Human InterestUncategorized


The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been on the receiving end of medical care. If not for myself,  I have waited while my wife, or another loved one, has undergone a procedure. Having a procedure yourself causes a lot less anxiety than waiting while someone you love and depend upon has surgery. When you’re the patient, anxiety comes only during the pre-operative waiting period. Once the procedure begins, anesthesia erases any awareness or memory of events, and all you know is what happens when you wake up. 

At the other end of the spectrum is the waiting while a loved one undergoes a procedure. Some procedures are less worrisome than others. An upper endoscopy or a colonoscopy are low risk procedures requiring light anesthesia (called conscious sedation) and don’t cause as much anxiety, perhaps, as finding out the results of the test. “Minor” operations like a hernia repair or hip replacement require general anesthesia, which increases risk to the patient, but serious complications occur with these operations, rarely.

At the extreme end of risk are procedures such as brain surgery, heart catheterizations, ablations, or the multiple possibilities of “open-heart” surgery. These are much higher risk operations because they involve organs which keep us alive and messing with them can have harsh consequences. When a loved one is having any type of cardiac procedure, worry, anxiety, and concern are just a few of the serious emotions one feels during the wait. Sitting in the family waiting lounge you have no idea what’s going on in the cath lab or operating room. Your mind goes crazy thinking of all the bad things that could happen. You try to rest, relax, or read, but you can’t stop thinking about the patient. Someone says let’s get a bite to eat, but you have no appetite. Besides that you don’t want to leave the area in case the doctor comes to give you a report. It’s difficult to to talk to people because your focus is on your loved one and not on the conversation. 

For many of us, much of our time waiting is also spent praying. You’re praying in your mind, or in a whispered tone, asking God to watch over your loved one and to be with the doctors and nurses. You ask God to guide their hands and restore your loved one to good health. You hope your prayers are answered and your loved one is blessed with full recovery.

Then, after a couple of hours waiting, the doctor comes to the lounge. She is smiling! She says your loved one did well, the operation was a success, and she is in the recovery room. Hallelujah! Suddenly, a weight is lifted from your shoulders and all the anxiety you felt is gone. The wait is over. Your heart rate slows, your hands stop shaking, and you can relax and breathe easily. Now you can’t think and know that God has been with you, your loved one, and the doctor, and all is at peace.

Fortunately, scenes like this don’t occur very often for most of us. But when they do, fear of the unknown can render us powerless. We’re not with our loved one and so we can’t control what goes on. This is where faith and trust are essential—faith to know that God is in control and trust to know His will will be done.

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