Friday, December 11, 2009

On life and death...

Dr. Neal Van Ness passed away this week. I am very sad to hear this news. He was my surgeon, he performed three surgeries on me. He was a good man. I had to be one of his most stubborn and contrary patients. He always used lots of patience and understanding with me and I know it was a challenge at times. He put up with the little hissy fits I would have in the hospital and would ultimately direct the staff to let me have my way, but keep me from hurting myself. :)

He would take the time to explain in great detail what was going on and why I was feeling so horrible. Which would lead to me getting dizzy and passing out in his office. It came to a point where they would have a fan, cold wet wash cloth and smelling salts set up for me....finally the day came when he was able to explain it all to me and I didn't pass out and it was a cause for celebration!!!

I think when we discovered I had a triple hernia shortly after my colon resection surgery he was even more upset than I was. he just felt terrible for me and it felt good to have someone like that care. When I had complications afterward and we couldn't figure out what it was, he was straight up honest with me and told me he didn't know what it was, but he would help me find out.

I have had problems recently and called in and found out he was on medical leave. I was sad to hear that and now even sadder. Our community has suffered a great loss in both a surgeon and person.

I have heard so many other sad stories lately also of friends and acquaintances battling with cancer and other illness. There is never a good time for any of this but the holiday season just makes it so much more difficult. My thoughts and prayers are with all of these people as they fight their own personal battles that many of us will never know or understand.

My dear friend Dan wrote on his blog yesterday of a friend of his who took his own life. These are such desperate times for many of us it is so easy to lose faith but faith is exactly what we need the most. Dan shared this man left behind his wife and two young daughters. The despair and pain this family is left with is devastating and breaks my heart in a million pieces. How do you help? What can you say? What can you do? Just wrap them in love in prayers....

And this is where I start digging deep. Digging deep into my own faith and what I believe. I was raised in a home that knows God's love, but was taught religion is from within, its not in the church you attend and how often you attend, it is in the person you are and the life you live. I went to a Catholic high school and was drawn to the Catholic faith and converted in my mid 20s. Shortly after things in my life happened that made me question that choice and fall away from the Catholic church.

A good friend of our family, a good man in life, took his own life. He took it out of despair over recent health developments and facing becoming an invalid and a burden on his family. He was a proud man and unable to accept total dependency on someone else for the very basic needs of his life. I was devastated. And I was more devastated to think that God would banish him to the confines of hell for eternity. I had to believe our God is more just than that and he looks at the picture as a whole, looks at the life the person has led and not one act of total despair... I choose to believe we have a God who will think outside of the box, look at the gray matter and not respond and react in black and white only?

1 comment:

Dan said...

Dr. Van Ness was a great guy. When my appendix broke at the lake I was stuck going to the hospital in Warsaw and he was my surgeon.

He made me very comfortable, considering they were about to slice me open. If you want to talk about bed-side manners, he had it all.

A great loss indeed.

Oh, sorry about making you think my friend had a wife, he has an ex-wife. Say prayers for his little girls.