Thursday, November 11, 2010

surgery and its surprises

We are both healthy...neither my wife nor I have had major surgeries in our combined 127 years. I struggled with a broken ball and socket joint sustained as a fifteen year old football player and a painful bout with a stubborn kidney stone; Beverly, on the other hand, has never had surgery and only visited a hospital to deliver babies!

So our adventure Tuesday with Beverly's minor surgery contained a few surprises...

1. Hospital gowns are neither fashion statements nor are they designed to cover the whole body.

2. Nurses are persistent (but nice) people with a determination to secure the same information multiple, type of surgery, date of birth...while checking your answers against the new bracelet on your wrist (not a fashion statement either).

3. Anesthesiologists are very concerned about what you have eaten within the last twenty-four hours and what makes you "break out". They are the ones entrusted with putting you to sleep...long enough, but not forever.

4. Doctors unexpectantly check in with you before surgery to determine if you are the same person they remember from the office appointment earlier and to make sure with the nurses that all of the appropriate liability forms have been signed...?

5. The recovery room is an interesting place to eavesdrop on other patients' conversations and to get more personal information than you really want to know about their medical history.

On the more serious side, here are a few surprises that I now view as blessings from this experience we shared together...

1. Husbands and wives really do need each other, and surgery--a time when one person seems more vulnerable than the other--with the presence of a loving mate is an incomparable source of comfort.

2. We value those who provide professional care for us when they have a "bedside manner" that communicates professionalism as well as kindness.

3. The closeness of a church family cannot be overestimated--cards, e-mails, flowers, food, pnone calls; all of these things, and more, assuring us of their prayers, helped make the process less formidable and frightening.

4. Our faith in God is often best exercised in times of crisis; though this surgery was a minor procedure, we were confronted for a moment with the mortality of man but the offsetting certainty of our eternal hope in Christ.

5. We are getting older, and surgery may/may not become a more common event, with or with not, greater significance. But we will manage--with one another's affirming love, good medical care, the support of our biological and church families, and our confident faith.