On Thursday morning, long before the sun even thought about coming up, my mom crept into my room to tell me she was driving herself to the emergency room.
Let's just pause right there.
In no situation is this a good thing, especially when you are mid-way through your REM cycle.
And when you couple the early hour, along with this being your very own mama, the one who is tougher than nails and has to be threatened with loss of limb or large quantities of blood to even think about going to the hospital, you push away the thoughts of dread and cling to the thoughts of hope.
I quickly realized that this day was going to look vastly different than I had planned. And it was going to include me in the emergency room with very bad hair and a very sick mom.
After I had found pants and my glasses, we loaded up in my car and drove to the hospital. Thankfully, the emergency room was empty and my mom was quickly ushered behind a set of swinging doors.
And then came the waiting.
I must admit that I usually excel in a crisis. I am fairly calm and level-headed, planning ahead and trying to meet current needs. However, the one thing that makes me pause and/or perhaps need a gurney myself is anything that has to do with blood. Or needles. Or body parts that are not where they should be.
So when they called me back to come visit with my mom after she had had a series of tests, I was relieved to see that she was still very much in tact. This was beneficial for both of us. And after another hour of waiting, it was determined that she needed to have her gall bladder removed. Immediately.
I cannot tell you how relieved I was by this news. I am down to only one freely roaming parent and to have this pain be something associated with a long-term illness or something worse, may have meant me checking myself into the mental ward, which conveniently was just down the hallway.
The trauma surgeon came in and said she could fit my mom in later in the day. She said that was very routine and she could be in and out (I got a little lightheaded at this point) in about an hour. I was in awe of her confidence, knowledge and authority of the human body. I have a family full of health care professionals, including my mom, and I have always wanted to be in the profession myself. There is just something about knowing the human body at such an intimate and intelligent level that leaves me breathless.
But so does blood.
Thus my dreams of becoming a trauma surgeon were never fulfilled.
My mom had a successful surgery and she is now resting at home for the rest of this week. My siblings and I spent two full days at the hospital trying to entertain ourselves without setting off any monitors or machines. That can be a challenge, just so you know. (The picture from the post below is evidence of this.) And we had an army of friends show up with copious amounts of Starbucks and encouraging words for my mom. People really are amazing when you give them a good health crisis.
I am still fascinated with the fact that there are parts in our bodies that can be removed without impacting our ability to live. I am always appreciative of the extra button on the bottom of a new shirt or coat so you can imagine how thankful I am for spare body parts.
But most of all, I am thankful that God uses pain and discomfort, uncertainty and dependence, to produce a more healthy version of ourselves.
Fearfully and wonderfully, all in one.