An Angel In the Midst…Part I

I do not recall all the intricate details of this pivotal day in September 2016.  I do remember the critical events that led me to the moment that gave me a small glimmer of hope.  A shimmering light in the distance was God’s answer to my prayer.

***

I also vividly recall the never-ending pain!  

I was living a life filled with mind-bending agony!  

***

I strategically maneuvered out of bed with it!

I mostly dressed myself, but if it had buttons, zippers, or fasteners, I probably didn’t wear it unless my husband was home to help me.  I had no dexterity in my ten fingers.  

cropped-bc0dd33a-5ddd-47d2-bad4-0d2136fc1a86.jpegMy hands barely performed functions that we often take for granted on a daily basis.  I had no strength to grip anything.  Imagine dreading your morning coffee because the cup felt like a fifty pound weight!  I know the exact date my coffee mug got heavy.  Read  A Fabled Illness

Although I felt horrible, I was still vain.  I styled my hair and applied makeup in a whole new way.  A messy bun was my hairstyle of choice at the time.  I had many compliments on my cute little messy bun, so I was okay with it.  The days were over of having every hair in place.  At that point, my thought was, “whatever it takes!”

I somehow made it through every workday in pain!

I came home in pain!

I attended church in pain!

Grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking?  Ugh!  (More on this in an upcoming post.)

Bathing?  Very difficult!

I sat in painful discomfort!

I stood and walked as if I was a 100 year old woman!

I went to bed miserable!  Sleep was very elusive…all but nonexistent!

This agonizing distress had taken complete control of my now very dismal and somber life.

I felt like my life would never be the same.  I hated it, but this was what I was dealt, so I had to find a way to cope with it!  This was the new me!  I was beginning to seclude myself in my alternate little universe…a very lonely place. 

***

I worked on this pivotal day two years ago, but headed directly to the hospital after work.  When I made the turn, I thought about parking in the emergency room parking lot.  I wanted to walk inside to see if someone could help me.

The two doctors I had previously seen had nothing to tell me except that the origin of my misery was a mystery.  I was 100% positive that something inside me was horribly amiss.  If only there was a magical test to diagnose my freakish joint pain constantly raging inside my body!

I had been in an “emergency” survival mode for almost three months.   Every day and night consisted of figuring out a way to make it to the next moment that God granted my next breath.  I was only fighting for me.  I know it sounds selfish, but it really wasn’t.  I knew how it felt to live inside my body and mind.  I was responsible for fighting my own battles.  No one else could fight them for me.

Instead of pulling into the emergency room parking lot for selfish reasons, I parked in the visitor’s parking lot to visit my daddy after his new, cutting edge aortic valve replacement.

On that day, before painfully emerging from my car, I felt that I was in this for the long haul.  I placed both hands on my steering wheel and buried my head between my arms.  I prayed that God would give me the strength to power through this, but more importantly I prayed for someone to help me.  You never know unless you ask.  I WAS at the hospital where doctors and nurses are around every corner.   

man kneeling in front of cross

My pastor at our small Independent Baptist church recently stated in a very powerful sermon that “Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the Hand of God.”  I will never forget that!

***

I chose to be around those I love on a somewhat limited basis.  My daddy being in the hospital was one of the days I chose to see my two crazy brothers and two crazier sisters, not to mention their silly spouses, my nieces, and many nephews.  I have a fun-loving family…even being spent in a hospital waiting area.

On this day, I would have no fun at all.  I was really tired of pretending that I was okay.  I wasn’t in the mood to be around a bunch of happy people, but I did it anyway. I had forgotten what “happy” felt like so I was somewhat jealous of my siblings and their families.

I needed to see my daddy.  As written in my previous post, he was in much better shape than I was, physically and mentally.  Being in his presence made me temporarily forget about my agonizing pain.  He has a very special aura. The three word explanation of the peaceful atmosphere in his room on this day was God…Just God!

When I left his room to give other people opportunity to visit him, my mind was instantly geared back to my “survival mode.”  It was mind and body…all-consuming!

As I begrudgingly sat in a chair in the waiting area, I remember seeing someone across the room.  She was very familiar and also a hospital employee.  She was near the entrance and I was facing her.  It never really dawned on me to go to her and unload my burden.  How weird would that be?

I just sat as I watched her.  She had a laptop computer, but I truly do not recall if it was opened or closed.  She was talking and cutting up with everyone in my family except for me.

Without warning, she suddenly stood up and walked in my direction.  It actually startled me when I noticed her pexels-photo-347139.jpegwalking toward me.  Everyone disappeared into a blur except for her.  I tried sitting up straight from my slump and glum, but Lord have mercy, it pained me to even move an inch.  It was as though I had concrete setting around every bending bone in my body.  I probably faked a smile as she sat beside me but I honestly don’t remember.  She wasn’t fooled anyway.  Perceptive would be the right word here.

As she sat and looked directly into my eyes, she quietly and very seriously said, “Hey Marianna…what’s going on with you?”  She was very discreet.  My husband was sitting on the other side of me, but he was talking to another family member.  Her smooth, and very sweet voice immediately seemed to crumble the last wall I was building around my mind.  I felt as though three of my four walls were already built.

Is she the answer to my prayer that I had in my car before entering the hospital?  Did I just hear the voice of an angel that God so generously sent to me in one of my darkest hours?  It was indeed!

How did she know my name, you may ask?  It was my precious sister-in-law Wendy!  She worked at that very hospital in their IT Deparment.  I know what you’re thinking.  What qualifications does someone in the IT Department have in order to help me in my duress?  More on that later…

My emotions are still very raw when I look back on this day.  Tears swell in my eyes as I write about this portion of my journey, I cannot help but stop and praise the Lord for an answer to prayer!

Wendy didn’t know it, but in this very moment, she pulled me from the brink of a deeper level of despair that I did not feel equipped to handle.  God sent her to me at exactly the time I needed her.  It is here that I can say, “I’m good, I’m good!”

She would play a critical role in my quest for that elusive diagnosis!  Wendy was that faint light at the end of my every twist and turn.  God provided her to help guide me through one of the darkest times of my life, but I still had a long way to pexels-photo-316681.jpeggo!  It was still a miserable journey, but it was much more tolerable having her in my corner!

After talking to her, I could “carry on, and smile along the way”.

Our new and very challenging quest commenced.

***

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  Isaiah 65:24

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