I went to Emory one day last month to get platelets, and instead they put me in the hospital. I argued with Celia, the nurse practitioner, and convinced her I didn’t need to be in the hospital… but she said she needed to talk to Dr. Lonial. He overruled us. “Go talk to Charise,” I pleaded, “Charise always sides with me.” Charise is Dr. Lonial’s assistant and a great friend.
Since December 18, I’ve had several occasions of chills and fevers. They always last five or six hours, then my blood counts crash, then I’ll get platelets and/or blood at the clinic, then I’ll be fine for a few days. Celia appealed to Charise, but she agreed with Dr. Lonial. I was not happy. Daniel, one of my favorite nurses, called the Tower and confirmed I would be in room 903 with a spectacular view of the Atlanta skyline. No view would change my attitude.
Daniel arranged for two young nurses to escort Susan and me from the clinic to the hospital. “Mr. Davis!” one of the young ladies exclaimed, “The last time we met was another time you had to go to the hospital!” Both nurses were kind and cheerful… but I was not.
A nurse and a Physician’s Assistant welcomed us to my room with genuine care and professional courtesy. “I don’t need to be here,” I told them. “When I have the chills and fevers like I did last night, they always go away for several days… I’m fine.” “Well Mr. Davis, we understand how you feel, but we must all follow your doctor’s orders. In a little while, someone will take you downstairs to get a CT Scan then we need to run several blood tests. Your doctors want to find the root cause of these persistent flare-ups.”
Shortly after admission, a woman about my age named Beverly, a native of Jamaica, introduced herself and started giving orders. When I told her I didn’t want to wear her standard hospital socks and I didn’t want to clean my arms, legs, and torso with antiseptic wipes that make you sticky, Beverly responded forcefully with her Jamaican accent: “What do you do?” “I’m a dean of students in a middle school,” I answered. “What? I’m going to tell your students that their dean is uncooperative and disobedient!” I smiled, cracked a joke, and started obeying the lady.
I was stuck. Susan drove home to retrieve some bed clothes and my toothbrush while I submitted to the tests and scans and Beverly’s orders. Susan returned with the stuff; I told her I was fine and that she needed to go home and get some rest. The night nurse was named Stephanie. She was young, full of energy, always smiling, and difficult to give a hard time. “Is that Jesus?” she asked, pointing to a picture on my table. “Yes,” I answered. “I love it! I mean… I love Him!” She made sure I was comfortable and told me “Good night.”
God always talks to me in the hospital, but this night I simply fell asleep with dreams of returning home the next morning. At 11:30, the chills began and I called Stephanie for a warm blanket. Four or five blankets later, the chills ceased and the fevers began. I called Stephanie and she brought some meds. In the wee hours of the morning, I heard God’s comforting voice… only one sentence: “I have you here.”
The next morning, I felt like I had been run over by a truck. The day nurse was named Celeste and she reminded me of our daughter Kinsey. She took care of every need with gentleness and compassion. Dr. Kauffman visited late in the morning and shared that I needed to stay at least another night. The CT Scan revealed I had pneumonia and they wanted to determine the proper antibiotic to combat it. I did not argue. Jewel and Stacey and Maria and the wonderful meal lady and many others made my unplanned hospitalization as pleasant as it could be. Susan of course loves me most and constantly reminded me of God’s providence.
I am re-learning an important truth regarding the One who ‘holds all things together.’ Jesus could have healed me December 18 or before. But Jesus likes to invite others whom He loves to participate in His activity. Just like He allows farmers to grow the food that we thank Him for and parents to raise the future citizens of nations, He permitted all of the people at Emory that I mentioned (and scores more that I did not) to take care of one of His children who argues too much and thinks he has a clue when he really has none. Instead of giving me my way, He surrounded me with the best of helpers to make things better. “Thank you, Lord.”
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?’ ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever!” Romans 11:33-36