We All Could Use Some Extra Stars In The Sky

Sabal and Mom at seaworld October 2015{June 26, 2015}
I stared at the nurse as he asked me again, “Dabney, do you know what year it is?” The whites of his eyes grew larger each time he raised his eyebrows, like he was begging me to say something, anything.
My stare shifted around the sterile holding room.
Where am I?
I saw the nurse raise his dark skinned hand closer to my face as he snap, snap, snapped his fingers, trying to get my attention.
I blinked.
He asked again, “The year, Dabney. Do you remember what year it is?”
I knew what he was saying, but there was nothing in my mind that triggered an answer. All I knew was that I was in an over-sized room with curtains dividing me from my neighbors, other patients I assumed. But none of them were talking.
I noticed the curtains boxed my bed in on three sides; the only opening faced what appeared to be a nurses’ station. Yet everyone walked around so solemnly. No smiles. No laughter. Just whispers and stares.
Crouching down closer to my level, my nurse repeated, “Can you hear me? Dabney?”
My eyes shifted toward his. Why am I in here? Why is my husband standing by just watching me? Did he admit me? My eyes darted to Jason. One arm crossed in front of his chest, and the other gripped his chin. Why does Jason looked so concerned? 
“Dabney, if you understand what I’m saying, just nod.”
And I did. But he wanted more than I could give. I could see by the longing in his face.
{June, 29, 2105}
My husband told me that for four days I could not remember simple facts like my children’s names or birth dates or certainly not the year we were living in. I couldn’t lie flat, or rest on my side and the only pain medicine administered was Tylenol.

before vena cava surgery October 2015
{The morning of my Superior Vena Cava surgery to reduce the water retention}

I’d grasp my red heart shaped pillow each time I coughed and my swollen arm made it nearly impossible for my nurses to locate a vein.
By day six, things started making some sense. Heart surgery, that’s why we were in New York, and I finally remembered when the president of the hospital asked me again for sixth day in a row, “What year are we in?” He’d always smile.
Everyone sighed in relief when finally I whispered, “2015?”
{October 2015}
For four months I struggled with even walking at a normal pace without having to stop and catch my breath because of my blocked Superior Vena Cava, a condition not even related to my heart surgery. Oh, how time fades away those distressing memories.
Now it’s the end of November, and tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, I’ll celebrate the five month mark of my aortic valve heart surgery. Honestly, I feel 90% back to normal.
Isn’t that something to celebrate?
Yet, three days ago I found myself facing a mini-discomfort, one that drove me into a rather laughable despair considering the last few months of my life. Sometimes it’s the little reminders I need to focus on, because my plans—the perfectly laid out ones—change. And normally when this happens, a string of complaints follow.
Monday was one of those days. And since I seem to air my not-so-Christian like struggles with the world :(, I thought I’d share what God revealed to me.
Ya ready?
Three days ago I realized my paid for/generously donated minivan (thanks, mom) needed repairs. Yet right before surgery, we had fixed the broken tie rod and had realigned the wheels, but now the part was broken…again. Two new tires, a new tie rod, and another alignment later, we spent $600 for my van to drive perfectly. But I hadn’t planned for major repairs. I had planned on shopping this Black Friday, much like the rest of the normal people in the United States. Because we only use cash, this was going to be the first Christmas I could shop those special sales for my kids.
I felt the uneasiness creep in that night as I balanced our account. I love numbers, spreadsheets, planning. Sigh. But I don’t like when unexpected things rearrange the plan.
Then my husband walked through the door in a chipper mood…until he noticed me sulking on the couch, which pretty much sobered the night for both of us. I complained, of course. Complained that the dumb repair cost more than we imagined. And you know what he had the nerve to say?
At least we had the money to pay for it.
Of course he’s right. Praise God we had the funds to pay for it. But I wasn’t done huffing…yet.
That’s when I realized everyone has something to complain about. (Have you read Facebook posts lately?)
God knew this. Why else would he have to put verses in the Bible to tell us to do all things without complaining? Why? Because whiny complainers like me need reminders. Ugh. This verse in Philippians 2:14&15 continues and urges us to live innocent lives, shining like bright lights in a world full of broken people.
Only, I was more like a broken light, desperately trying to flicker back on.
What should I have done?
Instead of “The repairs cost $600!” I should have thanked God for the reserved money to fix our vehicle, or the donated funds to pay for my pricey heart surgery, or even the free van that was generously donated to us over six years ago.
And isn’t it just like my loving Heavenly Father that later that night after thumbing through the mail, I opened my surgeon’s bill for my most recent superior vena cava stint surgery last month (a bill that should have cost roughly $5,000 for just my surgeon’s fee), only our balance due was $63.56.IMG_4970
Do everything without moaning, Dab. Because you’re no longer in a hospital bed, you remember the year, and praise God, your bills are paid.
With so much distress happening around the world, so many loved ones fighting an illness, or even the stress the holiday season can bring (soon to arrive house guests, possibly?), what are some things you are thankful for today?
I’ll start. I’m thankful for…seaworld October 2015

  • Praise and worship music readily available to replace those negative thoughts.
  • My daily life settling back to somewhat normal (i.e., I no longer get winded when walking, I no longer need large doses of melatonin and valerian root to sleep at night, and I no longer have doctors’ appointments every other week.)
  • My children and husband and immediate family.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” Philippians 2:14&15.
We all could use some extra stars in the sky, don’t you think?


    • dabneyhedegard

      I think I have a case of the let-everything-fly-no-matter-what-a-fool-you-look-like syndrome. 😉 Marsha, you always make me smile. God bless you.

  • Paula Mantrozos

    Dear DabberDoo! thank you for being vulnerable enough to remind us all of the REALNESS of real life and the Overwhelming Kindness of God that we sometimes fail to focus on! I am SO happy that God keeps on providing and repairing and healing you and your world. I needed the reminder today and I’m betting others do too. Thank you again and just keep walking one foot in front of the other holding on to Jesus’ Hand! HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH AND IT SHOWS! He just shines right through you. BIG Hugs and blessings for Thanksgiving to you and yours -Paula

  • laurabennet

    Ok, I’m so with you and have been recently reminded that I complain too. Too much. So thank you for your honesty and another great reminder. Sometimes when life is challenging on an ongoing basis, I think we get into the habit of seeing the challenges (real as they are) and forget the biggest picture as well as all the little things God blesses us with in the midst of the challenge. At least I do. Thanking God for your testimony of amazing God interventions. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Ginger

      So True! Often songs reminding me of God’s greatness come to my mind unbidden when I am stressed to the max…little Holy Spirit reminders that He is Greater!

  • Ginger

    I am grateful that my adult children belong to Jesus so He is there to guide them when they face the complexities and challenges of life in this world

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