I had a stroke October 31st. Today is August 31st, ten months on. And I am ready to start just staying in bed on any day marked 31.
I began today, one week after my 65th birthday, by not having any food because I had to go have a blood test. Frankly, I can’t remember why, now. But I know I had to walk the full length of the clinic to let them stick me.
Melanie then drove me back home long enough to pour a little food down the stomach tube before we headed off to physical therapy. Because I’d already done so much walking, the therapists mostly had me do balancing exercises and only had me walk once around the gym.
Melanie and I were already tired and it was only 10:30 am. We came home and immediately went to bed for a nap. When we got up again it was noon. More food poured down the tube. I read the day’s entry from Melanie’s devotional book (she used one of my columns) and the final entry for the August series I wrote for The Journey. Then, to my surprise, I broke down in tears. I thanked God for the privilege of having my stuff published and, I trust, blessing those who read it.
Then off to the worst part of the day so far: a visit with the cancer doctor who had looked at my colonoscopy report from two weeks ago. I was expecting a good report. Instead, he was advising further surgery to remove part of my bowel around the site of the polyp that was already removed. It had showed the presence of cancer cells. So now, to be safe…
He sent in his assistant to schedule further blood tests and to set a date at the hospital. My last hospital visit was a nightmare. I was horrified to learn what the doctor now proposed meant another 5-6 day stay. Plus the “preparation” for the surgery itself, a repeat only three weeks after the colonoscopy. I voted to get it done as soon as possible. I mean, get it over with. We left there and returned to the clinic for more blood tests. One nurse asked me how I was.
“I’m here,” I said, “So I must not be good.” She laughed.
Next Tuesday all other activity stops again. Whatever progress I’ve made will start to go backward, like it did two weeks ago. I will return to the hospital.
This time my tears were for Melanie because I could do nothing to shield her from it.
Today, also at lunch, we had listened to Ravi Zacharias’ radio program. In the midst of his lesson, Ravi said, “You will never lighten any load until you feel the pressure in your own soul.” I did wonder if that was a word for us and that was before seeing the doctor.
While the doctor had been outlining his proposal, he turned to find me sitting with my eyes closed.
“Are you all right”? he asked.
“I’m praying,” I said.
I had just typed that last sentence when one of our prayer partner friends called me. They wanted to pray, too, and did so in a somewhat shaky voice.
Good to know the intercession has begun. Thank you, Lord.