Reflections from a Hospital Room
Thank you all for praying for Hannah – I can’t tell you all how much it means. Hannah went through a 5 ½ hour surgery yesterday. The doctors said she did very well, and they did a lot of skin grafting. The whole process causes extreme pain for her, so since the surgery, she has been pretty heavily sedated. She is on a ventilator again and for the next couple of days, and tomorrow she goes in for another skin graft surgery. We think that may be the last one she’ll need to have.
I stayed the night in the room with her after her surgery, just to be with her, and she slept very well. A few times she woke up, and of course with a breathing apparatus, she can’t talk. So, she’s trying to write notes, expressing what she needs or how we can help her.
I anticipate in about another 10 days or so, we may be able to bring her back to Texas to be in a hospital in Dallas where she’ll be able to do rehab and physical therapy for the next month or two.
As I’m sitting with Hannah hour upon hour, watching every sort of technology known to the medical world connected to her body, I observed a paradox. As I’m looking at each device one at a time, I wondered about each piece and how much time, money, and investment it took to develop just THAT piece of technology. All of those devices and their various cords and lines are connected to Hannah to help her recover. Things are beeping, screens are flashing. Numbers are going up and down based on each of the tubes and wires connected to her, and I’m thinking about all of the people over who-knows-how-many years who have spent their lives doing research, and then refining their research, and about all of the money and time coming to bear right at this moment to restore Hannah’s health.
Then I think about the people who spend their lives becoming doctors and medical professionals to administrate each of those pieces of technology so that they’re used properly to restore Hannah. Then I think about the patient next door and the scenario is the same for that person, and for every patient on the entire floor of the hospital, and for every patient in the entire hospital. I think of all of the money and effort that’s been spent to save and restore those lives. Then I think of the thousands of hospitals across America and around the world, and the millions of medical professionals in various specific professions within the medical world.
Then I think about the multiple billions of dollars that governments and research agencies have invested all with the hope of saving a life. It seems like a massive investment, and it is, because we as the human race value life so much. People from all different religions and all different walks of life value life so much, somehow they think it’s worth investing in the medical industry, whether it’s medicine, or technology, or time, or learning the practice in order to save a life.
Then I think about a recipient of all of that technology and all of that investment. So here’s a patient with all of the cords plugged into them. Then I think about how many hospitals save how many lives every day and then restore lives to healthy functioning, and I’m wondering if that patient really understands the value of the investment. Sure, the hospital bills will come due, and insurance covers a lot of that in most cases. But even then, does that patient really understand that somebody valued them so much for so many years so that all that investment could be poured into them in that moment when they needed it the most? And once they are restored and out of the hospital, do they live in such a way that shows that they know that they were valued?
In other words, do they value their own life in such a way that they live to make it meaningful, or do they just think to themselves, “I sure am glad I have been given a few more years to live,” but then sit in front of the TV or a computer screen for the rest of their life?
I thought, what a vast juxtaposition. People who don’t even know these patients value them so much that they would give their life’s work, their careers, their money, and their passion to save the lives of strangers. And yet, so many people live without purpose and without making any kind of contribution. Even though their lives have been valued by others, they don’t value it themselves. They merely exist.
As Christians, you can see the metaphor clearly. God so valued us that He made a huge investment in us to save and restore our lives. Do we reciprocate? Do we value what He’s done in us to the point that we refuse to live a purposeless life? That we refuse to take that investment He’s made in us for granted?
As I think about this, I’m inspired to live a life that is more worthy of the sacrifice and the value that was placed on me. We could never live up to the value that was placed on us, or the whole sacrifice that was given for us. But at least we could attempt to live in a way that demonstrates our deep appreciation of the value God places on us. Our response should be to refuse to take this life for granted, but instead to live a life that makes a difference because we understand we were saved for a reason.