From November 3 through November 21, during daylight hours (and a few lit by the moon), I sat either in the surgery waiting room or at my husband’s bedside.
After that first very long day of tension waiting for the surgeon’s report (a negative report which in medical terms is positive!), I had hours to observe the people around me in the Critical Care Unit:
Our wise doctor who was first cautiously optimistic and then enthusiastically optimistic. When a return to the operating room proved necessary because of a “bleeder,” he sat watching 45 minutes before re-stitching the incision. Great Physician, thank you for this instrument of your healing.
Nurses—many who look like teenagers but who blend professionalism with gentle care and genuine interest. (One exception in this crew but maybe he was having a bad day. We saw him only that one shift.) Protect their loved ones, Father, even as they care for mine.
Patients’ friends and family members walking the long halls most often caught my attention. The elderly man and adult daughter hugging outside a room where a frail woman lay. I whispered a prayer for the mother and wife whose condition they’ve just heard is terminal. Loving Father, be their hope.
The young man in faded jeans and wrinkled plaid shirt, his long unwashed hair topped by a grimy ball cap. He had obviously slept all night on one of the hard waiting room benches and now paces the floor. Sweet Jesus, he seems so alone. Please give him rest.
Family members who inch away from a room’s closed door and I hear the words “funeral…need to call…so unexpected.” Is their loved one’s breathing now so shallow that they expect it’s impending end? God of all, be their comfort.
After three days my husband was moved from that unit to another floor where his care was still excellent but not as necessarily constant. This was a good move—it meant he continued to improve and the horizons of my people watching changed. In CCU, life and death were the constant colors. On the ninth floor I saw more the gentle hues of everyday living, the cautious—often painful—steps toward healing. Perhaps more the colors of hope as physical therapists kindly yet persistently worked toward the goal of getting the patient “out-of-here-and-up-those-stairs!”
My husband is now home and slowly gaining strength. His goal is pushups at home and treadmill at the gym (all with the doctor’s thumbs up)!
One day as I sat near my husband’s hospital bed, the western vista seen from the large windows was captivating. Instead of the usual brilliant blue of our Colorado sky, silver-white clouds hinted at late day showers. Those same clouds shadowed the mountain peaks so instead of green pines, leafless aspens and brown/gray boulders, our Rocky Mountains were a gray/black silhouette. Clouds hid the mountains’ majestic beauty. I know the trees stand tall because I’ve walked among them. I’ve touched the boulders. I’ve marveled at the now unseen deer and pica who stride and scamper on Pikes Peak. But all are hidden because of the clouds.
The hearts of people watching and waiting in a hospital are often hidden as well. I saw only the outside and could merely guess at their pain or joy. BUT the eyes of the Lord are watching over those who fear him, who rely upon his steady love… We depend upon the Lord alone to save us. Only he can help us; he protects us like a shield… we are trusting him. We trust his holy name. (Psalm 33)
Amen and amen.