I can’t believe it. I am over 6 months post transplant. Things have been going pretty well. Home is wonderful. A soft bed and pillow. Familiar faces, places. Things are moving at a fast pace. Some days I just feel like I am trying to keep up. I am still regularly overwhelmed with my limitations, but I am just trying to take it step by step.
Living through a nearly fatal disease, accident, life experience, is life changing. I don’t think that anyone would argue that. It is impossible to be the person you used to be. No matter how hard you wish it. You come that – close to death. And in my experience, it wasn’t that great. No lights, no soothing voices, nada.
I last remember the nurse asking me, “Have you ever had blood in your stool before?” I have 3 kids in 2 pregnancies, so me and my hemorrhoids are super close. (Yep, TMI in this post). The bleeding continued and became heavier. By this point, I was too weak to get up to the bathroom. For those of you who think that you would never be able to use a bed pan, you are wrong. You will if you really need to. The bleeding got progressively worse and it was obvious something needed to be done quickly. I get a little fuzzy after this (even though Greg says I talked and answered questions). I know that my BP dropped into the 80’s and that they were transfusing continuously and my hematocrit kept dropping. I know that the GI docs were planning an emergency intervention and that Greg was told that if there was more than one spot or if they couldn’t find the bleed, there would be little that they could do. I know that the nurses were crying. I know that Greg was called by the nurses to come back to the hospital because they weren’t sure how long I would stay stable. I know that Greg looked at ways to transport a body back to Kentucky. I know that it was a Sunday and my church was feverishly praying for me. I know that it was pretty grim and chances were grim. I believe that God did intervene. That it just wasn’t my time. He knew that. Maybe that’s why I didn’t the light show. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.
My memory picks back up the day after my life-saving endoscopy. My first memory is pain. And seeing the clock on the wall (I can’t tell you what time it was just that there was a clock). And pain. I was desolate, alone, confused. No memory of what had happened. Where I was. Moaning out. Pain, isolation, misery, feverish, fear. I hate to make the comparison, but I really feel I was as close to hell as an alive person could be. The nurse would come in and tell me it wasn’t time for pain medication or tylenol for my fever. She would tell me to calm down. She would reorient me. She was an “alternative” type of person. She had dyed black hair and lots of tattoos. I hated her. She was the guardian of my misery. I would become reoriented. But the orientation would only last as long as I was awake. So every time I woke up. It was the same. exact. thing. For 3 or 4 days.
Where was my peace? Where was my love? Where was my warmth and kindness? I don’t know. I can only tell you; it wasn’t there.
But I recovered. I got better. I went to transplant. It was hard. It was painful. It was terrible. But it was “better” than what I had experienced those days.
Sunday school is one of my favorite things. It is a time when I can come together with other Christians and share experiences and really try to look and understand the bible. Fortunately it makes me feel that I am not the only one that is still trying to figure this whole thing out. Even “seasoned” Christians have questions and doubts and need forgiveness. Yay. Well, not yay, yay- but Yay, I’m not alone. 😉 One week we spoke of heaven. The Bible has descriptions of heaven:
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).
Streets of gold. Abundant light. And God will be there. God is love. Love will surround you. You will never want to leave.
When I am at my loneliest, I yearn for my husband’s arms around me. To feel his love and warmth around me. My daughter’s arms are soft and her little body fits beside mine perfectly. I feel heavenly when she is with me. My son’s smiles and encouragements ring like I imagine joyous angels would sound. My cat’s warmth and purring bring a contentment only found in an animal’s love. A deep laughter, especially my children’s, will break the sorrow that sometimes clouds my day. The concern of my parents and friends that I am comfortable and cared for and that they are willing to go out of their way to help me. The freedom to feel as I need to feel, when I need to feel it. Sounds like a lot like heaven to me.
I don’t doubt the Lord, but I now refuse to ignore the heaven he has made for us on earth. I deeply encourage you to appreciate the minutiae. The simplicity of life. Do not wait to experience heaven. Because it is a place on earth.