On occasion, something happens in my life that after-the-fact I find myself wondering if that was divinely planned. This past week, I got into a tussle with my table saw. A freakish sort of accident that ended up sending me to the hospital and ended up connecting my wife with a mother who is facing similar challenges as we have.
I mentioned to the attending physician (as she attempted to cut the wedding band off my damaged finger) that the real tragedy is not that I’m in the hospital, but that my wife and I were having a relatively enjoyable time there. This past weekend was a “respite weekend” and as such, we were free of the care of Bethany for a few days. For us this trip to the ER was a rather exciting date. We were laughing, chatting with people, actually doing something together!
While the Physician’s Assistant began the process of stitching my hand back together, I mentioned about this being a respite weekend and what that entailed. The Physician listened and then cautiously asked a few questions that quickly lead us to believe she knew more than she let on to. It’s not uncommon for us to connect with other parents of special needs children and shortly after I made the comment about “the quiet, vibrant underworld of special needs kids, their parents and the mystical support system beneath them”, a careful connection was made.
We always marveled at the complex and convoluted world of mental health care. Of all the professions that should require clear and compassionate direction, this one has anything but. Between the complex nature of mind/brain dysfunction and the societal stigma surrounding the topic, its no wonder that this profession is enigmatic. You’re not sure if it’s smiling or grimacing. We’d always considered ourselves as petty smart but after one trip to the Community Mental Health office, we realized that intelligence has nothing to do with understanding and functioning within a bureaucracy.
It became clear to the physician that we knew of her concerns and slowly the discussion grew more similar. “How do you do this”, and “what did you do about that”? The list of shared tests, diagnoses, symptoms, dreams and desires grew in frequency and enthusiasm. We’d made a connection! Our network continued to grow and for once, we were able to introduce someone else to support they didn’t know existed.
On the drive home, I had to ask Sherry, “do you suppose that I cut my hand so that we could share that information and make that connection?” “I don’t know, maybe” was her response. We frequently think about those little instances. My injury was but a fraction of a millimeter away from being devastating. The cut, in such a bizarre location, defied logic, the whole accident, so inexplicable. We wonder if there was a purpose and a limit to the injury, not unlike the limits the Lord placed on Satan when he offered up Job in the Bible. What else could explain the delightful evening, the pleasant connections, the lack of pain, and the expediency of the emergency treatment?
People tell me that I’m lucky. I assume they’re talking about the “near miss” but the smile I return to them and the “yeah, sure am” in reality has little to do with fortune and fingers.