Easter was special this year! Just as Joe and I spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas at Aurora Summit Hospital, we spent our Easter there as well. We have nick-named our hospital, “Holiday Inn”.
Joe’s leg pain augmented to a point where it was impossible for him to be at home with only 110 pound me to help him get around. Last Tuesday Joe was admitted to the hospital Inpatient Rehab Unit for medical care and the assistance he needed.
The leg pain was baffling. Joe’s 4th degree burn from the October accident had healed beautifully. His post-op rotator cuff healing was progressing well—and the pain was in a leg, not in the shoulder. Why the severe pain? Joe’s physiatrist (pain management doctor) puzzled over the enigma, ordered an ultra-sound, and discovered a large Baker’s cyst. Once the cyst was dealt with the leg improved daily, and now—although with great effort—Joe can walk with considerably diminished pain.
Joe was hospitalized in the rehab unit for 7 nights. I stayed there with him for 6 of those nights. As before when I have “vacationed” with Joe at our Holiday Inn, I cannot thank God enough for the care and comfort received in this hospital.
I’ve learned so much over the last 6 months, it would take a large book to even begin to tell it all! I’ve grown to love many of the individuals who have tended Joe’s needs (and mine, when I was a surgery patient there over Christmas). We are amazed at the personal care and compassion of our doctors, and many of the nurses and aides.
Often, when going through a crisis, we are tempted to ask, “Why, Lord?” That question has been answered for me, again and again, before I even bother to ask! I’m certain that more answers will be unveiled as time passes.
Over the 3 holidays, as well as during our 9 other hospital sessions in the last 6 months, I’ve had many opportunities to share God’s grace. God fills us with His joy and peace, as we focus on Him. We were thankful on Thanksgiving. Christmas was still very much Christmas, our surgeries notwithstanding.
And Easter was Easter! Christ is risen! The joy of the resurrection superceded any inconvenience or potential regrets we might have had over being away from our home and the “normal” holiday routine.
Visits from family members have been wonderful. One day I heard the chatter of children down the hall. I knew they would be some of our great-grandchildren, as Joe was the only patient in the unit during our stay. Sure enough, a group of our treasures popped into the room bringing their freshness and excitement!
I always bring arts and crafts with me, to keep my hands and imagination fulfilled during hospital “vacations”. Nurses and aides often pause to visit, and frequently they are curious about my knitting projects and amateurish forays into sketching and painting. They are fascinated when I show them my homemade soap, and they enjoy the music from our IPOD. These women share their interests with me as well, and the social time is rich!
Last Saturday one of the aides asked me (2 times!) if she could bring her boy friend into the room to meet us before they left the hospital for their dinner date that evening. I was touched and absolutely thrilled (almost to tears!), and of course I said “Yes”!
What a treat it was to be included for a few moments in a young couple’s life. I reflected over the many years of welcoming the friends of our 6 children, and sharing our home and dinner table with them. Sharing our hospital room was a small scale replay of those delightful years!
Perhaps the highlight (if I can single out only 1) of our most recent hospital stay happened in the “dead of the night”. The aide who came into the room to check Joe’s blood pressure suddenly noticed my Star of David earrings. She gasped, and said, “You are wearing Star of David earrings. Where did you get those?”
I told her about my favorite Hebrew jewelry website, and then she asked, “Are you Jewish?”
I gave my favorite reply to anyone who asks about my Jewish jewelry: “I’m a Christian with a Jewish heart!”*
The aide was thrilled. She said, “I am Jewish. Oh, I love you!”
Then I showed her my ring with 12 glass stones signifying the 12 tribes of Israel, and she was even more thrilled. My parting words to her flew out spontaneously from my Christian/Jewish heart: “I think it’s so important that we make a statement today!”*
So you see, I have no problem with the question, “Why, Lord?” His answers abound before I even ask!
Meanwhile, Joe comes home today. It’s 2 weeks today since his shoulder surgery. In 4 weeks the brace can come off. Then, “God willing and the creeks don’t rise”, we can go fishing!
Yes, I’m thankful for the experiences God has provided during the past challenging months, for His ongoing care, encouragement, and strength. I’m thankful for the assistance of family members and friends. I’m thankful for modern medicine, and the caregivers involved. And I’m thankful for your prayers!
Margaret L. Been, 2011
*Note: I’ve come to consider jewelry as far more than just adornment. My lovely Cross with turquois stones and my Hebrew jewelry have been great conversation starters, providing many occasions to share what I believe!
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