“You know, Jesus . . .” :-D

“You know, Jesus”, I began my prayer, and before the last syllable left my lips I smiled at my theological gaff. But the lapse was forgivable given the circumstances.

My prayer rose from ER-28 at Presbyterian Inter-community Hospital where Mom was brought from the rehab facility around 9:30 p.m. She’s taken a beating over the past month with multiple trips to ER and rehab—and surgery for a broken hip sandwiched in between. She’s is not resting comfortably. She is in pain and restive. And she is thirsty.

“Water . . . please water”, is her urgent cry. It’s hard to hear. But I can’t give her water now because the doctor gave her morphine just before the hip x-ray. If she vomits in her present condition, the result would be catastrophic. I ask the nurse at the station about giving her water any way.

“The doctor will be in shortly.”

She cries out again and I relent. Just a sip. This calms her down but only for a few minutes. Then she wants more water. I try to talk her around her raging thirst, but no good. So, another sip and a wipe of the chin.

Morphine, oh morphine! Where is your sleep, oh morphine!

Mom drowses in and out of the twilight, never fully unconscious. Instead, the morphine seems to make her a bit goofy. Ten percent of her conversational effort is non-contextual. Still mentally “with it”, but the air is slowly leaking out of the balloon.

So we wait behind the curtain, thirsty and tired.

Philosophically, mom has been waiting for this particular hospital room for 94 years, 10 months, 10 days (but who’s counting). As we wait, the noises of the ER envelope us: Overlapping conversations in Spanish and English; beeping machines, purring landlines, and cellphone tones—an overwhelming audio tapestry. In mute contrast, the heart monitor silently traces peeks and valleys in reptilian green.

The doctor arrives.

“Sure she can have some water. I’ll get it.”

He disappears in time to miss my inner exasperation.

“Your mom’s white blood cell count is somewhat elevated. There could be an infection in area of the surgery, or in the urinary tract. We’re going to give her an antibiotic and get her upstairs to her room.”

With the help of a nurse he checks a hot-spot on her buttocks—a possible bed sore.

“They’ve done a good job with that”, he says, indicating the treatment provided by SoCal Acute. That’s really good news.

Mom dozes. It’s 1:44 a.m.

“You know, Jesus, I just wanted to ask You again to consider our mother. You created her, knitting her together in her mother’s womb. They were all numbered by You, the days set out for her when as yet there were none. You directed your best friend, John, to ‘behold your mother’ while at the same time You attoned for the sins of humanity. If You had time to take care of Your own earthly mother while pinned to the cross, I know You are able to take care of our mother who is pinned to this hospital bed. You have prepared an eternal dwelling-place for Betty Kays. If it were not so, You would have told us.”

You know, Jesus, I just wanted to remind myself of the promises we have in You.”

(He knows.)

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