I´ll try and keep this short, because that´s exactly how it happened in real time, just a few days ago. I was sitting in the hospital having come to visit my Tata who, yet again, was resigned to her unfortunately incessant treck from the emergency room to a hospital bed for a good few days to re-coop from her latest medical mishap. An Italian doctor, doctor Benninni, (very fun to say), was my Tata´s first doctor upon her arrival to the E.R. here in Napa Valley.
Just to catch you up…My Tata is 88 years young and recently underwent the infamous whipple surgery to treat her diagnosed pancreatic cancer. After that surgery, which was a success, she developed softball- sized pockets of fluid collection that normally would pass right on through her body. The pockets are the bodies way of trapping and at least containing an infection ifthe body is not doing its normal day-to-day job of getting rid of such fluids. It´s pretty neat when you think about…the body is so ingeniously designed…it acts in our best interest often times without us even being aware there was even a threat to address. Anyway, this fluid led to isolated infection in and around the still healing mid-section of my Tata.
Long description short, these pockets were all but taken care of weeks ago when doctors in San Francisco surgically transfixed a constant drain on my Tata´s side in order to drain these crazy softball pockets. Sounds good, seemed to work, in fact she was thought to not have had any more fluid collection at all. But, fast forward to the last three days…my Tata complained of stomach pain, and upon having to be taken to the Italian E.R., she was shown her own brand new, that-evening x-ray…showing a huge remnant of the third, thought-to-be-dead-and-drained, pocket. It had become an “extra big softball” in Benninni´s own words…which I think was code for pumpkin, or mandolin–sized ball of bad. It was rather sweet how he tried to not freak my Tata out.
So, there we sat, having just heard the Italian diagnosis, via x-ray. My Tata was scheduled to have it drained the following morning, which unfortunately because of bureaucracy and the decorum within competing doctors, meant she was going to have to go all the way back to San Francisco, which we had to experience without it being at least a 3-day ordeal, regardless of how little work they had to do.
Fast forward. After all this long E.R. had commenced she fell asleep pretty quickly. I always feel bad when I know I haveto wake her from sleep, which is always a reprieve from the otherwise very real pain always with her…but, tis her wish that I say goodbye while she is awake. It also helps that when she´s on as much synthetic morphine as she was that she can fall back to sleep as quickly as she awoke and mumbled goodbye, une beso, in only ways Morphine can make you speak.
I was getting ready to leave and then I thought…(sigh…) Why not…What´s the worst that could happen. I suppose she just have to have doctors try and heal her. I said this in response to my inner conviction to not just pray for her, which I had been doing, but to simply, powerfully, and even matter-of-factly lay hands on the sick in order that they would be healed…like the Bible tells us to believe and do. So, I did that. It felt quaint, secret, and so powerful that it was as if the universe was tip-toeing on out through my fingers on to her need.
After I finished, I sat up, thanked God regardless of whether or not He chose to work this miracle in her, and went on my way, trying my best to wade on through my unbelief to a place where I knew He could do this kind of jazz in His sleep…haha, and in hers.
When I came back the following morning I found my Uncle Mike already visiting her at her bedside, keeping her company like a good son should. A very normal and peaceful half hour proceeded to pass on by, filled with awkward, contorted, neck-bending, in order to watch the hospital room t.v., and random laughing as we knew we would not otherwise be watching this show, save for our situation.
Then, Egypt walked in the room. Enter a one, Dr. Vazziri (also fun to say). This was my Tata´s specialist, who had walked through her entire surgery back here as much as he could in Napa before she actually went and had the surgery in S.F. If any one knew was needed to be done, it was him. He came in, sat down across from her and I, and started talking in a voice that I would have never guess he owned in a million years. He spoke about how she simply needed to stay on top of her bowel movements, and how that should probably take care of everything pain-wise. He explained a little bit about how his new, that-morning x-ray (different from Dr. Benninni´s) had shown no pockets…only a small unaggressive spot on her liver, which her pending chemo should get.
My Tata basically agreed and thanked him for everything he explained to her and was about ready to let him go. But not me. He asked me if I had any questions. I said, Yeah, where´d her Volkswagen-sized pocket of fluid go? He just laughed genueinely, in a laugh that I would have guessed he did own. He said, What pocket. I told him about the Italian x-ray and how the x-ray had shown a major source as to why she was probably having this pain.
Then the coolest thing ever happened. He stood up, and I kid you not, dropped a beautifully, inspiring sermon on my Tata´s ears. He talked about how he was a man of faith, how he recently come to faith, and although he was a doctor, he was convinced there were certain things out of his control, out of everyone´s control, and solely left up to God to decide upon. He was happily and excitedly clapping people on the back, which was funny since he only had two of us, minus the bed-resigned Tata, to slap on the back…both my Uncle Mike and I. So, after a few dozen or so Middle-Eastern touches on the shoulder and back, this great man gets ready to leave the room, after making my Tata cry tears of joy…but not of course before he jogs back in from the hall/doorway, across the tiny room, around the bed, and gives her a huge hug…that I´m sure broke every rule when it comes to protocolbetween patients and doctors. I sat quiet, elated, and mustered up a “Praise God” just loud enough so he could hear it, to which he gave me another back pat/rub on his way out.
I´ve been trying to get my family to hone in on exactly what happened. I told them about how I had laid hands on her, and about how all the doctors and nurses in the area whispered and wondered what exactly did happen. Outside her room I heard the faint buzzings of what an area in 1st century Jerusalem must´ve sounded like after Jesus busted out some miracle. How righteous did it cut through the air. I felt like walking around and baptizing everyone right then and there! I am pondering more deeply than ever before how simple, crazy mysterious and necessary miracles are to His Kingdom. They are overflowing from Heaven and God most certainly wants to get rid of them and unleash to us below. That said, what a fascinating experience…how all those miracle passage in Scripture will take on a whole new light now.
All I know, as my family, and I, continue to ponder God´s miracle further, is that somewhere between Italy and Egypt, God gave a Peruvian a miracle from the inside out.