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Day 6 – August 21, 2017

Oswald Chambers in his August 8 devotional states, “God’s Son is born into me through the direct act of God; then I as His child must exercise the right of a child – the right of always being face to face with my Father through prayer.” What a right, a privilege we have as children of God! We get to be face to face with Him through prayer! This relationship is reflected even in our address of Him by calling Him “Father.” That term is one of endearment, one of closeness, of familarity, deeply personal, based in love. Jesus addressed God as Father when He began the Lord’s Prayer as He was teaching His disciples to pray. He used the term that is Abba or translated as Daddy. This is the relationship God wants to have with each one of us. Wow!

Chambers states that whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, with Christ living in us also means He is there with us too. As we walk with Christ we maintain close contact with the Father. When I realize this privilege, this position, I don’t seem to have an interest in presenting my requests to God. What comes to mind is just praise and worship. Some of the best moments of my prayer time are times of just worship of Him, not asking anything of Him, just worship. I found those moments even more frequently during times of suffering and pain. Those were times when I could have made all sorts of demands of God but what gave me more hope and joy was worship, not demands. Even then the pain and struggle seemed less intense when I just worshiped. And in the midst of that worship I would hear the gentle words of Jesus, “I want to walk with you through this.” Those words were such a blessing and made the difficult walk much easier just knowing Jesus was walking with me.

I have especially heard Jesus’ words, “I want to walk with you,” when I travel to Ecuador.  Going to a different country, a different culture, a different language is out of my comfort zone.  There are risks involved.  But as I considered this opportunity back in 2004, I heard those words in my ear.  I followed and since then I hear, “Do you want to go again?”  When I say yes, we go as Jesus walks with me to Ecuador.  And the trips even though to the same place have been tremendous faith stretching times for me.  He teaches me over and over to lean into Him, to depend on Him and then He just wows us with His miraculous work that happens before our very eyes.  And all this time I feel I am in a face to face conversation with Him.  It is a very special time.

Oh Lord, You bless me so much with Your constant presence with me, in me. You teach me as we walk together. You talk with me and answer my questions. You tell me over and over that You want to walk with me through whatever situation that comes before us on the path. Lord, I feel so comforted by this reality. You are always there. Thank You, Jesus! Thank You!

My night just disappeared.  I went to bed about 10 and awoke this morning about 5:30 and wondered where the night went.  I think I can rightly conclude that I had a good night’s sleep!  The fans ran all night and I didn’t hear anything else.  This morning Katie asked me if I heard the dogs serenading us through the night.  I had to admit that I missed that concert.  I am thankful for the rest that God gave me last night in preparation for today.

Today is the start of our surgical week.  We have four hysterectomies today and they all will have their own unique challenges.  I have to admit, when I was in active practice and doing surgery several times each week, these situations we face today would not be so worrisome to me.  But now I am retired and have not had the OR time I used to have.  The past few trips I was concerned about my surgical skills and whether I would be up to the task but soon after the first incision was made I felt right at home and comfortable.  I am praying that the same return of that comfort occurs today.  I have talked with Jane about my concern as I don’t want to think I am ready when I am really not.  She assures me that I will be ready as she has fullest confidence in me as I do her.  Plus, we both have even more full confidence in the third pair of hands at the table, those of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who will be standing right there with us.  That is the real comfort that is so precious to me, to us.

Father, You know me in and out.  You know how You prepared me to be a physician and gve me these surgical skills.  You know how those skills have been embedded in my brain for years.  And You know how to activate those skills when needed.  Lord, I depend so much on You.  You enable me, empower me to do Your work, to serve You by providing the human hands, feet, mouth, eyes, ears and mind to carry out the tasks on a human level that You have for us.  And in all this You are served, You are honored and You are glorified.  What a privilege to be able to serve You here!

Father, I pray for our today.  I pray for Howard as he works outside on the tile.  Thank You for him and his willingness to come here and do this work serving Jane, serving You.  Thank You for Katie and Tricia for their willingness to serve with us here.  Lord, thank You for Jane and her heart to serve You here in San Lorenzo.  It is such a pleasure and privilege to partner with You and her in extending Your love and healing power to those who come through the door.  Lord, today I pray for Your presence in a palpable way in the operating room.  Please wrap Your hands around our hands and allow us to wear You like a glove so that what we do we do because of You.  Empower us and enable us to carry out the work today and to do it correctly without any complications.  Keep us surrounded by Your protective arms to keep the enemy away from us.  He would so like to disrupt Your work here and dishonor You.  Please Lord, help us, protect us from doing anything that would not honor Your.  I pray especially for that awareness that we are working side by side and are speaking face to face with You, Lord, because Jesus is in us and around us and is speaking through us.  Thank You Lord for finding favor in me, in us.  

I pray for the patients we care for today.  Please cover them with Your love and protection.  Help them heal quickly, Lord.  You love them, Lord, and we love them through You.  Fill us with Your love and let it flow out of our mouth, hands, fingers.  We pray for Your guidance today Lord.  Thank You, Father.  I pray all this in Jesus’ precious name, a name above all names.  Amen.

Our day in surgery began about 9:00 am and ended about 10:00 pm.  We had four major surgeries that were complex in a variety of ways.  The first surgery was an abdominal hysterectomy and a bladder repair.  This meant repositioning the patient and reprepping and draping for the bladder repair.  The hysterectomy took a couple hours and then by the time we were done with the bladder repair it was three hours taking us up to noon with just one surgery completed.  This surgery went well and was not significantly difficult.  However, it took more time than anticipated.  I was anxious about doing surgery because I had not been in the operating room for 2 years.  Since retirement the only surgery I am doing is when I come and work with Jane.  I talked with Jane about my concern over my surgical skills since I had not had the opportunity to work in the operating room for 2 years.  She said she appreciated me telling her and I gave her permission to tell me if I am not working as well as expected.  Once we started, however, it didn’t take long for me to feel back in the groove.  The technique was automatic and I didn’t have any hesitancy in doing this type of surgery.  It felt good to be back in the OR again.  This was my career and I miss it.  

Our second surgery was a routine hysterectomy for an abnormal pap smear.  This patient was thin and her surgery was relatively easy.  Jane and I were done with her in about one and a half hours.  At this point we stopped for lunch and a chance to sit for awhile.  We started the third surgery about 3 and it was a hysterectomy that took some time because of the patient’s size and the uterus was big and contained fibroids.  There was more dissection to get it out plus the uterine size compromised good exposure necessitating more manipulation in order to clearly see where we were clamping the blood supply.  We finished about 5:30.  

The last surgery was on a young lady, just 27 years old, who had multiple fibroids or myomas of the uterus.  She has never been pregnant and desperately wants to conceive.  Thus saving her fertility is very important.  At times when one has fibroids like this lady has, there is not much one can do to alleviate the heavy bleeding other than hysterectomy.  The fibroids so distort the uterus that conception is almost impossible.  At times we can remove the fibroids and return the uterus to as near normal as possible.  This increases the chances of pregnancy but even that is a higher risk because of the surgery performed on the uterus just to remove the fibroids.  This patient wants the fibroids removed and Jane had told her we will do what we can.  Once we were able to expose the uterus we found it massively distorted by multiple large fibroids.  They were in multiple locations with two of them larger than my fist. The one big one extended off the right side of the uterus into the blood supply to the uterus and into the side wall of the pelvis.  Removing this is quite risky because of all the major blood vessels in the vicinity.  With careful dissection bathed in prayer Jane and I were able to remove 7 fibroids including the two big ones.  The one into the right pelvic area took a lot of cautious dissection but we were able to remove it without disrupting blood supply.  We did have to make three incisions in the uterine wall to be able to remove the fibroids.  I kept asking myself the question, when do we cross the line from helping to harming?  We helped this lady by removing the fibroids but how much harm did we do in the process?  How will the uterus heal and will the incision scars break open if she does conceive.  That is a definite risk.  The surgery took a long time.  We finally finished about 10 pm, four and a half hours later.  

The day was very long standing in one spot most of the time.  Of course, the ankles swell and the legs start to ache because of the edema from just standing.  It is now time to get some sleep and I am looking forward to my comfortable bed!

 

Father, thank You for watching over us today and especially watching over the patients.  Thank You for protecting them and helping them.  Thank You for giving us the opportunity to serve You by serving them.  I pray, Lord, that these patients will experience Your presence in a special way and that Your healing touch will steadily upon them.  Thank You, Father, for answering our prayers in the midst of surgery.  Thank You, Father, for empowering us and enabling us to serve these people who need surgical care.  Your love is endless, Lord.  Thank You.  Amen.

 

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