Christmas was less than 2 weeks away. My husband, Manny, had been in bed for two days with the flu – no vomiting, diarrhea, or other flu-like symptoms, mind you – he just knew he had the flu. I, on the other hand, was certain he did not. I tried to get him to go to the hospital, but he would have none of it. Saturday night I pointed out that his pain could be a kidney stone. It was mostly in the right side of his back, sometimes went across his stomach. “No, it’s the flu,” he insisted. “I’ll be better tomorrow.”
I spent another night listening to him moan in his sleep. I prayed, asking God to protect him from his own ignorance. He had never been in-tune with his body. I also prayed to know what to do. He was a grown man; I wasn’t his mother. I couldn’t make him go to the hospital. I tossed and turned, as he moaned and groaned.
The next morning, as I laid a set of sweat clothes across the bed, I issued an ultimatum, “Either you get dressed and let me drive you to the hospital, or I’m calling an ambulance. I think you’re seriously sick!”
“I have the flu,” he whimpered. “Just leave me alone and let me rest. I’ll be okay.”
Okay, Lord, what do I do? “So, you want me to call an ambulance?”
“No! I want you to leave me alone and let me sleep!”
I paced the room, praying for wisdom. Was he right? Or was my gut-feeling right? “Okay, look . . . get dressed, I’ll take you over to the ER and if you have the flu they will just send you back home, but at least then I can quit worrying.” I had tears in my eyes and my voice trembled with concern. “Please?”
With much difficulty he got dressed and slowly made his way to the car. He told the triage nurse that he had the flu, and I wouldn’t leave him alone. I told her he’d been in bed moaning and groaning for more than 48 hours and that I knew something other than the flu was going on. “Well, you’re in the right place to find out who’s right,” she said, more I thought to placate him.
In no time at all they had a surgeon there, who advised us that he needed to get him into an operating room ASAP. As the doctor left the area, Manny murmured, “Great . . . they’re putting me under the knife and I’ve got the flu.” I stood there worried and confused. The surgeon hadn’t really said what the problem was; just that it was a good thing I got him there.
“Excuse me, doctor!” I called just as he was about to head out of sight.
He walked back to Manny’s bedside. “Yes?”
“Uh . . . now he’s upset with me ‘cause he thinks you’re getting ready to cut him open when all he has is the flu.” Manny gave me the evil eye, but it was the truth.
Dr. Lewis took two fingers and pushed lightly on the right-side of Manny’s belly, when he released his touch, Manny almost shot off the table from pain. “Didn’t they tell you why they called me?” he asked. I shook my head, brows furrowed questioningly. “His appendix is no doubt ready to rupture.” He patted Manny’s shoulder and said, “Gotta get ready; see you in there.”
My daughters and I prayed through anxious hours as the surgery went into double-time. When Dr. Lewis finally came around the corner, he approached us with a light whistle, “Phew! That was a tough one! You got him here just in time; a few more hours and he wouldn’t have made it.” He shook his head, as if he couldn’t believe it himself. “His appendix didn’t rupture; they rotted away and were gangrenous. He’s going to be a very sick man for the next few days. In fact, don’t ask me if he’ll be home for Christmas; I’m not releasing him ‘til I’m sure he’s out of danger.”
He was incoherent for five days. He went from double antibiotics to triple. At times, I was so scared my only prayer was a repetitive, “Please, God.” Thankfully, you needn’t touch the Master’s hem, you need only call his name . . . Manny came home Christmas Eve. It was our Christmas miracle.
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