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My Father’s will

by davesandel on December 15th, 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020             (today’s lectionary)

My Father’s will

On Friday, Margaret dropped me off at OSF (Order of Saint Francis) Heart of Mary, the quiet hospital in Urbana. It’s seven in the morning, and all is well. The friendly gatekeeper, also named David, took my temperature in a split second, handed me a brand new mask and a guest tag.

I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, and they shall take refuge in the name of the Lord. They shall pasture their flocks, with none to disturb them.

Lynn, who has registered Margaret and I for countless procedures and surgeries and helped us set up our Health Power of Attorney and Living Will, registered me again. She showed me the way to the surgical waiting room. Just across the hall is a sign pointing to the cath lab.

There is no one here. It’s peaceful. The television is NOT turned on. The coffee maker is NOT running. There are chairs, and windows, and no people. I like it.

Let my soul glory in the Lord, and I will bless the Lord at all times.

In an instant it is no longer quiet. Jo shepherds me into the procedure waiting area and gives me a space reserved for my recovery. Two other patients are next to me. I actually succeed in tying the gown behind my back, top and bottom, although Jo reties the top. Jamie puts in my IV. Maureen begins questions that are not quite interminable. David the chaplain comes in and prays with me. He seems glad to meet someone who wants him to pray, who asks him to pray, who has stories to share about prayer.

Look to the Lord, that you may be radiant with joy and your faces might not blush with shame.

Dr. Reddy, a very friendly Indian man who seems to like everyone, comes in and talks with me. I feel calm around him. What do you enjoy in your life, Dr. Reddy? “My work,” he says. “I love my work.” Maureen gives me a valium.

Another David … my gosh how many of us are there? David is a very confident nurse, telling us all how it will be in the next few minutes. And then I’m ready. Heading through the halls with several rapid turns, I keep thinking of the huge haunted hotel in The Shining. The floors glisten.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He redeems the lives of his servants.

With each opened door, the air is colder, until at last we enter the cath lab. They cover me with warm blankets. There’s nothing to see but a white ceiling and gigantic instruments on rails, so I close my eyes. As I listen, I feel taken care of, surrounded by wonderful people. Tiffany comes up beside me, and Brenna, who will be Dr. Reddy’s assistant. Jo and Jamie are here too, and Jo says they make a terrific team. It sounds that way to me.

Come, O Lord, do not delay.

I  get  fentanyl and vers-ed through my IV, but I never lose consciousness. Dr. Reddy talks a little, so do the nurses, I feel a little pressure on my right arm. The procedure is complete in 29 minutes. Dr. Reddy leaned over.

“David,” he said. “You are done. We are finished.”

He said my right coronary artery was completely closed, but that the left side of my heart has created corollary arteries to compensate. No further interventions are necessary now. He said, “I’m glad you chose to do this, David, because now you can have peace of mind. And you can … you must … improve your diet and exercise and protect the health of these newly created arteries.”

A man had two sons, and he told them to work in the vineyard. One said he would not, but afterward changed his mind and went. The other said he would, but did not go. Which of the two did his Father’s will?

(Zephaniah 3, Psalm 34, Matthew 21)


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One Comment
  1. Mary Lou Menches permalink

    You have described in perfect detail my cardiac ablation of a few months ago. The idea was to insert something up an artery from my groin into my heart to destroy cells that were causing much atrial fibrillation. The major difference was only that the procedure started under anesthesia but finished without it because of a rapid decline in my blood pressure. During that part, I felt everything and heard myself groaning (which I was unable to control), but had a passing and very faint thought of David, our deacon, who was very ill and for whom I surrendered to my pain. I found out a day or so later that he died at about that time. I considered this a great grace, still do, and still talk with him about this and other matters from time to time.

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