“Dr. Payne will be right in!” the surgical assistant said to me with a smile, leaving me strapped to the bed. Of all the name’s for my surgeon to have, it just HAD to be Payne, didn’t it?
The surgical room was huge with ceilings so high our voices seemed to echo, bouncing off the walls. Which made the answer to my question directed to the surgical assistant that much more dramatic, “So, how long have you been in this field?”
“I-I-I just-just-just started-started-started...“
Gulp. Dr. Payne + The New Girl = Death. No doubt.
In the center of the room was 1 single bed, which I happened to be laying on, inclined so that I had full-view of my leg laying in front of me. The assistant had just finished the sterilization process which included taping off the entire lower half of my body with papery-sheets so that only my right leg was exposed, toe-to-hip. She had also painted my leg blue and I joked how I looked like a Smurf…until my leg started burning…and I stopped joking and started screaming inappropriate things and throwing sterile surgical instruments at the wall. Well, in my head at least. On the outside I just said, “My leg is burning…and itching…please itch my leg…PLEASE, for the LOVE just ITCH MY LEG FOR ME!!!!!!!!”
“You shaved, didn’t you?” The New Girl said knowingly. “This sterilizing alcohol really burns when you just shave!”
JUST ITCH IT…PLEASE…I’ll do ANYTHING!!!! By this point, I was acting foolish and irrational, but I didn’t care. Shaving with a dull razor only to be bathed in blue alcohol 37.82 minutes later was enough to strip away all mature, controlled behavior. She didn’t itch it.
To be honest with you, I had totally forgotten I was even HAVING leg surgery until midnight on Wednesday. My surgery was scheduled for 8:15am on Thursday.
Which meant only one thing…I didn’t have time to find a ride home.
Which meant only one thing…I would have to drive myself.
Which meant only one thing...I was not allowed to take my delicious, heavy dose of Valium.
Which meant only one thing…
I remember EVERYTHING.
I remember Dr. Payne threatening to shoot The New Girl in the forehead with the LASER that was to be shot into my leg. I remember the incisions and dripping blood. I remember the 3 foot long wire that was pushed into a vein in my calf and fed all the way up through my entire leg. I remember asking for crackers and water because suddenly, I-don’t-feel-so-good. I remember my leg burning and itching so badly that all I wanted to do was take matters into my own hands…
But mostly I remember feeling really proud when they looked at me and said, “You didn’t take any Valium?! That is AMAZING!”
I’m about to make a strange transition here, and it will be far from seamless…
Recently I’ve been reflecting on suffering, sadness, trials…pain. (not to be confused with Payne) Whether we are in pain ourselves or know someone who is, it’s something we can all relate to. Sometimes it’s in our pain that we see life more clearly than we ever have before. Other times, pain can draw us into ourselves so deeply that we struggle to see others and their needs, or what is going on outside of ourselves. Pain can bring out the best in us…it can also bring out the worst in us.
But there is one thing that all experiences with pain, suffering, sadness and trials stir within us all…and that is the desire to overcome it.
Overcome it, be done with it, move on from it, find a cure or solution for it, have it taken from us. Sometimes we feel strong enough to search for a solution, other times we have not the strength to even lift a finger against it. But either way, we desire to overcome it.
There is a verse from a book in the Bible (called Exodus) that I’ve meditated on often. It simply reads this:
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Laying on the table yesterday, I wanted so badly to put a stop to what hurt, to itch what tingled, to soothe what was burning. I wanted to shift my leg, to squirm a little, to rush the process. But I only had one job to do yesterday. And that was to BE STILL. With one wiggle, a pin-point laser intended for good could have gone very, very bad. With a desperate ITCH, needles would have been flying, sanitation spoiled, and with my luck, amputation needed.
For those in pain, in suffering, walking in a fog or a trial…for those exhausted in the journey…and for those who were not trained in advanced medical vein surgery (me! pick me!), there is a time – no, no – there is a NEED to BE STILL. To be taken care of, to be fought for, to be worked on, to be mended.
Are you there? Do you know someone who is? Rest in, cling to, depend on these words today…
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14