Afternoon soon melted into evening, and we were still huddled around Christopher's hospital bed waiting for the news to come down that he could go home. Over the course of the day, Christopher had graduated from the liquid diet to the soft foods diet to the whatever sounds good diet with NO LEAKS. His incisions were bone dry, and they looked great. Well, the word "great" might be a bit of an overstatement. They were red and swollen which is just how fresh incisions are supposed to look, but the good news was that the antibiotics were doing their job...NO SIGNS OF INFECTION. The pain medications were working too. Christopher was sore, but it was manageable.
In the hospital they usually do discharges early in the day, but it was now early evening. The nurses were preparing the night team for the next shift, and I was preparing myself to spend the night without my favorite pillow, blanket, and Tempurpedic mattress (honestly, it's the best!). Christopher was preparing too...to go home! If they were planning on keeping him, he wasn't having any of it. As each hour passed his patience was growing thin, and so were my attempts to encourage him to remain in his hospital bed. Left up to his own devices, he was ready to walk out of that hospital regardless of whether his doctor thought it was a good idea or not. I reminded him of how far he had come, and that it just wasn't worth risking the possibility of complications if he left too soon. He reminded me that he just wanted to go home, and he constantly reminded the nurses that he still hadn't heard back from the doctor yet.
Wait, wait, and wait some more. That's the name of the game when you are in the hospital. Nothing is quick. Nothing happens at lightening speed unless it's an emergency. Time seems to operate in a completely different dimension. It's more deliberate and often painfully slow. The days are long, but the nights are even longer. The really odd thing is that you are often short on a lot of other things...patience, peace, a good meal, a comfortable place to sleep... but the one thing you have in abundance is TIME.
The time for Christopher had come. I could tell just by the look on the nurse's face when she came in the room. Her "I hope he doesn't ask me again because the doctor hasn't called me back yet" face was now her "Hey, I have great news!" face. It was official. The doctor had called. She was happy with Christopher's progress, and she was discharging him from the hospital.
You might think that the only thing left to do was for Christopher to lose that chic, fashionable, green gown that he had been sporting the last couple of days, BUT...remember what I said about time...hospital time? Nothing moves quickly when you are in the hospital including discharge. You'd think they'd be anxious to unload another patient, but they have very specific procedures and protocols that have to be followed right down to the last detail. There's instructions, prescriptions, and signatures that have to be checked and re-checked. Calls have to be made and all the machines have to be removed. It's a very long and paper-filled process that usually takes about an hour if you're lucky.
Hospital procedure may be slow, but Christopher was moving at "warp speed." It didn't take him anytime at all to put on his own clothes and gather up his stuff. He sat on the couch anxiously waiting for the nurse to return with those priceless discharge papers that were his golden ticket to freedom...freedom from IV's, freedom from feeding tubes, freedom from chronic illness.
His patience was finally rewarded as we signed on the bottom line. It was official...signed, sealed, and delivered. God had blessed Christopher with an instant healing miracle, and now it was complete. Everything was done. There were no strings left to tie up. The feeding tubes were out and all stitched up, and now 17 long years of chronic illness was finally over with just one stroke of the pen.
I pulled the car around and saw Christopher waiting in his chariot with the nurse. This would be the last time we had to perform this well choreographed routine. He carefully got in the car, and we waved goodbye...goodbye to the past, and drove away into the future.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can pray like this: