While I Was Sleeping
I’m writing this on pain meds and between naps, so it won’t be my best work. But it’s meant to be a testament to how the best things happen when we’re out of control, so maybe that’s just perfect.
On Thursday, I was scheduled for a no-big-deal, outpatient surgery. It was to clear out endometriosis, which is abnormal tissue that grows on the uterus. This stuff hurts like cray cray so I was happy to rid my body of it. It’s typically a 45-minute procedure, the kind of thing surgeons hammer out three times before their lunch break. I didn’t tell too many people I was going in for surgery because I get faint just thinking about going under the knife, so I did my best to avoid the subject for the past couple months. (Plus, there’s some weird societal understanding that you just don’t talk about body parts that only half the population has.)
But there was a towheaded little girl who was praying for me. We’ll get to her.
I went under anesthesia at 7:45 a.m. I was later told that, a half hour into the surgery, the robotic surgical tool bounced off the uterus tissue and hit my aorta. The biggie. The artery that runs from your heart down to your legs. My doctor said two small “squirts” of blood came out, just enough to know he’d nicked it. He hurriedly called in a vascular surgeon, who stepped out of another procedure to tend to my crippled artery. He sutured it with a silk thread. Then, the two surgeons looked up at the monitor to see that my blood count had somehow gone up. “Her vitals are good, finish the surgery,” the vascular surgeon told my doc. So he did.
My doctor later told me that it was as if someone had a finger on the hole on my artery. It acted like it was immediately clotted so I didn’t bleed out. He said 20 percent of people who have an artery nicked don’t make it. (Wait, that’s a thing? With a running statistic?) “Someone was watching out for you,” he said, and pointed toward his office ceiling.
Then I told him about Emma.
At 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, 2 1/2-year-old Emma was riding in the car with her mom, my very good friend Carissa. (Carissa is one of those go-to friends who you call no matter what kind of help you need. She did not know at this point in her day that our friendship would bring her to sleep that night on the floor of the ICU just to keep me company.)
Carissa knew about my surgery, but she didn’t mention anything to Emma about it. Ya see, toddlers are in that same group you just don't mention a uterus surgery to.
On their drive to the grocery store that morning, Emma announced from her car seat, “Mommy, Miss Danielle not feeling good.”
“Oh? She is seeing the doctor today,” Carissa said from the driver’s seat. She pressed her to explain why she thought I wasn’t feeling well, but Emma just kept repeating that line. “Should we pray for her?” Carissa asked. Emma nodded. And then my friend prayed that God would guide the doctor’s hands and protect me as she pulled into a parking spot at Wegmans.
“We need to pray again, mommy,” Emma insisted.
So they did.
I told the doctor this story and his chin dropped. “8:15? That’s about the time it happened,” he said.
I’ve told this story a dozen times in the past four days, each time with tears in my eyes.
It’s amazing. I didn’t want to worry about the surgery, so I tried not to think about it, and then so few people knew to pray. But Emma knew. I just feel so unworthy and so grateful that the Creator of All Things Good stirred the heart of my tiniest friend to pray on my behalf, to bless the doctors, and to save me. God, you are good. It seems he does his most powerful work when we’re weakest, when we can do nothing but yield to his perfect will and love. I experienced that this week, while I was sleeping.