Friday, June 18, 2010

Embracing Jeremiah 29:11, part. 2

"For I know the plans I have for you,"
declared the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."

~ Jeremiah 29:11

** If you missed Part 1, you can find it

Ever optimistic and always trying to find the positive, I began to assess the reality of the situation, rendering some sensibilities when knowing that the next step had to be finding that free shuttle.
How great was that when one thinks about it, a free shuttle between major hospitals?
Speed walking down the long corridor ahead of my already physically drained husband, who was instructed by me to take his sweet time while I went ahead in search of the shuttle spot. If necessary I would be making the driver wait for him, but when he arrived near to me, there we stood, still no shuttle in view, while we both tried to assimilate what had just happened.

A cool breeze whipped up and felt so refreshing in the warmth of the sun, and a gentle peace in the midst of the turmoil began to wash over me.

I invited St. Jude's intercession of our behalf (the Saint for impossible cases) right after my husband declared;
"I'm going to be late for the most important appointment of my life".
There was no sign of a shuttle anywhere after five minutes, and then ten, and then (checking watches frequently by now) fifteen whole minutes and no shuttle!

People began to gather, and eventually there was quite a crowd, all juggling for a spot closer and closer to the sign. I began to wonder if we would all fit inside the shuttle!

Noticing a taxi waiting up the road a bit, my husband who had by this time moved away from the crowd, motioned me over toward it. Good idea I thought.

The driver had stated to him that he was free, so we hopped inside only to be told he just had a call for another job, so we had to hop right back out again. Oh my!

No shuttle still, and time was ticking by, twenty-five minutes to the appointment and now knowing that a necessary additional stop was required for a separate inpatient check-in to obtain another hospital's blue card, and the reality of taking a number and waiting to be called to a clerk's desk to obtain it was resting in that time frame.

Heck I thought, couldn't the doctor maybe be behind in his day with his patients?

Maybe another taxi might drive by?
A little while later, a taxi rounded the corner ahead. I glanced my husband's way, and waved him over toward the cab in the opposite direction from the last one, hoping to catch the driver's attention at the same time.

Nodding his head up and down, yes, the driver signaled he was free. We hopped in, yet another cab. Little did this man know how totally dependent we were for him to get us across unknown roads the fastest way he possibly could, around road construction and closed streets, so we'd be able to at least get to the other hospital on time.

I sat, a million zillion thoughts rushing and rolling around in my head. My husband's hands were clasped into tight fists, and he was sitting quietly, visibly distraught.

The other hospital ended up being quite a long way from the first, but our creative taxi driver's back road knowledge turned out to be great, even though we had dozens of stop signs and happened to hit every single red traffic light across the city! Thank goodness he knew the back route too because no shuttle had arrived prior to us leaving the allocated shuttle area and this had proved to be a wonderful alternate transportation to get us to where we were supposed to be.

Our destination in sight, the taxi driver missed the right road to turn on (of course he did, smiling now), so we were dropped off on the opposite end of the hospital, the east side instead of the west.
At least we were here! And besides, what else could possibly happen this day?
Exiting the cab, we moved forward with a babbled plan of sorts, clear as mud to be sure, and then I quickly broke off into a fast sprint straight through the glass doors ahead.

My husband would go in search of the patient check-in to obtain a hospital blue card, and I would trek through the halls in search of the west elevators (found the east, the main, and had to ask two different people for assistance for finding the west ones), entering through its doors for the ride up to the 12th floor to announce my husband was in the building, just delayed.

The tension had already begun to take a toll on my husband, concern showing on his face shortly before leaving him after the cab ride, and I noted the shallow labored bouts of breathing from all the walking he never felt strong enough to do in the first place when searching for parking spot at the other hospital.

I could only pray he would be okay to reunite in due time with me somewhere, wherever, who knows, just in an office way up on the twelfth floor.

When I arrived on that upper floor, obvious signage seem to pop out to stare me right in my face everywhere, an area of a hospital we had not yet encountered along this medical journey.

Where do I go now was my next thought.

Halls and signs seemed to pop out at me everywhere, arrows pointing in all directions. I decided to just veer to the right along the corridor shown below, hoping to just come upon the nearest desk, hopeful if I was in the wrong location, someone would redirect me elsewhere.

Arriving at the nearest reception area, a woman stood at the desk chatting with the nurse behind, when I neared and announced my husband's name to her, that he was delayed but in the building.

I waited for a response, something to say I was in the wrong area. There was none.

Then the lady standing turned suddenly, and in her friendly Irish accent, she held out her hand to introduce and identify herself as the surgeon's secretary, the doctor whom my husband was waiting to see. Maybe I thought, she was standing there because she wondered where in the world we were, very obviously late.

Of all the doctors located around in that wing, I returned the greeting, cracking a bit of a small smile because of all things, this surgeon's personal contact happened to be right here next to me, elbows almost touching, like a guardian angel feathering my cheek to assure me all would be well.

Then she actually stunned me a bit by apologizing for the doctor for being a bit behind with one more patient waiting to see him in advance of us. HA!

So many small things were beginning to surface, and all were becoming too obvious to ignore.

She also mentioned that the surgeon doctor had requested we both view a slide show before seeing him anyway. "No hurry"; she said, just when your husband is done downstairs and you're both ready, then I'll guide you into a room for a private viewing.

.....when we were ready?

The climactic events of the past hours left me not knowing whether to laugh and cry, maybe both at the same time! Even though I felt calm, my adrenaline was pumping so hard, I swear I was tasting its imaginary rancidness inside my mouth. I just couldn't imagine what my husband was feeling downstairs while I was already here.

Lastly, the secretary motioned for me to go ahead and have a seat and relax for a few moments in the waiting area.

First thing I did once seated was grab my cell phone and attempt a call to my husband, mostly to find out if HE was okay, find out where he was, tell him not to hurry, that we were fine. His phone was turned off. (Of course it was!, smiling)

I felt so helpless sitting here all alone, not sure what to do now and knew I couldn't relax at all, getting worried for my husband downstairs and how he must feel so rushed. I lowered my head a bit and just uttered another impulsive bit of prayer;

"Lord, please protect him in pacing himself and breathing fine, nothing emergent today okay, even though yes, we are in a hospital?"
When I raised my head again, suddenly appearing from around the corner was my husband. I was never so happy to see him than that moment!

He saw the woman at the desk had turned and was glancing his way, and then he called out his name to the nurse behind the desk, assuring he was now present and able to attend his appointment.

He waved his blue hospital card in the air a bit, smiling as if in disbelief that it too was valid for this hospital as the other two major ones in the area. How great was that? In and out again from the inpatient station. Wonderful!

I sure had to contain myself from running up and just holding him tight. For a brief moment, happy tears threatened to come, and then I decided to go ahead, sprawl out in the chair, and just snicker to myself like a crazy woman, feeling quite amazed over all that had transpired.

Soon, he too was able to begin unwinding just a bit, recovering is more like it, after he took the seat next to me, especially after I had offered him those four lovely words;
"Doctor is running behind!"

Previous promises of being remembered in prayer were becoming even more sincerely appreciated and so welcomed. Here we were by this point, literally hovering in a huge bubble of protective prayer. And we could feel it too.
It wasn't a coincidence by now all that prayer had soon become our direct support system of the day.
We were very obviously shielded in prayer, had been all along through the confusion, my husband's confusion, because the secretary of his pulmonologist had told him, even assured him that he'd been there before, so he would know exactly where to go for this appointment. So wrong!

What had she been thinking?
He had never been to this hospital before!

Carried along.... by a wing of prayer, a taxi driver, a ten dollar cab fare (thank goodness we had some cash on us!), and the never failing reliance of prayer and that of invoking the one saint of impossible cases, we had not only indeed finally arrived, but also ended up having a bit of time to unruffle our feathers, as we sat there in total disbelief for what had happened, way up high on that twelve floor of the building.
The sun was shining and the view from the building was lovely.

Smiling again, I offered thanksgiving for having achieved what had felt like the impossible, for the promise of loyal and dearly beloved prayer warriors veiling their prayers over us for this specific intention, and for not actually ending up being too late for this very important date.

Summoned a few moments later (maybe she left us for a bit noticing our state of affairs?) for the purpose of viewing the slide show on a computer, we followed the secretary to the assigned private room, and were seated in the two chairs in front of a computer system on the desk in the corner.

The secretary asked us to watch the informative presentation the doctor had made himself, to press the "enter" key when we were ready for the next slide and listen to the doctor speaking and reading the notes on the screen.

By the end of the slide show, the information was another repeat from the information package already received in the mail a few weeks prior. There wasn't anything knew to us in this presentation per se.

Back again we went to the waiting room.

As we began seeing and noticing doctors escorting patients they had just seen out of their rooms, returning them to the front desk area while bidding them goodbye, my husband and I would mutter together quietly, wondering what type of transplant surgeon each doctor might be, maybe one might be the one he was here to see.

For all, my husband ended up saying;
"No, he's not the one."

Thirty or so minutes later, a man appeared solo, holding a blue file folder, and my husband perked up and whispered to me; "That's him!", recognizing him immediately as the very same surgeon he had seen photos of online.
And then the doctor caught his eye and confirmed his name with him.
We stood the three of us in that waiting room area, shook hands with introductions, and then I poked my husband in the back, hoping he would know exactly what my signal was about, that before us was our long hoped for surgeon who was personally leading us down the long corridor towards the examination room designated for my husband's most important appointment of his entire life.

Here's where I have to back up just a bit, because it's worthy to mention one very, very, very important fact...

In November 2008
, my husband had been referred to this same surgeon for future consideration. His former respiralogist had written an introductory letter to present my husband's very rare and unusual case to him, so he could follow him medically after our move to the area.

A few weeks later after we were all moved in, my husband followed up by calling this same doctor's secretary, only to be told he was not actually taking any new patients so he would not be taking on his case.

Devastation filled our first Christmas season in this new home of ours, my husband feeling the sting almost likened to medical rejection. It was an awful time around here, considering the magnitude of the whole depth of topic at hand.

And then, most importantly, it also became obvious my hubby was seemingly medically orphaned for a time in our new geographical location, because the reality was he had no local doctor, respiralogist, surgeon, not nothing.

But, it was only another couple of weeks before he was ushered in to a whole new world by way of a rather long hospital stay for a respiratory physiotherapy bootcamp, something that proved to be one of the greatest and most helpful things for him to date.
  • All of this, the medical centered move, the medical journey itself, everything (!) was falling into place beautifully!
  • Why not then just continue to trust in the journey?
Assured by many in the medical field, this doctor surgeon is among the most revered lung transplant surgeons, so well respected by his colleagues, and considered to be one of THE BEST surgeons in all of Canada.

My husband still felt strongly that if there was going to be a surgeon someday, if he agrees to this medical pathway, then this particular man was the only man for him down the road to a life-giving operation.
  • We wondered eighteen months ago, if my husband was supposed to be such a rare guy, why wouldn't he want to be a part of the case, retirement or not?
  • Weren't most surgeons in search of rare cases for the medical journal books?
We had been so sure he would want my husband's case, but in all fairness though, the surgeon didn't want to take on a new patient and end up retiring on him soon after.

The appointment letter that had come to our mailbox a few weeks back had this surgeon's personal seal on the return address.

The cover letter inside was signed by him. The appointment for this day was listed and scheduled with him.

Perhaps though, and most likely, one of his colleagues would be overseeing the appointment instead. In other words, we weren't holding our breath on HIM actually being present for this appointment.

So where would this all lead and why might he possibly be taking on my husband eighteen months after the fact? Or was he? We both hated the suspense of not knowing the answers.

While being ushered down for the slide show earlier, my husband had reminded the secretary that they had previously spoken together. Giving a hearty chuckle, she responded with; "Oh, what did I say?" and laughed again.
  • She had not remembered.
  • I assure you though, after this day when all was said and done, she would never again forget his name.
Smiling now....
In a happy daze, my husband and I continued following the one preferred surgeon who might very well end up, with the grace of God, being able to extend or even save my husband's very life on earth - that is, if all is meant to be during the processing of this supposed only "next step" for him to pray and ponder over!


Part 3 can be found by clicking HERE

Embracing Jeremiah 29:11

Apologies if this seems rather long, but considering the complexity and depth of this topic, I'm not in any hurry to rush through this.

Please be patient with me.