Emergency Room

The giving of thanks maketh entreaty on behalf of the feeble before God.

The Paradise of the Fathers

That was the reading in my devotion book this morning.

I read it over and over and over. My brain was feeling fuzzy. Like it needed the glasses my eyes need to bring things into focus.

Last evening, Dad complained of a headache. I gave him some ibuprofen and that helped. Before bed, he asked for another dose of ibuprofen which I gave him.

Around 11:30, I heard him rattling around downstairs and came down to check on him.

A few nights before he had gotten out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and “couldn’t find anyone.”

“We were all sleeping, Dad,” I told him.

“I suppose so,” he said dubiously. “But it was the darnedest thing. The whole house was quiet. And it was dark. And I couldn’t find my room again. So I slept on the couch.”

In a later telling, he slept on the chair. Couch .. chair.. makes no difference to me. It wasn’t his bed and that bothered me.

So last night I heard him up and came right down.

He was holding his head and grimacing. “This is terrible,” he said, obviously in a great deal of pain.

“I think we need to go to the emergency room,” I told him, and he agreed.

The ER turned out to be a wash. Blood work, CT scan, x-ray all came back with the same answer. Nothing was amiss.

The waves of pain continued. I watched him grimace and grab the rails of the bed as he rode out the pain.

The doctor came in to talk to him about discharge during one of the respites and my father said, “If you just wait a minute, it will happen again.” Like the doctor was going to see something new if he was there during the pain.

“It’s a mystery to me,” the doctor confessed. “I believe you, but I can’t find a medical cause for the pain. I think you need to call your neurosurgeon in the morning.”

My father had recently had neurosurgery. That made sense.

The ER gave him hydrocodone and sent him home.

At 2 AM.

I got him back to bed and went back to bed myself.

But morning — which is my time of day — came around much too quickly and the words of the devotion book didn’t make sense.

“‘The giving of thanks maketh entreaty?’ Are my thanks a prayer?” I asked God.

How can I thank Him for a fruitless midnight visit to the ER?

I tried.

“Thank you, Lord, that I could sit with my father in the Emergency Room last night. Thank you that I could be his eyes and ears (because he had forgotten his glasses and hearing aids). Thank you for the time to study his face while he rested, and that he has his mother’s nose (a strange observation, I know). Thank you that we live so close to the hospital. Thank you for the staff. Thank you for humor and laughter. Thank you for sickness and the opportunity to care for those we love. Thank you for my father, and my husband, and my children…”

And the thanksgiving felt like a floodgate opened.

Did it make entreaty? I don’t know.

But it answered the unspoken prayer of my heart for rest on a weary day.