Almost a month later, I checked into the small hospital in D.C. where my operation would be performed. So many last minute glitches had occurred. An aide taking my blood for use in case I hemorrhaged had left my arm badly bruised for about six inches above and below the elbow. I didn’t understand how she could hold her job and be as hostile as she was. I said nothing to the surgeon about it. Two days before the operation, someone called and said my operation had been reschedule from l0:40 to nine a.m. I hit the ceiling, pointing out that since they want patients to be there two hours early, this would not afford me nearly the sleep I needed. I was furious and I showed it, quite unlike the fact that I usually argued with no one. I have a sharp temper and it hurts me when I lose it. The snide woman talking with me became more conciliatory, checked around and again rescheduled for just one-half hour earlier. I accepted.
Glitches notwithdtanding, friends were unfailingly kind. By this time I was on a walk-aid and could barely make it to the friend’s apartment where I would spend the night before the operation. We got lost on the way going in. D.C. streets can be incredibly difficult to navigate, but we got there on time. I had been promised a few minutes with the surgeon before the operation. This didn’t happen. Fortunately I had told him what I felt he needed to know. First, that I had a small degree of personality changes. Under severe stress, I could regress to a much earlier age or progress to a much later one. I also had hemorrhaged badly years before in another hostpital from a psychiatric abortion. I said I would probably storm and curse under sedation. I might hate them for “taking my baby,” or reliving that abortion and blaming them. I might even rouse and try to attack them.
He assured me that he and the team could handle it. Still I was full of anxiety and fear of what might happen. If you can believe this, I did not pray once during the time near the operation. But I had prayed again and again before. I have said I had “pretty good” faith, which I considered on a level with most of my friends. I remembered feeling I had prayed my way out of posssible thyroid cancer and I was proud of that. What had happened this time? I didn’t feel that God had abandoned me now, not really. It was just that I had somehow slipped away from Him. Didn’t my faith now have to be in this surgeon and in myself? In the team that would assist the surgeon and others around me. I do not remember thinking of God or Jesus at all.
When the operating team came in, I assessed them closely. A couple seemed a mite hostile, but not acutely so. I was truly concerned about cursing them all out with my own hostile harangue. How woould they react? Might they take it out on my hide? My God, I was losing my uterus and I loved my uterus. Loved my reproductive system. I don’t think I ever stopped believing in my juvenile heart that I would one day have a beloved baby. But when? It kind of glimmered in my mind that I was 83. Well, one facet of the Bible I loved was Sarah and other old women who had beloved babies. It was a bad time to do so, but I thought of an uncle’s letter to my father when his wife had a hysterectomy. Well, he worte, Laura is only half a woman now. Was I about to be only half a woman? I have an outrageous imagination and it tends to often focus more on the negative than the positive.
Would I rather be dead than be half a woman? I didn’t know. I do remember that I had no firm plans for coming out alive from this operation. The surgeon was Asian the team Caucasian. Was some bigotry going to rise in their minds to cause them to slip? Would their bigotry kill me then? This was what I focused on as they prepared me for sugery beforee I was anesthesized and wheeled away. I remember that I did not think of God. Nor Jesus. nor the Holy Spirit. It really didn’t seem to matter if I lived or died. Forgotten was the beautiful gospel song I’d just composed that pleased me so. I had no plans to do anything with it. In fact, in truth I had no further plans for living. It seemed to me to be a great emotional place to be. I didn’t hurt. Or feel guilty. There was no one I wanted to kill. Maybe myself, but I wasn’t sure of that. And just maybe they would kill me and save me the trouble.
Morbidity in spades, and blessed darkness. Or was there darkness? Now it seems to me that even then a llight more brillian than any I had known was beginning to permeate my spirit as never before. It truly is as it’s said that God works in myserious ways his wonders to perform.
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The fourth and possibly the last excerpt will be here in about two weeks. I tell you about my week in the hospital and four weeks in rehab. Major emphasis there is on the way I quickly began to seek God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit far more eagerly than I ever had. The surgeon came early the very next morning to tell me they’d gotten all the cancer. I would need no chemo — my major dread — no radiation and no medication. I wept with joy and it was then that I felt God’s presence more strongly than at any time in my life. And this intense love was to continue, but wit major hills and valleys in between.
Love to you all, and I look forwar to sharing this space with you next time.