This isn’t the day I had planned. Today, December 21st, I was supposed to be travelling to Maryland to enjoy a Christmas production featuring Commissioned, the Winans and Tamela Mann. Earlier in the week there were nursing issues threatening the trip, and frankly, I wasn’t bothered by the idea of canceling at that point. For some reason I had not built-up any excitement about it so the idea of not going didn’t bother me. But then, the nursing problem was resolved and all the pieces fell into place. Additionally, there was a strong possibility of meeting Fred Hammond through a close family friend, which would’ve been great! Now, I’m excited! Jennifer, along with Pamela Learned and Danielle Lewis had managed to plan a weekend that would include not only the previously mentioned event, but attending my church and Longwood Gardens for their Christmas display! I was genuinely hyped…and it all fell apart!
A malfunction with my wheelchair derailed EVERYTHING at the last minute! I was crushed. This is where the assault begins. The enemy combined with my humanistic mind conducted a multi-fronted attack to depress me. They used weapons such as:
– This is just one more preventable event that you have to suffer through alone while everyone around you happily enjoys life.
– I’m lying in the same spot I was yesterday, and the day before that; and tomorrow, the day after that…
– Serves me right for looking forward to anything.
– There were other possible options but you weren’t given the opportunity to explore them.
– Few people REALLY understand or care what you’re feeling, they visit your world, leave a kind word or two, and they’re gone.
– Once again, your holiday will be just like any other unremarkable day.
– To add further insult, now your daytime nurse is sleeping.
Then came this thought…where were you one year ago today? Well, that’s easy. I was laying on a stretcher waiting to have my tracheotomy and feeding tube surgeries done. It was cold, crowded and uncomfortable in the holding area. It was similar to boarding an airplane, being seated, then being informed of an hour or so delay for weather. Jennifer and I sat for what felt like hours, watching the clock and other patients being wheeled into their procedures. While waiting I had Jennifer make phone calls to my oldest brother, Dwayne Bowens (it’s his birthday) and to my old job (CYR) where we spoke to homie Charron and my other mother, Mrs. Coleman. Afterwards, I was ready. Jennifer kissed my forehead, assuring me she’d be there when I came out. I was wheeled in, transferred to the table, introduced to the surgical personnel and asked to count backwards from 10, 9, 8…
Light peeking through half-closed eyelids, then suddenly awake! I can’t breathe! My nose isn’t working! I’m trying to tell Jennifer, the nurse, ANYONE I cannot breathe! They’re telling me to relax, telling Jennifer I’m okay. OKAY? #@!*!! I’m trying my best to scream…nothing. Suddenly exhausted and resigned to die, I stopped trying to breathe, and the breath came (that’s another sermon for another day).
This was the beginning of a new life for me. I’d spent 15 years on the other side of this. So many years of Linda Vitale carrying that dreaded admissions notice; the trache patients meant lots of extra work added to an already overstuffed workload. Now I WAS that extra. But flash forward 365-days and I’m doing wonderful! I’ve exceeded my expectations manifold! I was literally waiting to die! But God said LIVE!
I have learned to trust what He says over what I see, hear or feel. So concert, Fred Hammond, Longwood Gardens, Covenant Fellowship…I’ll catch on another day. But I choose to rejoice on THIS day rather than lamenting and resenting! And I look forward to Christmas even though it’s not really the day Christ was born, and it was previously a pagan holiday celebrating winter solstice; it’s the day set aside to recognize His arrival. Without which there would be no eternal hope! So as you give, receive and love, don’t forget to acknowledge He, whom we celebrate! Love ya Fam!