When You Don't Have Control

Friday, March 11 I injured my knee. 4½ weeks later I am finally having surgery. At 48 I have had very little surgery or illness in my life. Tonsils out when I was 5. Wisdom teeth out in college. A cyst removed from my wrist. I do not take my health for granted because too many people around me struggle with serious illness on a daily basis. I thank God regularly for my health and for the incredible health system we have access to in the United States.

In the scheme of things my knee surgery tomorrow is really no big deal. But honestly, to me, it feels huge. And scary. And well . . . kind of like a big deal to me. When I boil down my fears it largely comes down to a lack of control. Every nurse who has contacted me over the last 3 days has asked if I have any trouble with anesthesia. My answer is no. But then how do I know since they were still using ether the last time they put me under in 1973. An honest answer would be yes, because I do not like the idea of not knowing what is going on around me and being at the mercy of someone else for several hours.

One of my most vivid memories of my childhood involves my one and only surgery. My brother and I had our tonsils taken out at the same time. They put us in the same recovery room once the surgeries were completed. I woke up before my brother and remember being cold and scared in a way that only a 5-year-old could be with no adults present. I couldn’t wake up enough to climb down from the gurney to go to him and as I called for him over and over again he did not respond. Honesty, I thought he was dead. The memory is still so vivid today I can remember the color of the walls (yellow), the gown he was wearing (green), the smell (disinfectant) and the abject terror I felt. Dramatic I know but still so real to me 43 years later as I write this.

The outcome of my surgery is also out of my control. There are 2 scenarios once the surgeon operates on my knee. Best possible outcome is a repair. Worst possible outcome is a removal of the meniscus. I have done everything that I can to prepare – prayed, tried to take my thoughts captive (2 Cor. 5:10), contacted my prayer warrior friends, physical therapy, pre-ops, answered emails, returned calls, and a friend lined up meals and transportation for our daughter. But I can not control what happens once they start surgery.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong & courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” And to that, tonight, I simply have to say AMEN!