I am a Christian. I’ve accepted the Lord as my savior in my heart and soul. But before you stop reading this, figuring it’s written by a born-again Holy Roller, wait until the end and then decide. This is a story that I can hardly believe myself.
On the first day of April this year, my eleven-year-old son and I set out from New Jersey, for a long weekend in northern Florida. My husband was working every day of my son’s spring break, so we left him home to tend to the dog and cats and get decent sleep, which he usually doesn’t. The day started late, and we hit a lot of vacation traffic around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. I decided to go to south of Richmond and stop for the night.
Further down I-95, I spotted a sign for Starbucks and I’m a Starbucks addict. We drove down the road and must have missed it, so I turned around to head back to the highway and decided to stop at a gas station to fill up before heading south. I pulled in an Exxon station and realized it was self-service in Virginia and since I was paying cash, I had to prepay. So I left my son in the car and walked across to the small mini-mart. And then it happened.
The curb was especially high, around twelve inches and there was no red or yellow paint to bring it to customer’s attention. I tripped up the curb and instinctively put out my left arm to brace my fall. I heard a loud crack and felt excruciating pain go down my arm. At first I shook it off, but when I went to pay for my gas, I realized how bad the pain was. I’m a chronic pain patient and live with pain every day, but this was the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life. Not wanting to ruin my son’s vacation, I shook it off. Conor, my son, got an ice pack from our Igloo and that alleviated the pain while it stayed cold. But the pain continued. And it was my eleven-year-old son who had the sense to say “Mom, we’re going to get off the next exit with an “H” on it.
But the difference between a child and a mother with seventeen years of nursing experience is that I knew that not all “H”s were alike and I didn’t want to end up in a bad hospital. My son spent his time using my phone to Google hospitals and he came up with Stanton Medical Center, in Stanton, Virginia. As the road crested, I saw a beautiful big hospital. And a lot of hospitals can learn from Stanton. Everyone from the security guard, to the P.A. who treated me was so nice that I was able to keep a cheerful smile on my face, until I had to have X-rays, and that’s when I cried, because it hurt so much. I worked with a lot of people with broken bones during my career, but I never realized just how painful they can be. I hope I was as gentle and caring as the staff was with me at Stanton.
When the ER technician came in and said she was putting on a half-cast, I thought I was out of the woods. Maybe it was just a sprain and I’d feel better in a couple days. But the PA. showed me my X-rays and they showed a complex fracture of the head of the radius bone, the larger of the two bones in your forearm. She gave me the option of staying and having surgery there, or going back to New Jersey and seeing an orthopedic surgeon who I know. I opted to go home. They sent me off with a shot of Toradol and a prescription for Percocet as well as directions to the Holiday Inn down the road. We got the last available room, ate our take-out food and went to bed. I woke up the next morning and the pain wasn’t much better. I put the DVD of my X-rays in my computer and I could see why it hurt so much. It looked like someone put a grenade in my elbow and pulled the trigger.
I decided to stay one more day at the Holiday Inn, so Conor could swim in the pool and play in the game room, I was actually hoping the pain would subside even a little bit. I was hesitant to drive while taking Percocet, but I had no choice. My husband was scrambling to find the best orthopedic surgeon at the hospital where he worked. Luckily, he works at a hospital known for its orthopedic surgery. And the same name came up, Dr. Sobel. Conor and I departed for home, with him helping me with drinks or opening or closing windows (I couldn’t even put enough pressure on my fingers to push down the window button).
So, we made it home and I saw Dr. Sobel the following Monday. He said he’d need to replace the radial head with a prosthetic head. He said he’d get me out of the hospital the same day, unless he’s unhappy with pain control. They did my surgery using a block and heavy sedation and when I woke up, the half-cast was gone and I was out of pain. That is, until the block wore off. I was given a prescription for Vicodin, which I already was taking for lupus and fibromyalgia pain. I started having vomiting and diarrhea after about twelve hours after I got home. I felt it was the Vicodin; I was taking a lot more than I usually did. So we switched to Lortab. That lasted until I started physical therapy. Then I went up to 10mg Percocets- two every four hours as necessary. And it was necessary when I was starting my physical therapy twice a day.
Yesterday, it was six weeks since the accident. I was miserable. I prayed to God most of the day and night, just asking for some pain relief. I woke up this morning and did my physical therapy and realized that I could lift my elbow up enough for me to touch my ear! I know that doesn’t sound like much, but this was one of the hardest tasks I had to accomplish. I couldn’t wait to show my son and husband. God had answered my prayers! I keep doing it to be sure it’s true! Joel Osteen, the charismatic pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, says we need to believe in God and that he will heal you in supernatural time; injuries that doctors say will take years will be healed in months. We just need to keep believing in God and pray—tell him what you want. And I don’t mean a Mercedes or a house in Malibu, but the things that matter.
So today, I called my academic advisor at Grand Canyon University and told him I was ready to start my online degree in Christian studies. My financial aid is in place and tomorrow, I’ll speak to two of the instructors from the Christian studies program. And I’ll start my classes on June first. I hope to be a hospital or hospice chaplain. Now that I’ve felt the pain of a really broken arm, I think I’ll be even gentler with those who have multiple injuries. Oh, and by the way, I needed a prosthesis because when I fell, not only did my radial head break, but it twisted 180 degrees. And I had a small fracture in my ulna bone, the smaller bone in your forearm.
A miracle? I think so. I’ve put a lot of work into rehabilitation, but to go from not being able to raise my arm above the elbow, to being able to touch my ear overnight, I believe that God was granting me favor. I’m not sure why but I’m thanking God every waking moment.
So am I a born-again Holy Roller Christian? Maybe I am. I think there would be a lot more healing in the world if more people accepted Jesus in their hearts.