After spending 5 hours waiting in Bedford hospital A&E department for a check-up to reassure me that the abdominal pain was just a muscular pain, the senior consultant took Sarah and me into a small room and said “You are not presenting as a typical appendicitis case, but we will be admitting you for an appendectomy, you will not be going home tonight“
As the small hours began to tick by on Thursday 4th July I found myself lying in a hospital bed on Howard ward not able to sleep for obvious reasons, aided by a faulty saline drip alarm buzzing every ten minutes.
My window curtain was drawn back and all I could see was the night sky and city lights across Bedford. This was a déjà vu moment from a long time ago. The events of the past few hours had my emotional memory kicking in and reminding me that the last time I lay awake at 2 am in a hospital bed was that night back in the summer of ’78 having just had an horrific road accident on my Honda 50cc moped on the Arlesey Road . Back then as now I was unable to sleep experiencing the same dimly lit unfamiliar experience of a recovery ward in the Lister hospital A&E dept. But as sure as the night sky is black that night as a young battered and bruised lad aged 16 with a life changing facial scar, I knew so very clearly my life was very firmly held tight in the hands of an awesome, almighty, loving, forgiving , grace giving, creator and father God. As I looked out into the dark night sky again, 40 years on, my heart was peaceful in the knowledge that this sense of truth and a personal relationship has never changed. I was so more convinced that my heavenly father will never let me go. This past week God has so clearly been at work, although I started to have some doubts on Wednesday afternoon as I deliberated as to whether to bother to go and get checked out at A&E. Get the urgent MOT test done on the car first I told myself and then I’ll head off to A&E. After all it’s only a quick check up that’s needed.
The following morning, as I was just about to get wheeled down to theatre, I looked out of the hospital window. This time into a bright sunny sky and said “thank you God you have my hand still firmly in yours.” . Post Op, the surgeon popped over to see how I was. Her conclusion was “you were very luckly we caught it just in time, it was very badly infected” . My reply was “Not so much luckly but more like I have a great heavenly father God who is looking after me” She smiled and wished me a speedy recovery.
Our wedding rings have this bible verse reference engraved inside them. Psalm 37: 3-4 “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you the desires of your heart.” . As I got prepped up to go under the surgeon’s knife the nurse said “Do you have any jewellery that needs to be removed?” . I looked at my wedding ring and thought yes and I just need to be reminded constantly of God’s promises.
Reflecting on my own experience of the past week with a “physical” ailment might well still be an encouragement to someone with other worries on your mind.
I have found it at times challenging to do the right thing and pick up the phone and get some professional help. In my case getting a an emergency appointment with the GP booked especially when I first heard the words quite literally “ You are 26th in the queue the surgery staff are busy taking other calls”. It was extremely tempting just to put the phone down and convince myself I would only be wasting tax payer money and time . Sitting there for 30 minutes being told you are now n-1 in the queue 25 times was 25 thoughts to give up. Admittedly once into single figures I had the hope that “your call is important us to “ really did have some empathy behind it.
If I had given up at the sound of “ you are 19th in the queue “ then who knows what my health would be now . Sarah and I sat in A&E for 6 hours. There were a number of tanoy announcements for potential patients who had “left the building” and given up. The thought went through my mind shall I just pick up my rucksack and inform the staff I’m leaving. Afterall I’ve only come here to get reassurance the GP was right all along. A pain on its own does not constitute an Appendicitis.
To begin with, I struggled this week to convince the professionals I had a genuine appendix problem as most of my symptoms didn’t fit the text book list. Even the triage nurse, bless her, gave me that “Oh another time waster” look .
So my encouraging tip of the month is speak to someone now today about whatever it is you are struggling with, even with just a friend or relative. Its slightly crass to say go on and just do it. But I learnt this week it does pay off, the proof is me having to wear one of those embarrassing hospital gowns.