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We have to see sick people, and you don’t qualify!

by davesandel on June 28th, 2021

Monday, June 28, 2021                                   (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

We have to see sick people, and you don’t qualify!

Abraham and the men who visited him set out from Mamre. Abraham walked with them to see them on their way toward Sodom. The Lord asked himself, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? As the two men walked on, the Lord remained standing before Abraham and then he spoke.

Yesterday Margaret’s nurse Tien-Sen (Jessica) told us that she thought there were no medical goals yet to be met before Margaret could leave for her week or two at Encompass Hospital Rehab in Round Rock. So perhaps sometime today she will be bundled up by a couple of EMTs for the second ambulance ride of the month, and also I think, of her life – this time into recovery and physical rehabilitation rather than toward life-threatening surgery. Andi just put up our healing wall of pictures from Miles and Jasper, but today or tomorrow we’ll take it down again and get it ready for the wall at Encompass. That’s such a good thing!

Abraham spoke to the Lord. “I am but dust and ashes, let not my Lord grow impatient, please let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up … What if there are ten innocent people in Sodom? Would you spare the city?”

Margaret has been making all kinds of plans. We are going on dates, we are going out to restaurants, we are going to stand up comedy shows and improv comedy shows. She doesn’t know when she’ll feel safe riding in a car, though. So our calendar will stay pretty open for a few more weeks.

The Lord departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned home.

It’s wonderful for Margaret to have all this time to put plans together: menus, remodeling our apartment, time with pastors and friends from Grace, what to do in Indiana and Illinois when she can travel … all of this ticks into place as she ponders the possibilities in a future she nearly didn’t have.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Her second hospitalist, who met Margaret on June 5, the day after she was admitted, told her how thoroughly her heart was infected with streptococcus mitus, that she would almost certainly need at least open heart, valve replacement surgery. Her face hardened. “I told myself I would never do that again.”

Dr. Bolton said, “Well, then, you will die.”

The Lord is kind and merciful. As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The wind blows over us and we are gone, but from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him.

Margaret made the very difficult choice to have the surgery. Her new cardiologist Dr. Nulu looked at her with compassion. She said, “Margaret, you’re giving up weeks to get years.” Dr. Nulu’s husband Dr. Neely, who became Margaret’s surgeon, told her straight out there was a 15% chance she would die on the table. But she did not die. And now she is having a lot of fun in the middle of the night, when she can’t sleep, making plans.

When I came in yesterday morning she said, “I missed you so much! I’m so glad to see you! After you get settled, can you start writing down what I’ll forget otherwise? I have so many ideas!” Over the course of Sunday we watched our church service at Grace, had a short nap, Margaret walked around the room several times, walked in the hallway once, took a shower with assistance, and made plans. The last day (or so) of her hospital stay was very full.

When she left ICU on Friday, Dr. Neely’s nurse practitioners Tracy and Kelly pulled the five temporary pacemaker wires out of her chest. Then Tracy said, “OK, we have to go see sick people now. And you don’t qualify!”

Each day, almost every hour, Margaret’s body moves more easily. She tires easily and has difficulty breathing, but she is so grateful. She remembers that Jesus gave his life for her. And together we remember the friendly man with his sign at the highway exit toward our apartment. “Even 25 cents helps. Thank you. God bless!” Because they have sometimes been with us, Miles and Jasper remember him too. We often share with him, although usually with $5 as well as a quarter.

Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.

He wasn’t there when I drove home last night. I thought of him, though, and prayed for him, while I was also thinking of Margaret’s endless gratitude, and about Jesus’ endless sacrifice for all of us.

(Genesis 18, Psalm 103, Psalm 95, Matthew 8)

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