The reality of the matter for me was there was a possibility that I might not survive the surgery.
The doctor told me as such. So, Terry and I discussed services and burial, if it came to that. We laughed at some of the details we discussed, particularly as is involved the driving of my Chevy. Jamin and Ron could not attend to me at the hospital, but, Keithen, Jeshua and Micaiah were present.
We told them our agreements. I do not think they paid too much attention about the possibility of me dying on the table, however. Micaiah just stood smiling with his hand on my shoulder.
Attendants started coming in early to take me to the operating room. I got concerned about the Foley catheter and started asking questions about it. Keithen seemed to get annoyed and quipped, “It seems that Dad is more concerned about the Foley catheter than what he is about to go through. He will probably be like one of the old men I have seen that will pull the catheter out himself with the balloon still pumped up.” We all cracked up about what he said. Micaiah just stood with his hand on my shoulder and continued to smile.
Next, we had a word of prayer. Keithen prayed first, “Lord, I pray for my Dad. Help him to be a boring patient.” I started snickering when he said it, and soon all of us were laughing out loud. I knew for what he was praying — that I not be a crotchety old patient. But, it was hilarious. Micaiah just stood smiling with his hand on my shoulder
So, it came time for them to wheel me out. But, Jesh just had to show me something on his cell phone. As I was being pulled out of the room, Jesh said, “You have to see this first, Dad.” He had taken two visual/audio clips from “Braveheart” and sefied himself lip-syncing each.
The first was of crazy Stephen who had come to help out William Wallace. After protecting Wallace from a would-be assassin, Stephen told Wallace, “Did not the Almighty send me to watch your back? I did not like him anyway. He was not right in the head.” Watching Jesh act it out was so funny. I am not sure what the attendants were thinking.
Next, the English army and the Scottish army were squared off in the field at Sterling. Wallace positioned himself in front of the Scottish army for an inspirational speech. Remember what he said — “They may take our lives, but they will not take our FREEDOM!” Jeshua pretended that he was riding a horse like Wallace, but it was his facial expressions that were so funny. With both incidents, Micaiah just stood smiling with his hand on my shoulder.
Keithen had a word from “Wyatt Earp” after the part at the big oak where Doc Holiday gunned down Johnny Ringo. “Hey, Dad, hope the strain is not too much for you to bey-uh (bear, with a southern drawl).” he said.
So, we got to the point where the family was not permitted to go any further. But, Keithen had to add one more thing. As I was being pulled away, he added. “Hey, Dad, I have heard people mention about a light appearing at the end of a tunnel. But, do not run toward it. Run away from it.”
From down the hallway, I could hear all three calling out. “Run from the light, Father. Run from the light!” I was still laughing loudly as they wheeled me into the OR.
Sometime later, my eyes opened. I stared hard, looking around. I did not see anyone right off. I blurted out loud, “I’m alive!” It was a good feeling.
By the time I was returned to my room, Keithen and Jeshua had started their long return trips home, and Micaiah had walked back to his apartment. They felt confident in God that things would be well.
What a day! God is so good.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.