Just a day after my central pancreatectomy I lay lucidly drifting in and out of sleep. The room is dark and warm. My baby sister is by my side, not that I’m aware yet. When the pain wakes me I tell the nurse, “I feel like railroad spikes are being driven through me into the bed.” Soon more hydromorphone comes. In a vulnerable state. Life is fragile, fleeting. We have no control.
I turn my head to my right and open my eyes to see the calm and reassuring face of my sister, Samii. I say, “Hi.” She smiles softly. For the time being I am unable to fathom the impact of surgery. Unaware of so much.
I drift back into sleep. The next day is a blur of pressing the pain pump button every seven minutes. Before this surgery I only took ibuprofen once or twice a year. Today, I am watching the second hand on the clock, pressing the button too early and praying for the next three minutes to hurry along. Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick… Teetering on the brink of extreme pain.
After sleeping beside me in a chair, my sister went home. I laid almost motionless and seemingly alone. But never able to gather my thoughts enough to be afraid. Before I could even feel fear, Christ was there, sitting with me at my left.
I awoke looking at the clock. Then, I felt a hand pat my left leg two times. Two steady handed, firm but gentle, assured pats on my leg. I looked over and saw no one. Looking up I smiled, “Hi Jesus.”
Dear Jesus, you never leave us alone. Thank you for sending my sister to be by my side. I am so grateful she stayed the night that first night. You were there with us. You comforted me, thank you. Thank you that I knew it was you. Your comfort is wonderful. Thank you for always being with me. Amen.