Just when you think everything is going smoothly…just when you have finally organized your life with a list or two…another wrench is thrown into the works! God has a plan, right? He lets those wrenches come flying your way for a purpose, right? It’s what makes life an adventure.
I wrote in my last post that I had taken my husband to the ER, but that it turned out not to be an emergency. Well, two nights later, he again complained of severe abdominal pain, and off we went to the ER again – a little earlier in the evening, this time. At the ER, they decided to do a CT scan and some other stuff. My husband encouraged me to leave him there while he went through the procedures and awaited the results, so I went to visit our daughter for a bit.
A couple of hours later, he called to say that the news was not good. The immediate problem was still not the hernia, but it had caused the problems. The doctors suspected that the hernia had entrapped a portion of his bladder and his bowel…not a good thing. They also suspected, from the scan, that he had a perforated colon. They recommended immediate emergency surgery.
Well…we weren’t really expecting that!
While we were listening to the surgeon (a young man who looked to be all of 16 years old!) explain what had to be done, a thought passed through my mind: we should call the priest and have him come so that my husband could have confession and the anointing of the sick before the surgery. I did not act on this thought. I looked at the faces of the surgeon, my daughter, the Fiancé, the nurse…and it seemed to busy and distracting to speak to my husband about calling the priest. And the demons whispered, “It’s 11pm; probably the priest won’t even answer the phone. You don’t even know if there is an emergency number to call at the parish. It’ll be okay…just let it go.” Sadly, I listened to them. They took my husband into surgery at midnight, with the surgeon saying that he was 99% sure there was a perforated colon, and that surgery would take as long as 4-5 hours.
I went home and went to bed – exhausted but restless, of course; I thought about emergency surgery, and infection, and death. I kicked myself for not having called the priest. And I prayed and prayed, begging God to spare my husband’s life since he had not had the advantage of the anointing of the sick.
Then I forced myself to lie down and close my eyes, and I did in fact fall asleep. My phone rang around 2:30am; my first thought was that this was way too soon for the surgery to be over. Then the surgeon told me that surgery was successful, and there was no sign of anything being perforated! That’s why the surgery didn’t take as long – he had not had to remove any of the colon. This was very good news, and the surgeon was very pleased, as were all of the rest of us! There was, however, massive infection, which the doctor had taken care of; the hernia would still have to be repaired at a later date.
I went back to sleep, and got up at my usual time to go and see my husband in the hospital. The first thing we talked about was the fact that we had not called the priest. My husband said he also had thought about it, but things were moving so fast…we got swept up in the worldly aspect of the whole thing. We both expressed our gratitude to God that we were sitting there together in the hospital, with my husband having come through the surgery just fine. We also were amazed at the miracle of his not having a perforated bowel. And apparently that miracle was not lost on the surgeon, who admitted his surprise that he had not found the damage he had expected. We hope and pray that this is a strong witness to the surgeon about the power of prayer and the mercy of God (I do not know anything about his religious views, but I do know he is not Catholic). We also hope that The Fiancé sees the power of God at work in all of this.
My husband had to spend 5 days in the hospital on IV antibiotics. He didn’t complain, but I know it was torture for him! He is a person who doesn’t sit still, and for 5 days there was “nothing” he could do. He went for walks, though! He was so grateful that know bowel was removed and that he did not have a colostomy, that he decided not to complain about anything else!
He’s been home now, for a week. He still “can’t do anything”, and he’s become a little more vociferous about being bored. He knows it will be a long healing process, and that as soon as he is healed enough, the surgeon wants to do the hernia surgery. That will likely be in the first week or so of April. So, in the meantime, I am the chief horse feeder and stall cleaner…not my favorite jobs. But you now what? It’s Lent! And I think this is a very good Lenten penance. It will be a daily chore from two weeks ago till May. It will not go away!
There are many spiritual lessons in all of this. I’m still digesting them. But clearly, God’s providence was, and continues to be, quite evident.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!