Ministry

Sick in Bed

Yesterday I spent some time with my parishioner, Pattie, who I wrote about in the post Cat Scan early in March. She is still in the hospital, and her cancer is still going untreated due to terrible circulatory complications. In an attempt to resolve Purple Toe Syndrome, doctors planned to amputate her foot. But when they got into surgery, they discovered clots throughout her leg and amputated most of it.

The Sunday after the operation, I had to ask for prayers for her and found all I could say was, “Please pray for Pattie. She’s had…a bad week.” That was Palm Sunday, and all these weeks later they still haven’t been able to resolve an infection in what is left of the leg. They’ve got her up and moving on the other leg, but the variety of complications that include breathing problems have kept her in the hospital and mostly in bed.

Isn’t it funny how more time in bed sounds really good to us until we actually get it? Pattie is as sick *of* bed as she is sick in bed.

When I was ten I spent a month in bed. It’s one of the reasons I love the Stevenson poem below so much. I hated school, so this would have seemed like a great thing in some ways. But I was sick, very sick (with Hepatitis A, contracted via seafood, said the doctors), really miserable, and I began to look forward to the day I would go back to school again. My father and brother weren’t even allowed to come into my room. I did some reading, but mostly I didn’t feel up to it. My most-read book was D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths. I spent a lot of time drawing the gods and goddesses and developed an affection for the story of Persephone. My illness had been as unexpected as her kidnapping by Hades. I was in the dark, closed off from the familiar world and homesick for my backyard, my friends and even the bus stop.

And Pattie’s little house, with the husband who never lifts a finger to help, sounds like spring compared to the underworld of a long stay in the hospital. Death will come, but let it come above ground, O God!

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