Christmas was days away, and I couldn’t wait to spend it with my three grown children. But I woke up one morning barely able to breath.
“Get me to the hospital,” I told my husband.
I was put on a ventilator. Double pneumonia had caused heart failure. My husband gave me the bad news. “You’ll be in ICU for a while.”
“But I’ll miss Christmas with the kids!” My children came to the hospital, but our only visiting together was done in the ICU. Each one kissed me good-bye. Oh, Lord, I feel like everyone got cheated out of Christmas this year.
One week later, still in ICU, my heart rate became rapid. Now I was scared. Lord, I’m sorry I complained about Christmas, I thought. Now I realize I just want to get well.
I drifted off. Something woke me in the middle of the night. The room was lit up brighter than daylight. A woman with long black hair stood beside my bed. I noticed her white coat and stethoscope.
I hadn’t been cared for by this doctor before. She held her hand over my chest. Without saying a word she left the room, taking the bright light with her.
I asked the nurse about her the next day. “She had long black hair.”
“I can’t imagine who you might be talking about,” the nurse said. “No one fits that description.”
Later that morning my doctor came in. He called my night visitor “a mystery.” Or, the first mystery.
“The second is your heart rate,” he said. “It’s slowed down considerably. You’ll be home in no time.”
I may have spent Christmas in the hospital, but I got the best gift of all—a reminder that God is everywhere, even the ICU.