The calm before the storm.
It was turning out to be the loveliest Christmas on record for our little family of three. I had done our shopping early, mailed all our packages on time, sent out the Christmas cards, and had decorated with many homemade festive creations. We even had plenty of room for a full size Christmas tree this year that filled the whole house with that magical evergreen fragrance. And as we counted down the days to Christmas with our advent calendar (and daily Christmas activities) I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside with Christmas spirit. And I could tell Gavin was too.
The week of Christmas was in full swing and we had a busy Christmas party schedule laid out before us. That was until my stomach started to hurt. Really hurt. And three days later I found myself in the ER sipping red dye and getting an abdominal catscan.
I had appendicitis.
Actually, a ruptured appendix. And I needed surgery stat. So at 1:00 am December 23rd I was taken to the dark and empty surgery floor and wheeled into the only lit room I could see. I was thankful to finally be going into surgery, after hours of painfilled waiting in the ER, but nervous since I had never had surgery before. But I thought of my mom who had braved numerous brain surgeries with full confidence and my husband that I had just weeks ago convinced that he'd be 'just fine' going into his wrist surgery. With so many brave examples in my life how could I be nervous? So right then and there I stopped. I wasn't nervous any more. Just grateful.
But the reality was, I was spending Christmas in the hospital this year.
This may look like a typical Christmas morning, but this shot was actually taken on December 27th, which became our new Christmas day. Luckily Gavin was young enough that we were able to just pretend Christmas hadn't happened yet and decided that the day I came home from the hospital would be our Christmas Eve.
All Gavin wanted from Santa this year was a Bumble Bee Transformer. That was it. Looks like Santa thought Gavin was a pretty good boy this year because he got it and a few other pretty cool toys too.
Spending Christmas in the hospital was a pretty sobering experience. But as I completed my walk through the halls early Christmas morning I started realizing I was more fortunate than most. I had noticed from many previous walks that week that most elderly patients never had visitors and I knew that they would probably not have any today either, even though it was Christmas. My heart went out to them. And for the first time in my life I could honestly sympathize with them, for I knew first hand how lonely a hospital could be, even with constant visitors. And then I noticed all the nurses working and thought ' I wonder how many Christmas mornings they've spent away from their families, year after year'. It was a very humbling experience. I walked back to my room feeling grateful for all the blessings in my life, for my loving family, and for my relative health. It's an experience I'm grateful I had. In a way I think I was feeling more Christmas spirit/Christ-like love in that moment than I was the whole last month.
Hopefully next Christmas we'll remember this experience, but I hope we can spend the holiday together....at home.