Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finding God in the Desert

I was in Las Vegas last week for a conference. Since I like to get to know the landscape of the area, we rented a car so we could drive through the desert.

It was a forbidding place, desolate and absolutely lifeless. There were plants, desert grasses and bushes and cacti, but no animals of any kind. Not even the dead ones on the side of the road. My Honey remarked, "I can see how you could find God here."

I said, "Not God. Satan maybe, but not God." How wrong I was.

Wednesday I woke up and started watching the Today show. All of a sudden I saw bright flashes of light. Matt Lauer's face was mostly obscured by bright yellow flashes. Thsi wasn't good. I had My Honey walk me back to the bed as I couldn't trust what my eyes told me. I thought if I laid down for a while, the feeling would pass. Maybe it was lack of coffee. My Honey went downstairs to get the coffee (another reason I thought this was Satan's in-room coffee) while I laid down with my eyes closed and waited for it to pass. it didn't.He asked me if it was both sides or one. When I determined that it was on the left side only, he said "we're going to the emergency room." I knew he thought I was having a stroke. I thought I was going blind. I don't know who was more scared.

While he was driving me to the hospital, I spied a Redi-Care. We decided to stop there and see what it was. If it was nothing, we'd spend less than an ER visit. If if was something, they'd refer us on. Which is exactly what happened.

They asked for my driver's license, which I must have left in the room. They took my work ID instead, I think seeing how scared and upset I was. The doctor said that something was pressing on the optic nerve or the retina was detaching. Either way, I needed to get to a specialist quickly.

I cried when he left the room. The only thing I knew about detached retinas were that they prevented you from flying. And how was I going to get home? A Mountain Laurel is not a desert flower. I had found that out.

The Redi-Care staff was great. They reassured me and worked hard to get me to a doctor as fast as they could. As I left, they said "don't est anything. If you need surgery, you'll have to have it on an empty stomach." Which wasn't all that reassuring, but I was glad they were honest with me. I had already thought the same thing myself.

Turned out that I didn't have a detached retina, thank God. Which is what I said when the specialist told me. Actually, it was more like "Thank you, thank you Jesus." And I didn't even care who heard. I still need to follow up as I'm at risk for a detached retina, but I didn't need surgery that day.

When I got back to the room, I laid down to wait out the dilation. When I got up, I turned the room upside down for my license. Nothing. So I went down to the hotel security and my conference, where I figured I must have left it. Nothing. But I did file reports and leave my phone number. Not knowing what else to do, I went back up to the room and began turning it upside down again, planning on calling the airlines once I got finished. There, between the couch cushions where I thought I'd looked, lay my license. Once again I thanked God.

See, the thing is that without the doctor visit I wouldn't have needed my license. I might not have noticed it missing till I went to get on the plane. And THAT would have been ug-ug-ugly. So things do work in mysterious ways.

Could all be coincidence, right? I thought that too. Till I read Kit's post about miracles. Go ahead and check the date. That's right...last Wednesday, when I was going though my drama and finding God in the desert.


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Hi again Laurel. I don't know how I missed this post, but found it, and I pray that whatever caused it was just your body having a temporary weird glitch that has corrected itself. You are too fine a person to be hit with something horrible.

Deserts are such strange places, and there all kinds. I was surprised to learn years ago that parts of the ocean is like a desert. Pretty much nothing is there but a sandy bottom floor and water. It's like they are brief interludes that connect to life-rich other places. I wonder what God had in mind when he made them.

Well, I'm just rambling. I wish you well.

Jennifer said...

Wow, that sounds like a scary experience! Glad it wasn't anything serious.

I spend a lot of time in the desert, I absolutely love parts of Utah. My husband and I fly into Vegas when we are visiting southwest Utah (I hate Vegas, love the desert). There actually is a lot of life there, it's just hard to find! Most of it emerges at night this time of year because of the daytime heat. Some kinds of small animals can actually dry up and go into suspended animation for years at a time when there's not enough water. Then during a wet year, bang, they "come back to life." I think it's really amazing.

rebecca said...

That is really scary!!! I'm glad that you didn't need emergency surgery. I hope you get good news at your follow-up.

But yeah, I get what you mean about miracles happening in weird ways like that. Miracles are often disguised in really unusual ways.

MountainLaurel said...

Thanks to all for the good wishes. I'm following up next month on it, and hoping for continued good news.

Kit, I also wonder what the Good Lord had in mind when he made deserts. I don't question his judgment on them (like I do with his decision to make snakes), but I find in them occasions to awe at the majesty. Don't worry about rambles, either...I enjoy them.

Jennifer, I have two cousins in the desert (AZ and CA). They absolutely love it and would not live anywhere else. One reason that I so wanted to get out there was to see the beauty that so awes them. I missed it this time, but I'm sure I'll find it should I keep looking.

Rebecca, this goes along with my general theory on miracles. Perhaps I'm a bit dense and need to be hit over the head so I can see a miracle. Or maybe those are just the ones that stand out. I've been trying to listen to God a bit better lately. Perhaps one day I'll blog that if I can get coherent thoughts. :-)

Chris James said...

Great pic.

We've got a couple roads that end like that in Huntington, much they are much less dramatic, as they end in some guy's soy field.

The Chesapeake-Proctorville Bypass. Another fine project abandoned by ODOT.

RKD said...

Interesting comparison between deserts and oceans. I'm always amazed by the fact that the great flat deserts out around Las Vegas used to be giant lakes (or small seas depending on your perspective). Every time I see them I can't help imagining what it must have been like for that area to be teeming with water. Anyway, one thing for sure, it isn't West virginia out there! And I guess God is where you find him/her/it.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

I love the desert. It's full of life and wonderous things. It's an "edge' environment where everything lives on a tenuous edge. . . a little glitch one way or the other will cause wide spread havoc.

Maybe ya should git ya wunna them plastic Jesus statues fer yer car. . . glue it up there on the dashboard, but be careful it don't innerfear with the swang uh yer fuzzy dice.

MountainLaurel said...

SH, I think I probably should spend more time in the desert. I expected to see what you described, and I didn't. So perhaps more time would help.

And whatever would make you think that I DON'T have a plastic Jesus on the dashboard? With so many Ohio drivers in this area, I certainly need i!