O the things I’ve learned in the last three days! My last post spoke of my loss of a few pints of blood and the hemoglobin crisis in brought on for our family.
Well, I was released from hospital today and we now know so much more, thanks to a remarkable health system. It comes down to this. Through an internal scope it was discovered that I have a smaller ball-sized tumour in my stomach. It might have been there a long time and I just never knew. Suddenly it began to emit blood and my crisis began. Someone took a picture of it and it’s HUGE – everyone was surprised. A biopsy was required and we will know next Wednesday if it is malignant or not (the chances are much greater that it isn’t).
No one saw it coming, but here it is. If it’s non-malignant, I lose about ¼ of my stomach; if it is cancerous, I lose most of it.
Everything seems more serious than we were expecting. On the other hand I have just exited a remarkable world of unbelievable machines, a remarkably complex and adaptive health system, and a world of caring individuals I always believed to be there but whom I have now discovered for myself. They are real and they are magnificent.
There was one moment where I lay in front of a CT scan machine – a large disk which I had to pass through. Through repeated passing it was able to determine the potential and density of the tumour itself. I felt nothing, but in the moment I passed through it transported my body into countless digital images from which it reproduced me in a new and wonderful realm. I thought of the Stargate the moment I went through – that machine of the scientific fiction realm that transports people to portals throughout the universe.
People suddenly saw a new picture of me – damaged, bleeding, incapable of self-resolution – and in heartbeat the entire system inclined itself in my direction, giving me enough of a nudge to improve my chances of recovery. These little human faces cradled behind the glass, brilliant in their knowledge, were already providing the info necessary to give me a shot.
The nurses who laughed with me through the night; the porter who wheeled me on the wheelchair to my fate with my own Stargate; the orderly who brought my first bowl of Cheerios in 50 years; the cleaning staff who delayed in their task to take the time to tell me that my wife and children inspire them; the residents and surgeons who took, not my hand, but my head into a new dimension and taught me the potential of the human brain to create new worlds of healing – these have become a new universe to me and they are rock stars each.
What’s wonderful about it is that this isn’t my journey alone – they, too, have skin in the game, and they compassionately tilted in my direction. What a country! What a system!
Tonight I will pray, because that’s what I do. I have learned that before the surgery even begins in a few days my healing has already begun – hope and faith that this world is filled with people inclined towards the good. I will ask for strength to walk my daughter, Kimberly, down the aisle for her wedding next week, giving her over to the man who loves her. And then I will give myself over to a cadre of professionals who seem to greatly desire for me many more years with a marvellous wife and delightful children and grandchildren.
I have a journey to now embrace. I’m ready. The last few days have taught me there will always be guiding hands and minds in the darkness. But at the end of that tunnel, hopefully, is my community, my home. I have miles yet to go before I sleep.