I went into surgery praying for an uneventful procedure and an expeditious recovery. Then, I offered whatever pain I would experience as a sacrifice in atonement for my sins and as a sacrifice for the relief of the pain in the world by taking more than what I thought was my share. I thought I was being a good Christian by adopting such an attitude as I was being wheeled into the operating room.
I did not know what I was asking for, nor what I was getting into. I had major procedures before: a cholecystectomy and an angioplasty. They were painful and even traumatic procedures but I just toughened it out as I bore the pain stoically. In the end, the pain was bearable in both instances. This time, the pain was totally overpowering it drove me crazy.
Initially, I took the pain with forbearance, refusing the pain killers being given to me. As the pain started smarting up, I started taking them – in slowly ever increasing doses. On the fifth day, I think I had the strongest dose and I got clobbered by the side effects. I started hallucinating and imagining things. Everything seemed topsy-turvy. When I opened my eyes, the room would start spinning around. I got nauseous but I couldn’t throw up because of my huge incision on my chest. I was awake the whole night tossing around, waiting for the pain to dissipate but it wouldn’t. I got to sleep a few hours in the wee hours of the morning and surprisingly, the pain was a lot less when I woke up in the morning.
The following night was even worse. I experienced a severe hyperacidity in my stomach. It felt like my stomach walls were being washed with acid and the acid was eating away my flesh. And just when I thought the pain could not get any more intense, I felt like my stomach walls were being scraped to expose raw flesh and more acid being poured onto the now exposed oped flesh. This time I was really shouting. I wailed for the pain to go away. But it seemed like the more I cried out, the more excruciating the pain became.
I thought I had a special relationship with God. I thought I had a strong faith. I thought He would be there by my side. As pain was eating me up, I prayed that sleep would come and that I would see the Lord at least in my dreams as I slept. But sleep wouldn’t come. I offered my pain up to God and said I would bear it all for the sake of others who could not, hoping the pain would become bearable or at least meaningful. But the pain was just unbearable and was becoming even sharper and stronger. I asked the Lord to let me know I was not alone. But nothing. Only silence and darkness were my companions as I suffered the pain.
I thought I was special and would find consolation in the pain of my surgery. At the height of my agony, I reckoned either I was not special or that there is no God who wold help me in my misery. In the end I felt both. I prayed daily and believed i was in His presence. I did work that I thought He inspired me to go into. I tried to be a better person because that is what He wanted His followers to be. But when I needed Him to help me in my pain and bring me comfort and reassurance, nothing!
I was not angry but I felt betrayed and abandoned. In the end, I started feeling and thinking that my faith was nothing but a fool’s dream.