It was 9:05 A.M. I had dropped my son at his job before making my way through the crowds at K-Mart. Checking my watch; I had just enough time to grab some bread for lunch before leaving for work that day.
Bright colored clothing blurred together as I hurried past the camera display barely noticing the items that screamed ‘buy me’.
Suddenly, I felt a pain in my leg like that of a sleeping limb coming awake after sitting too long. Growing stronger, it spread to my hip and down to my foot. I stumbled as my leg lost all feeling. I stopped my rush, panic stricken. The feeling was only in my left leg, not my right. I shifted my weight and leaned on my cart. All reason fled as I hobbled back to the front of the store.
“It’s just a pinched nerve. It’ll work its way out. I’ll be just fine,” I said aloud as I placed the items on the conveyer for a very slow clerk. It felt like an eternity while an unknown attacker slowly spread taking my arm as its next victim. My natural movement was overcome by a growing paralysis.
I looked at the clerk in fear while focusing on my words.
“Hurry, I’m very ill and I need to get out of here!” She nodded flinching at my pallor.
As unrealistic as it seemed, I prayed I could make it to the car, as I struggled to the doors.
One door said Enter, the other Exit. I knew then that I couldn’t do it. A kind gentleman saw that I was dragging my leg and helped me to the phone.
I dialed my son at work. “Jason, it’s mom, I need you to run over here to K-Mart and drive me to the emergency room!”
At the Hospital I saw the signs Enter and Exit.
I was taught that self talk matters. “Don’t panic Val,” I said, “you made it in and out of the last doors, and you’ll do the same here. You’re not going to die.”
While sitting in the waiting room, the left side of my face went numb. Panic consuming me as my face went slack. My husband found me weeping as he rushed through the doors.
One look and he swept me up in his arms, yelling for assistance.
“Honey, your okay.” He soothed as the nurse arrived.
“We’re taking you to a room.” She pointed to the wheelchair.
Suddenly I was like the blue light special at K-mart. Several doctors poked me asking me questions. Hours became a blur while entering into a new world of machines, tests and the absence of pain. The arthritis I had complained about for years had vanished. How many times had I prayed for that pain to leave my aching body? The phrase “Be careful what you ask for” came to mind as I became the passive participant of a mixed blessing. I was in a hospital bed had three neurologists and a full time nurse.
Four days later, I overheard my doctor say I was going to be transferred to an extended care facility. I couldn’t care for myself at home and the insurance wanted me transferred out.
I started to pray in earnest. I prayed because I was afraid for my kids. Next I prayed for forgiveness for feeling sorry for myself. Lastly, I prayed that I would walk again and I would go home and not to that facility. I prayed my heart out, crying all the while as the words left my lips.
I knew that faith could move mountains if I would only have the ‘faith of a mustard seed.’ I slept deeply that night feeling comforted by the spirit. I felt freedom from my worries for the first time in days.
The next morning, the physical therapist asked to assist me in several strengthening exercises. “Why not?” I thought.
Suddenly I felt the tingling sensation that had started all my problems. Startled at first, I was soon weeping with the knowledge that God had heard my cries for his healing grace. Joy spread through my limbs faster than the feeling that came creeping back slowly over the next few months.
The memory of my arrival through those hospital doors came to mind, making me grateful for the knowledge that I would be ‘walking’ through them again. I felt blessed to enter into a world of possibilities with my family cheering me towards full recovery.
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