I am thankful I don’t have to spend much time in hospitals.
When I do, however, there is a seemingly endless well of inspiration.
I am praying for the amazing people working here and all over the world.
Thank you Lord for those souls who are willing to put forth all the effort it takes to do these jobs. So much rests on them.
I am praying for my husband’s surgery to be 100% successful and smooth.
While he is under the knife I muse….
and, am sharing with you.
[The majority of my hospital experience has been with Mirjam. Many a time I spent with her in various rooms and buildings. She was my best friend who died almost a year ago at age 80. Being here reminds me of some times we spent. So, some of the poetry will reference her and these moments.]
” Order up! “
They assign you a pager
after you sign your life away
consent for nakedness
permission for butchery
I know, I know…I exaagerate
this pager flashes and vibrates
when its time to meet the first of ‘models’ in an array
of new faces leading you from new place to new place
yes, holding this black mechanical square, one anticipates…
it reminds me of a restaurant at a busy time of day
you can hold onto this pager with excitement, you wait…
when it moves
only there’s no warm box,
filled with delectable pasta and cream sauce
no roasted meat upon which to feast…
what will become of this fresh meat ?
The IV is a commitment
it is a leash
“You don’t leave.”
The IV is a commitment
those in control decide
whether or not you stay alive
this passageway into your veins literally claims
“you’re awake”, “you’re asleep”, “you’re ours for a while to keep…”
The IV follows…
it goes where you go
tugs at your vein
if you pull the wrong way
it is a leash, a chain, a commitment to stay….
When the IV is taken out
the immediate sense regained,
“I can choose again for myself
I again have ownership”
as soon as the drip desists
freedom is reclaimed
from the IV
Your socks remind me of Mirjam’s
she had a pair or two or more
I keep a set in my closet, in her basket on the floor…
Those same intrusively yellow socks
like a flash against the bland green frock
like an eerie gleam against pale white sheets
why do they provide these?
Perhaps its to supplement the so called “blanket”
which is really just a glorified sheet.
They warm it up to disguise this reality,
simple pleasures in this place…go a long way.
The little comforts at a time this uncomfortable.
Underneath these brazen socks,
they cover your legs with massaging stocks
that will keep you bound to that flexible cot,
and a machine that will ward away any clots.
I remember this obnoxious machine.
That showed no pangs of shame, shattering the serene
suddenly interrupting at a measured pace
the time we spent together in that borrowed space
yes, the intruder would click on and off
tearing us from our conversations and silences
whichever it was
a regular reminder of the distance…
from the constancy of home
these brazen yellow socks
became a reminder, intruder in the pale…
peeking out beneath a “fashionable” green frock
No Where Else To Go
I recall, pondering the framed art in your hospice room.
The room in which you would breathe your last.
They knew that.
So they chose a sweet peaceful something to look at.
A green forest scene with a misty stream…
something beautiful to impart a tiny glimpse of peace.
In this room, today, where you are prepped for surgery
is another nature shot… so far from the other thought.
A jagged steep cliff…
with a drop off a ledge
“what if you woke up right there…” you said.
No where else to go.
That’s what it told
to me, how interesting, is this supposed to be a metaphor…
surgery is risky,
like jumping off a cliff.
Anything can happen, and once you’re in… you’re in.
My prayer and hope and trust is that it will be for a better end…
there will indeed be a chasm of space
between health, and suffering through healing…
a valley of time in recovery,
before the trickle of new life can begin.
Even if you were ready today, you couldn’t just leap in.
I will tiptoe beside you, as if instead we strolled by that misty stream…
with nowhere else to go,
toward a complete healing.
So may it be!
why is it that you can charge
to my alarm
an arm and a leg
(terrible hospital pun)
for the basic goods
because you knew that you could
because we’re stuck here
and we’re bound to hunger
bound to thirst
unable to wander
this is the one and only way
a hospital is like a theme park, for play
once in the gates
the prices soar
because you’re stuck here
and have no choice but to pay, much.. much more
Much Is Expected
To whom much is given, much is expected.
Isn’t that what “they” say.
Well I believe this can never more be seen,
than with what doctors deal in every day.
For what is entrusted into their practiced hands…
is life and death, precious ones…
for some, the very all that is left.
How fascinating…is that the word?
What this doctor does with his hands….
from the mundane to the extraordinary
in the span of night to morning.
The same fingers that grasped a toothbrush to remove plaque
took hold of a scalpel that sliced into my loved one’s back
from flossing out a tiny wedged piece of cereal
to carving down into spinal material
What if doctors didn’t take superb care of themselves?
I mean, day-to-day,
…moment to moment they must be scrupulously guarding their own health.
What if doctors didn’t take care of themselves physically?
Could they walk into the O.R. feeling just a little bit distracted or drowsy?!
They truly have chosen extraordinary, they don’t have the option for a normal life.
With them it’s not, “Oh, you’re just human.” No simple, “Everyone makes mistakes.”
Because they deal with life and death in the palm of their hands,
they are dealing with the highest stakes.
Their patients entrust their everything,
their entire future,
and that of their families…
into these hands, much is expected.
And the best of them… live, in accordance with this demand.
What a terrifying and noble choice of career.
I thank God for these hands, and those who deal with their craft with faithfulness, and healthy fear.
Some of you know. Some of you don’t.
This is the next step along a very long and trying road.
We once took a trip to find “home”…
and found out that it wasn’t where we were meant to even roam.
The nightmares that God took us through,
the lessons were so difficult to learn…
they hurt and still do.
The one whom He chose should be the member of our team to suffer,
has borne a heavy burden…
and truly we all have carried with him.
Today, God has taken him and us into a new chapter…
it will take much time,
we must all continue to work hard
to stay faithful
to be very patient
to increase and increase and increase in trust in the Lord
(this IS THE recurring theme).
There are so many of you to thank, and there have been very hurtful losses along the way. I don’t really know where to start… I don’t know what to say.
Just thank you, I pray you know, “We’d do anything for you.”
I pray we have been, and will be able to be… as good of friends to you
as you have been to us.
Please forgive us where we have failed, thank you for not giving up.
I could never have imagined having such a wonderful, growing, inspiring and encouraging family in whom to trust.
The surgery went well! It’s already complete. Now our little family will have to learn how to best be there for him throughout his recovery. Continue to pray.
I continue to praise. You are everything my King. I thank You for every step…You have been there…for every step along the way. You’re in this now. I praise You.