BEHIND THE SCENES
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
I had a fairly long day scheduled, three chimneys with a lot of driving in between each job.
I had already been to my Tuesday morning men’s bible study, and I pulled into the driveway of my first job around 10:00.
I noticed a new text on my phone, from this morning at 8:16.
“Randy. Lifting you up in prayer this morning. Hope you are well.”
It was from Mike B. He has a house in the Cypress Springs area that he offers as a ministry to those workers for the Lord who need a time of R&R. I have cleaned his windows several times in the past, and the last couple of times, he was there, and we talked, sharing our mutual love of Jesus, about our families, and some of the struggles we were going through.
We became close…you who know the Lord and walk with Him know how this happens…an immediate kinship.
Funny thing is, if I were to see him in Walmart, I wouldn’t have a clue who he was, because the bond is not of flesh and blood, but of the Spirit.
I hadn’t heard from him since May of 2017, and that was in a text.
So, this text was kind of a surprise.
I remembered last week’s wasp episode, so I responded, “Thank you, Mike. I fought the devil last week (wasp sting, reaction) but I was good the next day.
It felt good to know that a brother was thinking of me and praying for me.
I got out of my van, shook hands with my customer and his grown son, and started unloading my gear to clean the chimney.
I looked to the roof and saw that I was going to have to use two ladders to get to the chimney top.
The two guys were friendly, and we chatted and shared during the setup. I had everything ready to go on the inside to finish the job; all I needed to do was get up to the chimney top and brush down.
As I began to get my ladders out they were there, watching, offering help in any way I needed (except for the getting on the roof part…a bit of a fear of heights).
I leaned my shorter ladder to the edge of the roof, put the other ladder on my shoulder, and started up.
This part of the roof was about 9 1/2 feet off the ground.
As I stepped onto the roof, something happened, maybe the foot of the ladder caught on the other ladder, or the roof, and I was suddenly off balance , and I fell, backwards off the roof.
Flat on my back, landing on the ladder and the gravel driveway, all the air rushed out of my body.
I couldn’t see their faces but they were immediately there. “Are you okay? Do you want me to call an ambulance?” They had seen the fall. I believe they were probably horrified.
“No,” I gasped with the tiny breath I could find, “just let me catch my breath first.”
The father brought me a wet rag. “You’re bleeding down the right side of your face.” He went to get me a bandaid.
I felt like I had fallen off a roof. I set on the edge of the porch for some time, just trying to assess how badly I was hurt.
I had to go back onto the roof to retrieve some tool I had left up there. (I know, I know, why would you go back up in your condition? You know, It’s just a man thing…You start something and you hate to leave in the middle.)
After half an hour or so, I figured out a way to finish the job from the inside, and, since all my tools were already there, I did just that.
The two guys waited outside. I was glad. They couldn’t see my wincing with every movement. I preferred suffering alone.
I did finish the job, the son helped me load my gear back into my van, the father gave me my check with a BIG tip for “pain and suffering”, and I began to leave. I called my next customer to tell her what happened and that I would have to reschedule.
“Oh, no. You have to come today…My chimney is smoking and I had to leave the house yesterday because it was affecting my breathing.” She said something about the damper, “smoke” coming out of the chimney.
It was 92 degrees outside.
“Did you have a fire in your fireplace?” I asked, incredulously. Every word hurt. The pain was increasing.
She begged me to come, said no to the fire question, but couldn’t explain the smoke and damper thing very well. “What should I do?”
I told her that it may be soot from the dirty chimney that she was calling smoke, but if it was smoke, maybe she should call the fire department. But I could not come!
I called Wendy, (this was the hard part) told her about the fall and I needed to go to emergency. Get ready. I’m coming home.
The hour drive home was brutal.
At home, I took a quick shower to get the soot off, put on clean clothes, got in the car, and winced at every bump in the road.
I have to say, Wendy was incredibly calm and collected and strong.
You have to understand, normally when I am faced with a situation of having to cancel jobs for any reason, I stress and worry.
Today, though I was in pain, I had an indescribable sense of peace resting on me. (Mike B.)
I knew I was not going to go back to work for a while.
I started planning my “vacation”. Always look on the bright side.
When we got to the Urgent Care Clinic, I told Wendy to go see if they could get me in pretty quick. The last several times we had gone there for any reason, we had long, long waits, and a full waiting room.
Today, the waiting room was empty. (Mike B.)
Wendy called me and told me to come on in.
Only about thirty yards to go…man, I’m feeling kinda light headed…twenty yards to go…I see a chair I am going to sit in…They can see me right away…They ask me a couple of questions, I can’t remember any of them but they told me they were calling an ambulance to take me to Tyler…I’m thinking “so I don’t have to walk back out to the car? YEA!”
I spent Tuesday from 3:00 to 11:30 in the trauma area of the emergency room, but they were pretty swamped while we were there…it took a long time to get to see a doctor…and a longer time to get a room. I heard the word “gunshot” from one of the nurses in the adjoining room.
Wendy and her parents were with me and they kept trying to get someone to tend to me. I kept telling them that I was okay laying there, that there were some more life threatening things going on and that I was okay as long as I could just lie there.
But there was no doubt that my family loved me.
Dr. Holley stitched up my temple hole, eight stitches, I never felt a single pull, beautiful stitching.
Dr. Ellis came in later, and said, “Wow, this is a really nice suture job. Who did this?”
I told him.
“Holley did this?? I’ll have to commend him for this. I thought it was a plastic surgeon’s work. Nice.”
I had a supernatural peace with the hospital admittance part of this day.(Mike B.)
(Usually, my only experience with hospitals is visiting others.)
So, I got checked into a room at 11:30.
Every doctor, every nurse, carried an air of peace while in the room. Friendly, encouraging, conversational.
My last day, Thursday, we had a nurse, Kim (supervisor) who had been called in on her day off because the hospital was so swamped. Her son was getting ready for middle school (“Mom, we get to change rooms. We get a locker!”) So today was supposed to be her day to buy his school clothes. She had to give that job to her husband. I’ll probably not get a chance to hear how that came out.
Anyway, while she was in the room, the news was showing clips of Aretha Franklin’s career. She had just died that morning. I noticed Kim kept looking at the screen, was a little distracted from the questions I was asking.
“My grandmother sang backup for her for thirty years,” she said, “There she is, the one on the right.”
Wow, now that is pretty neat.
I didn’t feel like some old man in the hospital, I felt like a friend to these nurses who I only knew by brief conversations and first names.
Peace. (Mike B.)
We came home Thursday evening, picked up the mail and a pizza from the Papa John’s truck in the Fred’s parking lot, and started to figure out the next few hours…eating, sleeping, long grass in the front yard, taking phone calls from friends.
Thursday night, I tried to sleep in the bed. They had given me prescriptions for muscle relaxers and pain. I thought the muscle relaxer might be the best shot for the night, because of an occasional spasm that would grip me and squeeze the breath out of me.
I lay in the bed for almost three hours, with constant pain, occasional spasms, unable to sleep.
I got up to go try the couch.
It was worse.
I honestly was wishing for death or at least another night in the hospital. Why did we come home so early?
I moved to my recliner at 3:00, kept adjusting until I found a position, upright, that didn’t hurt, and slept like that for 6 hours. (Mike B.)
Friday was better, I moved around a bit, (maybe a bit too much) paid some bills online, visited with Wendy’s parents, arranged for someone to mow the front yard, read…Wendy is taking such good care of me…and she doesn’t feel all that good…true love…and the prayer of Mike B.
Conclusion: Wow! This was really long!
It’s Saturday morning now, and I had a pretty good night in the recliner, so, if you made it to the end of this “novel” I want you to know something that I have come to realize.
The random prayer of Mike B., because of a thought that God put in his head, did immeasurable good for me in the day of my trial.
I didn’t die, or break my neck, or legs, or back (only some cracked ribs)
I had a supernatural peace through the whole thing
I shared God’s grace with many in conversations
Made some new friends
Realized the love my wife has for me, and I for her
Realized that God knows what’s coming, and allows us to be a part of the care of others when we pray.
Thank you Mike B. for hearing the voice, and voicing the words…you have no idea how much good that prayer accomplished!