Updated: Dec 18, 2020
As we ended our online Bible study for this year, we studied Mary, the blessed mother of Jesus and looked at how we are just like her. Little did I know when we signed off that night, God was about to take me on a field trip — a hands-on learning experience if you will.
For 18 months, we have been battling issues in Shane’s knee. What began as a routine knee replacement in May of 2019 developed into a persistent staph infection resulting in 3 more surgeries to get rid of the infection and the placement of a temporary spacer — something to basically keep his muscles in the right place while the antibiotics killed the infection. (It’s a little more involved than that — but you get the picture.) He had IV antibiotics for weeks on end and lots of visits to our favorite infectious disease doctor. Finally, the staph was gone and the date for a new knee replacement was set — December 11.
Shane was the first surgery of the morning. It went perfect. The surgeon said,
“He’ll be a new man when he wakes up.”
Little did that doctor know what he was prophesying. As I sat in the lobby and waited for Shane to be moved from recovery to a room for the weekend, I began to text all of you and relay the good news. This ordeal was finally over. Shane would be walking by Christmas!
I hear, “Code Blue in the OR, Code Blue in the OR, doctor stat.” Now I’m a lot of things but one thing I’m not is up on medical jargon.
That phrase sounded real important and kinda emergency like — and I looked around the room wondering whose family member was “code blue” but kept right on texting our family the good news. About 15 minutes later, a nurse walks in the lobby and says, “Butler family. I need a member of the Butler family.” Well that’s me. And I thought, “Dang, they got him in a room quick.” So I gathered up my blanket and my 20 lb bag with all the junk I’d brought to be prepared for a day in the hospital. The nurse was so kind and offered to help and instructed me to sit in consult room 2 and wait on the dr.
I thought, “Wait a minute. I’ve already been in consult room 2 and talked to the dr. What else does he need to tell me?” And then it hit me. The Holy Spirit said, “Get ready.” And that first point in the story of Mary came to my mind:
1. NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING gets to God’s children that hasn’t come to Him first.
The Doctor arrived looking ever so solemn. The nurse’s eyes were red. He very calmly and quietly said,
“Your husband’s heart stopped in recovery. We gave him a few chest compressions and a shot. He’s now being transferred to the other hospital because they’re better equipped to handle these situations.”
There it was. My first hands-on experience on this field trip. As I sat there staring at the Doctor — mask across my face, 20 lb bag hanging on my shoulder, Shane’s ring on my finger — incredibly I felt the most surreal sense of calm and peace. And I said, “What do I need to do?” The next few minutes seemed to last forever before they told me where to go. I called my kids and told them what happened. They were on their way.
When the 2nd nurse came in carrying all of Shane’s things, reality began to set in concerning the magnitude of the current situation. Somehow — no, it was the Holy Spirit who gave me the presence of mind to ask her if she’d seen Shane. And she had. She saw him being loaded into the ambulance. And he was stable. And he wasn’t intubated. And now, I was to go to the ER to the big hospital across town.
And that’s when the 2nd point in the story of Mary hit me:
2. Immanuel. God With Us.
There was no way I was going to get through whatever was unfolding without God right there with me. So I headed to the hospital.
As we all know, Covid changes everything. So there was no rushing headlong into the ER lobby and shouting, “Where’s my husband!?” No, I had to walk in one entrance, get the temperature taken, fill out the little sticker and state my reason for the visit. It was at that point, the lady who was doing all of the protocol stuff stood up and said,
“In Jesus’ name I pray for this woman and her husband. I pray, Father, You’d heal him in Jesus’ name!”
And then she looked at me and said, “I’ll be sitting out here praying until I hear from you.” So I went on in the ER lobby and told them why I was there. The nurse said, “Ma’am, you have to wait 15 more minutes before you can go back there because we have our patients in triage for 30 minutes. And it’s only been 15.”
Whaat??? You are telling me I can’t go see my husband who just took an ambulance ride after a code blue (I knew what it meant by now) and I have to sit and wait 15 minutes and fill out some papers?? Woman, we are frequent flyers at this hospital — just look it up on your little computer there. That’s what my mind was screaming. But the Lord had my mouth shut, and I just sat down by the coke machine filling out all of those papers. Sure enough, in about 15 minutes here comes another nurse and she says, “He’s asking for you.” Girl — I was about to sprint down that hallway and I had no idea where the man was located! She just kept directing me from behind, “Turn left here! 3rd door on the right!”
And there he was. A little green around the gills, a little loopy and in bad need of a haircut — but he was alive and his eyes were open and his mouth was moving and his fingers were pointing.
He said, “Where am I?” I kinda giggled and said, “Well, Butler, you’re never gonna believe this...”
The rest of the day was filled with cardiac testing and CT scans and labs and lots of laughing at Shane’s commentary on the whole deal. Late that afternoon, his knee surgeon came by and told me and the kids how bad things really were —he gave us all the story blow by blow. Like how the nurses worked for 10 minutes to get his heart rhythm correct. When he finished, I felt a little weak in the knees and Callie was shaking like she’d drank 5 cups of coffee.
I stayed at the hospital pretty late that night. We watched the National Finals Rodeo like we’d done all week. There was a lot of “I love you’s” said and quite a bit of hand holding. Around 11:00, we decided it was time for me to go home. It was really quiet walking down the hallway to the elevator. When I hit the button to go down, this song popped in my head — it’s from a Chris Tomlin Christmas album and the chorus says, “My soul, my soul, magnifies the Lord, my soul, magnifies the Lord. He has done great things for me — great things for me!” And that was the next point from the lesson of Mary for me to learn in my hands-on learning experience:
3. The Bible encourages us to sing to God.
And so I did. All the way back to Bullard. All the way down the driveway. As I walked in the house and stood by the Christmas tree, I sang in thankfulness to God.
I began to remember the last 18 months — the IV pic line that ran from his arm directly to his heart, the antibiotics that took up 1/3 of the fridge space for so long, the pain meds that gave him nightmares, the bandages that were always soaking through, the alarms in the middle of the night because the IV pump quit working, always being tired from sleeping in a smaller bed so he can get out of it easier, that scooter that got him around but also caught every doorway in the house. Mostly the fact of Shane not walking for soooo long. Has it really been 18 months? Gosh where did time go? And the Lord said, “There’s your final point in Mary’s lesson for you to learn in your hands-on experience:"
4. The nights are long, but the years are short.
It’s a week later and Shane is doing great. Currently he’s snoring over there in that little bed we’re sleeping in until he can get around better. But he is getting around better. The scooter is parked and he’s using “Pat and Ben”—pat his foot and bend his knee! Christmas is right around the corner—there’s excitement every time the grandkids come over in anticipation of the big day!
But tonight, as I’m sitting here writing the report on my field trip — I believe I’ll sing again: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant...for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name.” Luke 1:46-49
Buy "What About Her" and read the full Chapter on Mary!
Keep a look out for the full video version of Mary's lesson on our FB page below!