“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
It was just a hysteroscopy, a procedure many women undergo everyday for various reasons. For me, it was neither life threatening, diagnostic of something more serious or any thing that might require further treatment, just a misplaced IUD.
“You could have prevented it”, I told God, as I was being ‘prepared’ for the procedure.
“I’m all alone”, I started again.
“You are never alone.” He says.
“Ok, I get it, you’re making me go through this for some reason, though I don’t see it right now, fine.” Pause. “ Would you at least hold my hand?”
“With pleasure” he says. I see a medivieal painting of his with a smiling face on the ceiling of the minor theater. I almost feel the squeeze of a hand.
You see, as a health professional, I’m supposed to be brave about all procedures. I’m one of those people who comfort other people many times daily saying, “Oh, this is just a small procedure, you’ll be done in a minute, you will be perfectly fine, don’t worry.” Words do come to haunt you at inoppurtune times!
The Occupational therapist in me practised pain management techniques:
- Imagine a positive outcome- “ There is it, the cause of your problems, came out in a jiffy” says the doc of my imagination. Everyone smiles of course.
- Take deep breaths- done
- Imagine a pleasant scene- Ok, I imagine the arrival of another child… hmmmmm
- The last session is on prayer and meditation.
The doc arrives, humming to herself, an ancient hymn. I obediently place my legs on the stirrup – like things into psychologically most vulnerable position of a woman. At least I’m not being raped, I think as I remember the recent incidence on the news about the mother with the infant and the toddler on the bus. Sigh.
“You’re going to be fine, it is just going to hurt a little.” She says.
“Can you hear her?” I ask him, “ I’ve said this a hundred times.”
The procedure starts, will pain levels 7-8 on a scale of 10 where 10 indicates excruciating pain.
“How did you put up with so much pain? I’m sure yours was 10 continuously for hours.”
“I loved you” came the reply.
“Did your father hold your hand?” I wondered.
“Yes, till the end, then for a short while he didn’t”
“I wouldn’t be able to manage without you, don’t ever leave me.”I sighed.
“Most of the time you’re the one pushing my hand away.” He replied.
“Very true, I’m sorry.”
Ouch, that hurt, why isnt it over yet?
“Take a deep breath, is it hurting?”
“A little bit” I hear myself say, I’m trying to be brave.
Another surge of pain. The mind’s eye imagines nails being drawn through extended wrists. I flinch.
“It hurts, I can’t imagine how you did that for me. What I am going through is a fragment of what you went through? How did you? Is that the reason why you are making me go through this?“
“I would never want you to suffer. You have to understand that my thoughts are higher than your thoughts and my ways higher than your ways.” He says.
The procedure is over. It wasn’t successful as had been expected.”We’ll have to repeat the procedure again today” she said, “ You’ll have to come back in the afternoon.”
I force a smile, “Ok, thank you.” I say bye to the kind sister and leave, promising to come back after a few hours.
I reach my room before I break down.
The physical pain was gone. The emotional pain was overwhelming.
Things started to fall into place. Slowly.
‘You held my hand through a procedure.’ I thought, ‘You care that much for me. And that is how you have been with all those who have suffered for your sake for many generations.’
I remembered Mother Teresa’s last words: ”It is a gift. Someone has to offer and suffer, to pay the price. What does He want of me now. I have given Him all the pain that I can.”
‘I wish I could suffer for you.’ I thought, ‘but I’m not brave enough, not strong enough and I’m scared.‘
“All I want is your love.” He says.
And I understand, not completely, but a little bit, and that is enough for me, for now.
“I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them as rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in Him,
not having my own righteousness,
which is from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ the righteousness which is from God by faith;
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowhip of His sufferenings, being conformed to His death,
if, by any means,
I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. “
Philippians 3: 8-11
Illustration from the Good News Bible