I started throwing up again later that night and ended up back at the ER. Guess what, I had an allergic reaction to the dye they used to figure out what was wrong with my heart. Not something that is all that common. It bunged up my kidneys, caused my blood sugar to get totally out of control, and made me sick as a skunk eating dog. Holy cats, NO ONE should be that sick, ever. And to make it all just ducky, I got a terrible migraine to add to all the misery. I ended up staying as a hospital guest for three long miserable days before they let me leave again, It took that long for my kidney function to recover. The details are pretty disgusting, so that is all I want to say about that.
I went to the nearest hospital, The Methodist Hospital in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Its a pretty new place, kind of out in the country, small but up to date with all the new gadgets and such. Clean, quiet, quick to get in and out of the ER, but the best part of the entire place is the staff. From custodians who had to clean up after me more than once, to the nursing and technician staffs, to the doctors who actually take time to have a conversation and answer questions, to the hospital chaplain who came more than once just to talk to me about how I was coping, every last one was kind, compassionate, genuine in their concern and care for and of me. And they were that way to each and every single person for which they held responsibility. Amazing and wonderful for someone who was feeling grotty, and yes, terrified of dying. When I mentioned that to the Chaplain after sharing a prayer, he smiled kindly and said, “Dear Sister, I saw a long list of things you still have to accomplish. Trust in the Father, he only has great love for you.” Yes, I cried. It was a good thing. Healing tears in the face of deep fear.
In 2011, I faced death more than once from a horrific infection at the sight of open heart triple bypass surgery. It resulted in two more open heart surgeries within three months. That was followed by nearly a year of recovery and several more years of regaining mobility and strength. I think of myself as strong willed and determined, but I knew I was very close to dying and my doctor confirmed the fact that he didn’t think I would make it through that final surgery. I thought I was doing everything right and never expected to have another heart attack. Not when I felt so healthy. I think I was beyond shocked, and went from, “Why am I throwing up?” to “Am I going to die?” at the speed of sound.
I couldn’t sleep that first night. A young nurse was assigned to me. About three in the morning, she came into check on me and found me unable to express my fear. Patting my hand, she leaned over and hugged me. We chatted a bit, and when she left she said, “I wish I had a Nana like you. Mine died when I was little. I know you’ll be okay.” Yes, I cried. It was then that I made a decision.
I was going to tell every single person who came into my room how much I appreciated their help, their willingness to do a difficult job, no matter what it was, and that all they did for a patient made them a ministering angel and God’s hands here on earth. I did exactly that. I thanked everyone, I told them how valuable they were to me as part of a group who pulled together to help me survive and heal. I prayed with a few, I cried with a few, I laughed with more, and I was openly loving and sharing with everyone. Those that know me, know I don’t open up like that – ever. When I left, every single nurse and aide on the floor hugged me. Before I made it to the elevator, several others stopped us and said thank you and wished me well.
When I got home, I was still worn out (Never go to the hospital if you want to rest), but so grateful for the love I felt, and even more for the love of my family – especially my husband’s love. A few days later, a letter came for me from the hospital. It was a card, signed by all of the nurses who cared for me, thanking ME for allowing them to be part of the process of healing. Yes, I cried.
Once again, Thank You:
Taylor, Jason, Bobby, Sibel, Lauren, Terrinay, Mariah, Jennifer, Bernie, June, Ms. Dee, Miss Ruby Rose, Dr. Patel, Dr. Showkat, All the Surgery Team, Respiratory Team, Blood Team, ER Staff, Laboratory Staff, and X-ray Staff, and especially Brother Earl for reminding me that God never ignores those of his children who are in need of his attention.
You are indeed ministering angels and God’s helping hands on earth.