Thursday June 3 Pre Admission Clinic
I have had a few operations in my life, and have frequently spent time with anxious parishoneers as they prepared for surgery so I have a resonable understanding of preadmission procedures.
This experience is a bit different. Karen and I had a feeling that this whole situation was going to be rough. We felt like we were in the midst of a whirlwind . I had just recovered from one surgery and this is following without a break.
Off we go to the hospital. I am not familiar with St. Clares, so have to ask directions.
The first thing you notice when you enter the main doors is the information desk windows . They are totally papered over. Looks like they don't intend to use this area any more!
In order to make first contact with someone you have to pick up a phone (there is one screwed on to the wall just below the papered windows) , and ask for help.
The voice at the other end is friendy enough and what they are doing might seem right and normal for staff and regular visitors,but a little surreal for strangers.
Sigh...great start. We find our way to the clinic.
Pre-admission clinics are almost like assembly lines -they establish the time line for surgery,make sure all the tests and doctors orders are in place ,that scans and blood-work are done, and you have a chat with the Anesthesiologist. They contact other hospitals to confirm information,and make sure everything is in place for your surgery.
These folks are efficient and friendly. I had a great chat with the E.K.G. lady We talked about rock and roll and faith. She listens with real interest as I tell her about St. Martin's youth band our dance crew and all of the young people who share ministry at St. Martin's.
Back at St. Clares,early next morning we find the day surgery department, register and wait.
We are told to expect a slight delay because something serious has happened in the Operating room. That's fine.
While waiting , I strike up a few conversations with others. One woman has her surgery postponed, so she goes home. Not a happy camper!
I speak to a woman next to me and make a connection of prayer. We promise to pray for each other today and in the days to come.
Parishoneers from an old parish come in ,and we are reconnected with hugs and smiles (close to tears too)
When the call to go to the pre-operation room comes I am more than ready. In a few minutes I am transformed by giving up my glasses,wedding ring,watch,phone and clothing. On with the Johnny coat and cotton booties,and into a wheel chair.
It is time for submission to the staff, and the hand of God
The O.R. area is cold enough to freeze you! One of the nurses takes care of that, by wrapping me in a heated blanket. Nice. Turns out she is from Gander originally,and engages me in a great chat about growing up in Gander. I get to tell her all about my Church!
Into the Operating room I go. On the table as the staff efficiently and quickly get things ready.
In comes the surgeon,and after a little chat with him,I am out like a light.
When I wake up the nurses are all smiles and chat. "The doctor will be right back to have a word with you."
Popping up out of nowhere he says "How are you doing old boy?.... Things went well. "
A little pause.
"You do have a tumour and we have some things we have to do. you will need an MRI, and some treatments. I might be getting ahead of my self here, but I'm pretty sure of what I have found." Pause. " We will get the pathology results,and I'll see you in the Cancer Clinic. "
He shakes my hand firmly , receives my thanks and he is gone.
A Sighting of Grace in the Valley.
Let me tell you honestly. I was not at that time nor am I now,afraid. Aprehensive? -Yes. But not afraid.
I believe in the sustaining power of our heavenly Father to care for me and All the people I love. I have asked Him to do so.
That includes my immediate family - my wife Karen, who is one with me in every way. My daughters (whom I love more than life) my grandchildren (yes my sons in law too!)
The people I love from the heart are also found in the Church .
Why? because my heart has been formed and sustained by the healing work of Jesus in my life. If Christ has ownership of your heart, you will love the Church with authenticity.
The Church is made up of every person I have ever met and loved just where they are.
God is able... I believe it with all my heart.
If there is any one emotion that seems more powerful at this time I would have to describe it as "sadness". For myself? Sure.
For my children? absolutely. My Wife? You know it.
It is very hard to see the worry and pain on their faces. For others? Oh yes. People are showing how much they care.
These are real feelings . (I am not saying there hasn't been anger,denial,doubt,etc etc, I am pretty human after all)
I have a promise from God (so do you) that during the hardest times,when things are darkest, help will be there. Gods help is faithful and true (Just look at how God works through the Church! I thank him for St. Martin's. They are my family .)
The Gospel of Matthew and the writings of the prophet Isaiah share a powerful metaphor . I have used these often through the years while ministering to deeply hurting people.
Matthew12:20 - Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.
I am safe.
Come Lord,and gently lay your hands on my body and my heart. Come Lord, I trust you with my loved ones and my affairs. Come lord,and use my weakness to Bless your Church.
I welcome you.