Some of what follows may sound like criticism and that is not my intention. What has been happening for me is a learning curve in the difficulties that just show up along the way for anyone trying to recover their health. Call it intercessor’s training.
This morning I had a “swallow test” scheduled at an out of town hospital. I have not been able to swallow normally or eat food regularly by mouth since my stroke last Halloween. (Spoiler for those reading in a hurry: I was able to swallow during the test. Melanie is pleased.)
I have been anxiously waiting this day. In the middle of the night I was awake (happens a lot to me these days) and started thinking about the test again, just hours away. Melanie had been told not to feed me at my usual 8 AM time. She had decided she would go ahead and pour a small drink of water down my feeding tube so she could give me my meds before we drove to the hospital. The rest of the disruptions to our schedule we could only guess for now. I stared at the darkness.
I found out later that Melanie had already been awake herself, writing out her heart worries at her blog.
I began to pray in the Spirit and a thought quickly formed in my mind. God already knew how the morning – indeed, the whole day – would go. Of course He did. He had known how my whole life would go. I could thank Him now for His care and provision, before knowing any of the details that would unfold during the day ahead. So I did. I also prayed for Melanie and her spiritual battles. Later, when I read what she had written about them, I was glad I had already been prompted to pray for her.
Melanie anticipated air conditioning at the hospital would be cold. I put on an extra shirt. I prayed we would face no delays but we acted on our doubts anyway.
First Melanie parked in the handicapped area. Then we decided it was still too far to walk. She restarted the van and let me climb into a wheelchair at the front door. Then she drove back out to the parking lot.
Next there was paperwork to sign with dry ink pens. Then waiting outside the lab area to be called for the test. We were the only ones in the waiting room but we still got to wait while the appointment time came and passed. When the assistant showed up she figured the further wait for Melanie while I was gone would be about half an hour.
But that changed with our conversation by the lab equipment. Could I stand up next to the x-ray machine for five minutes? I had some doubts since the stroke destroyed my sense of balance and there was nothing I could hold on to while standing. Could I drink down the barium cocktail and the fizzy pre-test liquid? Well, I was there because I could NOT swallow after the stroke and was receiving all nourishment by a tube into my stomach.
It was time to consult the doctor on a Plan B. Except I was encouraged to go ahead and try Plan A since that was what was on the agenda…
I know technical staff expect to follow their routines. I can see that it is not easy to communicate the details of every client’s situation. But I was glad that, in the middle of the night, God had reminded me that He already knew how this day would unfold.
I was invited to try and climb up on the exam table now tilted to a horizontal position. Then the table was re-tilted part way under the scanner, inches from my face. I was handed a soda-pop sized beaker filled with chalky liquid and asked to swallow it. This was difficult because a) space to move was limited and b) the swallowing thing c) aggravated by the angle I was at on the table.
I managed three tiny sips without completely choking. I wasn’t sure I had really gotten anything down but the doctor said he could see it. Did I think I could get any more down? I declined. The doctor went off to write up his report. The assistant helped me climb back down into the wheelchair and took me back out front.
She was assisted by a young student who was observing and training that day. They both stood with me on the entrance curb while Melanie walked out to get the van. I realized I had breathed a prayer saying the name of Jesus. I looked at the student nurse and decided to tell her I believed God had already planned the day. She nodded her head. “I’ll pray for you,” she said. I thanked her.
Driving home, Melanie and I discussed the experience of waiting for God to resolve our problems. “God won’t heal you too soon. It wouldn’t serve His plans.” I agreed but without much enthusiasm.
When we got back home Melanie prepared to feed me two hours later than usual. I said the Lord seemed to be keeping me from feeling the delay too badly, although I felt quite wobbly.
The doorbell rang. A friend who is discerning her own call to be a deacon was delivering something to Melanie. She stayed to pray with me.
Her prayer was all about patience. Another intercessor’s plea.