|Tuesday, May 8, 2007|
1. Lord I need
Monday had been the worst night of my hospital stay. I barely slept, the room’s A/C unit had died and it was unbearably hot in the room. The nurses did not respond as quickly to my or my roommate’s pages and we were both uncomfortable. I even started to have difficulty breathing and prayed: “Is this it, Father? Is this how it’s going to end after all of this?”
When a tech finally came to check on me, she placed the foot cuffs on, turned on the machine and I began to feel better. Perhaps poor blood circulation had caused the shortness of breath.
The next morning I let Dr. Brown know how difficult the previous night had been and he put things in motion to send me home. I was ready. I was more than ready.
Bumps in the road
I left Parkland in a wheelchair via the main entrance. My wife drove. I was under strict orders not to drive because of the chance of seizures -- which I had never had. Riding in the car that day was a strange experience. Every dip in the road, every bump, turn and pot hole that we ran over, I felt -- in my head. The bumps sent the contents of my skull sloshing around, an unnerving feeling. As a result, I spent much of that car ride consciously trying to keep my head steady to avoid literally rattling my brains.
After picking up our 2-year-old son from my mother-in-law, we drove north. By that time, I was ready for lunch so we stopped at McDonald’s and I got an Asian Chicken Salad. We had to make another stop before home -- at the local CVS pharmacy. I had been discharged from Parkland with prescriptions for four drugs (steroids, antacids, blood pressure medicine and an opioid painkiller) and one over-the-counter stool softener.
Since I had never filled a prescription at CVS, they didn’t have me in the computer and my information had to be entered into their system for the first time. Remember, I didn’t do doctors. As a result, I hadn’t taken any prescription medications in more than a decade, when I was in the Air Force. But I had so many drugs to take that Lynita and I made up a schedule to keep track of when I was to take which pill.
I’m blessed in that my health insurance covered the prescription drug costs. We paid between $3 and $9 for the prescriptions. When you consider how many Americans are uninsured or senior citizens and cannot afford the high cost of prescription drugs to treat their illnesses, I felt blessed exceedingly. Since leaving the Air Force, I had maintained my military retiree health insurance, which had covered the births of two of our sons and now fully covered my brain surgery.
By the time we reached our house that day, I had started to feel tired from the effort of keeping my head still. My first thought when we got home was, “Oh my God. Look at that yard!” The back yard was totally out of control -- like nobody lived there. My neighbor Tina had mowed the front yard for me the day before. It took a few days, but I finally connected with Tina and her partner Susan to thank them. They, like other people, were amazed that I was up and walking and looked so well less than a week after brain surgery.
I shared my experience with them and told them about the testimony I was putting together. I told them they were a part of the testimony, too. I think God touched them, spoke to them and told them we were in need. And without asking us, Tina had mowed the lawn.
They are a gay couple and I said to them that certain areas of the church community were pushing gay people away from the church. I didn’t think that was right. They have souls just like everybody else. God says homosexuality is a sin. But instead of pushing them away, the church should be embracing them and showing them that God loves them just as much as He does the rest of us. For we are all sinners, but God’s grace is sufficient and there is nothing that they are doing that can not be washed by the blood of Jesus. Just as part of the church’s role as evangelists is to go out and try to save souls and win souls, gay people have souls too. They can repent and change.
I told my neighbors that I felt in my heart that God had touched them so that they would get involved and become part of this testimony to tell people that He loves gay people too, but He wants the church to stop isolating them and pushing them away.
I basically rested for the next several days, catching up on sleep and healing. I took painkillers sparingly – usually at night to help me sleep. I had been given a Hydrocodone prescription and had read enough about people becoming addicted to painkillers that I only wanted to take them only if it was absolutely necessary.
I'm a witness to his goodness
That Sunday – May 13th – was Mother’s Day. Lynita drove me and the boys down to church and I finally got to give my testimony to the congregation at Body of Christ Family Church.
I sat in the front row and told my story to God and everyone and praised my Savior for His many blessings to my family.
God is indeed good – all the time.
© 2007 Gerald L. Prater