…and he wheeled me through silver double doors where masked people were standing. One of the masked females asked me to inhale deeply as she covered my mouth with something that reminded me of a jockey-strap! That’s the last thing I remember pre-op.
“Wake up Mrs. Norvell.” I asked where I was. “In the recovery room. Your surgery is done. It went well.” Confused, I stated that I’d thought that I had been at the BX, (Base Exchange). “No ma’am. Your gallbladder has been removed.” Still confused, I made an alarming announcement, “I’M STILL ALIVE! I MADE IT?” I remember then saying that God is awesome. Somehow I ended up rolling through the hallway towards Anton. Excited about my “trip” I squealed to him that I’d been at the BX; he laughed and said, “Oh really!”
Once I regained a little more consciousness, lunch had come. Gratefulness overcame me because I had been permitted to finally eat! My surgeon advised me to walk around as soon as I felt like it within those next two hours. She said to come by the nurse’s station and she’d show me the pictures of my gallbladder. Before I began walking, I learned that we humans use our stomach muscles for a whole bunch and bunches of bunched-up of things. Coughing, laughing, and even passing gas proved to be difficult after having my stomach muscles cut into! I-HAD-NO-IDEA! Then I began walking, OH MY!
Finally, at the nurse’s station, Anton & I observed photos of my gallbladder. Before the surgery, she’d explained to us that hopefully the entire gallbladder would not need to be removed, just the gallstones. However, as she displayed the pictures, she justified that my entire gallbladder HAD to be removed because of its poor condition. There were more gallstones present than what was exposed during the ultrasound. The General Surgeon also narrated to us that the gallbladder possesses a golden-honey colored bile; mine was black and thick as tar! For two years I sought out medical help for those abdominal pains and with each dissimilar diagnosis, my gallbladder worsened.
Our next concern was about my upcoming surgery to have the goiter removed. It was just six weeks away. The surgeon assured us that I would be completely healed by then and okay to go under anesthesia again. So, Anton had been granted seven duty days of convalescent leave and for two weeks after that, Sisters in Christ willingly came to our aid.
Three weeks later, Anton, our children and I boarded the Shinkansen headed for an Air Base near Tokyo, Japan for my next surgery. We were placed in TLF, (Temporary Living Facility), located across the street from the hospital. After three days of pre-op procedures, surgery day arrived. Everything was on time and went routinely, just as we were told. Coming out of this surgery, I sang, “Our God is an Awesome God!” The surgical assistants were amazed! They wanted to know how it was possible for me to sing after having my neck cut on and with a drain-tube inserted! I remember one nurse sang along with me! How awesome is that?
The Otolarynologist informed us that he sent the goiter off to pathology, (which was located at another Air Base), and would contact us when the results came back. We weren’t concerned with the results because the biopsy had been benign, but, for protocol’s sake…
The next day I was released with care instructions and told to come back four days later to have the stitches removed, (which scared me a bit because I thought how is it that you cut my throat open, stitch it up, but take the stitches out only four days later? Uhhh, won’t my neck be open or worse, my head fall off! :) Really, I was concerned). We attended worship service the next day and I even made it through lunch afterwards! For the next few days, families from the local congregation provided us with meals and transportation, (one of the reasons I love and am thankful about being a Christian is that we have family no matter where we go!). Anton, the kids and I even took two days to travel down to Ibaraki, Japan to visit with a missionary couple.
Upon our return, I had an out-processing appointment with the ENT. Now, this is the appointment I went to in order to receive my “walking papers.” Because of this, Anton decided to wait in the lobby with the kids and I’d run in, pick up our discharge papers and we’d leave the hospital. His nurse escorted me into the office and said that he’d be right in. “Okay." May I use the bathroom while I wait?” She allowed. When I came out of the bathroom, the doctor, Anton and the kids were in the room. He, the doctor, said that he felt Anton needed to be in the room. Insensible to the “pink elephant examining the orange horse, who, by the way, had been motioning for my attention, that were in the room,” smiling I, said okay, sat down and he began talking.
“Mr. & Mrs. Norvell, I received the report from pathology yesterday evening and the mass…
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! …though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV