Last Monday, January 30th, I woke up to the reality that it was the day of surgery. Nothing extreme. Not a major type of surgery. Hernia repair. Yes, it would be done laproscopically, with the doctor using the robotics to do the surgery. Nervous? Yes, as one would be when facing a surgery. Why? You just never know what is going to really go on. Penny and I knew that this would be the day. We had been told that it would take place but we had lots of questions. We would end up asking them when we arrived at the surgery center.
But while I was nervous, I was also confident that I was in the hand of the Lord. He had made me that promise in the waters of Baptism. He called me by name. He told me I was His. He would be with me in all that I faced and that included having surgery. So there was a calmness that comes with that knowledge. It is a calmness that comes as a friend sends a prayer via text message. It is a calmness that comes when you recall the 23rd Psalm. It is a calmness that comes through the Lord's Prayer. Does one remain nervous even with that calmness? Yes indeed.
So the morning progressed, we arrived at the surgery center. They took me back, started the IV, checked all the vitals, answered questions. I was surprised. The surgery that we thought would take 30 -45 minutes was going to be longer than that. I wasn't sure that I heard correctly so when Penny was brought back, I asked the nurse, Wayne was his name, to tell her about how long it was. He said between 2-3 hours. Floored us. Then the guy that puts you to sleep (couldn't think of how to spell it), came in, explained that there would be the breathing tube used, explained why, because of the length of surgery, the way it was done, going through the abdomen the way they did, needed to have the help breathing. Nervous? You bet. Calm? In Christ alone was I calm. In myself, I was nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
I wish I would tell you all about the surgery. But I can't. After a kiss and "I love you" with Penny, they wheeled me to the operating room. Off to the table. Wrapping up my arms so they didn't get in the way. Instructions given. Blue mask. Breath. Breath deeply. Looking around, seeing but not seeing (those who have been there know what I mean), the mask, and the next thing I knew, there was a nurse talking to me, telling me to breath. Really? Don't I normally breath? Then she would say that I needed to breath. Take deep breaths. I thought I was. Again. Pain? Not yet. Still groggy. Where was Penny? That was my first thought that I could remember. This was recovery. She would be brought back when I went into the next room. OK. Breath. Others in the room? Yes, I believe so, but then again, I couldn't be sure. You know the feeling, you are there but you aren't. Breath. Pain level? I don't remember what I said. I am sure it hurt. But then again, I didn't know. That stuff they put you out with makes it hard to remember.
Then wheeling out of the recovery into the next level of recovery. Room 13. Really? Room 13? I thought, isn't that unlucky? It was at the end. Perhaps that is where they should put me. Next thought, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, o what a foretaste..." Singing. It felt good to sing. So I sang. There was my lovely wife. A kiss, a hand and I felt like I was complete again. The Lord holding me while my wife stood with me. How much better could it get than that? It couldn't. Ouch, That didn't feel good. Sing some more. So I did. Songs just kept coming to me. So I kept singing. Maybe that is why they put me in Room 13, at the end, so I wouldn't disturb those around me.
I must say, I was no longer nervous. It was over. Now for the healing. Eat something. Drink something. No longer told to breath. Strange feeling like that. But the one thing that wasn't strange: Penny holding my hand, loving me, and the Lord holding me, loving me. Prayers from so many people, holding me in Christ, loving me. I have to say, WOW! All the prayers, folding me in the warmth of the Holy Spirit, assuring me that I was not alone. The Lord was with me. My family was with me. My friends and church family were with me. All in prayer. All in Christ. And in the end, there was nothing better for the day than knowing that.
The healing would come. Soon I would leave Room 13 and go home. But that didn't change anything. The Lord still held me. My wife still was with me. My family still prayed for me. My church family and friends still prayed for me. And I knew, it was going to be all right.