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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Only God…

As I dressed, I realized I’d not taken even one of the pain pills since the day before yesterday. The nurse had fixed the mess I’d made of my bulky burn bandage but scolded me for putting myself in a position where I couldn’t come to the hospital immediately. The deep scratching hadn’t soothed the itch, but it did shred my badly injured arm.

Making my way to the car, I wondered if the fact that my arm no longer hurt would influence the tongue-lashing the nurse promised Dr. Wong* was sure to inflict upon me this morning. I probably shouldn’t have gone to the out-of-town meeting, but hopefully, he’d not find any permanent damage from the middle-of-the-night assault I’d managed in my sleep. Boy, did my arm hurt then.

Fifteen minutes later, I sat on Dr. Wong’s exam table, waiting for the worst and praying for the best. Please, God, whatever he says to me, help me not cry.

The exam door opened, interrupting my Heavenly pleading. Dr. Wong strolled over to the desk and dropped my medical file. Turning toward the table, he took a moment to look at me before speaking.

“The nurse tells me you’ve experienced significant itching on your injured arm?”

“Just that one night. Not anymore.” I wanted to smile, but my racing heart seemed to hold a lock on my lips.

“Uh-huh. She said you’d managed to tear your damaged tissue enough that it bled?”

“Yes, that’s true but not a lot. The bandage soaked most of the blood before I woke up and stopped scratching.”

“I imagine at that point, the pain superseded the itch, didn’t it?”

“Yes sir, it surely did.”

“But, it never even occurred to you to go to the hospital?”

“No sir. The thought never entered my mind. You see, I used to run an ambulance service, and I trained EMT-A’s. Well, the jump box is always in the trunk of my car—in case I come upon an accident out here, you know—so my only thought was to bandage it myself.”

“Uh-huh. And, did you consider any possible infection from your negligence?”

“I did, but I’d already been on antibiotics you gave me two days earlier. I reckoned you’d give me more if I needed it when you saw me the following morning.”

“Do you recall the only reason I let you talk me out of admitting you to the hospital the night you got burned was because you had to take care of three little kids? I trusted you would do as I asked.”

I struggled with the tears pushing to spill over at the mention of the kids. “I do. The County took the kids back to their abusive mother. They didn’t think I could care for the children with one arm out of commission.”

“Oh, no. I’m sorry. I hadn’t heard. That must be hard for you, but honestly, with the extensive damage to your arm, you’ll be in and out of the hospital once the wound has healed enough for skin grafting. It’ll take a number of surgeries to put it as right as possible. Can you still move your fingers?”

I held out my hand as he moved to the table. “Yes. They’re fine.” I wiggled them all inside the bandage. “In fact, I think my whole arm is okay now. It doesn’t hurt at all.”

“Are you still taking the pain pills?” He began to pull back the thick wrap and slid the scissors between the layers of gauze.

“No. I haven’t had anything since your nurse gave me a new bandage. Not so much as an aspirin.” I saw his eyebrows raise. “I mean it, Dr. Wong. My arm doesn’t hurt at all.”

“That’s not necessarily a good sign. I’m about finished here. We’ll know in a moment.”

Taking the sterile forceps, Dr. Wong lifted the square compresses from the worst areas on my arm and hand. One-by-one, he added them to the pile of used bandaging materials. Slowly, carefully, the doctor worked without saying a word.

What I saw shocked me; I couldn’t say anything. Finally, the arm had been fully exposed to the air, and it didn’t hurt at all then either.

Dr. Wong stood, staring at my arm. “Humph! You heal very, very fast.” The arm had completely healed. All the way to my fingertips, the arm had the pink color of brand-new skin. Not a millimeter of scarring anywhere.

“The kids prayed for me the day of the fire. Our church folks kept praying, too.”

The doctor just shook his head, repeating his declaration. “You heal very, very fast.”

The kind doctor refused to accept my belief that prayer had ushered in the miracle our eyes now witnessed. I had no doubt why my arm healed “very, very fast.” I’d seen many such miracles in our home as the children prayed for their sick or injured little friends.

Prayer, not skin grafts, affected the full recovery of my severely burned arm—in days, not months or years.

Now, I began praying for the miracles I’d need to raise a convalescence center from barren ground to a functioning facility in six months. With God, nothing is impossible, I reminded myself frequently.

*Name changed.

Note to Readers: Now’s the time to catch up on any blog posts you missed. I’ll suspend the weekly posts for a time while I concentrate on finishing another, long writing project. Thank you for your understanding. See you again soon!

For more snippets of my life story, you can click on the website: under the category: Memoir Bits. I add a new post each Thursday.