Last week we found out rather last minute that my husband needed to have surgery on his knee. As I have not mentioned it yet here, my husband is a disabled combat veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom. His injuries include his right knee, arm, and hand as well as his left shoulder and arm. He also has post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury.
In order to be able to avoid saying "my husband" over and over through this entry and the others to come that will surely involve him, we will call him Prince Charming.
As with all things VA, it's on THEIR schedule. So we found out Thursday afternoon that he was to have surgery Monday morning. Talk about short notice changes to your holiday plans!!!
As usual, God provides and my parents were already on a train ride coming to visit us the very day we received word about the surgery. They arrived the day after and took care of TrainBoy as well as the furry children (all 4 of them!) while we drove over 200 miles to the Ft. Harrison VA to have the surgery performed.
Prince Charming and I got to the VA safe and sound despite a potential blizzard and were tucked into our hotel overnight beforehand. That morning, we packed up our gear and headed over in full winter get up to the VA for the surgery. It was -10 outside before the windchill.
When we took Prince Charming up to the "Same Day Surgery" room, I was told they needed my cell phone number, which I gave them. Then I was told to say goodbye and they would call me when it was time for me to pick him up and take him home.
SAY WHAT!?!?!?!?! I'd planned on being in that room all day...leaving only to pray in the interfaith chapel while he was in surgery. What do you mean I can't be with my husband who's going under general anesthesia?!?!?!
I was so angry and upset. I shuffled my way around until I found the room marked "Meditation Chapel".
I walked in, sat down, took out my rosary, and tried to concentrate. Then I took out my cell phone and called my parents to let them know all was well and what was going on. I knelt on the kneeler, held my rosary in my hands, and began to pray.
Sign of the Cross, Apostles Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Mary....
Burst into tears...
Kept trying to finish the Hail Mary.
Got through an entire 5 decade rosary with tears running down my cheeks.
I was sad and angry and depressed. I was so upset I could barely stand it.
And suddenly, I was angry about stupid things. Praying in an interdenominational space has never bothered me once in my life. I was suddenly very upset that the only cross in that room was the crucifix on my rosary. I had to leave. I was literally shaking I was so upset. I felt, more than I ever had in my life, that I HAD to get to the Catholic Cathedral in Helena (closest to the hospital) and pray. NOW.
I went downstairs, cried the whole way to the car. Jumped in and tried to start it up.
And it didn't start.
The battery was dead.
So I went back in to the VA Police office and got the little magic car jumper box thingie. I jumped the car myself (go me!) and as I walked back inside to return the box and get my driver's license back, it suddenly dawned on me.
If they hadn't kicked me out...
If I hadn't gotten upset...
If I'd been able to pray and get through it in that chapel...
I would have not found out about the dead battery until Prince Charming was out of surgery.
And I would have been dealing with a drugged up man in a wheelchair that couldn't walk and a dead battery.
I thanked God right then and there, dropped off the jumping box, and jumped in the car to go pray at St. Helena Cathedral. (Which is beautiful - I highly recommend you stop in sometime as a tourist regardless of your religion. It's stunning!!!)
Prince Charming came through surgery just fine. I picked him up right on time and ran around the VA like an idiot gathering paperwork, travel pay, and such. We hopped in the car and drove home through what was supposed to be another blizzard but barely released any snow until after we'd left the area.
It was a 48 hour period FULL of unexpected blessings.
And my first visit to a Cathedral as a Catholic.
I have to say that I really did enjoy praying there. I felt far more at peace and whole. It was a beautiful experience.
As an update, Prince Charming is recovering right on schedule and is expected to return to work in 6-8 weeks. Your prayers, meditations, and kind thoughts are greatly appreciated whomever they are said to. :)