One of my greatest fears has been to become sick enough to go to the hospital. I have social phobia and other mental problems, and the thought of being unclothed and being touched by people horrified me.
One evening, I started to have pain in my upper abdomen and down my right side. I thought it was another kidney stone. I had passed one many years ago and it felt the same. I knew what to do and waited for it to pass. But it didn’t. The pain wouldn’t let up, and in the morning, I called an ambulance.
The emergency was crowded and I was put in a waiting room. I didn’t ask for pain medication. I didn’t even think of it, I don’t know why. But later, they could see I was in pain and they gave me a shot of something.
I was there at 8:30 am and after tests I was told I needed my appendix out. I had surgery at 9:30 pm and it all went well. Then they took me to a room that had one other patient – a man.
I was molested by my father as a child, so usually I would have been terrified to be in a room alone with a man. But he had just had heart surgery and was in pain, so I figured he wasn’t a danger. He was arguing with the nurses and then a doctor about his pain medication. He said it wasn’t strong enough. I felt sorry for him and also the doctor and nurses. There are two sides to giving and getting pain killers and I understand the complexities.
After the medical staff left the room, this man began talking with me. He was very outgoing and personable. I’m usually upset when people talk to me, but I wasn’t this time. I felt comfortable, and we shared a lot of information about our lives. Also, he was polite enough to ask me if I minded talking and I told him I was fine with it.
I won’t give any details, suffice it to say his wife was in stage 4 cancer and he had a bad heart. He had just retired and they had bought an RV and kayak so they could enjoy their remaining life together. Then illness struck both of them.
I am not one to preach religion to others. I know most people do not appreciate that. But this man was very sad and contemplating the end of their lives. His hope was gone.
I had been praying silently for God to help me help him, and when he told me what he was feeling about death, I asked him, “Do you believe in God?” He told me he didn’t. He and his wife had been upset by the way religious people treated other people and they had left their church. Recently though, his wife had gone back.
He told me he figured he would be going to an eternal hell. I told him I did not believe God would torture people for an eternity. I told him I study the Bible for myself and make up my own mind what God is like. The Bible says the wicked will be ashes under the soles of our feet and that he will destroy the wicked and their works. It also says death and hell will be thrown into a lake of fire. This means death and the grave will be gone forever. I know there are a few verses that give the impression of an everlasting hell like: “The smoke of their torment will ascend forever.” But smoke is a result of fire and I believe this means the results of sin will always be remembered so that no one ever sins again. All of heaven will know the results of rebelling against God.
We talked a bit more about God and then went to sleep. I was happy I could share my belief in God with this man. My heart felt entwined with his since we were talking about the most important thing about life: why we are here and what happens after death. I thanked God for the opportunity.
I learned a lot by staying in the hospital. Number One: I don’t need to be afraid for God is with me. I didn’t feel afraid the whole time I was there. Number Two: There was a reason for my appendix problem. God wanted me to talk with that man.
What is interesting is that during my stay in the waiting room my daughter phoned the hospital to ask how I was doing. The staff told my daughter they had no one in the hospital by my name. She kept calling during the day and they kept saying the same thing. By the fourth call, my daughter got angry and insisted they look and see if they could find me.
They did finally find me. After the pain medication, a nurse had moved me to a recliner so I could lay back and rest. It was cold in there, so they gave me a blanked with which I covered my body and face. I promptly fell asleep. So, they could have called my name out and I wouldn’t have heard them.
Late in the afternoon, a nurse came and took the blanket off my face and asked my name. So, I guess that was when they found me. All this was quite an experience, and I want to add the nurses and doctors were wonderful and kind.
That’s the story of my hospital stay. My greatest fear came to me and God showed me he is stronger and wiser than my fear. I praise and thank him for everything. He is so much more than we could ever ask or think. He is King and Lord of the universe, my God, my Father, my Brother, my Counselor, my Comforter and Strength.