Friday, January 8, 2016

It's been paid for

Ever had someone pay your way, for a movie adventure, a trip through the tolls, a meal at the local restaurant?  Maybe you have been the generous person paying it forward, perhaps meeting a need of a grocery shopper short a few dollars or just doing a good turn daily.  As you may know from my Facebook posts, I had to return to the hospital last week for an unscheduled follow-up due to some complications from intubation during gallbladder surgery.  Specifically, I had a fever of 103+ for two days straight when my normal temperature is 96.9 degrees, nausea, vomiting, and seriously swollen lymph nodes, not just the sore throat I had immediately after waking from the previous week's medical procedure.  This was my first time with anesthesia (I'm the girl who took a Valium and stayed awake during my wisdom teeth surgery) and these symptoms were among those mentioned by the surgeon and anesthesiologist as possible, but demanding an immediate return to the hospital for additional care.

So, being the super-compliant patient that I am (HA!), I put on real clothing for the first time in a week and let my mother take me to the surgeon's office.  The $50 co-pay almost cost me an admission to the hospital for the holiday weekend, but I talked my doctor out of it when my chest x-ray and most of my lab results supported my theory that it was "just" an infected/irritated/inflamed lymph node causing my problems and could be treated AT HOME with pickles and/or lemon drops to get the swelling down by activating salivary glands.  I'm pretty sure the chart says AMA or against medical advice, but she canceled the hospital bed with my name on it and let me leave after a promise to return through the ER and page her as the on-call surgeon if my fever continued through the day/night.  Going home never felt so good!  I did not feel well, but gave myself a pep talk, bought and ate two jars of pickles and kicked the fever to the curb.  Staying hydrated and resting more than normal took care of the swollen lymph nodes and now I'm just fine with a forecast of bronchitis just a little sooner than my annual February visit.

Fast forward one week.  This week, I returned to the surgeon for my scheduled post-operative visit.  She cleared me to return to work (which was most excellent since I'd gone back two days prior....such a super-compliant patient I tell ya) and said my puncture wounds were looking fantastic at this stage of healing.  Given that no other symptoms or complications had revealed themselves, I got some abdomen palpation and the expected once-over.  Dr. Huber was ready to send me on the way with instructions to rest more, avoid lifting more than 20 pounds (clearly, she has never lifted my purse or she'd know I was in violation of the weight restriction), forego EMS calls for another four weeks because of the additional umbilical hernia repair she handled while I was knocked unconscious, and come back in February for what should be the final follow-up and "all clear" signal.  

I asked if what I thought was a protruding stitch needed to be dealt with or if it would just dissolve on its own like the others.  Wrong question, but she already knew from how pitiful my gallbladder looked upon its removal that I had a high tolerance for pain, so she said, "This is gonna hurt, now lie back and let's take care of this rebellious stitch."  A quick suture removal later, I was bandaged up and free to go make my follow up appointment and head out to dinner with my ever faithful medical visiting companion (aka Mom).  At the desk, I asked how much I owed since the lady at the front desk was busy upon my arrival and said she'd check me in paperwork/payment wise on the way out, but she wasn't sitting there when it was time for me to leave.  I was pleasantly surprised when the answer was, "It's been paid for."  Of course, I'm thinking, who in their right mind would pay for my doctor's visit, so I asked if that was an insurance thing or what.  Turns out, 90 days of follow-up visits directly related to Dr. Huber's work are covered in the surgical billing and don't require additional co-pay fees.  I only had to pay last week because the visit was about the anesthesiologist's fine job breathing for me while knocked out, but aggravating my throat and lymph nodes in the process.  

This got me thinking about times I've been treated to life's more enjoyable moments, but also how Christ paid for me on the cross all those years ago.  It's been paid for.  The lie I told earlier about being a super-compliant patient has been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.  So, too, have my other sins of past, present and future.  I've got some puncture wounds healing up quite nicely, but his nail-scarred hands are evidence he was wounded for me because of God's great love.  Whew!  That is always crazy challenging for me to process because I feel so unlovable and so unworthy of that great sacrifice and commitment.  And then I started to contemplate the personal wounds that are not visible, those bruises on my heart, burns to my soul, scars in my mind.  These wounds may not cause hurt 10/10 on the standard scale for physical pain, but boy, do they sting and ache and periodically even scream in protest.  These are the parts of me I've not yet given voice to, and will likely need a professional therapist to talk them through before I even acknowledge the brokenness and begin true healing.  Seriously, these are the things that if I even think about them for too long, I'll start crying (the ugly cry variety) and can't even form coherent sentences, which really aggravates and upsets me since I'm such a big fan of communication in its many forms.  I've got one name in the Richmond area and am open to suggestions if you've got a Christian psychiatrist to recommend.  

Asking for help has never been my strong suit.  Seriously, it's right up there with taking it easy or following doctor's orders when I'm the patient.  I also don't like to bother people or burden them in any way.  Yet, I know that living in freedom means getting to the root of my issues, emotions, hurts, and all.  Christ took the burden of that bondage upon Him, so I need to work it out for myself and let it go.  I'm looking forward to the results of that process.  I imagine that kind of like my gallbladder surgery, it will take time, patience, lots of questions and answers, be uncomfortable in some moments, and leave a mark (or five) on me.  I also believe I'll be better off on the other side of that process, and being pain free post-gallbladder removal (despite being scared beforehand) makes it worthwhile.  That being said, if you've got a suggestion, send me the name for consideration!

If you're still reading this, I challenge you to find a way to pay it forward in the next week.  It could be a good deed, a favor for a colleague, buying a coffee for the person in line behind you, or some other way to share love and appreciation.  You never know what that gesture will mean to someone, but it is sure to bless you in the willingness and ability to provide the moment.  As with most of my writings, I also include a song that aligns with the theme of tonight's blog.  Thanks for reading!

P.S.  I'm sparing you the images of my surgical site, because I realize not everyone has an obsession with medical procedures and wounds like my niece Sophia.  She was the first person who asked to see them and didn't grimace or freak out in the slightest (and even I was like ewwww and I'm an EMT).  She could be the famous doctor who cures cancer some day, so I definitely encourage her interest in all things medical.  Sweet Fia has also asked how much longer she has to wait before joining me on the rescue squad to help people.  

No comments:

Post a Comment