With the various treatments and experiences I’ve gone through over the past 14 months I’m learning to identify with different groups of people:
1. When I had the radio-active spheres inserted into my liver I became an outcast for a week. I was not allowed closer than 3 metres from people. My food would be brought and placed 3 metres away for met collect. When I saw my wife needing comfort I was unable to get close to touch her or comfort her. I discovered what it was like to be a leper.
2. Following surgery last week I was hooked up to an epidural drip to ease the pain on the perineal wound. The down side was that my legs were initially totally unresponsive. No matter how much my brain tried to communicate with the muscles in my legs and ankles to move, there was no response and I had to move my legs into place by hand. One evening I felt under the sheet and discovered what I believed was a heat pad. It was my leg but I had no sensation in it. I discovered a little of what it must be like to be a paraplegic.
3. I eventually regained feeling in one leg and partial feeling in the other. I was encouraged to walk with the aid of a nurse. I could manage if my bad leg would lock at the knee. Occasionally it wouldn’t and would fold under me. I wondered if this might be what it is like for a stroke victim.
4. After the epidural drip was removed from my spine, feeling gradually returned to my nether regions. I had a long perineal wound with many stitches from the operation. Trying to sit on this wound was painful and walking would occasionally cause one or more stitches to pull which added to the discomfort. I now have utmost sympathy for any woman who has had perineal stitches following child-birth.
5. We all have two personas: one we present to the public and one we tend to keep private. Most of the time my attitude has remained positive and I have sought to find the silver lining in every cloud. I have never lost the sense of the Presence of God through every trial, but there have been times when certain procedures or treatments have seemed “a bridge too far”. There are times when it all seems too hard and there is a great desire to escape the pain one way or another. There have been times when heaven has seemed a very attractive alternative. After all. with the sure and certain hope that belongs to those who trust in Christ, death holds no fear. I will not be too critical of those who decide not to seek further treatment: those who appear to give up the fight for life.