Well, it has been a while since a post. We have been in recovery from our travels and finally getting back in the swing of things.
Last week I got to go visit hospitals with Adam during the day. Once or twice a month he will go make hospital calls, visiting members of the church (or sometimes non-members) that are ill or just had surgery. Since he is part of a large staff, they take turns going and make sure people are visited a few times a week. Anyway, he invited me to go, and I was excited to join him. He has done this for 3 years now, and I've always wondered what it was like. Wow, did it shake me and change my perspective!
Our first visit was with a lady, Jan, who just had brain surgery. Jan had back pain for 2 years that numerous MRIs and tests could not diagnose. She was told that she was imagining it, she needed to exercise more, try a chiropractor...but the pain worsened and continued...then in July, she visited a new doctor who ordered a scan of her brain, and within 3 days was rushed in for major brain surgery (from which she was told she might not wake up). Wow. Turns out she had a large tumor at the top of her spinal cord that was pinching and pushing, causing severe pain. We spent almost an hour talking with her, and I was reminded of how quickly life can change. One day it was just back pain, the next, a life-threatening tumor. She is now in rehab to regain movement on the left side of her body, and has an incredible outlook. Her main prayer request was for God to be glorified through her situation. Perspective.
Next we moved on to visit Rebekah. She was not a church member; in fact, she is not even from this city. Rebekah was in town and while here found out she needed surgery. Without friends or family near, she called our church for support. When we arrived she was not in her room--she was already in for her procedure. I can't even imagine having to go in for a big surgery, much less go without any family supporting me and waiting for me to come out. I also can't fathom being so alone, looking up a church in the phone book and calling for support. But I am so impressed and glad that she did that. We left her a note and prayed for her. She is still in ICU. More perspective.
Our day ended in the NICU. I was looking forward to this more than any other, because it involved a friend of ours, a fellow choir member named Carmen, and her preemie son, Tyler. When she was about 4 months into her pregnancy, Carmen found out that she was lacking amniotic fluid and that Tyler's stomach was not developing properly. Her doctor told her that most often this ends in death of the baby, but that there was a risky procedure they could perform to try to save him. Carmen went forward with the procedure and refused any suggestion of aborting. We all gathered around her on a Wednesday night at church and prayed. It was successful! Yet Tyler is still not out of the woods. He was born 6 weeks early, still has stomach issues (a surgery will be performed later to take care of that) and is unable to breathe on his own. Determined to breastfeed, Carmen goes to the milk bank and pumps every 3 hours (obviously I know nothing about this, but apparently pumping is a bit harsher than regular feeding, and this is her first time to do this--talk about tender!). I told her she is amazing for doing that. Anyway, I was struck in a deeper way than ever before that life is truly a miracle. I think I have taken for granted the healthy births my friends and family have had... I thanked God for my precious nephews and for the many babies born to my friends lately. I prayed for our future children, and I asked God to take care of little Tyler. Another child in the same situation as him died a week earlier. Life is fragile, and God is in control. I needed that reminder, and, well, perspective.