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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Crisis Temporarily Interrupted

Stretched out on the moving gurney, the events of the past two hours raced through my tortured head. How I wanted to curl up in the fetal position, but the leather security straps prevented any movement. Truly, had I been offered the opportunity to reposition myself, I couldn’t have done it, anyway; my body felt like it’d taken a real beating.

The screech of the elevator doors opening, followed by the bumping into the swaying square, shot a quick dagger strike through the top of my head. “Sorry,” the gurney operator said. “This elevator really needs maintenance to smooth it out some.”

His words registered but never interrupted my stream of thoughts. The cerebral arteriogram had produced more pain than I’d thought possible; but if the results helped the doctors to figure out why my visual fields had filled with strings of colored pyramids, it’d be worth the agony. I hadn’t felt the lurch of the elevator until it thudded to a stop.

As the noisy doors parted, I heard my father’s voice. My only thought was Thank You, God; Dad’s here for Mom. My father didn’t wait for the gurney to leave the elevator; he rushed to my side.

“Honey, you’ll never guess who’s just down the hallway from your room!”

I hadn’t given the arrival of my father much thought; I knew he’d join Mom after work. Even-so his first question in the elevator took me totally by surprise. “What. Did. You. say, Daddy?” I said, my throat so dry the words stuck on the way out.

The gurney began moving off the elevator, but Dad wouldn’t be distracted. “I asked you if you could guess who was in the hospital room just down the hallway from you,” he said, side-stepping to keep up with the moving gurney and not take his eyes off mine. “Oh Honey, you’ll never guess.”

What in the world was my father talking about. “Who, Daddy?” I said in a whisper.

The gurney stopped again; the driver’s attention glued to the conversation, waiting to hear the name of some celebrity. My father’s excitement didn’t keep him waiting.

“Linda Evans* from Miles City. Can you believe that, Honey? Linda Evans!”

My weary memory scrolled through all known acquaintances, coming up dry. “Daddy, I don’t know anyone named Linda Evans.”

He squeezed my hand through the blanket strapped over my body. “Sure you do, Honey. You used to play with her. We went there not long after Donna’s third birthday. You remember Linda, Honey.”

“Daddy, I was sixteen months old; I don’t remember Linda Evans.”

Not one bit undone by my memory-lapse, dear old Dad continued. “Yeah, it’s been that long since we’ve seen them. I just can’t believe that they’re here right now when you are!”

“Excuse me, Sir, but I need to take your daughter to her room.” The gurney began moving as he spoke.

Let me take just a moment to fill you in on my father, so you can see how God set this surprise of the Evans Family up just for him. This behavior was so not Daddy, and at the time, I wondered if it was just some measure of his extreme nervousness.

My father was a strong man, with an incredibly tender heart towards his wife and three daughters. He served many years as a company commander in the military, armored division—tanks. In fact, at the time of this event in my life, Dad served in that capacity for the Army National Guard.

By the time Dad met me on that elevator, he’d already made it through the first of a long list of heart attacks. There’s no doubt the bedraggled, pain-wracked sight of me on that cart would’ve undone Dad, had the Lord not intervened to momentarily distract him from the serious situation. I believe that the Lord used the visit he’d just enjoyed with the Evans Family to lighten-up the strain on his heart. Mom and I both needed Dad well and strong to help us through what would follow. God knew that and met Dad’s need.

The wait for the doctor to share the test results with us and his treatment plan seemed interminable to my parents. As the wall clocked displayed the passing time, they alternated holding my hand. As for me, exhaustion overrode my pain; I slept the hours they waited in the uncomfortable, straight-back hospital chairs.

* Not the actress, but a Montana family friend.

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