I witnessed something this week through a curtain. My sister had surgery and my Mom and I had a few hours wait in a waiting room at the hospital. Near the last half of our time in there, a middle aged man was brought in by the hospital staff. This man was quite odd. He spoke out loud to himself about the phone chargers on the wall, his wife, his wait time, the doctors…all of it came out in unbridled loud mumbles and sometimes directed at the hospital waiting room liaison. I admit, he made me quite uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to digest his manner and even wondered to myself if he was mentally unstable. I was once force kissed on the cheek in a Dunkin Donuts by a homeless man I tried to buy food for. I hadn’t gauged him correctly and he turned out to be somewhat dangerous. This has shaken me up a bit and has made me quite a bit more cautious to get involved with those who possibly could be interpreted similar to that man. To my shame, I didn’t interact with this man in the waiting room. He was about to school me in my judgement. God had a lesson in here for me.
My Mom and I were called back and we sat with my sister as she woke up in misery, like most people do after surgery. My Dad arrived shortly after. Due to the policy being only 2 allowed at the bedside at a time in PACU, I swapped out so they could go in. I spent an uncomfortable 45 minutes in the waiting room with this man and overheard his terrible anxiety. He kept asking the waiting room liaison to call into his wife’s surgery and see how she was doing. He constantly wanted to know. I could see from the tech’s body language and facial expression that she was actively trying her best to be patient and calm him. The uncomfortable side glances and smirks from others in the waiting room, let me know I wasn’t the only person feeling uncomfortable. He paced and mumbled and wondered out loud to himself how his wife was doing. I still am angry with myself that I did not try to talk to him. I had an opportunity to comfort and distract a fellow human soul and I missed it. I have asked for forgiveness several times since.
The tech came back with my parents and we swapped out. My Dad is diabetic and it was past dinner time and he needed to eat. I knew my mom would be at the hospital even longer than me because it wasn’t looking like they would be releasing my sister to go home possibly until the next day. They went to grab a bite and I went back in with my sister. We are very close. Like, when we were teens, we could be gargling mouthwash and the other could interpret the body motions and various sounds of the person gargling into full sentences and continue our conversations without interruption. I know it’s weird. I tried this with my husband once and he looked at me like I was nuts and said, “What the thunder do you think I can get from that? I can barely tell what you want sometimes when you speak directly.” Haha! Okay, so he has a point and I will stick with the idea that my sister and I can interpret each others language of grunts and motions and we have some sort of divine ability based on knowing each other so well. This really came in handy since my sister could barely form sentences in her state of intense pain and the nurse wanted me to get her to sip some Sprite. I could tell by a mere lip twitch when she was ready to try a sip.
I had been there in recovery for probably an hour or so. I heard quite a commotion being wheeled in outside our curtain. The commotion was a couple surgeons, nurses and the bed of a very very sick woman. My sisters nurse was receiving this patient and she quickly left our side and launched into motion on the other side of the curtain with this new patient. As the surgeon gave her the lowdown of this patient, I quickly recognized this to be the wife of the man in the recovery room. The surgeon explained a very dire picture. I gathered that she wasn’t breathing on her own and she had to be kept on the vent and, they’d had trouble placing it. She had a shunt to her brain draining cerebral spinal fluid because of seizures. She had a pleural effusion. She couldn’t eat, so she had a nasogastric tube put in because a different gastric tube had been infected and she was septic. The gastric surgeon also believed they had incidentally found a cancerous mass on her liver. She had some sort of sudden event that caused some of this but she had nosedived since. I could tell she wasn’t very old, maybe middle age. The surgeon explained that “we’ve done everything we can do, but it’s not looking good.” My heart dropped into my stomach. No wonder this man was out of his mind. I would be too, if the roles were reversed. My parents both were escorted back and able to sneak back in in all this commotion, without the liaison noticing me as a 3rd visitor still sitting there with my sister. I mouthed to my parents that the woman in the curtain next to us was in terrible shape and that’s why it was so crazy. You could hear various beeps and alarms go off and then be silenced by the nurses. They escorted the man from the waiting room in, and he quickly started talking to his wife. He grabbed her hand and said “Oh honey I’m here, it’s your finder and I have your hand. I am not leaving. I will never ever ever ever leave you. Never ever, never. I won’t go anywhere. I am here. You are so beautiful sweetie. You are still so beautiful. I love you so so so much. Your Finder is here. Then he made intermittent almost excruciatingly unbearable sounds that were like a groan of deep pain and a whimper of helplessness mixed all together” My Mom and I silently listened as tears rolled uncontrollably out of our eyes. My Dad hung his head with his jaw clenched. I found myself begging God for this couple. It tore my heart in half. The nurse interrupted him and asked why he called himself “her finder.” He said “Oh it’s because my wife loses everything and I’m the only one who can ever find it for her.” Wow. Awe…my heart, just cracked wide open.
The moments ticked by and they decided to keep my sister overnight and get her a room and they were transferring the woman behind the curtain to ICU. I said goodbye to my sis and parents and walked to the parking garage from the hospital in a dust storm. It was fitting. I felt like the weather mirrored the thoughts swirling inside me and the clouds held the tears I was determined to hold back until I was safely in my car. I cried all the way home. I had such regret for not talking to this man and such sadness for the suffering they were experiencing. I told my husband through tears when I got home. It’s still been fresh in my mind since.
I have been mulling this experience over in my head. I realized a parallel between this woman’s “finder,” and mine. God is my Finder. How often have I needed Him to find me where I am because I am too week. How badly do I need the reassurance that He will never ever never never ever leave me and that He is holding my hand. How much I have grieved Him at times and I’ve needed the spirit to make groaning for me Romans 8:26
- Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
How much do I need Him to see the beauty within. How much do I have to trust that He loved me enough that His son’s blood would cover me in my shortcomings. 1st Peter 4:8
- And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
God is my Finder. God is our Finder.
I will never forget that man and his wife. They taught me lessons I won’t forget. Have mercy on Me oh God. I am still learning so much. Thank you for this lesson. Thank you for always being my Finder. Help me to do better next time and Let them see you in me.