Panic in the Waiting Room - Salvation Army Canada

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    Panic in the Waiting Room

    My mother was on the brink of death. Where was God in all this? September 28, 2016 by Captain Lisa Hillier
    Filed Under:
    Faith & Friends
    As I was about to fall asleep after a long tiring day, the ring of the telephone startled me. It was 1 a.m. I knew something was wrong. As I picked up the phone, my fears materialized. It was my father.

    “Lisa, the hospital just called,” he said. “They can't get Mom awake and they're sending her for an emergency CT scan.”

    “I'll meet you there,” I told him.

    In God's Hands
    Over the last five days, my mother had made three trips to our hospital's emergency room due to a sudden onset of headaches so severe she couldn't function. Examinations and tests revealed nothing. On her third trip, I refused to take her home, so she was admitted for the weekend for observation.

    By 10 p.m. that night, my mom couldn't be woken. The doctors attributed her drowsiness to the medication, and assured us that she would be more alert in the morning.

    I kissed her good night, but when my husband and I arrived at the hospital after midnight, my mother's room was a flurry of activity. The doctor on call, with whom I'd worked in the past, was frank with me.

    “Lisa, I'm bewildered. I'm not exactly sure what is going on, but it could be a stroke.”

    As a trained nurse, I immediately imagined the worst. I pictured my mom in a wheelchair unable to move, speak or recognize those she loved.

    As she was taken for the CT scan, I began pacing and praying: “Lord, make this something simple that can be easily treated.” I knew He could, but would He?

    At 2 a.m., the scan results arrived.

    “Your mother is bleeding on the right side of the brain,” the doctor told me. “It requires emergency brain surgery.”

    While Mom was transferred to the ICU, Dad and I met with the neurosurgeon, who explained the gravity of her condition.

    My mother could die.

    The doctors allowed us to see Mom before surgery. As our pastor prayed with us, the team got busy inserting IVs and tubes and doing other prep, as there was no time to be wasted. We walked to the waiting room, leaving her in God's hands.

    Anxious Moments
    I was about to start my second year of studies to become a Salvation Army pastor, but that didn't mean questions and doubts weren't racing through my mind. God, where are You in all of this? I am doing Your will in my life. Why are You letting this happen?

    The minutes ticked away, until 5:30 a.m., when the assistant surgeon appeared, still dressed in surgical garb.

    “The surgery appears to be sucessful,” he announced. “The bleeding is stopped and the clot is removed. The next 24 to 48 hours are critical.”

    She's alive! We stopped what we were doing and prayed, thanking God for bringing her this far.

    God Is Here
    Three weeks to the day after my mother was admitted, she walked out of the hospital on her own, unaided. The only remaining after-effects of this brain trauma are a slight imbalance and impaired vision in one eye. I feel she is a miracle of God's faithfulness and grace.

    At her six-week follow-up appointment, the neurosurgeon admitted he didn't believe she would survive the surgery.

    “Someone greater had to be looking out for you,” he told my mother.

    That was the answer to my question! God was there and at work, and not only in my mother's healing. He showed Himself in many ways. He was present through pastors, family and friends who surrounded us in our darkest moments as we waited. He showed Himself through the wonderful medical staff on call who looked after my mom and realized the urgency of her condition. He worked through the expertise of the nurses and surgeons who saved her life after a long and gruelling operation. And He gave us strength to withstand this ordeal.

    I realized God is always there, even when we don't realize it. Though the incident occurred in 2003, that truth has stayed with me through my years as a Salvation Army pastor.

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