July 29, 2009 - I feel the need to write regarding some spiritual experiences that I had before and on the day of my surgery (total right knee replacement), July 2, 2009.
In the beginning of May, I am not sure why, but I felt that my life, as much as I like the way it is, was at a standstill of some sort. Sometimes I felt depressed and sometimes I just felt like I didn't always have the Spirit with me. I had a sciatica pain in my left leg that prevented me from doing a lot of things like walking, and have had it since 2007. I prayed to Heavenly Father and asked Him if he would take care of the big things in my life, I would take care of the small things. Within a few days, the sciatica pain was gone and to this date, has not returned. I knew then, that my prayer had been heard. I have never really had any kind of spiritual experiences in my life before, but I think when we are obedient to the commandments that we have been given, that we can know things and feel things that we may not otherwise. I will admit - I had been slacking on scripture reading. However, once I made this appeal, I started reading them every night. I prayed that either Alex (my grandson who passed away at the age of 3 in 2005, or Jesus Christ himself would be there to hold my hand.
On July 1st, the night before I had my surgery, I was wondering if I was doing the right thing even though I knew it had to be done now or twenty years from now. I want to retire in two years so my plan was to have one knee done this year, the other one done next year and then the following year in July 2011 retire. At any rate, I went to the Church as I had an appointment with Brother Steve Blanch to have a blessing. As it turned out, Brother Sean Kiewra came with him. I always knew who Sean was, but I didn't really know him personally. I found out he was going on a mission to Lima, Peru. My son-in-law in Utah is from Lima, Peru. Awesome! He leaves in October. I received my blessing but still wasn't feeling quite right. I had some things running through my mind, my main thought being - I have sleep apnea. How will that effect my being put out. In my mind I was thinking I could stop breathing right on the table. Then there was the fear of having a spinal. I am not afraid of needles normally, but the thought of a needle going into my spine just didn't thrill me.
Sister Julie Drogowski, who is a nurse, was there that night and she and I talked about my fears and I was literally crying because I was such a wreck. She reassured me about the sleep apena and the anesthesiologists and the spinal but I still wasn't quite convinced. I had to be at the hospital at 5:00 a.m. to be prepped for surgery.
I didn't sleep much obviously. Mindy and I got to the hospital and I got all ready with that cute little hat they have you wear and one needle in my arm. They couldn't put the other needle in because they could not find another place to do that but would have the anesthesiologist take care of it. The day before, I had to have my potassium checked again because it was low. Due to the fact that not enough pressure was put on the vein when the needle came out, the vein turned black and blue and kinda stuck out of my arm. Great! I thought. That was my best vein. Oh well. And even up to this point a few weeks ago I had to have two iron store infussions which is a good thing to do because of blood loss.
I am so nervous due to my anxiety about my fears that I couldn't concentrate. Before we entered the double doors for surgery, I had to say good-bye to Mindy who was sent down to the first floor waiting room. I am wheeled into this room like a waiting room just before surgery. The nurse on duty knew I was tense and was so nice to put on some soothing music for me. Then the doctor (Seth Greenky) came in to see if I had any questions. Nice time for questions, just moments away from surgery. I told him of my fears. He kind of had this grin on his face and told me it would all be taken care of. Then the anesthesiologist came in as well as his assistant and asked me the same question. So, I told him the same thing. I told him I had sleep apnea and that I wanted to know if they could give me something so I didn't feel the needle in my back. He assured me it would be taken care of.
They had me sit up. The nurse gave me a pillow to hug and she held my shoulders. I think she reached around me for something too, but I am not sure what that was. I felt the anesthesiologist run his finger down my spine, probably trying to find the right place to put the needle in. I felt the cold of the stuff they rub on your back first, but never felt the needle going in. This was the first experience that I had where I knew that Heavenly Father was watching over me or maybe Alex and/or Jesus Christ were there together holding my hand. The next thing I knew I was laying down and I am not sure how I even got there. I heard the nurse say, "I am going to put the catheter in now" and even that was blocked out of my mind. I remember being in a room with a lot of bright lights and that was all I remember....until I heard hammering. When I told this to Mindy afterwards, I think she thought I was delusional. I only heard it for a moment and then must have gone back to la la land. I am thinking now that the anesthesiologist might have known that I heard it or was waking up or something and gave me some more of whatever it is they give you. The next thing I remember is being in the first recovery room. I think there was two recovery rooms I went to.
Mindy couldn't believe how awake and alert I was although I just wanted to go back to sleep. Did I mention I had to bring my C-Pap machine with me? Yep. I don't remember going to my room but I must have.
When Sunday, July 5th rolled around, Brother Steve Blanch and Brother Sean Kiewra came to the hospital to give me the sacrament. I could feel the spirit so strong. I could feel Sean's spirit, someone I barely knew. I knew then too, that he was going to be a great missionary. The sacrament was blessed and I partook of it and was so grateful that they came all the way to the hospital so that I could have it. This was the second experience I had where I knew that the gospel was true, that Jesus is the Christ, that He is the son of Heavenly Father and that he loves me so much. After they left, I took a walk around the nurses station area and had tears streaming down my face because I felt the spirit so strong.
Shortly after, Sister Vivian Deutschman (my visiting teacher), and Sister Carrie Garrow (Relief Society President) came to visit me and I started crying again. They thought I was in pain, but I wasn't. I relayed the happenings to them as I have done here and I just trembled because I have never in my life had a spiritual experience before. I am sure they felt what I was feeling too. As far as the pain goes, I never felt any pain. Not ever. As of today, July 29th, I believe I am way ahead of the game. I am doing so well. I am a survivor of so many things, but I could not do it if it were not the faith that I have in my Savior, Jesus Christ and the love that He and Heavenly Father have for me.
At the end of June we were invited, as a Relief Society, to "Come Closer to Christ in 100 days" by reading the Book of Mormon from beginning to end in 100 days. I know that reading the Book of Mormon each day can keep us in tune with the Lord, we can receive revelation, we can have those spiritual experiences. I am so grateful for this opportunity. I know that Heavenly Father loves us so much and that Jesus Christ is his son who atoned for our sins so that we can have eternal life. I know that the more you study the scriptures the more you want to study them, the more prayerful you become and the more we can have that pure love of Christ in our hearts. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith in restoring the true church to the earth and in bringing forth the gospel. He suffered greatly, and he endured til the end. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today and that we need to heed to his counsel. I know that he receives revelation from God and the things that he counsels us are for our own welfare. I am so grateful for my family as well as my extended family. I love you all. I know that if we stay on the strait and narrow path, repent of our wrong doings, and are obedient to the commandments, that we can have eternal life. What a great promise that is. We will be united with our ancestors and all those that have gone before us. Families are Forever. Life on this earth is so short compared to the eternities. I know that before I came to earth I promised that I would follow Christ, and although I am far from perfect, I strive each day to the best of my ability, to walk in His footsteps. I leave you my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.