“Jesus, I Trust in You,” are words that come alive as I continue sharing with you the life threatening surgery that my husband, Rob, faced in May 2009. I wish to begin Part II with a stanza of lyrics from a song entitled Oceans – Where Feet May Fail by Hillsong United.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your Sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.
The words above describe so poignantly what I felt interiorly about this impending operation for my husband. It was only my “divine meeting with Paul“ within the walls of St. Joseph’s Church (shared in Part I) where I went to pray that gave me the confidence and trust in Jesus that He would not fail me nor Rob in the critical situation we were immersed in.
So, we found ourselves going ahead and making plans with the doctor to set a surgery date for the following week at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Truly, I do not know how we accomplished all that was before us. When I look back upon that time, I remember that my husband was in such a weakened state that it was hard for us to get around to complete all the pre-op procedures but somehow with the help of Jesus we succeeded. One cardiac doctor displayed such a negative response for the surgery and told us point blank that Rob would never come through the operation alive. We both stood there speechless and I remember so clearly the agonizing look on my husband’s face. I must have had the same look. Again, I felt the pangs of fear and darkness spreading within me, although Rob had the attitude that he was going to fight and battle through it all no matter what it took on his part. I was his soulmate and wife so I had to follow his lead.
I, too, would fight and battle in a different way. I would again, reinforce my trust and confidence in Jesus. Again, more lyrics from Oceans best expresses what was happening within my soul at that time:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
let me walk upon the waters,
wherever you would call me.
After going through all the necessary procedures for such a big surgery, it was finally scheduled for the following week on May 14, 2009. One of our oldest and dearest friends since high school, Sal, would be driving us to the hospital on the evening of May 13th for Rob’s admittance. Upon arriving at Mt. Sinai, my husband looked very weak and quite pale to both Sal and I. Once again, a dark cloud loomed over us all and the fear of knowing that possibly Rob’s lifesaving surgery could be cancelled.
We made our way through Admitting and the hospital staff were so very kind to us. They went about their routine in settling “their patient” comfortably into his room and going through the necessary steps for the morning surgery. However, after doing the routine blood tests, they did find his blood count was very low and once again Rob needed more blood transfusions. We still tried to be as upbeat as we could sitting with him on his hospital bed and trying to make light conversation as well as trying to focus on the television in the background. Anything was better than looking blankly at each other and letting the fright show through. I remember leaving the hospital that evening with the old fear swelling up again within me and scared once again of the unknown that we were all facing together. Oceans continues to reflect the feelings I was experiencing:
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am yours and You are mine.
It was a very long night for all of us as we awaited the morning to see if Rob would be cleared for surgery. I remember arriving at the hospital and as I waited with my two sons in the hospital room with their Dad, I prayed that the surgery would take place for Rob. The time of the operation was delayed because of his blood count but he was finally given the “green light” to be wheeled to surgery on the gurney. I still remember as we followed my husband down the long corridors of the hospital wings, I heard a voice yelling behind us. It was the surgeon, Dr. Kishore Iyer, running after us voicing the words, “Don’t start the party without me!” Somehow, the Divine Physician had arrived on the scene and was ready to work miracles through the hands of this earthly physician!
The day seemed to drag on and on as we awaited any news that might come from the operating room. At 4:00 PM, I felt restless and sensed that Rob was in grave danger. I decided to search out a place to pray and was led to the hospital’s ecumenical chapel. I sat there unable to utter a prayer . . . just sitting motionless until I took out my rosary beads. As the beads slipped through my fingers, I remember praying the Luminous Mysteries and trying to meditate as best as I could. When I arrived at the 4th mystery, The Transfiguration, I heard the words interiorly in my soul, “I am making of Rob a new man.” Jesus had spoken to me. He had quelled the fears and strengthened my faith in Him. Clarity was given in a miraculous way and through the Rosary, a devotion that my mother had handed down to me for my life’s journey!
I left that chapel with a different demeanor than what I had when I entered in to pray. Again, “Jesus, I Trust in You,” and the surrender of my fearing heart to a listening God who heard me and answered me in the most beautiful of ways giving us hope in a restored and healthy life for my husband, Rob. Yes, Jesus, my faith was standing in “oceans deep.”
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find you in the mystery in oceans deep
My faith will stand.
The hours slowly ticked by and we were seeing the waiting room slowly empty out as the night wore on. People had received news of their loved ones and were making their way to either visit with them or finally go home. Our little group continued on with our personal vigil . . . waiting, hoping and praying in our own ways. Finally, around midnight, Dr. Iyer came out looking disheveled and quite tired from being in surgery for over 12 hours. He shared the good news with us that Rob had survived the surgery even though at times throughout the operation it had been quite a roller coast ride for him and for the rest of his medical team. He even teased with us that during the surgery he resorted to speaking in “Italian,” which was not his native language!
Since we were not able to visit with Rob at that time, Dr. Iyer handed me his business card and told me to call him the next morning. He would then advise us where we would be able to find Rob and visit with him. Exhausted, we made our way to the hospital garage to get our car and I found myself just throwing Dr. Iyer’s card into my bag. The surgery was over and Rob had made it! Jesus had delivered on His promise! How grateful I was that this day was over but I knew in the days ahead we would still be strapped into that roller coaster together.
When I did look for Dr. Iyer’s card the next morning, I found it nestled within the pages of my journal that I had written of the experience that I had with Paul after he had walked away from me in the Church. The card lay between two pages where I had written the following words:
“You know Anita, Jesus is the Divine Physician but sometimes He sends us to physicians here on earth!”
Oh yes! The Divine Physician had definitely sent us to one of his earthly physicians. He sent us to Dr. Kishore Iyer at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan who saved my husband’s life and made a new man of Rob! Yes, Paul’s words too were so aptly voiced in the Church that day as he walked away from me and looked back. . .
“Always Count Your Blessings!”
To be continued . . .
Photo – Anita Guariglia
Song – “Oceans” (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United