I missed you last week.

There are rare occasions when I don’t write these articles. Last week was such a time.

My gallbladder went rogue a couple of days before Christmas. I remember the ER doctor telling me after all the tests were run, “your gallbladder needs to come out.” He seemed to take great delight in sharing the next bit of news. “And you need to be on a bland diet until it comes out.” The gallbladder news was not earth shattering, the bland diet news two days before Christmas was not good news.

I found a surgeon in Minden. Since the journey started there, I thought it only fair that the folks in Minden saw it through. I showed up for my surgeon’s visit with my X-acto knife and betadine ready for her to cut the thing out that day. She, being a thorough surgeon, ran more tests.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an appointment to review the test results. She carefully laid out my options and I said, “When can we do this?” The date was set. She described laparoscopic surgery and the recovery time. I told the church staff that I was having surgery on Monday and I would return to the office by Wednesday. This small surgical procedure would not keep me down.

I checked into the day surgery area of the hospital. They gave me a southern exposure hospital gown. They started the IV and told me surgery would begin about 11:30. I remember the ride to the surgery suite and that is about it. My simple surgery lasted four hours!

When I work up, I was in the labor and delivery area of the hospital. I wondered what they had removed in surgery that caused me to end up in a place where I was the only male on the floor. Being the only male on the floor, did have several advantages and moments of great levity. I could tell when the older nurses sent a student nurse to my room to get my vitals, without warning her I was a he. There were some funny looks. There were questions, “What are you doing here?” There was laughter at the nurse’s station!

All levity aside, I spent Monday night under the watchful care of a great nursing staff. The nurses on Tuesday were good too. I noticed that no one was talking about discharging the patient. It seemed the patient was causing concern with his numbers. Also when they tried to stand me up and I folded up like a church fellowship hall folding chair, there was concern.

The concern came to a head after supper on Tuesday night. The surgeon came in and said, “Did you eat?” I said, “Only the fruit.” She said, “Good, we need to take you back to surgery.” I knew that you can’t have surgery after eating, it is like swimming after you eat. I asked her, “When?” She said, “We can’t wait eight hours, we are taking you now.”

I had three more hours of surgery.

So that’s where I was last week. Seven hours of surgery and three days in the labor and delivery section of the hospital.

I learned the power of prayer and patience. I’m grateful for the care I received from the staff of the hospital who along with great nursing skills had wonderful senses of humor. I’m humbled by all the folks who prayed for me. I’m thankful for the moments of helplessness which reminded me again of the words of the Psalmist.

From whence does your help come. My help comes from the Lord.

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