Be Careful What You Ask For…. or Offer!
This month has been hard, I, personally have really felt a heavy spiritual weight. Some people may use that kind of language normally, not me! But this isn’t something physical I can say, its something else. Not something I see, or something that is tangible, but something else and so… I have to put it into the spiritual because, well that’s what I believe it is.
It started with strange feeling of my heart racing and pounding, my ears were throbbing with the sound of my blood wooshing through them and around my body, my head was not dizzy but fuzzy in the weirdest sense, like cotton wool mixed with popping candy. I went to the doctors and everything was fine, pulse, blood pressure, chest, nothing wrong. But there was. They prayed and anointed me with oil and I had such a peace come over me. That’s why I put it down to spiritual.
But its been like that for the whole month, not feeling right but not being able to say what.
By Saturday night the same thing was happening, there was a wedding nearby and the music felt like it was taunting me. It was normal wedding music but it made me feel ill. My heart was already racing and I checked my blood pressure and it was 211 over 113. I guessed the machine wasn’t quite right! I lay there. I turned. I prayed. I read bible verses. But I was so unsettled I got up and took myself to the hospital.
Now, normally that would be no huge thing, except A&E on a Saturday night you would expect to have a fair few drunks and people worse for wear. But this is massive. I drove there wondering how I would find the words to explain how I was feeling. I wondered where the emergency room was. What happened there. What would I do?
I drove up to the place and asked a security guy where I could park the car, he looked in the car and saw I was alone and said he would do it. I very quickly weighed up the situation and decided that was my choice. So I gave him the keys and went in through a door. A small waiting area with six chairs and three people were there with a sign that I could read said TRAIZHE… triage.. okay, I know that! But no one was there. I asked the couple seated what to do and they looked at me as though I was speaking another language, okay, I was but my accent isn’t that bad. A worker came out of another room where she was chatting with a friend and took me straight through these heavy double doors into a corridor full of people, old, men, shouting, chattering, noises, clanging. I felt overwhelmed and knew every eye was on me, this strange foreigner in their world. She pointed me to a room and I think told me to sit.
I took in the room. There was no hospital smell. Two rusted, adjustable beds with a filthy cover on each seperated with a broken metal trolley. There was sink with two soap dispensers (both empty), a brillo/scrubbing pad (?) and a wire basket thing with a bin bag hanging in it. I sat as told, on one of these beds. Feet firmly on the floor. Handbag held tight for comfort and waited. I watched as medical staff wandered around, chatted to each other. Relatives meandered from place to place, following trolleys. Listened as the doctor at one end of the corridor shouted in an argument with a family member at the other end of the corridor. I saw one of the staff rush into a side room and get an old, empty paint bucket and heard the noises I expected as this was filled. Then a young guy came rushed in on a trolley, pushed by an elderly porter and his friend, his leather jacket lying under him, tubes in his arms, his body shaking as he moaned in agony. I wanted to move out the room to make way for him, but didn’t know what to do. I knew I had been treated better as a foreigner but that had only meant being put in this room and waiting and as I had sat here I still had some racing, my chest hurt but I had a sense of God saying, “Here comes your healing” and reminding me of my prayer that morning that offered myself to reach out to heal those who needed a touch of God. To be honest in a place like that I would imagine there is little more to do than pray. I couldn’t quite decide if the boy’s school was equally as dirty or felt cleaner than this place. I longed for that hospital smell…. something that said someone cleaned here, some sign of that. An old lady was rushed into my room, her family all stopped to stare at me. I smiled. Pathetically. Then I prayed. I just wanted to leave. The doctor (yes the shouty one) came in to take her blood pressure and a nurse asked him to take mine. I began to explain my symptoms but quickly got the idea he wasn’t interested. He kind of took my blood pressure and politely said there was nothing wrong and so I said thank you and left as fast as I could.
The security man was gone. There was a policeman so I asked him who then found the security man who had put the car in a chained area, unlocked and with window open… oh how Neil would go mad if he knew!! Ha ha.
I drove home. Feeling silly. Feeling like I wanted to wash in disinfectant. Feeling grateful. Because in the days since my mind has gone back to that place, for the people going there. For the people working there. For the lives, the tragedies, the relief… And without fail my own prayer words echo in my mind. May I reach out to heal those? Did I really want to mean that or to ask that ever again if it takes me to such places and situations?
I thought again of the million, trillion things we take forgranted. The years I have lived in a country with free health care, with ambulances you can call in emergency, for the smell of disinfectectant, a throw away vomit bowl, a dial up health advice line, able to explain symptoms and get medicines, a doctors office closer than an hour away. Oh the times I’ve moaned about not getting an appointment that morning, that lingering hospital smell, and all the other things that aren’t quite perfect. I don’t think I’ll moan as quickly ever again. This is a place we trust more, we pray more, we believe more. Neccessity brings that and I’ll continue to pray my prayer but I know now my words sound different even to me.