New knees have become common place in today’s world. We complain about the long wait. When the time comes it’s wonderful and scary. Just in case, there is someone else who feels like me, I’m telling my story. Here is the first instalment.
I’m Not Alone
This coming Friday I am embarking on a journey, a privilege for sure. Necessary, I think so, I hope so.
Two weeks ago, I received the phone call. “We have a date for you,” Taylor, Dr. Preston’s receptionist said. We’d like to schedule your surgery for Thursday May 4th.”
I have been waiting for this phone call for the last eight months and for two years before that. The noise of people walking, talking as they wandered in the mall where I was standing, almost drowned out Taylor’s voice.
“Pardon,” I answered. “Please repeat that.”
“We have an opening for your knee surgery on May 5th. Can you go to the hospital tomorrow for your post op.”
My heart thumped as my body temperature soared. At nearly 79, I was having a hot flash. My eyes searched the mall for the nearest chair. “Just a moment I’ll check.” I really didn’t have to check, I knew, that Thursday was the start of an already full week of extremely important commitments. My mind raced like a gerbil on his exercise wheel. What will I do? I needed a moment to breathe, to think. I brought up my schedule on my phone. “I have a guest speaking engagement on May 5th. It’s been scheduled for months. I can’t back out now. On the 7th, Kevin a colleague, and long time friend is being ordained. I’m his mentor. On Monday we leave to visit my sister in Blenheim for four days. I can’t. I just can’t. I could feel my eyes fill with tears. Can I take ten minutes and call my husband?”
Taylor was sweet. “Of course.”
“Oh, thank you. I will call back in ten minutes.”
Please be home, Tom. He was. We talked. Always supportive, Tom listened to my dilemma. “Of course, you have to fulfil your responsibilities,” Tom said.
I thanked him and called Taylor back. “I just can’t have surgery on May 5th. I’m so sorry. Please don’t put me at the bottom of your list.” Whatever she thought, Taylor was compassionate.
“It’s ok. There will be another date.”
I hung up feeling awful. That horrible feeling remained in my gut all afternoon. About four I called my colleague, friend and minister, Rev. Cathy, and poured out my story ending with, “Could you fill in for me. The topic is storytelling and faith. I’ll write up the talk, you’ll only have to read it, and tell the stories. Rev. Cathy being my long-time friend, answered, “Just let me check my schedule. I have Bible study in the morning. We can cancel or one of the participants can lead. Yes, I’ll do it.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” My heart cried. I’ll miss Kevin’s ordination, the visit with Anne, they’ll understand but will I.”
I called Taylor back. “Is it too late. I’ve changed my mind.”
I imagined her frustration. “I’ll call you back. I’ve given away the pre-op appointment. I’ll need to talk with the hospital.”
I called Rev. Cathy. “We have to wait to know it’s a go.”
“That’s ok. I’ll keep the day.”
The next day, I was at an area women’s gathering selling my books when the phone call came from Taylor. “Pre op is set for this coming Tues. Surgery is Friday, May 5th.”
“Friday, I thought it was Thursday.”
“You said you couldn’t come Thursday. I’ve scheduled it for Friday.”
Relief flooded my heart, followed quickly by remorse and fear. I’ll have to call Kevin and Anne. Should I be doing this. Is my knee really bad enough? I sat down in the nearest chair. A dagger tore through my knee. Yes, I need it.
“Thank you, thank you, Taylor. You’re wonderful.” Taylor went on to set up my pre-op appointment with Dr. Preston and give me more instructions.
I hung up the phone, and took several deep breaths. It’s actually going to happen. I’m going to get a new knee. Breathe Jan, just breathe. Then came my prayer, “Thank you God. I sure hope this is your will. I hope my knee is bad enough. I know you will be with me regardless. Thank you God.” I called Tom and then Cathy. Breathe Jan, just breathe. Shaking, I leaned heavy on the chair’s arms, and slowly stood through the sharp stab that echoed and re-echoed in my knee. I need this. Yes, I really need this.
Already it’s been a journey. The phone calls to Kevin and Anne were hard. Both people were understanding. Still, regret, guilt, sadness filled my soul. Cathy of course was relieved. Her responsibility was reduced to prayer. Tom was excited. I try for excitement. I’ve been praying a lot. I need God’s reassurance.
I need your prayers. I’m doing my pre-op exercises. Preparations are going forward at home. I’ve cleared my calendar. Today I go to the library for books to read. I’m focusing on all the writing I will get done. Every time I stand up, sit down and walk, the pain speaks. “You need the operation. You need the operation.”
Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even unto the end of the age.” (Matthew: 28: 20)
I will trust in God. Jesus walks with us through people, friends and strangers. I am truly grateful.