My story dwells deep inside Traveling Pendent # 723. It’s a story of tragedy, pain, wisdom, triumph, and redemption.
I write this after almost 2 years of recovery from a routine surgery that tragically went wrong.On October 26, 2020, I found myself in a state of deep sorrow. Since Covid began, I had virtually lost the business I had built for 8 years and all but two of my teammates… I felt hopeless. The losses had piled up and my faith and my mental fortitude was stretched thin. I felt my tank was almost out of gas. But that was just the beginning…
On that day, I went to the ER for a strange feeling in my lower right abdomen. Sure enough, I had appendicitis and needed to have my appendix removed. I was cleared for surgery. “No big deal,” I told Raya, “I’ll see you and the kids in the morning, don’t worry.”
As planned, I was home the next day to greet Raya, Bennett (2) and Colette (4). Feeling the urge to rest, I laid in bed. That’s where things took a turn for the worse. I woke up naked, wedged between the wall and the bed, and deliriously grumbling “suture… suture… suture…” While resting, my body had sprung a leak and I had “bled in” 2 liters into my own abdomen. With the rescue squad hovering over me, my temperature was 94 degrees, my BP was 70/35, and I had no detectable pulse. I remember asking the paramedics, “If I close my eyes, will I die?” With a panicked expression, the paramedic simply said, “don’t shut your eyes,” as he failed to find an adequate vein to administer life-saving medication.
I went in for an emergency laparotomy, where the surgery team unzipped me from stem to stern. With no identifiable source of the leak, I was left open in the ICU for 3 days. I woke to find myself tied to the bed, intubated, and in unimaginable pain due to the morphine machine not working properly for 12 hours, unbeknownst to the nursing staff.
In the midst of unfathomable pain, God sent me two angels.
The first was a David, the RN assigned to my case, who happened to also have been my Personal Trainer from years past. A welcome face to say the least.
The second angel was my sister, Lesley. As Lesley visited with me, I was unable to speak or move. She held my hand gently as I labored through each painful breath. On her hand, I traced the letters “S-F-T-J” – Strength For The Journey. Lesley took the cue and returned later with of her Traveling Pendants, lucky number 723.
It was a long and challenging stay at the hospital, but an even longer and more challenging recover- physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
My experience changed my life forever and I am forever grateful for it. All of this is bottled up inside Traveling Pendant 723. It’s a powerful one that I still cling to every day. One day, I will pass it along to someone who needs it more than I do. I look forward to that day.