had a 1 day seminar for church leaders on God’s love for people with disabilities.

Sheba was able to participate in this special visit because we had our dear friends Hannah and Jamuna come for 2 days to look after Mum during the day.  What a blessing God’s people are!

One of the themes that came out of the whole experience with the Anugrah team was just how much God loves each one of us – regardless of the challenges we may be facing – or what society thinks.  We are precious because God’s signature is on us.  And how much love He has for us.   Jubin – the spritely leader of the visiting group – made a comment at one point:  we are all going to be disabled… because we will all age. 

How true.  Mum has repeatedly marvelled at how Sheba and I are now looking after her – when half a century ago, I was being lifted in Mum’s arms, and Sheba was being cared by Amma.  How the tables turn.  And what a privilege it is to care.

And so we come to the progress Mum is making.  

We are so glad so share a number of milestones achieved by your prayers.  Mum is now able to eat on her own, using her left hand and a spoon.  She drinks normally (we ditched the straw 2 days ago) and is able to sit up for extended periods of time.   In the last 2 days we have stopped dragging her around in a chair… she now ‘walks’ with support from us for short distances.   We have started having her sit at the dining room table for lunch with us. Amazing grace!

We are also glad to report that her right arm is gaining strength and a bit of control.  Just over a week ago, when Pritam our wonderful physio-therapist was doing his last set of exercises with Mum, he asked her to lift up her whole right arm using her shoulder joint.  She could not.  He lifted her it up for her and asked her to hold it in place.  It kept flopping down.   But now Mum can hold her right arm straight and move it right up and hold it.  It is amazing to see the difference.  Her right hand has gained some control as well.  

But there is still some way to go.  Please do continue to pray for fine greater strength in her right arm and for fine motor control in her right hand.

Mum has also been doing some processing of her emotions.  She has been teary at times for various reasons, and has brought up things from her childhood (in German) and put them into the Lord’s hands.  She is slowly piecing together her experience and is curious about the time that she does not remember.  How grateful we are for the luxury of being able to ‘remember’ those fraught times (which were bathed in your prayers!).

Mum also enjoys a stream of visitors here.  The darling mother of the family below – who speaks only Malayalam – has come twice and prayed and sung with Mum in the heavenly language.  A young boy came this afternoon – she had taught him a bit of German the last time she was here – and he was so happy to tell Mum all about his new baby brother.   Our Caring Community team members had a practical lesson on Physiotherapy this morning with Sheba showing them the exercises we help Mum do, and the flexing and helping of her body to achieve these goals.  And of course many prayers – with almost every visitor interceding for her.

Next steps?  Well.  We would like her to be strong enough to get up on her own – and be able to walk.   We hope that this week will see some steps (literally) along this line.  It will of course help with her toileting and other self-care needs.   But we don’t want to push things too fast.  This is a time of rest and recuperation and rehabilitation.  Your earnest prayers are continued to be cherished.   


- Andi and Sheba (for the far-flung Eichers)

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – The Ides of March - Tuesday 15.3.2022

Dear Friends,

The golden rays of a beautiful Odisha late afternoon are flowing into the room.  Mum is sitting up and chatting with Sheba’s sister Sarah (who lives next door to us!).  Anyone walking into the room will hardly imagine Mum’s condition 2 weeks ago.  We are living in a season of grace.  Each day is precious.  Each day is a reminder of how precious our lives are… and how fragile.

By God’s grace, Mum is living well. She is processing a lot and has been sharing about how grateful she is to be alive, and for the care she is getting.  Earlier today after her morning physiotherapy session with Sheba, she took a nap.  She went into a deep sleep.  When I woke her for lunch she told me that she had been a bit cold to start with, but had a lovely warm red blanket put on her, and that that warmth and coziness was like the Father’s love around her.  

Mum has also been talking about having new revelations about the suffering that Jesus went through.  As she has been thinking during these days, the thought of Christ on the cross has brought her to tears – of sorrow and of thanksgiving.  

The last 2 nights Mum has slept without waking up at all.  Last night Sheba said that Mum moved on her own, turning on her side when needed.  What a huge step forward from where she was before, unable to move, with us having to shift her every 2 hours as we did not want her to get bed-sores.

Perhaps even more than in Mussoorie, we have a steady stream of guests coming to see Mum.  She is able to recognise so many of them from her previous times here at Asha Kiran – and is happy to make new friends as well.  The prayers continue in person – and from far away.  This is a blessed season for us in so many ways.

Is Mum out of the woods yet?  Well, she is able to sit without us supporting her.  She is able to eat with her left hand.  Her right arm is regaining some mobility – though there is still a way to go….   We continue to be concerned for her heart condition.  She is mentally sharp and is able to converse with a variety of people (though she has a bit more of a German accent than before).  Most of all, she is bringing herself to the Lord, and drawing strength from Him.  We know that all of our days are numbered, and are blessed to spend these with Mum, helping her on a road to recovery.  

Next update coming in a few days… till then – here is a picture of Mum taken this afternoon!


Andi and Sheba (for the Eicher family in all corners of ye olde globe)

Saturday, 12 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Saturday 12.3.2022

So the big milestone has been achieved - Mum is safely here at our home in Asha Kiran Hospital after that long trip across the country (borne by so many, many of your prayers).  

Today was a day of setting up the room for Mum - and of Sheba helping Mum in so many, many ways.  There are just so many things that we take for granted in our lives - for which we need help.   Mum is now sleeping peacefully - while Sheba is taking her Saturday evening Geriatric Course lesson on zoom.

Overall a good day for Mum, and she is very grateful to be alive.  Mum said a number of times that she is very ready for the Lord to take her home, but that she knows that God has a plan for her.  She also said that she is amazed that she has lived to be this old, and we are of course so grateful that she is still with us!  As the first visitors have come to welcome her back to Asha Kiran, we have already seen her minister to others - even as she is being blessed too.

Mum still needs much prayer, as do we.  Will you pray for Mum to keep getting stronger and learn to do her activities of daily living.  In the meantime, please ask the Lord to bring a lady to help Mum at home in the coming days.  Finding the right person is always a big ask, but the Lord can do amazing things.

As we ease into this new life here - for the next few months at least we think - we will probably start staggering our reports on Mum’s condition a bit more.  You may not be getting a daily update about Mum, but please do continue your kind prayers for her.  We are just humbled by all the love Mum has received so far… and know that the road ahead will have plenty of times when these prayers will continue to be needed. 

Thanks for being with us so far.


Blessings from Andi and Sheba (on behalf of the extended Eicher family)

Friday, 11 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Friday 11.3.2022

Hello Everyone!

It’s 8.30 PM at Lamtaput Odisha!  We arrived here 2 hours ago after a looooong journey from Mussoorie - very tired of course, but grateful for the miracle of making it out here!

Mum has already had a bath, her supper, her meds, and after a short prayer of thanksgiving she is asleep. 

We are grateful for all the many prayers said on our behalf during this long trip across our country! 

We started out in the cold darkness of a Mussoorie night, exactly 24 hours ago.  We carried Mum up to Sisters Bazaar in a stretcher and then had her sleep on the pushed back seats of an innova.  Mum found this part of the journey hard, as she is naturally claustrophobic and being strapped in the seat and having the lights of cars and lorries shining on her all night was disorienting.   

We got to Delhi airport at 3 AM and were really helped by Mr. Sudip, from Indigo who assisted Mum with the wheel-chair.  Checking in was fast and we were through security soon - and came down to the exit gates only to realise that there were a lot of people there and no open chairs - and we had 1.5 more hours before take-off.  

So Sudip took us up by lift to another area where there were less folks and more chairs.  We put a shawl on the floor for Mum and she took a nap before Sudip came by at 4.15 to help us board.  What an experience to have Mum brought all the way to her seat in the wheel-chair.  

Mum sat the whole 2.5 hour flight - which is such a miracle considering where she was 10 days ago.  It was not comfortable the whole time but she managed.  

On landing in Vishakapatnam we were met by Victor and Sarah and drove over to Amma and Appa’s home which is only 20 mins from the airport.  

We imagined how it would have been if Amma and Appa were still alive - how excited they would have been to have us and care for Mum - and what meals Amma would have been cooking to welcome us.

The home stay for half a day gave us a needed rest.  After a clean-up, a breakfast, and some hours of sleep, we had delicious Andhra Thali lunch and then started our drive towards the Eastern Ghats and Odisha.   

We left Vishakapatnam just before 2 PM and drove up the now familiar roads towards Lamtaput: through the Andhra villages on the coastal plain, and then up the beautiful steep hills to Araku (the Ooty of Andhra Pradesh) and then an hour into Odisha to our home on the Asha Kiran Hospital campus.  

Sarah and Sheba and Mum were in one car (driven by our friend Rabi) while I drove Victor in our vehicle (which Sheba and I had left in Vishakapatnam when we drove down post-haste on the 21st of Feb).

And so we have come full circle.   We are home. Back to Asha Kiran after 2.5 weeks.  We left in haste, not knowing what would happen.  We are back with the miracle of Mum alive, mentally alert, and responding to the physiotherapy needed for her to overcome the effects of her stroke.   

So many prayers have been answered - and as we learn a new normal as an immediate family of 3 for the next couple of months at least - we cherish your on-going intercession on Mum’s behalf (and for the extended Eicher family too!). 

A very thankful good-night to all!

Andi and Sheba Eicher (for the Eichers all around the planet / and in heavenly places)

In the air!

4.57 AM:  

And we have lift off! thanks for your prayers, just about to leave Delhi airport for Vishakapatnam. Mum has done really well, but is obviously tired.

11.47 AM:

We are safely at Vizag and are at Appa's home near Autonagar.  We did not sleep much last night so have taken some rest. Victor has done to get lunch. We will leave after lunch for Lamtaput

Thursday, 10 March 2022

On the road!

Hi Friends, 

We have started from Mussoorie. Mum is sleeping peacefully in the taxi. We are in a small traffic jam, but have budgeted plenty of time to get to Delhi airport for our 5 am flight. 

Thanks for your prayers as we go forward on angels wings! 

Will keep you posted! 


Andi and Sheba Eicher

10 minutes later....

 p.s. we are out if the traffic jam... smooth sailing now thanks to our cool headed driver Shiv!

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Wednesday 9.3.2022


Night has fallen, and the lights of Dehra Dun can be seen glistening like diamonds on black velvet from the windows of Shanti Kunj.   Mum has had her supper and taken her medicines and has drifted to sleep in her room.   We are just about to make a big shift in Mum’s life, as this will be the last night that she sleeps in her beloved Shanti Kunj home for some time.  By this time tomorrow evening we will be driving to Delhi and then catching a 5 AM flight to Vishakapatnam (God willing of course).

Things can change very, very quickly.  We know that, but have seen another instance today.  For the past 3 days, the wonderful Dr. Raja has been paying Mum morning visits.  Raja is a psychiatrist with a very, very big heart.  His cheerful yet deep way has helped Mum so much.   This morning we got a whatsapp message from him saying that his father had suddenly been admitted to an ICU and that Raja was already travelling on his way South to be with him.  

Sheba and I know what it is like to rush across the country, with our parent in an ICU and facing an uncertain future.  Please pray for Raja as he is with his father in Tamil Nadu, and for his wife Jessica and their children here in Mussoorie.

It’s a new world for all of us.  One chapter of our lives are closing, and a new one is opening up.  We so appreciate your thoughts and prayers for us as we make this journey and learn to adjust to a new life.  Do lift up our dear foster brother Vickey who has so faithfully been caring for Mum for these 5 years since Dad’s passing away, as he too steps into a new chapter of his life.  We are hoping that Mum will be able to return to Mussoorie in June, but have to take one day at a time.  Pray for Sheba and myself as we learn to care for Mum in Odisha.  We are all being stretched – and that is a good thing.  But we need much wisdom, buckets of patience, dollops of good humour, and an overflow of the love divine.

In the meantime, here is a picture we took of Mum today.  When we think that just 10 days ago she was on the very brink of death, we are just so thankful.

Each day is a gift.  Let us love not in words and in speech, but in actions and in truth (1 John 3.18).  So much to learn.  Onwards!

- Andi and Sheba (for Eichers everywhere)

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Tuesday 8.3.2022

Dear Ones,

A quick despatch to say thank you for your prayers: Mum slept well last night for which we are so grateful.  Overall it was a quiet day for us.  We are slowly getting things organised for the trip to Odisha. 

The small trickle of precious people who come to visit Mum continues – and we started the day with a home visit by her dear psychiatrist Dr. Raja who brought in his huge smile and his warm wisdom.

Yesterday Mum heard that a young man that she had been praying for had died.  She was earnestly praying with the young man’s mother (the family are dear friends of ours) for healing from the cancer, and did not know that his condition had worsened.  We can see how much Mum is grieving for him – and for his dear parents and siblings.   Needless to say, Mum was tired most of the day and napped a number of times.  We continue to see some small progress with her physio-therapy/rehab, but it is hard for Mum as she still cannot walk, and cannot yet sit up on her own or get out of bed (which she yearns to do).   And so to sleep for another night.

Tomorrow is a new day!

Blessings from Andi and Sheba (on behalf of the scattered Eicher clan)

Monday, 7 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Monday 7.3.2022

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your prayers – Mum’s sleep last night was the best she has had for a while.  Really appreciate your intercession.  Her right arm has not ‘instantly improved’ but we know that your intercessions are being heard by our loving Father!

Mum is super organised – everything in Shanti Kunj has its special place (did I tell you that it was ‘spick and span’ too?).   Mum often told us that she would begin packing weeks before a journey so that she did not leave anything behind (yes – she will make at least one list).

But now the packing task is for us to do.  We are planning to have Mum with us for a few months at Asha Kiran Hospital in Lamtaput, so we want to help her pack for this journey. But this time she will have to tell us where things are and what she wants to take.  Any change is a challenge, and we know that even this process may be hard for her to take.  Will you please pray for her as we start this task tomorrow – that the Lord will give her courage and trust in Him as she faces this upcoming change!

We are all walking along new paths.  I just filled in the airline request for a wheel-chair to help Mum at the Delhi and Vishakapatnam airports.  The website asked me to state why she needed wheel-chair assistance, and I wrote that Mum had a stroke. This is the first time I have done that.

We have reviewed Mum’s case with a neurologist in Delhi and from Mum’s condition she has diagnosed Mum as having suffered a stroke in her brain stem.  The stroke affected the left pons (a part of the brain stem) and it is likely that the vertibro basilar artery which supplies blood to the pons was affected by an embolism (perhaps from her heart?).  The effect of this stroke on Mum has been a quadri-paraletic effect with her losing function in all 4 limbs.  She also has a left LMN facial palsy.  We understand that for many people such a stroke would be fatal.  We are so glad Mum has survived.   And the good news is that neurologist is optimistic that Mum will be able to  regain her strength and become functional again.  

As we go to Lamtaput, Odisha with Mum (God-willing leaving on Thursday evening) we face a big gap:  our beloved Asha Kiran Hospital does not currently have a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.  What a great need we have for one (or two!).  Sheba has helped develop our “Caring Communities” team who have identified 28 children with disabilities (most of them with cerebral palsy).  What a blessing it would be to have a compassionate physio-therapist who could help the families in villages look after these children.  What a blessing to be able to better help the elderly people who have suffered strokes.  We can see in Mum’s life how much of a blessing the our dear Pritam has been.  How much we wish other elderly in the villages will be blessed in the same way (and of course we would like Mum to be blessed too!).

So here is the request:  could you please pray that Asha Kiran Hospital will be blessed with a physiotherapist… and that she or he would join soon!  And if you know someone who would be willing to come and explore serving with us, could you please reach out to them and put them in touch with us?   

Next week we are excited that a wonderful team from the Anugrah project from Herbertpur (including a physio-therapist and an occupational therapist)  are spending 4 days with us at Asha Kiran – and will be helping us with the children with disabilities we serve.  Please pray for the Father to send forth labourers into His harvest field.  For Mum’s sake of course – but also for the many precious people who are not getting care which can reshape their lives in so many positive ways.

And so we sign off from cold Mussoorie with the lights of Dehra Dun glittering like an array of diamonds in the dark velvet of the night.  The Lord continues to be so good to us – holding us tightly as we go forward.  Thanks for your heart-felt prayers and encouragement! 

Blessings from Andi and Sheba (on behalf of the Eicher ‘Pariwar’)

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Sunday 6.3.2022

Dear Ones,

A short dispatch to tell you that we are experiencing God’s grace and love.  Mum still has challenges to sleep through the night, so we solicit your prayers for rest (and for us too!).  The physiotherapy is moving forward, sloooowly.  Mum can now sit propped in a chair for some period of time – without head support for about 30 mins.   She has begun short periods of balance while sitting without support.  But her back needs much strengthening.   She sort of dreads the Bipin our Physiotherapist – but works very hard to try and do the exercises he gives her.  And then she asks ‘it is time for him to go?’   Bipin is very glad for her eagerness to do the exercises.  But we can see the strain for her.  

Currently a core prayer issue is her right arm.  Mum has virtually no movement at the shoulder, wrist and finger level.  A little movement at the elbow joint.  Please pray that her brain with ‘recognise’ her right arm again and help her start getting strength in it again and begin to move it – rather than have it hanging limply like now.

Overall, it’s been a quiet day for which we are grateful.  “All good things around us are sent from heaven above, so thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord, for all His love!”

Blessings from Andi and Sheba (on behalf of the extended family)

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Recovery – Friday 5.3.2022

Dear Friends,

You many have noticed a small but significant change in the title of this daily prayer guide for our mother – Christa Eicher.   We have replaced the word ‘health’ with ‘recovery.’  Each day is a miracle, for each of us.  Who knows if you or I will wake up tomorrow?  But we have very thankfully moved away from the terrible days just over a week ago when we just did not know whether Mum would pull through.   We are now in another season of grace where we are hoping Mum will regain the use of her limbs and be able to stand and sit on her own again… and of course walk!

Today was a brilliantly clear crisp winter day in Mussoorie.  The sun streamed in the windows and the azure hills melted into the deep blue sky.  Mum did not sleep much last night – but was in good spirits all through today.  We thank the Lord for His deep love for us, and for these days of grace.

Having completed a day here we are so glad that Mum can be ‘in her home.’   It is truly beautiful and crammed in every corner with some plant, some photo or picture of years gone by, some antique or book just calling out to be read.  

But one thing is crystal clear.  Mum cannot just ‘get back to normal.’  She is lying in her bed, in her room, but cannot turn over in her own strength.  She needs care 24x7 for the foreseeable future.   She told us last night ‘I want to go up to the prayer room’ – but without someone carrying her up the stairs, that is not possible for her.   Our dear neighbour Sandy came over today to help Sheba give Mum a bath.  A major undertaking.  

Having said this, it also doesn’t mean that Mum ‘will always be this way.’  We are so glad for the daily physiotherapy sessions that Mum is getting.  She sort of dreads Pritam’s arrival, because of the exertion that she knows is in store when her physiotherapist arrives.  But that exertion is the result of her earnest hard work.  She tries so hard and with such eagerness.  We just wished that we could push a button and suddenly Mum would be doing her normal 1 hour walks each day up and down the steep Mussoorie hillsides.  Instead, she is in bed, working hard to raise and lower her legs, straining to open and shut her right hand…  Today at one point she jokingly tried to bring her hands together in a “namaste” – to end the rigours of the session by saying goodbye to Pritam!  There is much hope, but the road ahead is a strenuous one for her.  Thanks for your prayers – and will you especially pray for her right arm and hand.  She is really struggling as she is unable to use the arm at all at this point, let alone the hand…

In late afternoon Sheba and I were able to go out for a walk.  We found ourselves walking along the spectacular ‘eye-brow’ path – and spent some time praying for the next steps:  Mum’s recovery, our plan to have her with us in Odisha for a few months, our work at Asha Kiran, our children and extended family, our house construction, our fellowship…  We are weak, but He is strong, and wants us to follow Him.  What a wonderful Saviour we serve.  How much He loves us.

Please pray for Mum’s on-going healing and restoration.  We are currently planning to get an early-morning flight from Delhi to Vishakapatnam on the 11th of March.  There is much to do between now and then, but we are grateful for the path that is opening up for us.   At present we hope that care for her for a few months and then come back to Mussoorie with her in summer.  

As we said, each day is a miracle.  We end off the week very, very grateful.  Tomorrow is the Lord’s day.  All glory to Him as we celebrate His resurrection – and His amazing victory over sin and bondage by the Man of Sorrows, who is well acquainted with grief – and by whose wounds we are healed.  

- Andi and Sheba Eicher (for our big family everywhere)

Friday, 4 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Health – Thursday 3.3.2022 and Friday 4.3.2022

 Dear Ones,

These notes of the day are written… at night.  And after a fairly good sleep on Wednesday night, yesterday’s version was one where Mum was restless the whole night through.  

The Bible tells us that “He gives His beloved sleep” and we know how precious rest is.  Will you please join us in praying for Mum that tonight’s sleep will not be like yesterdays – drifting off into small naps – but waking up again agitated.  What thoughts and half-ideas are pressing in on her now?  We know that she is frustrated to not be able to move around at will.  Is she fitfully drifting in and out because she doesn’t think she will be able to walk again?  

Amazingly enough, we have come to the end of our stay at Landour Community Hospital.   Yesterday Mum did not use oxygen during the day or the night.  Her last dose of antibiotics went in intravenously in the morning and in the afternoon the drip was stopped.   We have been ‘sitting’ her up in her bed for her food.  She sips from a straw to drink and we are encouraging her to use her left hand to guide morsels to her mouth.

What a blessing to have been ministered to by our ‘green angels’ – the hard-working LCH nurses and nurse-aides whose normal white uniforms are swathed with COVID-19 protocol green smocks and of course the ubiquitous masks.  We are grateful to Drs. Alem, George, Raja, Alam and Shibin for their wise counsel and curative arts.  And to the support staff as well.  Sheba and I camped out in the hospital room where Mum was for the past 9 days – and we were so well looked.  Meals brought up with a smile, cleaning staff sweeping in and out twice a day, coffee available from the on-duty watchman even at odd hours of the night.  And the many, many prayers we received from staff and the stream of visitors who came to be with Mum.  Food from Neeru and Stefan for Mum.  Our brother Manoj showing up yesterday unannounced from Nepal.  We are so very grateful.

And so this morning we started packing.  Mum was going to be discharged and shifted back to Shanti Kunj.  

Then the big event: 12 days after she had her fall, we brought her back to Shanti Kunj at noon today.  Sheba cradled Mum in her lap on the drive up to hill. It was then surreal to be carrying Mum down the path from Sisters Bazar on the same stretcher she was taken up on a dozen days earlier.  Thankfully there was no crowd this time, just 4 carriers and Sheba and our dear Paul Hamilton who drove us up from LCH in his jeep.  We had heated up Mum’s room before-hand and so we navigated the stretcher through the beauty of plants and antiques of Shanti Kunj.  Before we knew it, we were able to lay Mum back down in her own bed. 

Mum had her lunch – we were able to ‘sit’ her in a chair (with support) and feed her rice and vegetable curry.  It was good that Pritam, Mum’s physiotherapist, arrived promptly at 2.15 PM.  He did a short session with Mum – who was quite tired – esp. after her restless night.   Mum then took a nap and we unpacked and tried to get ourselves grounded for the next few days.

Our current plan is to spend a few days helping Mum orient herself and begin the hard work of rehabilitation using physio-therapy exercises.   We are hoping that she will join Sheba and myself on a trip to our home at Asha Kiran Hospital in Odisha on Thursday next week.   

There are no easy steps for Mum as she begins this new phase of her recovery.  She has clearly had a stroke.  Besides the initial fall that we assume was stroke-related, Mum has lost power and control of all 4 limbs – but thankfully it looks very possible for her to regain her strength over time and with therapy and grit (and prayers of course).   But due to the fall she lost a lot of blood and also spiralled into a serious acute illness storm, where her kidneys were not functioning well, she had a pneumonia, was drifting in and out of consciousness, while also having an enlarged heart which points to a long-term heart failing.  And did we mention that her psychiatric meds also needed a revamp?  

Tonight, in the quiet of Shanti Kunj, we are thankfully out of Mum’s initial crisis.  She has come out of the valley of the shadow of death.   We now request your prayers for Mum as she moves to the next level of care.  That the Lord will give us His patience and wisdom about how best to help Mum heal and flourish.  

Sheba and I told Mum this afternoon that she had suffered a stroke.  She was shocked.  She has a long way to understand the implications.  A few minutes after arriving she asked if she could go up to the ‘prayer room.’  Sheba and I looked at each other.  We gently had to tell Mum that the only way up there now was for us to carry her there.  Oh, she said.  

Mum needs so much help for her to recover all levels including: 

1) healing from trauma and fear linked with her fall and subsequent events, 

2) understanding her current situation as a person who is at least temporarily paralysed, and not giving into despair, 

3) growing in strength and muscle coordination to enable her to do her activities of daily living, 

4) learning to adjust to upcoming changes to a fairly independent past 5 years of her life, 

5) understanding what our loving Jesus is telling her about how she can minister to Him in this phase of her life.

I just peeked into Mum’s room – and it looks like she is sleeping.   We so much hope she will sleep through the night.  It’s a whole new world for all of us– and urgently ask prayer for the entire extended family.   Pray to be given wisdom, good humour, patience, insight, hope, and discernment of what God wants us to do – and how we should do it!

- Andi and Sheba Eicher (on behalf of the Eichers world-wide)

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Health – Wednesday 2.3.2022

Dear Friends,

Mum slept deeply last night – which allowed Sheba and I to have our best nights yet.  Tonight Mum’s sleep started well, but as of 11 PM, she seems a bit restless again.  She just told me “I am trying to get out of this bed, but can’t.”  And that she is very thirsty.  We found that Mum has a very dry throat as she sleeps with her mouth open and we heat the room with an electric heater.  But when Mum drinks water at night there is always a danger of her aspirating.  Being tired she drifts into sleep while sipping her water and then wakes up coughing to our distress.   Mum’s life is now one where even tasks that seen so easy for many of us can be so complicated for her. 

Tonight, for the first time in 8 nights, Mum is sleeping without an oxygen mask.  She did not use oxygen for most of the day and has acceptable oxygen saturation values (given the 2 km altitude we are here in Mussoorie).  She was also given her last dose of antibiotics today, and took a medication to help replenish her iron stores since Mum lost a lot of blood in her fall(s).   These steps show that we are nearing the end of her hospitalisation – and transitioning into a period of rehabilitation. 

The big step forward for Mum today was a visit by Mr. Pritam, a young and dynamic physiotherapist.  Mr. Pritam is a contract staff at the medical centre of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Administrative Academy.  This is where our Indian Administrative Service officers are trained and lies almost as far away from Landour as you can get in Mussoorie.  But we were so glad that Mr. Pritam came this evening and spent an hour with Mum.

Mr. Pritam first assessed the extent of Mum’s immobility.  He was happy to note that even in her flaccid right side, her limbs are show at least faint responses to brain control.   This is really good news and holds a lot of hope for restoration.   Mr. Pritam told us that the task is now to help the brain recognise the limbs and their various sub-parts, and work on re-igniting contact between them and the brain.  There is actually the possibility of rewiring going on in the brain where new areas take control of the motor movements of the limbs.  Amazing stuff to imagine.  And the remarkable thing is that the means of teaching the brain to do this rests in the simplicity of repeatedly moving the currently less-responsive parts.  Parallel to this, we want to work to try to and help Mum’s brain to move them – first in simple ways, and then with greater coordination and dexterity.  

And so Mr. Pritam started to do some basic physiotherapy – rotating the fingers, then the hand, then the arm (similarly with her feet and legs).  These movements were being taught to us to be done regularly for Mum - to help Mum’s brain recognise these parts. 

After this, Mr. Pritam worked with Mum, asking her to do try and move various parts.  Mum responded willingly and was able to do so with various levels of success.  You could see how hard she was trying to move her right leg up.  Having seen it basically useless for the past week, it was a joy ­for us to see her being able to bend it to an almost normal level, though she was exhausted with the effort.  That particular exercise now needs to be repeated many times so that it becomes second-thought stuff, instead of an act where Mum pours all her will and emotion into moving a limb in a way most of us never think twice about.  

On her left side, the ability to do basic tasks with her limbs is better than her right, but there is a lack of coordination and strength.   Mum is basically unable to feed herself at this point, but after this session, we encouraged her to use her left hand to put a few morsels of food in her mouth.  She did so with some difficulty.   We know that there is still a loooooong way to go, but we were glad that Mr. Pritam has helped make a big step forward.  He was also happy with Mum, and said that because she had been so, her body did not suffer so much from the stroke – and that her chances of regaining full motor control are so much better than many of his other patients.  We are so proud of Mum responding so determinedly to all his instructions.  She did not complain or say ‘I cannot do this,’ even in the times when after trying she has not do a task (like moving her thumb on her right hand). 

Mum’s first physiotherapy session showed us a whole set of exercises and basic physiotherapy actions.  And more exercises will come as she (re)gains some of these basic activities.  We now know that Mum has to learn again to hold her head up (to strengthen her neck) and sit up (to strengthen her back).   As we hope to move Mum from the hospital bed into the world outside – it is one in which Mum has to re-learn much what we take for granted. Today was the first day into uncharted territory for us, where Mum will have to work hard in body and mind and soul.  We are so glad for her determination and have already seen a small improvement in her being able to flex her right leg more than she has before.    

Please continue to pray for strength (and rest) for today, and bright hope for tomorrow.

Thanks for your love and prayers.

- Andi and Sheba Eicher (on behalf of the various scattered Eichers)

p.s. If you wish to stop receiving these updates – please just drop me a line – it is no problem to remove your name from our list! 

In the meantime – thanks to all who have sent whatsapp messages and mini-recordings which we played to her.  Mum has so appreciated hearing from you!

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Update on Mum’s Health – Tuesday 1.3.2022

Dear Ones,

The room is in darkness, a yellow glow from the oxygen concentrator’s panel and the orange column of the electric heater offer a bit of light, with the light from the door showing two sleeping figures.  Sheba in the far bed and Mum in the middle one, deep in sleep (even though dog is barking noisily below our window) thanks in part to one of her new medicines (and lots of your prayers).

We have crossed into March for which we are very grateful and have now completed a week at Landour Community Hospital.  Mum continues a process of restoration.  We are so glad that she was so sharp mentally today.   She recognised visitors, asked about their children, made jokes, prayed, cried, received a few short phone calls (including from Premila).  A number of times Mum expressed just how grateful she was that she was being cared for by the extended family.  We see all of this as evidence of deep grace. 

Just 72 hours ago Mum’s condition was so touch-and-go…  today she ate oats in the morning (and shared an egg-bujia toast from our breakfast), drank a mid-morning juice, had a few grapes, had rice, dal and veggies pureed with fresh squeezed orange juice for lunch, ate a whole ice-cream cone in the afternoon, and a special vegetable curry for dinner made by Neeru.   We were actually able to lift her out of the bed this morning and sit her in a chair for some minutes in the morning as the sun streamed in the windows.  Then in the afternoon we did the same thing – only this time in a wheel chair and took her outside into the sun for some time.  All of this, plus a steady stream of visitors, meant that Mum was tired at the end of the day – but we did saw very little of the drifting in and out of sleep / consciousness that had been the norm earlier.

Mum is still very tired and needs rest and recuperation.   And yet she is deeply touched when people come to visit.  How to tell people not to come? So many are dear ones who have been blessed with her, or who have stood by her so much in the past.  Hospital staff pop in and ask her in Hindi “how are you doing Aunty?”   She normally does not respond with the expected “I am fine,” instead Mum says “I am getting better.”  Today she cried a number of times as she interacted with visitors.   We had many prayer sessions in this room of ours are LCH – thank our dear Jesus for His on-going mercies.

We have been having the first conversations around her remembering the traumatic experience of her falls and the emergency steps taken.  Mum told us that she remembered feeling so alone, lying in the bed in a pool of blood, waiting for someone to come, calling out to God for help.  And seeing the expression on Vickey’s face when he arrived. And the room soon filling up with men who took her up to Sisters Bazaar.  Of seeing the trees and sky as she was being carried in a stretcher. Of the crowd waiting at the top, reminding her of Dad’s last trip up the hill.  “I thought that this meant I will die” said Mum to us today.   Well, Mum is still alive, but the challenges of processing these hard days will take much time.  Your prayers are cherished for Mum as she works through these issues.

We also have to remember that at this point Mum is functionally paralysed.  She has very little ability to use her right arm and leg, and limited functionality in the left set.  Mum faces that deep challenge of being cared for in all her activities of daily living.  Our next steps for her… are to see that she can take steps.   And that is likely to take…. Weeks? Months?  We really don’t know as we have not gone through this before.  Please focus your prayers on bringing functionality back.  So that she can get out of bed, walk around, make herself a cup of coffee, read her Bible up in the prayer room etc.   Currently all she can do is lie in bed and has to have others do almost everything for her.   This is an incredibly hard situation to be in, especially for a tough, thin German lady who used to do an hour walk everyday up and down her beloved hillside in Landour.  Please pray for Mum as she begins to realise her current situation.  She said yesterday that she feels like a ‘dead fish.’   Pray for restoration of strength, patience and perseverance to help her in each small increment of rehabilitation, and for hope and joy to pull her through.  

Amazingly, we will be reaching the end of Mum’s hospital care in a day or two.  Her courses of antibiotics are coming to an end.  Her sutures have been removed.  She is due off oxygen any day now.  The question of where Mum should be for her next stage, one of rehabilitation is looming large.  Please pray for us as we examine the possibility of her being cared for at Shanti Kunj, as well as the other option of her coming with Sheba and myself to Asha Kiran Hospital (which would include a mind-boggling journey across our beloved land).   We all yearn to hear from God what He said through His prophet Isaiah: ”And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it”  (Isaiah 30.21a).

Thank you again for walking along with us on this road.

- Andi and Sheba Eicher (on behalf of Eichers everywhere)

Update on Mum’s Health – Monday 28.2.2022

Dear Friends,

It’s been a week since Mum had her fall(s) at home in Shanti Kunj.  We look back on this week with our heads still spinning as she was in such a critical state just a few days ago.  By God’s abundant grace, the has come out of the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ and has returned to the land of lucidity as well.   

We have now spent the better part of this week in ‘our room’ at the Landour Community Hospital.  Mum has stabilised in so many ways and is almost off oxygen.  She had her naso-gastric tube removed earlier today and is now drinking liquids with a straw and eating her meals.  She is almost off oxygen and her kidney function as improved.  We are thankful for each step of grace that she is receiving.

What is slowly dawning on Mum is that she is bed-ridden, and cannot at this point care for herself.  The stroke condition she is in at present means that she cannot move herself around in bed – let alone get out of it.  She has minimal movement control in both her legs and arms, with the left-side limbs marginally better than the right-side ones. 

Please pray for Mum in this situation which is so opposite of who she has been for so many years.  As a woman with a big heart who cared for so many others, she now has to be cared for.  As an active soul who loves the outdoors and had a daily prayer walk of at least 1 hour up and down the hillside, she now is confined to her bed and needs help to be shifted from one side to the other.  As a person who would set her times and go up to the prayer room at Shanti Kunj for her morning devotions, she now is ‘at the mercy of’ the hospital rhythm of blood tests, feeding times, bed change times, blood pressure and oxygen saturation monitoring. 

Mum’s nights have been hard the last 2 days – as she has regained much of her consciousness, the restlessness has increased.  During the day there is a rhythm of feeding and people coming to meet, but the nights are long. 

As I write this at 2 AM on the 1st of March (!), Mum is struggling to fall back to sleep after having slept for a good portion of the night so far.  She asked me for water, and asked whether she can leave her bed for a few minutes.  Along with the nurses, I helped change her position, and while she was drinking water she drifted off to sleep, but now she is ‘hell-wach’ (wide awake in German) and is finding it hard to sleep.

We met with our wonderful psychiatrist Dr. Raja this morning and he has suggested for Mum to express her feelings about her current condition – as a “Psalm 151” – Christa’s psalm.   Speaking out to God from the heart about how she feels, and also reminding herself of who God is during this time.  There is a lot of processing that all of us need as we walk through this valley.  We know that our Good Shepherd knows the way forward, but the way seems so hard at times.    

Thank you for your prayers.  We started to read to Mum some of the comments that you sent to the Whatsapp group and on her FB page.  Her face lit up when we would share your name – and what you wrote to her.  For those who recorded messages and sent them by whatsapp – we were able to play them which she enjoyed. 

And so we close the chapter on February 2022 and step into March.   What will this month hold for us?  Only the Lord Jesus Himself knows.  He knows how weak we are as sheep, and in His great love comes after us to find us.  Your prayers continue to be cherished as Mum ‘walks’ into a new chapter of her life – while (at this time at least) not being able to walk at all.   We need our Lord so much during these days.  Thank you for standing with us.

- Andi and Sheba Eicher (for the Eichers near and far)