Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 6-27-04
By Jeff Gill

So on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks back, I’m out in the driveway playing with the Little Guy, trying to keep him a) amused, b) interested, and c) out of the house while the Lovely Wife does vital and necessary housekeeping activities. Simple, no?
No. In trying to distract and amuse a tired and disgruntled six year old, I flip off a scooter onto the driveway. The concrete driveway. The hard, over six feet down from my eyeballs, very hard driveway; right onto my left elbow and nothing else.
Rolling over to my right, I grasp my left arm with right hand and feel a variety of things moving about that God did not intend to be moving loosely beneath the skin of my elbow, ironically barely scraped.
My first thought: this is not good. My second thought: this is gonna hurt. My third thought: I can get a column out of this!
OK, so the last two might be in reverse order.
Heading towards LMH in the passenger seat, iron grip on left elbow maintained by right hand, I divert the waves of pain and nausea with the thoughts: Who can preach tomorrow at early service? What about second service leadership? And: I’ll bet I could get a whole bunch of columns out of this experience! (Again, sequence open to dispute; it was gonna be a good sermon, though.)
You might have gotten the column on heartless, inefficient staff at the ER. But no, they were fast, caring, and even more extremely compassionate after they saw my x-rays.
You might have gotten the column on foolish, unprofessional behavior in the Fast Track area and Radiology late on a summer Saturday afternoon. But no, they were calm, considerate, and very good at explaining and answering questions. (My fellow patients, most of whom were not (patient). . .could be a column someday. Or a novel. Stay tuned.)
You might have gotten the column on fee-gouging, rapacious pharmacies that prey on those needing off-hours drugs. But no, after handing over a prescription sheet and some very basic data and a reasonable wait, I got pills that made my arm stop throbbing. A good deal, compared to chewing on yarrow shoots and lighting candles. Did I pay money for that? You bet, and my arm stopped hurting (some).
You might have gotten the column on pre-surgery as a humiliating, depersonalizing, alienating experience which precedes pain and terror with isolation and depression. Not at LMH, where friendly staff were helpful and responsive at every turn, and I got back everything I put in the lovely floral plastic bag (hello, the 60’s are so over) and had the LW with me as long as she could stand my brand of gallows humor. . .even had a fellow pastor come and pray with me before surgery, which felt very odd, given that I’m supposed to be the fully clothed one standing up doing the praying in that situation. Hmm, probably good for me to have that role reversal.
You might have gotten the column on opening child proof containers with one hand, but that is sooooo overdone (has that stopped you in the past? - internal editor's note). Yes, the Little Guy opened them for me, how'd you guess? Oh, you saw someone else's column on that. . .
You might have gotten the column on recovering from surgery with said six year old in house and both of you coming down with a stomach flu at the same time, but this is a family paper, so we shall draw a curtain across those grim days when the pain meds did not stay down, nor did anything else, including the Little Guy.
So many column possibilities, ruined by cheery competence, general professionalism, and a small amount of discretion. Since I’m typing with one hand until a further exam determines my next disposition in re metal pins, cast, etc., we’ll keep this short, but. . .
You might have gotten a column on the essential stupidity of the very concept of an HMO, and you will my friends, you will. A whole column, with plenty to say, none of which has to do with the Little Guy or staples or viruses.
But for everyone who aided in my medical care, emergency and otherwise, located in Licking County, who actually had anything to do with pinning together my shattered left elbow and bruised pride and sense of indispensability: thank you! I am, as so many cards, flowers, and ominously hovering balloons command, obeying the order to “Get Well Soon!”
HMOs, I’ll get to you soon.

Jeff Gill is the fractured pastor of Hebron Christian Church and veteran of many hospital visits, usually on other people. If you have tales of healing and hope to share, or scores to settle with HMOs, call 928-4066 or e-mail disciple@voyager.net.

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