Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Ancient History: Fun in ICU

In the local intensive care unit after my 2011 hemorrhagic stroke, I started waking up at 1 or 2 a.m. 

Such early morning hours pre-stroke had rarely released me from deep sleep. I also experienced boredom, something I had never encountered pre-stroke. 

For a little while I entertained myself with exercises a speech therapist had assigned me.The exercises involving contortions of face, lips and tongue in front of a mirror would send me into spasms of hilarity. But there still remained hours until breakfast and visitors. 

Before the stroke I had been reading in the book of Proverbs in my annual read-through of the Bible. It finally occurred to me that the mornings of extended quiet time presented an ideal opportunity to continue reading. 

When a nurse checked on me, I asked if I could borrow a Bible. He came back shortly with a Gideon Bible.

The first verse I read in Proverbs was 3:23, I think. Or I could have imagined the whole thing. I was floating in and out of consciousness and my own little universe. 

Proverbs 3:23(KJV) "Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble."

I remember thinking God has a funny bone, evidenced by His putting that particular verse before me. At that stage it took two strong ICU nurses helping me just to stand, turn and sit on the bedside potty to take care of business. 

And just in case I didn’t get God’s message, in the next chapter I read Proverbs 4:12(KJV) “When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.” 

That made me chuckle and bask in a certainty that had nothing to do with my abilities, disabilities, determination, or the strength of my faith and everything to do with the character of God. My Lord and Saviour held me in his hand and would never let me go. 

It was days—or maybe weeks—later before I could look back and articulate experiencing the comfort and assurance of God’s never-ending presence with me. 

As more weeks passed, I began to realize that the stroke journey was to be a long one, a lifelong one. I also recognized that I needed to be thankful to God for wiring my damaged brain to find humor and fun everywhere, especially in challenging and potentially embarrassing situations I faced.

I still face challenges old and new, some a bit more daunting than others. But what steadies me is the reality that He was with me then and He will be with me now, whatever happens.



  1. Knowing we have God cheering for us is such a wonderful thing! Especially when He lets us know it!

  2. The promise that He's always with us and holds our hand is so comforting.
    I love that you say your brain was wired with humor and that you took Him at His word.
    Thank you for sharing this. Despite all the difficulties it is uplifting and full of promise.

  3. You have always amazed me with your humor. God gave you a great weapon to fight your circumstances--the ability to find the humor.

  4. I am laughing with you, those verses are perfect and oh so appropriate for the time you read them. i am so glad the stroke did not hamper your sense of humour.. or the ability to read your Bible...