Sans makeup!

I went for my second therapy session with the doctor today. Is it not sad when the psychiatrist puts words into your mouth? Three different times she asked me if I noticed improvement. Three different times I told her that there was no real noticeable change. She insisted that I was feeling better, even as I sat there on the brink of a major cry session.

Last night, I guess in anticipation of today, the gears in my mind turned almost tirelessly. There was no shutting down. The harder I tried to relax, to fall asleep, the more my thoughts returned to the night that I was shot and all the related stories. I battled with a headache and got up in a somber mood. Thoughts darted through my mind like fireflies in the night. It was a struggle to keep focused.


As I entered the psychiatric clinic, the clerk recognized me by name and asked me to be seated. I was the last person to arrive. As soon as the good doctor arrived, I was the first person called in to see her. I was so grateful for that. I must have spent five minutes with her then I was sent on my way with a prescription for fluxetine for one more month and an appointment in January. In her words, it did not make sense switching to another drug until we had given this one a fair chance.

I left there a bit happy that it was over so early and quickly but a bit disheartened because I felt that I did not get a fair hearing. Just because I am quiet and well dressed with my hair neatly combed and makeup in place and just because I love to smile, does not mean that all is well, all the time. People do not seem to understand how much this incident has affected me. Everyone is different. Perhaps someone else may be completely devastated both physically and mentally, maybe even spiritually. Another person may have handled it even better than I did. That should not minimize my own pain, hurt and mental anguish. Maybe next time I will go without combing my hair and fixing my face!!
gods hands
If the doctor had given me the opportunity, I could have told her how anxious I had been the morning before. There was no obvious trigger. I got up but did not get out of bed and as I lay there I kept feeling hollowness in my stomach. I wanted to stay in the security of my bed, under my soft, warm purple, fuzzy blanket, hugging my soft, warm purple body pillow, in my purple room. Yes, purple is my favourite colour.

I could have told her how many times I relived the episode that night, how many times I chided myself for being out that night. I could have explained that my head aches a lot and that I think it may be from recent use of my jaws after being wired up for so many months. Or, it could be possibly because of the transfer of kinetic energy from the bullet to my tissues resulting in latent damage, in addition to the obvious damage.

My next major task for the day was a visit to the dentist. Here I was pleasantly surprised by the doctor’s warmth and willingness to share information. So unlike my primary doctor. He indicated that in terms of dental work, all looked well and that the only option at this time is to give myself time for the healing process to occur. After that time has passed, then the two options he presented were the choice of dentures or the choice of bridging. When questioned about implants, he said that he would be unable to do it but that he felt that my doctor would be the best person to deal with that issue. He said that there did not seem to be enough bone for the implants but that since my doctor had done the bone graft, then he would be the best one to determine that possibility.

Somehow the manner in which this dentist discussed my case and the information he provided, left me with an accomplished feeling. There was a little trepidation that he may repeat to my doctor some of what I divulged about my doctor withholding information but it did not diminish the relatively elevated feeling for me.

Later however, as I was returning home, a wave of sadness hit me again, with no obvious trigger. That despair remained for almost the rest of the evening. It was lifted when I went to feed my four dogs, Lucy, Queeny, Stinky and Girly. I felt like myself, my old self, in charge of myself. It was a transient feeling though.

Tonight when a wave of neuropathy hit me, it felt almost literally like a hit, and my cuts were feeling quite sensitive, I started to miss my dear departed father. My dad would have made it all feel better. I know that I am an adult but at low points in my life, I feel like a child again. He would have been all sympathetic and he would have been able to discuss all different aspects of the situation with me. He would have gotten me angry of course, with some poignant questions but in the end it would have all been better.

I know how blessed I am. I am not looking for sympathy. In fact I am trying so very hard to stave off these emotions. I have my faith, I have my God. I know that there is where my strength lies. Yet these dark moments come at me like a battering ram at a castle gate, threatening to tear down all resistance. Why it happens? I do not know. When I am spending time writing or reading the Bible or praying all is well. Whenever I have to venture out of the house, whether for recreation or for a chore, the dark clouds return.

The effect of the “wounding with intent” is far more profound than anyone, who has not had a similar experience, can imagine. There are obvious outcomes. There are insidious, subtle outcomes. There are the physical manifestations. There are mental and emotional scars. There is a spiritual element, which for me draws me closer to my God but which could lean either way for someone else.

I pray for the day when the skies become clear again. When the cobwebs in my brain are lifted and all the crevices are dust free, I will be back to a closer resemblance of myself. I may go out and no longer jump at the slightest distraction. I will not look at everyone with suspicion. This situation has a good outcome though. It is teaching me to trust completely in God, to surrender to myself to Him and to want to know Him more and more intimately.



Down memory lane!

Today for the first time since the shooting, I travelled along the very same route as we did on that fateful night. From the instant I realized that my mother was heading in that direction, my stomach began to cramp. I began to feel upset and nauseated. I could hardly breathe and yet at times I was hyperventilating. My voice seemed to have gotten lost again. I just could not bring myself to speak.


Aside from jumping out of the car, there was nothing I could do but remain seated, hold on to my seatbelt for dear life and silently pray. I felt the tears welling up but as usual I did not want to let the crying out. I wanted to scream aloud.


As we passed the first landmark, the place where I was transferred from my vehicle to the police van, I pointed it out to my mother. The feeling was very difficult to describe. I was shaken to the core. Shortly after, we passed the spot where I was shot that night.


I found it very difficult to believe that such a horrendous incident occurred there. I felt detached – as though I was viewing someone else’s scene. My year filled with the terror of being shot at, the trauma of being in the emergency room, the uncertainty in the intensive care unit and all the resulting surgeries and procedures, all inundated my mind at once.


Thoughts of why this happened to me. All I wanted was a little happiness. How could it have ended so violently? Was it real? What was life going to be like from now on? Was there some higher reason for this tragedy? My whole life has changed! Every aspect of my former life has become altered in some way. I guess that I may have been judged negatively by some persons. It does not matter. In the end I have to face my destiny alone.


On returning home after that trip, I quietly went to my room and replayed the scenes repeatedly in my mind. Although it had upset me tremendously, I know that it was a good thing that happened. Somehow, at sometime I would have had to face that reality. Facing that demon, going down that memory lane, probably had some therapeutic effect.


In life we all have to deal with our own problems and dilemmas. There is no way we can ask someone else to deflect the proverbial bullets fired at us. When we face our final day, it is on our own ground we must stand. As difficult as it may seem, the strength to rise up to any challenge is embedded within us. All we need to do is have faith in God and ourselves.


Not every day will be the same. Some days will be more difficult than others. Some days will pass like a summer’s breeze, soft and gentle, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. There will be days when the intensity of your burdens is so great, that it feels you may never be free of them. Days when you wish to never get out of bed. Then… just when you are looking at despair directly in the eyes, something may happen to jolt you, to lift your spirits.


Until that time, you labour onwards, step by step, toward the brighter days.

Marzipan Day!


Yesterday was the first day of the advent month. It was a rainy, cold and dreary day. It was also a Sunday which would normally mean that I could sleep as late as I want. This morning however, in the best weather to sleep, I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. I had registered to do a course on marzipan making. It was to be conducted in Diego Martin, Trinidad, which on a normal day would be about an hour and a half away.

Since we were not sure about the exact location of the instructor’s home, we resolved to be early enough so that even if we got lost, we would still have enough time to find our way to the place before eight o’clock. Yes it was extremely difficult to get up but we did it…and we made it to our destination in record time. By 7:15a.m., we were waiting for the room to be opened.

My mother, who drove, left me to go to church while I was at the course. Initially there was only one other person and myself. Gradually more ladies arrived. Their talk was strictly shop talk – where to purchase different cake tools and supplies, what orders they had and the like. I felt a bit like a square peg.

The class started late to accommodate those who got caught in the rain or who had to travel. We were shown samples of marzipan fruit as well as chocolate covered marzipan. The samples looked amazing. We were given handouts and then the instructor started to demonstrate how to work the marzipan. She showed us how to make a lemon, a banana, oranges, apples, peaches, watermelon and other fruits.

Then she went on to show us how to do Christmas decorations. There were three sampling sessions. The first sample was a chocolate drizzled log. The second was a chocolate covered marzipan log while the third was a black forest truffle. Those samples were absolutely delicious! I could not wait to try making them myself.


When the class was finished we were given a starter package containing icing sugar, sliced, blanched almonds and ground almond. I was feeling inspired to be creative.

Walking through the fog

brfog2How do I get the fog out of my brain?

Must I stay and endure the rain?

It is so lonely and sad

And I just don’t know what to do, is that bad?

My brain feels like it is racing,

Filled with thoughts I cannot seem to define

Unable to focus on any one thing

The burden of thinking is too heavy for me.

Sleep feels like the only solution.

I am drifting on clouds with no resolution

How do I come out of this mess?

When will it all be over?


Going under the knife

Finally the auspicious day was just around the corner. My surgery for reconstruction of the jaw was to be conducted on Sunday  11th August 2013 at 8:ooa.m. The length of the procedure was estimated to be about eight hours.

 Was I scared? Truthfully I was not. I felt that I had waited so long that mentally I was prepared for it. I was excited with anticipation. Not just because I felt I would look more like myself but also I knew it would mean that eating would be the next step. I longed to eat some real food.

 The week leading up to that day was hectic and brought with it a lot of frustration. The frustration was manifested in tantrums on my part. I lost my cool for the first time in a long time with my mother, who had been a keen support and source of strength. Under the circumstances, this was understandable. Understandable, but not excusable. Thank God for mothers’ love. They forgive and move on.

 The frustration arose mainly because of issues with the insurance company and because of administrative issues at the private hospital. There was a lot of uncertainty just days before the surgery as far as payment was concerned. The letter from the insurance company detailing that they would cover the cost and how much they would cover was prepared and was waiting on someone’s desk to be signed. Without that letter I would have to pay the full cost upfront. The fact that the Friday before the surgery was a public holiday for Eid complicated matters. The letter may have gotten out in time had it not been for that holiday.


It was not to be. I had to make a decision on the Thursday morning to have a manager’s cheque made out for the amount. Another complication was that my little brother wanted to use his credit card to make the payments in order to get “miles” – the bonus miles issued from the credit card company for travelers. I was in the awkward position of having to deposit the cash in his account to be transferred to his credit card account before it could be used. The problem again was the holiday. Ultimately it would turn out that even if I deposited the cheque to his account on Thursday, it was not guaranteed to be available in the credit card account. Talk about frustration.


The Saturday before the surgery date came and I was a bag of mixed emotions. I was anxious, could hardly wait for the surgery. I was a bit scared, unsure of what to expect. I was still worried about the payment plan. I was above all certain that the Lord was with me, as He has always been. I did my routine morning tasks: had breakfast, had a shower, double checked my bags against my list and played with the cat, Pretty. Before long it was time to head to St. Augustine to meet the plastic surgeon’s accountant and pay his fee, then off to the hospital.


At the hospital, there was disillusionment. Generally the thinking is that if you are paying for a service, the service would be superior to one that is free. I have to say categorically, this is not true – at least in this case. To begin, there were no records of the pre-registration which I had taken the time to do the previous Monday. On that day, the anaesthetist was scheduled to meet with me to assess my situation and any special requirements for surgery. As I had the time, I enquired about payment methods and insurance procedures. This was when I was told about and completed the pre-registration.


 Once that issue was resolved, by completing a registration form for the second time, I then had to contend with sorting out the payment. There was some hesitation and the clerk made some snide remarks about the insurance method complicating matters. This was annoying but what could I do? I paid the full amount as specified in the original estimate which I had received from the hospital. Then I had a little wait before being wheeled up to my room.


That night the anaesthetist visited me and prescribed a sleeping pill to ensure that I had a proper night’s rest. That was a really good move for my mind would have been overactive that night. By five o’clock the next morning I was up. I had a shower and put on my theatre gown and waited. My mum had spent the night with me and she also got up early. Her plan was to be with me until I went in for surgery, then she would go to a church in the vicinity. She would return later to see me, even though I most likely would have been asleep. Before eight o’clock, the plastic surgeon arrived. He came in with a most pleasant demeanor and made sure that all was well with me.


All too soon the time came for me to go in. As I entered the theatre area, the nurses were asking for a hammer, a saw and a drill. I thought they were joking. Boy was I wrong. Those implements were going to be used for my surgery. Could they have been more explicit just minutes before I was “put to sleep”? Well at least there was little time to think and before long I must have been anesthetized. The last noise I think I remember hearing was the sound of a drill. The next thing I remember was waking up in the high dependency unit.


 Unknown to me of course is that the surgery had taken a full eight hours.  The anaesthetist had brought in another doctor with an endoscope to assist in getting the tube for the anaesthsia through my nostrils into my throat. This was necessary as my passages were restricted as a result of the injuries and the wiring of the jaws.


  The oral maxillofacial surgeon had completed reconstruction of the jaw. He had put in titanium plates held in place by titanium screws. He had also done a hip graft which involved removing bone matter from the left hip and grafting it onto the jaw where the bone had been removed during the emergency surgery on the night of the incident.


 After his job was done, it was the plastic surgeon’s turn. He had to provide scaffolding for the reconstruction. There had been a deformity left in my chin where the bone had been cut. This had to be filled in for symmetry of my jaw line and to assist in minimizing the chances of infection in the bone graft. A shoulder graft was done for the scaffolding. A flap of skin from the left shoulder was rolled back and attached as a tube- like structure onto the chin. A portion of skin, about ten centimetres by fourteen centimeters, was removed from the left thigh to fill in the shoulder from where the flap was created. That flap was to remain for three weeks.


Two days after the surgery I was still feeling nauseous from the anaesthetic. I could not keep any food or drink down. Yet I had to take antibiotics and morphine. I was a total mess. I could not move very much, could not turn, could not walk nor talk. During the course of the second day, I refused to take any medication until I ate or drank something. I forced myself to sip some Ensure. I did this throughout the day and still only finished about one quarter of the bottle. By the end of the second day, I kept praying that this ordeal would be over. I had never felt so ill.


One amazing thing happened sometime that day. I was feeling awful and at my lowest, when I suddenly smelt my father (deceased about four years). Simultaneously there was a message alert on my cell phone. A message from my mentor and friend had come, wishing me all the best. This may not sound significant but when my father died, this lecturer, to whom I refer as my mentor, began sending inspirational texts to me every single day. He filled in the gap left by my father’s death and as it turns out, they were born on the same day. We had communicated maybe once or twice for this year and he was unaware that I was undergoing surgery. Coincidence, I think not.


By the third day my stomach settled somewhat. I still could not consume a lot but it was sufficient to allow me to be medicated. I remember at some time I stopped taking the pain medication and the doctor and nurses could not believe it. The doctor remarked that my pain threshold must be very high. He, the oral maxillofacial surgeon, urged me to start moving around. He had recommended a walker for a couple of weeks.


All this time, my darling son stayed with me. He fawned over me. He slept restlessly, listening for me to call out for help. He slept on a tiny cot. Any movement on my part had him alert and vigilant. His sacrifice, his strength, his love and devotion during that time, have far surpassed any expectations a parent could have. My mother also spent some time, relieving my son by the third day.


I began to move about a bit. It took every ounce of determination for me to get up and off the bed. I did it slowly, with deliberation. I could not slip for to do so would result in an undoing of all that I had just been through. I held on to the walker and made those first few unsteady steps. The walk to the washroom seemed to last forever. I recovered for a while on the throne. Then, again with all my effort, I made it back to the bed.


There was no comfort on the bed either. Sleep came out of sheer exhaustion. I moved around several times during the day and by the fourth day the doctor was in for a big surprise. On the fourth day I walked out of the washroom, while he was in the room. I walked out sans walker! Can you imagine how shocked he was? Here I was walking after only four days when they had told me it would take weeks.


The secret to all of these recoveries is to know your body. Knowing my physical limitations, given the weakened state I was in, and being aware of the type of surgery done, as long as I had been given the go-ahead by the doctor, I was able to move. The movements were slow and painstakingly done, but they were done. This was one of the conditions for me to be discharged… and I really wanted to get out of that place.


Part of the reason for wanting to get out so urgently was the odours. Apparently after the surgery, my sense of smell became so acute that I smelt everything. Every nurse had a distinctive smell from their soap or perfume or deodorant. The room itself had a distinctly unpleasant smell. Any citrus aroma induced nausea. Even when my son tried to eat in the room, much as it hurt, I had to ask him to leave the room. I could not wait to get out of there.


My voice was also affected for a while. It became higher pitched and quite child-like. It was difficult to understand me at first. I remember when the doctor called me four days after I was discharged. He asked to speak with me when I had answered my phone. When I identified myself, he could not believe it. He had thought it was my niece or daughter.


Out of all of this my body grew weaker but my mind continued to function at an admirable level. I really feel sorry for persons who depend on the doctors and nurses to care completely for them. The truth is that one has to be able to take responsibility for oneself, even in a reduced state. It could be as simple as deflecting an unnecessary CAT scan (which I was nearly accidentally sent for, immediately upon coming out of the high dependency unit) to ensuring that medication is taken in the proper way.


 Of course, given certain circumstances, trust has to be placed in others for a brief time, but the desired course of action is to be able to analyse and think for oneself. This cannot happen in a vacuum. There must be some background knowledge, some common sense on which to base judgments and decisions. According to Voltaire, “no problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking” and I would like to amend that to  “sustained, informed thinking.”


So out of all this I leave you to ponder on the following:

     1.     Learn as much as you possibly can about any medical procedure you may have to undergo.

     2.     Plan carefully for all aspects of the procedure – financial, emotional, physical.

     3.     Pray for guidance, for protection and to give thanks.

     4.     Consider the situation at hand from all angles, carefully thinking each step through.

     5.     Be alert for any diversions from what is correct. Do not assume that those assigned to do tasks are knowledgable or informed.

     6.     Seek help when you need it.

     7.     Think, think, think.




Facing the abyss!

depression 1Nine months after being shot in the jaw, I have now begun to experience episodes of spontaneous crying as well as emotional outbursts during quotidian routines. At first I accepted it, I recognized that at some point I should have shown some sort of heartache. However, the day I broke down in the lobby of a crowded public office, when I was asked a simple question, is the day I knew I had to seek assistance. Generally I am a together person, meaning that I manage myself well in terms of stress and stressful situations. This time the intensity of the event and the length of the episode was startling.

depression 2


That catalytic episode occurred on a Friday morning. I visited my doctor at the Hospital on the following Monday morning. The purpose of the visit was simply to get some official documents signed by the doctor. He was so pleased to see me and to see how much progress I had made. We discussed this for a while then I mentioned to him about the crying. He suggested that I should pay a visit to a psychiatrist and expressed regret that it was something he had not done before, given the nature of my accident. I agreed to do so based on his recommendation.

Wednesday morning I was at the psychiatric clinic. It was a strangely uplifting experience. The work ethic of the nurses and receptionists was admirable. They knew their patients by first name and appeared to genuinely have their patients’ interest at heart. My wait was short and pretty soon I was seen by a doctor. I was diagnosed with depression and post traumatic stress disorder(ptsd), I was referred to a social worker and given a prescription for the antidepressant drug, fluxetine. The social worker turned out to be a past student who really impressed me with her maturity and gentleness. I felt comfortable with her.

I started taking the drug as prescribed. Sleep came but it was full of dreams. Dreams of my past as a little girl, as a teenager, restless unremembered dreams, all types of dreams had come in those first three nights. On the third morning, I forced myself to get off the bed. I had my oats as usual, then headed straight back to bed. I did not want to do anything but sleep. I did not want to go out – but I had to go to the hospital- I did not want to see anyone. So I slept until I had just enough time to shower and get dressed to go.  All the way to the hospital I felt like screaming out loud. I repressed the feeling. Once I got started though, once I was out and doing business, I was alright. I still remained drowsy but I was able to function fairly well.

Depression evokes such a powerful image in my brain, that I have found it difficult to accept. It just crept up on me, slowly and silently it ambushed me. Fighting it off is extremely difficult but it has to be fought. Strength comes from various sources. The presence of my family, and their constant needs and talking and just being around, helps tremendously. How can I let these caring individuals undergo more worrying because of me? How can I not be part of their activities, even though I sometimes wish I could be alone and listen to myself as I analyze everything repeatedly ?  Positivity must prevail.

Another source of strength comes from friends. Few friends have remained since the shooting but the few are more than enough. If they care enough to be around me then I have to care enough to fight off this threatening cloud of darkness.  If they care enough to listen then I have to care enough to share. If they have their own problems then I have be a sounding board for them. It is a daily, no, a minutely struggle to keep my head above the swirling vortex of conflicting emotions.  As rough waters claim a drowning man who grows weaker as he fights against the tide, so too do the insidious tentacles of depression tighten as its depleted prey wrestles. How long can it last?

swirling 1


The struggle gets easier, the tentacles loosen by the grace of the other source of strength – the main source, God Almighty. Without Him the battle cannot be won. Every day reading the Daily Word and the relevant Bible passages not just helps but helps greatly. The stories speak directly to me. His word brings reassurance and lends a great measure of stability which enables me to face the days with a brighter outlook. The knowledge of His love, of His power and greatness renders comfort as a blanket.  The social worker talked about resilience. Yes one’s resilience level helps to determine how well one can cope in difficult times. But resilience level, without the Almighty, will be very low. Our ability to recover from formidable challenges lies not in and of ourselves but it is a gift granted by His grace.

So as this chapter unfolds the lessons revealed include:

  • Ø Be vigilant for depression comes like a snake in the grass.
  • Ø Embrace the love and fellowship of family and friends.
  • Ø Hold firm in faith, give praise and thanks and pray every day.
  • Ø The race is not given to the swift nor the strong but to those who endure to the end.

How to make a delightful bread pudding

bread pudding1Today I am taking a break from the heavy stuff. Sometimes we need to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. What could be as simple and light as a good bread pudding. A soft, sweet mix of bread,  milk and spices. Delicious! Takes your mind off a world of worries. Worries, you say, what worries? Let me finish my slice of pudding and my cup of hot tea, but right now there can be no worries, no distractions.

It all started when my good friend had a craving for some bread pudding. I was put on the job to quench that yen. So first I called another friend who is a caterer and usually has bread ends. Too late, she had already thrown out the last set. Finally, two days later I had to make some sandwiches, so voila! bread ends and my friend got her long awaited pudding. Here is my version of that delectable dessert.

First, of course, you need bread crumbs or ends. I used the ends from one sandwich loaf, which I cut into small pieces, about an inch long. On mixing, the ends crumble anyway, to become like crumbs.  The following is a list of all the ingredients I used.

My Bread Pudding

Ends from 1 sandwich loaf

2 cups of milk

Between ¼ cup to ½ cup of granulated sugar ( sweeten to taste)

¼  tsp salt

2 tbsp margarine (softened)

2  eggs

Cinnamon and vanilla essence to taste and my special ingredient…

3 tbsp Amaretto

First blend the margarine with the bread ends. Add the sugar and salt. Scald the milk and pour into bread mixture. Allow mixture to cool. When cooled, add the slightly beaten eggs along with cinnamon, vanilla and amaretto. Mix well. Transfer to a greased baking dish and bake at  375⁰ for about half an hour. Serve with your favourite chai tea. Ahh… perfect!!

It must be an angel!


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


Further to my last post, “Experiencing God”, I had the privilege of speaking with my friend who was waiting for me in the doctor’s office. He was able to witness most of what had actually transpired. He said the nurse told him to bring the car around to the front for me. On doing so, he came out to get me but, after five minutes had passed they could not get me up. He ran back to the car to switch off and send up the windows, he still did not lock expecting me to be ready soon.

The doctor had spent approximately the first five minutes talking to me, calling my name and rubbing my hands. To no avail. Then my friend and the nurses tried. Apparently they slapped my hand, they pulled open my eyes (but my eyes remained closed), they kept calling to me to get up. According to my friend I was preaching for almost twenty five minutes. I kept saying that I was with my Lord and that He was to take my life and do with it what He wanted. I broke down and cried, with great emotion. Mind you even though I am naturally quiet I was shouting. I could have been heard from the roadside.

At one point they left him alone with me and he said that my entire body shut down. He could see no movement. It seemed as though I had stopped breathing. I stopped talking and crying. He called the nurses who tried again to awaken me but were rebuked by me for touching me while I was in the presence of the Lord. My pulse was good and breathing had resumed ( or maybe it had never stopped). The nurses were surprised when he told them that I did not attend any church. My ranting was authentic not mundane utterings but seemed to be spiritual in nature. I kept telling them to give me five more minutes and then I will be ready.

The doctor told my friend that it was the first time I had behaved in this manner. I was usually demure. He also reminded my friend that I had been through a lot and that it was time I got it out of my system. I guess he meant that grieving would aid in healing emotionally. The only problem is that I was not grieving. I was actually in the presence of God! My doctor and his assistants would probably never believe me. They may think it was the effect of the anaesthetic. They may have dismissed many previous episodes by other patients in the same manner, trivializing a very profound incident. I await further enlightenment and will share in forthcoming posts, if there is anything to share. God bless.