“What does GPS stand for?”

The hospital staff all commented on how good Dad looked and were surprised to discover he was eighty-five. I had decided things were going well enough on our second day’s stay to slip away for a four o’clock meeting at work. This was when an incorrect instrument had been improperly inserted by an incompetent aide, causing excruciating pain along with some internal tearing. After the third attempt of thoughtless jabbing, he had yelled, “Cut it out!”

I later found out that the aide had called for the proper tool but was told they were out and should go ahead and try to use the alternative—which was not suited for older gentlemen. Within hours, his normal complication was not normal.

The problem you are experiencing is due to the trauma of your fall and will probably resolve itself naturally. We know your back is hurting but see if you can get up and move around.

“Well, I’d be happy to if you didn’t have these alarms going off every time I try to get up!”

Now Bill, you are a high risk fall patient. They are there for your safety.

“Is that why you keep asking me where I am, who the president is, and what the date is? I’m getting tired of that.”

That’s our baseline reading, Bill.

“Well, it’s making me angry.”

We did laps around the halls surrounding Dad’s room into the wee hours of the morning, hoping all would be well so he could be released the following day. It didn’t work though and he needed another procedure.

Somebody mentioned to him that his condition could be permanent. As his pain grew and strength lessened, the possibility that he might not be able to return to the life he had known occurred to us both. I didn’t say it but Dad did. His usual ageless glow was beginning to fade.

“Dad, what does GPS stand for?”

“Global Positioning System.”

God’s compass, I thought to myself. GPS…..God’s Peace in Suffering….Trust. It always gets down to trust. Experiencing peace regardless of your situation is the way Mom and Dad had taught us—had shown us—to live.

“You’re being tested Dad. You know…Refiner’s Fire…we’re going to get through this. Jesus won’t let you down now. Eyes on the Prize! This is an opportunity for you to show all these people your faith. How would you rather meet Jesus face to face—beaten down but strong in faith or sliding in with ease but doubting?”

“You’re right,” Dad responded.

By our third night’s stay, the interruptions from hospital staff seemed to increase. It didn’t help that Dad’s bed alarm kept going off. It would beep until someone came to turn it off. The more he set it off the longer we waited for them to show up. It was around 2:30 and he was kicking his feet in the tangled mass of sheets and blankets. There was an eeriness that had descended over the room and an attitude of placation coming from the staff.

We had become a problem at the hospital.

Dad wanted out. “We’ve got a seventeen trillion dollar debt in our country! I don’t want to add to it!”

Surrounded by the shadows of the hallway florescence, I thought how Dad had not wanted to come to ER in the first place—how, in his dehydrated condition, he had tried to row himself out of the room. Now we had more questions than answers—I needed information. And I too, needed to trust.


Come to Me, Jesus said to Peter. Walk on the water. (Matthew 14:29)

March 11, 2014


1 thought on ““What does GPS stand for?”

  1. Pingback: Run With the Storm | Sundays With Dad

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