Four years, one month, 11 days ago I was here. Waiting late one Saturday night in the midst of a quiet corridor outside the theatres at the hospital, sitting in an otherwise empty waiting room as one of my sons had his appendix removed. That operation took two hours, as the appendix had burst and it was a bit of a mess to clean up. And the aftermath saw me camped out at the hospital for 6 days while he recovered.
Tonight it’s the same journey for me – waiting and sitting – as a daughter goes through the first of a kind journey for her. Same operation as her brother (although she bet him by a month, which she was pleased about), but a very different experience for an otherwise very healthy young woman. And my quiet room of four years ago is not quiet tonight; it is inhabited by others similarly waiting and sitting, although they are full of raucous laughter and crude language that seems out of place to me in such a place and at such a time, although they are here for a much more significant journey than I am. Each to his and her own; people handle times like this differently.
Last time I was grateful for the same things I’m grateful for this time. Nurses and doctors and many supporting personnel who can mobilise under life threatening situations to restore health and well-being. For specialist staff who stay beyond finishing time to figure out what’s wrong. For medical equipment that enables sight to otherwise normally hidden places, and advances in surgery that allow what used to be a long incision to be replaced with a few small holes that will almost completely disappear over time. For medicine and drugs and pain relief and knock-you-out anaesthetic that allows what must be done to be done in relative comfort.
And for that promise in Psalm 23, that walking through the valley of the shadow of death is never a solitary sojourn, but a close walk with Him who defeated death.
The operation went well. The young lady is now recovering well. Amazing how much of a difference 10 hours after surgery makes.