Oh Woe Is Me How Blessed I Be

This past year for you, as well as I, has had its measure of clear skies and calm waters and also we have navigated the angry storms while maneuvering our life’s course through it. We have enjoyed the good moments and faced the challenges that have lain in our paths. Now as we pause at this juncture of passing an old year into the mixture of events that come with the new, I ponder the uncertainty of paying the price of past misfortune and holding on to the fortunes that have been added along the way. At this moment I have come to know that my response to the adverse events of the past has a direct impression upon the coming events of the time ahead. Ones perspective of what has been is a direct effect upon what will be.

Oh woe is me, I could say. Oh woe is me I can rightfully say this year past has been the worst of the fifty-nine I have survived through. Oh wow is me I cannot face a worse time than this one and expect to keep my posture. My reaction was much the same as I react to everything, it will go away tomorrow and things will be better then. I used the same sound judgment as when diabetes first came upon me in 1999, nothing. It was as a cold that must run its course and then be gone. But I collapsed in the kitchen in a diabetic coma and was saved by Jason coming home for no apparent reason. The middle of September brought a stomach cramp, a touch of indigestion I thought. Soon I had no appetite and could not eat or pass what I had eaten. Drinking gallons of Pepto Bismol and Milk of Magnesia surely would cure me in short time. I walked bent over and lost almost ten pounds within two weeks but I wanted to loose some weight any way. The morning came when I could not get out of bed, the pain was overcoming and I made the four AM call for Jason to come help get me to the Doctors. I thought maybe I had what Brother Jim had experienced a bad appendix. Jason refused to take me anywhere but the emergency room at the hospital and we argued all the way there but that is where we went. They took me in immediately and ran their test and quickly told me the problem, intestinal reduction. The lower part of my small intestine had collapsed and was being sucked into the large intestine. As they were explaining this to me I realized they intended to cut me open right away. I wasn’t ready to face that and I began to shake and sweet uncontrollably. It was not that I was scared of the surgery or that is was a risky procedure, I just wanted some time to digest the information and more importantly spend a little more time with my family. I was out of control much like the night Jeff had his accident and they put me down.

When I awoke I was in a bed in the hallway along with Jason, Jeff and Lou. Gary and Kathy from work were there also. I can’t say adequately how comforting it was to see them they’re watching over me. I had IV’s in both arms and tubes running down my throat and nose but I was in no discomfort. I looked down to see staples running down my stomach and I was trying to understand what and when all this happened. There was an argument going on about the room they wanted to put me in. Lou and Kathy were arguing that I was too laid back to be in a room with this other patient who was very hyper. Soon I was wheeled into another room that had no bed and there I waited for a bed to become available. When a bed became free they put me in it and I fell into a deep sleep filled with crazy dreams that I still cannot understand.

I awoke in complete confusion and never accepted the fact I was in a hospital or had gone through a legitimate surgery. The patient who I shared the room with moaned and shared his suffering constantly. It seemed to me they where constantly torturing him and I decided that I had become a victim of an organ harvesting organization. From that moment on I demanded to be set free and all my efforts were to plan my escape. If not for a stranger who made me his priority to comfort and listen to I would have tied sheets together and climbed out the window. He was not a patient nor did he wear hospital attire he was just someone there just to attend to me. He was faithful and came everyday and listened to all the crazy things that ran through my mind. Finally in the dark of the night they set me free. I came in at 153 lbs. and left at 122 lbs. Jeff came and picked me up and complained to the staff that they were releasing me too early and that I would soon be back. He was right.

Friday I spent the day in my room in bed and Lou waited on me to the point I wished shed leave me be. I am thankful for her constant care and having her near was invaluable to me. Saturday brought more of the same only I did get out of bed to move around the room. Sunday I ventured down the stairs amidst the complaints of my caregiver Lou and remained there because I could not negotiate the stairs well enough to go it alone. I called the boss, Larry, and told him I’d be on the job Monday and he said no. I don’t take no very well and did no better when Lou, Jason and Jeff gave the same reply. After the first hour Monday I was spent and wondered what part of stupid I did not understand but completed the day as I would not give in. By Thursday I was in pain much like before and Friday I gave it up and called the Doctor who saw me right away. The incision was infected and the doctor opened me up again and cleaned it out. Once they do that they cannot close it back up so they packed it with a sponge and attached a wound-vac to pump out the meanness. Thus six weeks of having a machine attached to me with the irritation of pulling against my stomach and various nurses coming by every other day striping me down and pulling the sponge out, poking prodding and measuring, only to say how good I was doing. Why then if I was doing so well were they surprised when I again became infected and we had to start the process over again? The last two weeks I just had foam packed into the remaining wound which was not as uncomfortable and as of last Thursday I no longer have that to endure either. I did as I always do for the past three months declare that I am doing fine, all is well and I am getting better every day, which was true, but my inner attitude left me only to say Woe Is Me.

Thanksgiving came this year and found us gathered round the table filled with the sight and aroma of a beautiful Turkey waiting to nourish us all. Resting there along with a perfect meal prepared by Lou’s masterful talent to cook food to perfection. As we bowed our heads to ask God for his blessing upon this meal and our lives His words of truth came to me, how shameful that I would allow myself to wallow in so much self pity when He had blessed me so greatly through this trial. We swim at our best in the deep water of adversity and great birds always take flight against the wind. How dare I take for granted those who are always there with out asking to comfort and care in times of need and fulfill all that is required. Family, friends and even a stranger who appeared in the desperate hour of my trial to guide me through. I could not have managed without them nor would I be here without them. The constant concern of Lou for every need, the continuing scolding of my errant ways from Jason, the companionship of Jeff who always looks out for me and above all the mercy and grace of God that carried me when I could not walk are the greatest treasures anyone on this earth could be given. It is here at the table of thanksgiving that I learned in the darkest of hours that a little light can shine so bright. Yes, woe is me for not realizing how blessed I be. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

December 8, 2009

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