I Couldn’t wait to finish my chores so I could head out to shop. The day before, on a trip through the second hand store, I looked at clothes. My husband, Rick, looked at all things shiny. He walked up to me. “Come over here,” he said. “Look what I found.” He rushed ahead, I followed him. He sat down in a large, black leather office chair. The smile on his face said it all. He reminded me of the three bears. Papa bear had tried chairs that were either too hard or too soft, but then found the one that was “just right.” Rick had pointed out one that was “just right” for him. At least it didn’t break. Then and there I decided to go back and buy it to surprise him.
After kissing Rick good-bye as he left for work, I hurried from the garage door to the front door and waited for him to pull out. As usual, he stopped at the end of the driveway to wave again. After 8 months he still gives my heart a flutter. He knows how to touch my soul.
When my chores were finished I headed to town. What will he do” I wondered, “when he sees the chair? What will he say? “Please Lord,” I prayed, “I hope the chair is still there.” It was.
After my purchase I headed home, feeling kind of smug as I pulled into the garage with the black leather chair in the back seat. I took my purse and cell phone into the house and laid them on the kitchen counter. Back in the garage I opened the car door and reached for the chair. My gut instinct told me to wait. That still small voice whispered, Wait. Let Rick carry the chair into the house.
No, I thought, just before I pulled the chair from the car. I can manage it myself. After rolling the chair along the cement floor I thought, This is going to be a cakewalk. I lifted the chair, made it up the first step, then tried to push it through the doorway. I never realized how bulky the chair was, it wouldn’t go through. The chair got stuck. When I tried to force it, the super heavy black monster swiveled against me, knocked me off the step and caused my body to contort in an awkward position. I heard something crack as I fell off the step. One glance at my twisted leg before I hit the floor sent fear washing over me.
Oh, no! My cell phone is in the house on the kitchen counter. I don’t want to stay on this cement floor till Rick comes home.
Please, Lord, HELP!
In desperation I managed to drag myself by my arms and scoot my way towards the door. With all my might I reached up, gave the chair a shove, and pushed it into the house, freeing the entrance.
Somehow, I managed to pull myself into the house and over to the kitchen counter. I reached up and grabbed my cell phone off the edge. Fortunately, it didn’t fall on the floor. If I had put my phone in the middle of the counter I wouldn’t have been able to reach it. If I had kept the phone in my pocket I may have crushed it when I fell.
I called my daughter, Lynn. “I don’t think I broke a bone,” I said, “but I think I have a bad sprain or something. Will you call Rick at work?”
Lynn called Rick’s place of employment. He even answered the phone that day, which he usually doesn’t. He came home within 10 minutes and found me flat on my back on the kitchen floor. He walked in, took one look at me and said, “Your leg doesn’t look right. I’m calling 911.”
He brought a pillow and tucked it under my head. I asked for a Tylenol and a glass of water.
When I caught a flash as the ambulance pulled in, my eyes looked heavenward and I reached for Rick’s hand. Someone rang the bell and when Rick opened the door three people walked in. One guy knelt beside me and asked what happened. I explained and the woman asked if she could cut the leg of my jeans. Knowing it would be painful to pull them off I said, “Go ahead.”
Later, when I complained about my ruined jeans, Rick said, “Oh well, they weren’t stylish anyway.”
When I glanced down at my leg it looked swollen and twisted in an odd way. The paramedic asked me to describe my pain level. “On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the least and 10 being the worst pain I’ve ever had, what is your level of pain?”
“Probably a 2 or 3” I said, surprised, and relieved, that the pain wasn’t any worse.
After an examination he said he thought I may have an injury that is common to football players. He couldn’t tell if it was broke because of the swelling.
A police car had also arrived and an officer questioned me. “Was your husband home when it happened?” I figured maybe they came to check out the home because Rick called and maybe they assumed it was a domestic violence case.
They loaded me into the ambulance, Rick followed behind with the car. The paramedic asked if I needed anything for pain. I didn’t, but he inserted an IV so it would be ready at the hospital.
During the ride all the horror stories about the pain of having a bone set, how the doctor and the x-ray technicians would twist and turn my leg, etc. came back to worry me. But my fears were relieved when everyone treated me with a gentle hand and a kind word.
“I think your leg has a fracture” the doctor said, “but only an x-ray will tell for sure. Depending on the results, you may need surgery.”
He cleared his throat as he read my chart.
“You had cancer?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, “breast cancer, almost 5 years ago.”
“I am concerned that maybe the cancer has returned in your bones.”
“Oh, no,” I prayed, “Please…Lord…”
They wheeled me down for x-rays, very gently positioned me, and it only took a few moments.
The doctor came back and informed us that, “Yes, you do have a fracture. Your leg is so swollen that we need to take a scan to see how bad. And we will look to see if anything looks like you may have bone cancer.”
The doctor finally came back with the results.
“You broke your left tibia and it depends on how bad it is as to weather you need surgery. We don’t see anything that would suggest bone cancer, but we won’t know for sure without a bone biopsy.”
They asked if I had a doctor. I didn’t, so they gave me the name of a doctor that specialized in Orthopedic and Oncology. Even the name, Oncology, sent images of what-could-be flashing through my mind.
They wanted me to make an appointment with my regular doctor, to make sure my body could withstand surgery. My leg was too swollen to do anymore. They put a large black brace, from my upper thigh to my ankle, to hold my leg straight and sent me home with a prescription for pain pills.
Thoughts crashed through my mind. I played the “what if game.” What if I turn my leg wrong and break it again? What if they have to re-set my leg? Prayer helped me keep the focus off my leg, and onto other daily things in life. Time went fast. On the way to the bone specialist my worried mind kicked in again. They’re going to take more x-rays, They’re going to hurt my leg now. What will they find? Will I need surgery? What will it look like when he takes my brace off after having it on for 5 days?
The x-ray tech worked gently, along with the doctor. The x-rays showed that my left tibia had shattered. I would need surgery, along with pins, plates, screws etc, to piece it back together. Surgery was set for three days later. The brace went back on and we headed home to wait. A visit to my regular doctor confirmed that I was OK to have the surgery.
The Lord gave me peace throughout the wait, as long as I kept my focus on Him, and not on all the things that could go wrong, like being diagnosed with bone cancer. My husband, Rick, was a great prayer warrior and helper.
“We’ll get through this together,” he said, “no matter what the outcome.”
Rick helped me get from the bed, to the bathroom to the couch, brought pillows to elevate my leg and kept the ice packs ready. He did the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and all the other chores while also working 32 hours a week at his place of employment. He took our vows, “For Better or For Worse,” literally.
Finally, the day of surgery came. At the hospital, after I was prepped, I kissed my husband and my daughter good-bye. Being wheeled down the hall I felt God’s strong arms holding me.
A hurried look around the O.R. didn’t leave much time to worry before the anesthesiologist put me out. After three hours of surgery, plus recovery time, they wheeled me back to my room. I was surprised at how groggy I felt when I woke up, but oh so thankful that I made it through and God granted me another day.
The doctor talked to Rick and my daughter, it was all a blur to me. The surgery went well, I was put back together with several pieces of hardware and cement. The doctor said he didn’t see anything that looked like bone cancer, but he wouldn’t know for certain until he received the results of the biopsy.
Thus began a time of God showing his love and grace through several of His people. My daughter came and sat with me, did chores, always with a smile, made sure my leg was elevated and kept it wrapped with fresh ice. Most importantly, she kept a positive attitude and encouraged me with every visit.
My new sister-in-law, Kathy, also came to help and I enjoyed talking and getting to know her a little better.
One week after surgery I received the long awaited call from the doctor. When his number came up I held my breath. Panic gripped my spine… I breathed a quick prayer.
“Hello,” I said, “yes, this is her.”
I felt rooted to the spot.
“Your Bone Biopsy was normal,” he said, “nothing for concern!”
I let my breath out. Praise the Lord!
Because I never felt steady on crutches, my only way to get around was in a wheelchair. Plus, one of our neighbors, a dear lady, Mickey, loaned us a walker. Two weeks post surgery, after not being out of the house, Rick found a way to get me out the garage door, down the steps and into the car. He set two stools in the garage, one on each step. He helped me maneuver out of the wheelchair onto the first stool, then onto the second one. He moved the wheelchair down and helped me get back into it, then pushed me over to the car and gently helped me into the front seat.
My favorite moments in the chair were when I tried to maneuver down the hall, Rick would come up behind me, wrap his arms around me and ask, “Do you want some help?” Then he’d take over. Or, when he pushed me through the house, he’d lean over, wrap his arms around me, and kiss me on the cheek.
But, there were also some not so good moments. We had our little “Tiffs” as Rick called them. Those times felt like “Mountains,” to me. We had both been married before and felt like God had led us together. He granted us another chance with love and we both assumed our marriage would be smooth sailing. And, for at least 95%, it was. But wow, the other 5% took a toll on both of us.
One night I got mad at Rick, I can’t even remember why, but I finagled myself into the wheelchair and headed to the kitchen for a thermos of ice water. Rick watched me from the bed and yelled, “Wow, you can sure move fast when you want to.”
His remark only made me madder and I yelled back, “Well, don’t worry about it. You can just sleep alone tonight because I’m not going to sleep with you! I’ll sleep on the couch.”
“Well here,” he said, “let me help you. I’ll get your pillow.”
I didn’t want to sleep on the couch, and he said later that he hadn’t wanted me to either, but we were both so stubborn. Neither one of us wanted to give in.
Rick threw my pillow onto the couch and stomped out of the room. I loaded myself onto the couch and started crying. My wheelchair was just out of reach and my pain pills were back in the bedroom on my night stand.
After what seemed like hours, but was only a few moments, Rick came back into the living room.
“I’m sorry “Sunshine,” he said.
Another time, although Rick usually wouldn’t fight with me. He’d walk away and that only made me madder. “Run-a-way Rick,” I’d holler. He would go downstairs because he knew I couldn’t follow him. He always said he left so he could compose himself and pray. He’d come back, maybe 30 minutes later. We’d either start up again and go through the same ritual, or we’d calm down and make up. Our fights never lasted too long, but they broke my heart. He said when we got married he wanted to show me how a good man treated a woman, so unlike the abuser I had met and married before him. (Lonely Heart Meets Charming Sociopath) Rick also came with baggage. He called himself a recovered alcoholic of seventeen and a half years. He had many stories to tell about his drinking years.
Talk about stories. The thoughts of Physical Therapy tormented me as people rehashed their dealings with the pain, “Just wait until you start Physical Therapy,” they said, “and it hurts so bad you want to die. You’ll want to give up, but you can’t, or you may be crippled for life.” That fear never came true. My Therapist said, “Some people say, ‘No pain, no gain’ but it doesn’t have to be like that. If it hurts, we can stop and try another method.” She was true to her word, although it wasn’t fun, it was bearable.
More bearable than the fights at home. Stress does a lot of things to people. Like the time, during a fight, that I needed to get ready for my Physical Therapy. Rick had the shower running and told me everything was ready. I wheeled myself into the bathroom, heard the shower running and saw him standing there with a not-so-good look on his face.
“I’m not going to get in that shower now,” I said, “you’ll probably try to drown me.”
“How can you say that?” he asked. “No matter how mad I am at you, I would never try to hurt you in any way.” His eyes widened and he shook his head in a slow, disbelieving shake.
I bent my head down and started to wail. Rick came over, put his arms around me and held me while I sobbed. It was frustrating, not being able to do all the things I used to do. Especially not even being able to take a shower by myself. We both apologized, Rick wiped my tears, helped me with my shower, and we headed to Physical Therapy. Rick drove me, then sat in the office and waited.
The waiting continued, twice a week for several weeks. James 1:2-4
In the beginning, when I had the brace on, I couldn’t even bend my leg. The doctor adjusted my brace, which allowed me to bend my leg gradually, a bit more with each visit. The day I took my first step I cried. The therapist eyebrows drew together as she quickly asked, “Are you in pain?”
“No,” I said, “but it’s been so long.”
God feels the pain when His children get hurt. The same pain we feel when our children get hurt. But God allowed me to break my leg. He knew it would happen. He also promised to be with me all the way. He never left me. I had always imagined how it would be if someone broke their leg. Although I know every situation is different, and I can only speak from my experience. But, from the moment that it happened and every day since, I have felt God’s presence with my every need.
Today I played the what if game. What if I had listened to that “still small voice,” that told me to let Rick bring in the chair? What if, since I didn’t want to wait that day, I hadn’t been so stubborn and convinced myself that I could do it alone? Well, if I had waited, then maybe my life as I knew it would still be the same. I wouldn’t be afraid that with every step that I might break another bone. I wouldn’t be in pain and having to take it easy every day. My leg wouldn’t feel stiff and sore until I give in and take a pain pill. I could walk more than eight minutes at a time.
I would have five less scars to remind me of my stubbornness.
But, it all depends on where I keep my focus. I can dwell on all the bad, or all the good things in life that haven’t changed. It could have been far worse. A lesson was learned when I discovered my brittle bones. That warning enabled me to do something to help. I need to live my life knowing that God is still in control. We can either hurt with God, or without Him. I try to do the best with what I know and leave the rest with God.
Rick gently rubbed the scars on my broken leg, reached down and kissed me on the knee. “This is my favorite leg now,” he said.
So, for the past eighty three days I have kissed Rick good-bye, while laying on the couch with my leg propped up and resting or iced.
Eighty three days…
Eighty three long…days.
Now, fully dressed and ready for the day, I walked Rick to the garage door. After kissing him good-bye, I rushed around to the front door and waited. He pulled up, stopped in front of the house, rolled his window down and waved, again. It seemed like an eternity since his last wave. God brought us both through so much during the past eighty three days and I felt closer to Him. Rick agreed that he did too. Rick lived the vows we repeated. He is is a man of his word. Together, we learned to start our days putting God first, before each other. And when we do that, it also brings us closer as husband and wife.
So it was rough, waiting on God and learning things the hard way. But what’s worse that waiting on God?
Wishing you had.