When the doctors came by on rounds the next morning, I rose from my bed and presented my own case. Not surprisingly, everyone appeared to be in agreement that I needed to be released. We settled on a time of 4:30 in the afternoon.
My sister Kathy would fly from DC to Illinois and she and my mom would pick me up at the hospital. I begged them to not be late. I needed to escape. My sister assured me her flight was on time. Nevertheless, her plane had a flat tire. She waited in DC for someone to find a jack to replace the failed tire.
Father Eugene Nevins, SJ, came to see me. He gave me communion and we said the Memorare together.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
He gave me some prayer cards to help me focus my message. We discussed the role of prayer in my life. I counted the moments until my release.
I ended up being transported to the pharmacy on a gurney instead of a wheelchair. Kathy picked up my prescriptions. We piled into Mom’s car and peeled out of the parking garage. I had never been so grateful before.
Even now, as I write about that day, I weep with a combination of fear and relief. I have never felt so alone in my life as I did when I was hospitalized. It was Christmas. I was alone. It was painful. I never knew a moment of relief from pain. My family and friends were at a distance. All of them shared my sense of frustration at not being able to command better care for me. I left the hospital in about the same condition as I arrived. My bladder was burned. I passed blood and blood clots. I was in pain. My bowels were fried. They bled, too. I was hungry, exhausted, and afraid.
I was grateful for strength that kept me going, family that answered my prayers, a God that heard those prayers, and friends who cared.
The phoenix took flight.
Be sure to click on Older Posts links for more January 2012 posts.