Major Illness Challenge

Every weekend should be reflective of the Gifts that we’ve received during the week. So, I’d like to share a major Gift given to me. Hopefully, it will brighten your day and/or causes you to reflect. You may or may not know, but my life was spared twice. If that wasn’t good enough, God used those episodes to rewrite my story and I’m super Thankful, because its changing my life for the better. Now on to the story……

Two weeks before Christmas, during a Friday evening outing, I made a rude, opinionated, bigoted comment about something I had heard playing through the car stereo. It was a commercial pertaining to a completely different set of people. The sad thing was that I made it in front of my Children. Although my Kids are way past what most would consider to be the “impressionable stage”, my words were ugly and mean and pointed towards my fellow people, but at the time, I didn’t think so. This caused a huge argument with my better half, as they were just a bit worn out over my stupid opinions and comments after 20+ years of marriage. I didn’t apologize and they didn’t back down. Not good! Well, like most of you who are married, we just found a way to move forward, seeing how Christmas was coming and the excitement of the Holiday masked what should have been addressed years ago. We made it through the Holidays and then a cliff presented itself; one that I almost fell off.

In January of that year, after battling what was first diagnosed as the flu, my colon ruptured in three sections and I went sepsis. An emergency surgery (executed by one of the best specialists in the colon/rectal field) saved my life. The Doctor and their Team opened me up from my sternum to my groin (yup, pretty awesome scar), pulled out my innards, washed all the feces out of my abdomen, and, then, re-sectioned the good parts of my colon. The next day, I woke-up in the critical care area of our local medical facility with a bag (to collect my waste) located directly next to my open incision. I felt depressed, defeated, and, generally, not in a good place. But wait, Christians, Believers of God, are never supposed to feel this way, right? Wrong….Those first two days were hell; only made tolerable by one particular RN. A nurse put into my life by God.

This nurse, who will remain nameless, taught me so much and became a vessel to change my heart. You see, she was transgender. She had all the outwardly visible features of a woman, however in my drug induced state, I kept responding to her with “yes sir” (yet she never felt the need to correct me). It was my Spouse and my Mother who kept saying “It’s a she”! How embarrassing for me, her, and those trying to correct me; however, she, my Caregiver, never made a big deal of it. This caring, compassionate, selfless, loving, and strong Creation of God was the only one capable of taking care of me (on her own) while I was in critical care. She helped get me up (tubes, cords, machines, and all hanging off me) to use the restroom. She dressed the huge open gash on the front of me and emptied my waste from the bag. She, like most others in the medical profession (especially nurses), was simply amazing. Not only did she care for me, but she was the Gift God intended to use to change my heart. But, this story wasn’t over yet!

Ten days into my stay, I was well-enough (or at least we thought) to start home recovery. The nurses in the colon/rectal unit unhooked all my connections and were trying to mentally-prepare me to leave. I kept telling them, “I’m not ready.” Thank God they listened and kept me one additional day. On my last scheduled full-day, while eating a small cup of ice cream (during dinner with my Spouse), a simple cough burst a vein in my abdominal wall. I was sitting in a chair at the time and the blood just poured onto the floor. The surgeons and nurses did their best to get the bleeding stopped in my room. But, they couldn’t stop it. After 40 minutes of trying with three (3) sets of hands in my abdomen (while I was awake and watching), the Chief Resident stopped his efforts. He requested one of his other Residents to make the attempt. She jumped on top of the bed near my legs and found the spot where the bleeding was coming from. She held that spot for forty (40) minutes and rode the bed to the operating room. She was my life saver that night – another gift, right? While nearly bleeding-out in front of my Spouse (the person who tried advising me for so many years to keep my political, social, and religious opinions to myself), I was preparing myself to say goodbye to them. In fact, I did say goodbye forever to my Spouse before going into the operating room as my Spouse ran alongside the bed on the way down through the hospital. I’m telling you, it was something out of a movie script. As you can tell though, I made it and will always be super Grateful.

While recovering back up in my room later that night, all I kept thinking about was that first Nurse who I met ten (10) days prior. God’s Words about love, forgiveness, and judgement kept me awake when I probably should have been sleeping. He kept saying to me – “I have big plans for you, but you must first remove those ugly rags of self-righteousness, hate, and bigotry. Every person is a child of God and who are you to judge? For I so loved the world that I sent my only Son, that whomever should believe in Him, will have everlasting life. And, that’s not just for you dude.” This made a huge impact on me. As a Christian, I have one job. One Commandment among the Ten (10) which is mentioned more than anything else in the Bible – my job is to Love. Who am I to judge? Sin is sin. It’s not one sin worse than the other or scaled-differently in God’s eyes. I’m not God; nor is any politician, preacher, teacher, or movie star. We all have to answer someday for our sins, but the awesome truth remains it’s much easier, because of Jesus and His sacrifice that we celebrate at Easter; as Christ Followers.

Immediately following my last surgery, I was able to share this story for the first time with that loving, caring, helpful, talented, and strong Creation of God. My Spouse went down to the critical care unit to find her (leaving a note behind on my behalf inviting her up for a visit). About thirty (30) minutes later, that transgender Nurse, a Gift from God, stood in my doorway and gasped at seeing me. She ran over to my bed giving me a huge hug. I had my Spouse close the door, so that we could visit briefly in private. God’s words, not mine, were relayed to her that afternoon. I know that she went back down to work feeling Loved; just as I did while she was caring for me. I will insure that she continues to feel that Love along with the other Awesome Caregivers I am Blessed with.

I may remain grounded in my beliefs, my political positions, and my views on how I want to live, but those ideals belong to me. I have no business, no right, and no authority to place those on others; not even my Family. My job is to Love and I love all of you; regardless of what your beliefs are. God bless…

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