Well, I’m probably overstating the “direness” of my event last weekend, but nevertheless, it seems generally that whenever the potential of having cancer is mentioned people take it as dire. Major surgery is, I suppose, regarded by most as dire, as well. Maybe I was just in denial but I don’t think so. I’ve known for some time that God had complete control over the matter and I had none. Zip. Zero. Oddly, that realization is the one that most often gives me peace.
So, how did this “dire” event become a fun weekend? Well, the Lord just had a bunch of little and big blessings stacked in waiting to unfold.
It started with my son and daughter-in-law arriving with little Lily Thursday night. I kind of protested them making the rather large effort it is to pack all the paraphernalia that one must bring when traveling with a baby and spend about 8 hours driving over here after a full day of work… after all I was going to be in the hospital most of the time they would be here and what were they going to do? But they wanted to come, so I didn’t protest too much, because any chance to see them I am happy for. In retrospect, I am so glad they came.
In the morning, they slept in, since I would be sequestered in the bowels of the hospital without visitation from about 5:30 when we arrived until about 10 when my surgery, slated to begin at 7:30, was to end. They planned to come sometime after 7:30 to be there at that time.
At 5:15am I walked out of the house in the still dark wee hours of the morning and the first thing I saw was a huge full moon hanging low over the western horizon. Very cool.
When we arrived I was the first person to be escorted back to the preparation area — and into Rm #3. I have this game that I think God sometimes plays with me using the numbers — 3 is the number of God… so that was to me, a cool reassurance.
Overall, I was totally relaxed. I always seem to like my nurses and techs, and this time was no exception. Eventually they brought me into pre-op where the anesthesiologist introduced himself and told me all about what was to happen. Then we waited for the doctors to arrive. Mine was late, but at one point some random nurse, not the one caring for me, came by and told me I was really lucky, that my doctor was really good. “He’s a surgeon’s surgeon,” she said. I counted that another unexpected reassurance from the Lord.
Finally the doctor arrived, we talked a bit and then it was time. The anesthesiologist told me he was going to give me a light sedative before we left pre-op during which I’d still be awake so I could follow different commands to move from the gurney to the operating table, etc. Well, awake or not, his words were the last thing I remember.
Next thing I knew I was waking up and being wheeled through the a hall, through a familiar double door to a familiar waiting room which was filled with people that I knew — my husband, son, daughter in law, grand-daughter and one of my closest friends. I got a room right by the nurses station with a view of the mountains. Room 1411. Hmm. Three ones and a four. Four refers to God’s creation, the natural world – and by implication His power over it. And 3 and 4 make seven, the number of perfection. (Yes, I know, I’m weird. Really — it’s just a fun little game and keeps me amused in times like these.)
My husband and friend came in and I got the news — the surgery, ten minutes late to start had finished ten minutes early and “everything had gone exactly as it should go.” Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, they found no sign of cancer.
As my friend was leaving my son and his family came in and turns out they spent pretty much the whole day there, except for when they went out for lunch and dinner. And they brought Lily. I had not expected that, I guess because I had this idea that people just didn’t bring babies to hospitals if they didn’t have to. Plus I’d found out that my daughter-in-law’s mother and brother were in town that same weekend, so I figured she’d spend the day with them.
Thinking I probably wasn’t going to get to see much of her, I’d prayed in a random sort of way that “sometime” (like in the more distant future) I’d get some one on one time with her to just visit and get to know her better. But no way did I expect the Lord to answer that prayer the very next day. Yet that’s what He did. It was cool to sit there and realize He had done it, too. What a gift. She’s a very busy young woman, and doing a great job mothering Lily, too.
So, overall, a fun day of visiting, and watching Lily, who’s crawling now, and squeals like a dinosaur and just seems to be a generally cheerful child with lots of smiles and grins for everyone. Her two little teeth are sooo cute!
That night my son suggested we do a “Good Friday Service” wherein we all read aloud in turn a sequence of passages my d-i-l had assembled narrating Peter’s denials and Jesus’s death on the cross.
Saturday was a long process of the nurses making sure all my plumbing was working correctly and that I could eat without nausea. My biggest problem was the CO2 gas they pump into your abdomen to make the organs easier to see and deal with during surgery. They try to press some of it out but there’s still a lot left, which takes the body a few days to absorb and eliminate, through excretion or exhalation. It hurts, and moves around, and pushes on nerves that for some reason register pain in your neck and shoulders, even though there’s no gas there. And it makes it difficult to eat since you feel like there’s no room in your stomach for anything.
Eventually though, I was discharged and wheeled out to the hospital’s front entrance and the car (we laughed because for two days they’d been urging me to walk — which I’d been doing — to help mitigate the effects of the surgical gas, and now that I was leaving insisted I ride in the wheel chair.)
That night we watched my new favorite TV show, The Mentalist. My son had determined this that same morning by asking me about the shows I watched while he watched the monitor showing my pulse and blood pressure. The Mentalist elicited the greatest increase in pulse, ergo it must be my favorite.
Then Sunday we all went to church together, which I don’t think has ever happened. That day, too, was a reunion of sorts for the members of the Sunday School class I taught for 14 years. Kids who started as toddlers, now grown, some of them engaged or married, and with kids of their own were there. One of them told me we had the largest number of them together since the class had disbanded some 10+ years ago. So that was pretty cool, too.
Afterward my husband took us out for Easter dinner, and then my d-i-l changed the sheets on our waterbed (which I’m not allowed to do since I’m not to lift more than 10 lbs for 4 weeks, nor strain my abdominal muscles) and my son vacuumed (another forbidden activity). (I also can’t walk Quigley since he would definitely strain my abdominal muscles)
After that they left to drive back to southern California and I was just basking in the pleasure of it all. What a blessing it had all been. (So, if you’re reading, guys, thanks for coming out and providing such great support. It was greatly appreciated and enjoyed.)
Who would ever have thought the weekend of surgery would turn into such a wonderful set of memories?
It’s so great to hear how all of these pieces came together, Karen. I’ve been praying for you since hearing of your upcoming surgery (even wrote a comment back then, but either my computer, the server, or WordPress was being ornery and wouldn’t let me post it!). All that to say, though, this is such a lovely picture of life in a wonderful family 🙂 . Glad you got to enjoy your granddaughter.
This brought tears to my eyes. These were such beautiful blessings the Lord brought to you this weekend. I can’t express how happy I am that everything went well and that you got a clean bill of health. Thanks for sharing this.
What a wonderful answer to prayer! I’m so glad the surgery went well, and how gracious of our loving Heavenly Father to give you such a good time with your family.