Sunday, February 15, 2009

What a difference a year makes

On this day one year ago, I had life-saving surgery. At this exact time last year, I was lying in an ICU bed, throwing up from the morphine pump (bad idea), in and out of consciousness, having no idea whether it was day or night.

As I get ready for our church's women's retreat this weekend, I can't help but think back on this time last year. It was a Sunday afternoon when I pulled into the driveway returning from last year's retreat and found David standing in the driveway with my nephrologist's home phone number and a message to call him as soon as I got back in town. It was all a whirlwind after that.

I was laughing this week about how a friend from church who is a personal trainer almost killed us at last year's retreat when she led some of us in one of her famous workout sessions. I meant it only figuratively but had no idea at the time how literal it really was. Two days after that workout (from which I could barely move for a week!) I was sitting in the cardiovascular surgeon's office being told not to exercise at all because there was already too much strain on my heart when I was at rest. Exercise would be very dangerous. Who knew?

Looking back at all the ways God's gracious hand was on me, I am just amazed. He was in the details:

The head surgical nurse at the hospital where my surgery took place is a good family friend, and when she got to work that morning, she took me and David back with her so we did not have to wait to be called back. She was my nurse during the procedure and the one who gave me my i.v.

My anesthesiologist was someone I knew from church, and though I didn't know him well at the time, he and his family would become important friends to me, David, and the kids over the following months.

The surgeon who assisted Dr. Burdette went to church with - and was good friends with - my brother and sister-in-law.

All three of these people came into my pre-op area separately and prayed with me.

I spent several days in the ICU before being moved to a regular room. After my first night in my new room, I pressed the nurse call button to ask for some medication and found myself speaking to a close family friend whom I have known since I was a kid. I didn't know she worked there (she worked at Doctor's Hospital when I delivered all of my children there!), and she didn't know I was in the hospital. Turns out that she was my nurse for the next two days, and when I was discharged, she wheeled me out so David and I did not have to wait for the usual lengthy discharge procedure.

The details. The little things that make the difficult things more bearable.

Family. They took care of my children when I could not.

Friends. They fed and cared for David and me when I could not.

And, now a year has gone by, and as I type David is negotiating what we hope will be a contract on a house in Pennsylvania. It seems that one year to the day after having my life saved, we are finally finding a new home for the next adventure in our lives.

I realize this is sort of a rambling post on a subject I've probably visited far too often, but it was a defining part of my life this year. I've always known God in the big things, and in this ordeal, I met Him in the details.

I shudder to think how easily I could have missed Joshua starting school, Josh and Ethan playing soccer, Lauren taking gymnastics and lighting up the world of everyone she knows, and my husband taking the plunge he's always dreamed of and moving back home to hang up his shingle.

Thank you, God, for allowing me to remain a pilgrim here a little longer.

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