Surgery had been 5 days earlier. I wasn't recovering as quickly as I hoped, but then again I had been so sick for so long… Now I couldn't hold down food and I was running a fever. The doctor ordered a couple of tests and then they appeared in my room. She told me I needed surgery and gave me papers to sign. When I asked when, the answer was now. The orderlies wheeled me out into the hall and into an elevator while I was on my cell phone calling my Hero to tell him what was going on.
A perforated bowel… surgery… right now… get here when you can… I love you. The doctor took my phone out of my hand and talked to him for a minute.
Into the operating room we whisked. I listened to the clattering of the equipment as it was manuevered into place and watched the competent team go about their preparation. When the other doctors arrived, they called my Hero again. They muttered into the phone and then let me talk to him once more. "I love you, too."
Everything was almost ready and in those final moments before the anesthesia mask was placed over my face, I understood that this might be it. My chances of waking up in heaven were 90%.
I used to wonder what thoughts raced through your mind if you were facing death. I'm probably not normal (watch the snickering!) but I wondered if Beau would even remember me. I wondered who would take care of my Hero. I wondered who would vacuum. I also talked to Jesus for a couple of minutes. I had sinned—probably way more than my share, but I dont' konw, it just seemed insincere to go through a bunch of confession right then. I told Him I loved Him. I told Him I was ready if He was but I'd really like to stay here a bit longer.
He let me stay (obviously). Three years ago today, the anesthesia mask descended on my face and I fell asleep singing "My Lord knows the way through the wilderness…" I take so much less for granted now. Every joy, every sorrow, every smile, every tear—all are precious because every one is a bonus.
And when I vacuum, I smile.