“…Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid.”
This verse, and the rest of Psalm 23, has always been one of my favourites; but as I lay, half unconscious, in a hospital bed I appreciated it like never before. The other verses Mum had read to me were the ones saying that everyone would be alright and unhurt – it didn’t help me.
I wasn’t alright and I was hurting.
Why do I always start in the middle of the story?! Ahem, let me go back to the start:
It was the end of the summer holidays and my family and I wanted a “nice change of scenery”. We packed our bags – unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to bring my cats – and drove six long hours to the Cornish seaside. Everything was going swimmingly (even though we hadn’t even arrived at the beach!), until I began to have a migraine and feel nauseous; although it is not unusual for me, it was still annoying. But when we finally arrived I was feeling much better. Little did we know what would occur only a few hours later… (I’m building up to a slightly dramatic moment.)
That night I became delirious. From what Mum says, it wasn’t like when I normally sleepwalk and talk. I think I completely freaked her out! After half an hour I came round from my confusion and felt dreadfully nauseous but I managed to get some sleep. The next day (after waking up a vast amount in the night) I felt so terrible I couldn’t walk or even stand.
Anyway, to cut what could become an extremely long story short, Mum and I had to go to the small-and-not-so-very-nearby clinic where the doctor said that I probably had appendicitis. Then we had to travel to an even more not-so-nearby hospital where I could be properly “checked out”. By that time I was in a wheelchair.
Okay, now I’ve caught up with myself!
I was wheeled to a bed with suspected appendicitis – me, not the bed! – which is a jolly unpleasant illness caused by a thing in your tummy (called an appendix) inflaming. Mine was really quite bad. I had to have blood tests and then a cannula inserted (which is a tube that is pushed in your bloodstream used to give patients medicine and fluids). I was extremely worried about the cannula but then a thought struck me: When Jesus was put on the cross, soldiers drove huge nails into his hands and feet – and those soldiers definitely weren’t doing it gently! I decided that if Jesus could be pierced through with nails, I could be pierced with a tube by kind doctors. And so I was. It wasn’t actually that bad, in fact, after a while I enjoyed having it in – weird, I know!
After a night of being woken up by lovely nurses giving me painkillers and surgeons coming in to check me, I had a “jelly belly scan” to confirm appendicitis. The rest of the morning was a haze filled with my worrying. We had no idea when the surgeons would be able to operate to take my completely bothersome appendix out. In the afternoon a splendiferous friend chatted and read to me, and then (dun, dun, dun!) the moment I had been dreading arrived.
I suppose being whisked down to the operating theatre wasn’t as bad as I had thought as the waiting had been harder. Seeing Mum’s face as the cream-coloured substance was injected into my cannula was, by far, the worst part.
I woke up three hours later.
The operation had taken longer than normal but since I had been asleep the whole time, I didn’t notice that! I was released from the Royal Cornwall Hospital the next day.
As I sit here back at home, typing away, I think of that darkest valley, and how I thought I’d never make it; but because of the never ending grace of God, I did.
I see the scars on my hands and stomach, and wonder if there really is more space for cake and cookies without an appendix.
I remember the amazing doctors and nurses who saved my life, and of God, who has saved my soul.