Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
When people are facing a severe illness or a major surgery, that may be one of the most significant opportunities for spiritual transformation that they will encounter. ~Allan Hamilton (Quote borrowed from my blogging friend, Jean Wise, at Healthy Spirituality)
This is the final installment of the Asheville misadventures. If you are just joining us here, please begin with "The Voice of the Lord" featured under Blog Archives to the right of this page.
Danny and I entertain a host of medical professionals who will be in the operating room with him. The anesthesiologist, her assistant, and the device technologist describe their roles in the procedure, and give us confidence that Danny is in good hands. Enter Dr. S., the doctor who will actually be doing the surgery. He embarks on what I've come to call the Litigious Litany; you know, just like all those drug commercials on television that feature an endless, and alarming, list of side effects. Not in the least reassuring, but most likely required by law.
I look down at the Bible resting in my lap, and say a silent prayer of thanks to God for its presence.
When we are told the operation will take between two and three hours, Danny urges me to return to the hotel instead of sitting in an uninviting waiting room. I leave my cell number with the nurse assigned to Danny's case, and head out to summon yet another Uber. As I have to make many phone calls once again, the privacy of my hotel room is just what the doctor ordered. (Yes, pun intended!)
I spend the next two-and-one-half hours contacting folks and perusing my new Bible, but most of my time is spent in prayer that all goes smoothly for Danny. God continues to assure me that I should be anxious for nothing. Danny will come through with flying colors. What can I do at this point but trust completely in Him?
When call from Dr. S. finally comes in, I answer immediately. "Mrs. Orlando, your husband is out of surgery and in recovery. Everything went beautifully! A text book case if I ever saw one. I couldn't be happier with how things turned out."
"Oh, Dr. S., that's marvelous news! When should I come back over to the hospital?"
"Don't leave your hotel for another hour or so," he advises. "It will take him a while to come to himself. By that time, we should have him back in his room."
More texting! More calls! More prayers of thanksgiving!!! The success of the surgery means the doctors will release Danny tomorrow, and we can enjoy one night at the cabin before having to head home!
My arrival at the hospital could not have been better timed. As I approach Danny's room, they are just wheeling him into it. What a tremendous relief to see him awake. Alert.
Once the staff departs, and we are alone at last, we shed grateful tears of joy. That's when Danny takes my hand, looks into my eyes, and says in all solemnity, "There's something really important I have to tell you, Martha. Just before they put me under, I forgave her. I forgave Pastor Diane, and I meant it with all my heart."
Tears spring anew to my eyes. "Oh, Danny, I'm so glad you could, that you finally did! This is such a blessing!"
"And you know what else is a blessing?" Danny asks as he squeezes my hand. "When we get back to Kennesaw, we can quit looking for another church. We're going home."
For those of you who have been faithfully following this saga, you know that Danny faced some overwhelming complications during the ensuing weeks. The pacemaker, successfully implanted in Asheville, became infected; we were advised by Dr. S. that there was a 15% possibility of this happening. Consequently, Danny underwent three surgeries in the span of six weeks: Pacemaker installed; pacemaker removed, and new device placed on the right side of his chest, not over the heart as before. He now has a matching pair of scars, both of which are healing perfectly, thanks be to God!
All your prayers, your notes, your comments here and privately, have meant the world to both of us through these stressful ordeals. We truly felt God's presence and peace throughout. So now, allow me to leave you with some gorgeous photos that Danny managed to take at the cabin on the Sunday we arrived, and on the Thursday evening when at last we could return. May the glory of God's creation bless you, my friends, and may you always remember how precious you are in His eyes!