A soft and gentle voice calmly says to me that he is here, that all will be well and that he is seeing me as he has always seen me. That was all I needed to hear just then. I had just been playing it out in my mind – how would my brother react when he saw me, would he be able to look at me, would he chastise me? So many questions and disturbances were quelled with the assuasive tone of my elder brother’s voice. I felt at peace and was once again able to focus on keeping my senses alert as I lay fighting for my life.
This scene unfolded in the emergency room before I was taken for surgery. I lay stripped and covered with a thin sheet, which offered almost no warmth to my shivering body. When I heard someone say that my brother had arrived I was apprehensive, even in my diminished state. I was prepped and waiting to go for major surgery. I was scared and alone. I was doing the best I could to maintain consciousness. He could not have come at a better time or with a better attitude. He said the right thing, he brought comfort and calm to an otherwise way off kilter situation. He was the first of a few during this traumatic episode of my life. The first of a few to whom I refer as angels.
The next one of my angels came to me while I was on the ward. During the first week of my stay on Ward 8, I was forgotten for almost two days. I was not given medication nor any of the liquid feed which was to be my staple for the next three weeks. During the course of the second day, my mind began to wander. I now know that the correct term is that I was transcending or as I still say, I was travelling. I found myself in a pristine place, It felt as though I was up amongst the clouds and that I was drifting. There was no pain, no anger just peace. It was such a euphoric experience that I wanted to stay there forever.
But even as I drifted away, I returned. This continued for some time – drifting away, returning, drifting… I was unaware of anything going on around me, yet I was aware that my physical body was at the hospital. I am not sure what I may have looked like to a passerby but one vigilant nurse came to me. She leaned in very close to my ear and, with a celestial voice, asked me if everything was alright. She had somehow detected that something was wrong with me. She asked me to describe the travelling. Then she kept talking to me, telling me to come back. She apparently realized that my brain had transcended and that if I did not remain conscious then… Thankfully the doctors were able to discern that I was neglected and corrected the situation posthaste.
My next two angels were constantly with me, whenever they were on duty. Nurses Erica and Abby. I can never forget these two. So kind, compassionate, caring, gentle, how could they not be angels? Nurse Erica always looked after me while on duty. She would change my dressings, taking all precautions to ensure that I was in minimal distress. She would encourage me and pray with me. She favoured my friends and family. This wonderful lady was never too tired to smile with me and to make me feel good. Nurse Abby did the same but with an even greater sense of humour than I could have ever imagined. She never allowed me to feel sorry for myself. Nurse Abby loved my brothers and my mother and would make it a point to speak with them when they visited me. Both nurses anticipated my needs and brought supplies to keep within close range for me.
The day for wiring my jaws shut finally came during the third week of my stay at the hospital. All went as planned. I was under general anaesthetic and as is the norm, I was left in a recovery room before being returned to the ward. I was brought out of the trance like state by the most ethereal sound I had ever heard. It could not be any ordinary human being. This was a voice sent by God. I could have cried. I was so overwhelmed by emotion. Once again I knew that my Jehovah Rapha was looking out for me. Everything about that attendant was perfect from my perspective. She also prayed for me before letting me go back to the ward. She was the final angel there at the hospital.
She was not the last angel though. I have come to recognize that angels are all around us. We just have to trust and believe. They come in all forms and sizes and races and personalities. All it takes is for us to appreciate the blessings in our lives for us to begin to recognize when we meet an angel. They are with us all the time. They are simple, ordinary folks doing extraordinary kindnesses. As Mother Teresa put it “we cannot all do great things but we can do small things with great love