Evelyn R. Smith: The day the Lord covered me with his wings
God's promise in Psalm 91:4, He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and protection, has been mine many times in my life. Recently, I remembered that verse as I watched a replay of the 50th anniversary celebration of Dr. King's march on DC, in August 1963.
It was a 50th anniversary for me, too. On August 28, 1963, I lay in a hospital bed in Memorial Hospital, watching the original MLK march on DC. For six months before that, I had an intermittent pain in my right side that just wouldn't go away. I kept popping in and out of Dr. Jerry and Jean Cavender's office, but on examination, nothing appeared to be wrong. I had been on Darvon continually for six months to control the off and on spasms of pain.
Ted and I had planned a trip to Williamsburg, VA, and on Saturday, August 24, we were working in our yard to get it in shape for us to leave for a week. I was mowing the grass when the pain just suddenly went away. For the first time in six months, the right side of my body was completely relaxed and pain free!
Delighted, I said to Ted, "I am going to call Dr. Jean to tell her the pain has disappeared." I ran up the back stairs of our home to the phone.
Now, please divert with me for a moment. This event occurred 50 years ago. Can you imagine--today in 2013-- a patient calling her doctor on a Saturday afternoon to tell her a pain had gone away?
Fifty years ago, no one could have imagined that the day would come when a family physician could treat you only in his/her office. Or, that your family doctor would not be able to check you into the hospital; nor would they be in charge of your care while you were in the hospital. I do believe if my physician had been an "office doctor" in 1963, I would not have lived to tell this story.
When Dr. Jean answered the phone, her reaction was not what I expected. With an urgency in her voice, she said, "That is bad news, not good news, let me speak to Ted." I put the phone down and yelled for Ted. "Dr. Jean wants to speak to you--right now!" He dropped what he was doing and bounded up the stairs. In a minute, he hung up he said, "We're going to meet Dr. Cavender in the emergency room - and she said not to delay -- we're going right now!"
It was Saturday evening, I was barefoot, in shorts, with grass stains all over my feet and legs. My clothes were dirty from working outside all day. My hair needed washed--and I felt just FINE.
My reply was firm: For the first time in 6 months I was pain-free and my doctor was demanding I meet her at the hospital? I told Ted that both she and he were crazy! Ted ignored me, picked me up, and carried me to the car.
I was sleepy when we arrived at Memorial Hospital, where our car was met with a stretcher. Dr. Jean greeted me, and introduced me to Dr. John Crites, who was on duty that Saturday evening. "He will do the surgery," she said. I awoke in the recovery room a few hours later to find that one of my ovaries had ruptured. That rupture had relieved pressure in my side, and therefore the pain had gone.
Had I not called to tell Dr. Cavender that I was no longer in pain, I would have died from internal bleeding.
Truly, the promise in Psalm 91:4, was mine that day, and Dr. Jean must have heard the still small voice of our God, as well. As both my family physician and admitting doctor, she was at my side every moment during the ordeal.
In a few days -- once they found out I didn't develop an infection, they sent me home with no complications.
However, before Dr. Crites released me, he came to my hospital room for a "little talk," as he described it. He wanted to know why I had arrived at the emergency room, barefoot with green stains all over my feet and legs? I laughed and told him I'd been mowing grass. He didn't think it was funny.
Instead, he lectured me on the dangers of mowing grass while barefoot, and described the many injuries he had seen from lawn mowers. "You could have arrived with your foot cut off," he said. Then he asked me to promise him I'd never do a thing like that again. I solemnly promised, and purchased the proper footwear for mowing grass.
Each year, as our country remembers Dr. King's march on Washington, DC, I silently thank God for my brilliant and caring family doctor who got me to the hospital in spite of the fact that I insisted that there was not one thing wrong with me!
As God's child, I can claim the promises from Verse 11, from Psalm 91, as well. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
Oh, the comfort of having walked with the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior for 70 years now! Whatever is ahead, I know I can trust Him -- even with my very life!