Sunday, 15 September 2013


Exactly a month ago today Sheba went under the knife.

After spending the night with her in the hospital, it was time.  The nurse came and took us to the operation theatre, and Sheba, wearing her blue-checked hospital gown was put on the trolley.  We had already prayed.  Several times.  And the prayers of so many others were going up as well at 8.30 AM as the doors to the operating theatre at Bethany Hospital closed.

I stayed outside praying.  For an hour.  Then Dr. Stephen Alfred came out on his way to another task and gently told me that I could go back to the room until he called me.  I went up to room 506 - which was going to be our home for the next week - and spent some time with brother Jolly from church, who had come to be with me in the mean-time.  

Then an hour later I was called by Dr. Stephen.  He told me that the operation was successful.  A nurse was called and she brought a kidney bowl which included a large 15 cm long mass of the hydrosalpinx - the fluid filled body which had grown in Sheba's fallopian tubes and which had caused the severe pain episode at the end of July.  There was also a large stone which had been removed along with the gall-bladder.  It was a black brute - the size of a small walnut.  It was sobering to see these items displayed on the tray.  But I was so happy to hear that the two operations had been uneventful - that the gall bladder removal done by Dr. Stephen and the complete hysterectomy by Dr. Kannan had gone smoothly.

Samples from all those tissues that I saw on the kidney dish had been taken and sent for pathlogical tests.  By God's grace all the results came back later as being non-cancerous.  We are so grateful for another swathe of mercy.

While we were talking, a young man was brought in and Dr. Stephen advised him on his father's gangrenous leg which was next on the operating list.  Its a 50% chance operation, said Stephen, but we will try our best and pray to God to help us.  I later met the man and found out that the operation was successful too.

And so another hour and a half later I was outside the doors when a conscious Sheba was wheeled on her trolley to the lift and then with me holding her hand while she lay on her guerney we took the lift up to the 5th floor.

A few minutes later Opa came in.  We prayed with Sheba and her first post-operative pain hit her like a hurricane.  It was a hard afternoon for Sheba, but she eventually was given some sedative and managed to sleep off.  The next day was better.  But pain is pain.  As comfortable as the Bethany Hospital is, and as caring as the nurses and other staff are, it was finally Sheba who had to go through the post-op experience.  All I could do was hover alongside.  Humbling stuff.

That was a month ago.  As India celebrated another Independence day.  On the day my brother completed another spin around the sun.

A month has slipped by.

Looking back a month later, I remember the 15th of August 2013 mainly as a blur.  As were the next few days as I shuttled between hospital and home and a bit of Jeevan Sahara too.  Our dear friends John and Nalini and their kids were constant helpers.  As were Jolly and Suma and sister Rachael from church.  And Agnes and, and, and...  Overwhelming to experience the love and care from so many.
Sheba back home from hospital - welcomed by Asha and Oma - our two ladies of the house!
Sheba was discharged early the next week.  We were cared for and spoiled by Mum and Dad who came and camped out with us when they heard that Sheba was posted for surgery.  The kids were jewels.  So many people came and visited and called and prayed.  We have never had so many apples in the home.  Our kids had never had apple pie before.  But their Oma made sure that they were well versed with this till-now-untasted delicacy over the past weeks.

Since Amma and Appa having just left India for 6 months with Daisy and Ramesh and their kids in Arizona, we received their love through long-distance phone calls and fervent prayers on our behalf.

And then - on the 2nd of September - after the staples were removed, and 2 weeks of bed rest completed - Sheba started back at work at Jeevan Sahara Kendra.  She has taken getting back to work slowly, but has already plunged into the challenges of dealing with broken lives.  And with death - as we lost two of our Positive Friends on one day last week.

Sheba is on the mend.  And not allowed bend.  And lift.  And though she wants to do so much, she has to take things slowly.  She has graciously allowed herself to be helped in so many ways.  And continues to press forward.  We appreciate the sheer volume of love that we were blessed with before and after the operation - and cherish your prayers for a full and complete recovery.

Last week Oma and Opa went north - to be with the Delhi Eichers for a few days and yesterday they reached safely back to Shanti Kunj.  These days were golden. We cherish the memories already.

Yesterday Sheba removed the support belt that she has been wearing for the past month when she sits up or walks around.  Today there were some twinges of pain in the main scar.  Its all a mystery, this business of healing.  For a skilled cancer surgeon, the 45 minute procedure to do the hysterectomy was routine.  Something he does repeatedly.  But for my dear Sheba, the massive intentional cut (done to help of course!) just takes so long to heal.

We are aware again of just how good life is.  We want to continue to live each day in joyful anticipation of the next.  We thank God for each other and for our various circles of family and friends who have shown again what a rich heritage we are blessed with.

And so on-wards.  Slowly.  And with the oodles of grace that our feeble frames are washed with.

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