I think the last time I was in the emergency room of a hospital as a patient, I was about six years old. I had stuck the bomb of one of the model planes I was building so far up my nose, it required medical attention to have it removed. (Don’t judge me …. I was just a kid).
I spent the better part of this past Sunday afternoon in discomfort with a shoulder problem that had been on again, off again for the better part of 18 months. Nothing serious, just a sharp pain in an isolated spot on my shoulder. I historically shrugged it off as having slept on my shoulder incorrectly or having tweaked it while lifting something heavy.
But on Monday, the pain was constant. It aggravated me all day and impacted by ability to be effective at work (I spend 8-10 hours a day at a keyboard). Later that evening, as I dropped my daughter off at her mom’s house following dinner to celebrate her eight grade commencement, I noticed my left had was terribly swollen. What started as isolated pain in my shoulder turned into a sharp, shooting pain in my entire arm. I couldn’t close my hand, and I had virtually no mobility with my arm. My wife agreed and we made the trip to the ER.
The service I received from everyone at Florida Hospital in Wesley Chapel was wonderful, After a sonogram, an x-ray, and a few hours of waiting, we were able to rule out some possible causes. Thankfully, the tests ruled out blood clots – my biggest fear given all the swelling – and bone injury. I was discharged with several prescriptions and sent home.
On Tuesday, too stoned and drowsy from the Flexeril and Vicodin, my wife drove me to an orthopedic doctor who assessed my situation. The diagnosis was severe bursitis and tendinitis in my shoulder. The doctor gave me a Cortisone shot and sent me home with prescriptions for both medicine and physical therapy.
As I sit here typing, I can feel the numbness creeping back into my joints, the fingers on my left hand laboring at times to stroke the keyboard. And all I can think to say is, “Thank you, God.”
Thank you for not letting it be something life threatening like a blood clot.
Thank you for letting it be something that doesn’t require surgery to repair.
Thank you for letting it be my left arm and not my right.
Thank you for letting it be manageable pain.
I have a family member undergoing surgery on Wednesday to remove his thyroid. Then he has to endure radiation treatment to ensure the cancer found in his thyroid doesn’t return. I remember the other patients I saw as they wheeled me from my room in the ER to radiology. They all looked to be in so much pain and anguish. By comparison, the pain in my shoulder was merely a toe stub. Nothing serious. Nothing lingering. Something that will get better with time.
My faith allows me to accept the challenges God puts in my way. His promise to me is love and salvation, and not smooth sailing or coasting through life. It’s in moments like these, where simply putting my hands in my pockets causes me to wince, or typing another paragraph requires a certain amount of mental push, when my faith in God is strengthened and renewed. Because as annoying, aggravating, inconvenient, and – on occasion – tear inducing this pain has been, I see how it could easily have been so much worse.