I had a CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft) operation last August 19. I was a bit apprehensive about the procedure but I was not afraid as I had confidence in the skills and competence of my doctors. As I was lying on the gurney waiting to be wheeled into the operating room, I closed my eyes and said some prayers, entrusting myself into the hands of God. I was calm and composed fully trusting that God would be with me every step of the way.
My doctors worked on me for the entire morning. By late afternoon, I was already in the ICU when I awoke from my anesthesia-induced sleep. I felt all the contraptions connected to my body. I tried counting all the tubes, catheters, and wires inserted into me. There were at least fifteen I was aware of. As I looked through my bleary eyes, I could see my doctors around me. And with them was my entire family. I managed a smile to my loved ones and a “Thank you.” to my doctors. But I was so groggy, I was soon dozing back to sleep.
I imagined my bypass operation as something similar to a passover – a passing over from illness to health, from suffering to comfort. I prayed and offered up the pains I was feeling up to God. That He transforms them into grace and blessings for me, my loved ones and anyone who might need someone to bear the pain for them. I was hoping my operation would be both a physical and a religious experience.
The next time I became woke up and became conscious, the anesthesia has begun to wear off. I started feeling the pain of the incision on my chest, the discomfort from all the tubes and wires in my body, the immobility of being in bed. I prayed for the strength to be able to bear the pain. It did not come. I prayed that my pain would be bearable and offered it up so that it would help relieve the pain suffered by others, specially my loved ones. That did not work. It did not ease my pain nor did it relieve the suffering of others. I prayed that sleep would come again and I would be consoled by comforting dreams. But sleep would not come and the pain killers given to me made me hallucinate instead. Everything was just turning around.
The pain was so constantly severe but specially so on the fifth and sixth day when I was transferred from the ICU to a regular room. I prayed that God would give me a sign that He was with me but there was only silence from Him. In my pain, I cried that if I had known this bypass operation would be this painful, I would have chosen not to go through it anymore.
After a while, I noticed that the pain was not only physically but it was also wreaking havoc on my emotions and melting away my faith and trust in God. I cried out to Him but He was silent all throughout my stay in the hospital. In fact, he was not even there with me. What I had hoped to be a religious and liberating passover experience has become an ordeal that is mightily shaking my faith in God.