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Thursday, October 3, 2013
When "ICU" at a Hospital Means "I See You"
Just 12-hours ago I was being transported on a wheeled bed to the surgery wing at Virginia Mason. I had less than an hour's notice that that the schedule had been changed. I had people to notify and documents to create so that Dr Michael Neely could teach my seminar in Yakima this weekend. So much to do and so little time. Thankfully the nurse was able to contact my parents and daughters to notify them of the change, but only my parents and daughter, Sara, were able to make it in time to hug and kiss me before surgery. Mom, Dad and Sara took turns visiting with me in the patient prep room before I was taken in. As tears of fear began to overwhelm me, my mother took my hand and began to pray. Mom has always been a prayer warrior, taking everything to the Father. When she finished praying, and said "amen," I was filled with peace.
It wasn't much longer and I was being wheeled to the operating room, making jokes, smiling, waving to the hallway full of medical residents. They were about to take even more of my tongue, cut skin, veins and arteries from my left forearm, skin from my inner left thigh to replace it and install a tracheotomy tube in my throat. More changes to my body. Yet, I still had a peace. It was all going to be okay.
Moments later, or so it seemed, I began waking up from a surgery that lasted hours, and then transferred into the Intensive Care Unit. My support team had all arrived and my girls were carefully holding my hands as tears streamed down their cheeks, but I still was filled with peace. I was alive, surrounded by so much love. I couldn't breath through my mouth or nose, just the tube in my throat, but used my fingers to type what was on my mind, quoting movies like I usually do. They must have been exhausted, but my family stood for hours, holding my hands, relieved that I was still alive to be my silly self.
When the time came for them to leave, I found myself alone in my room, starting today's blog post. Withholding the shots of drugs so I could write, mostly. I still took an hour and a half to write this, falling asleep as I write. When the surgeon's assistant came in to follow up with me, I joked with her too. She seemed surprised that I was so relaxed, having had so much done with scalpels and stitches. But again, I was at peace... I took her hand carefully and mouthed the words, "Thank you."
I am a very blessed man and am falling asleep in the "ICU"... feeling as though my Lord is whispering into my ear, "I See You."