When I was injured at work 17 years ago, at first I was completely unaware of the severity. I knew that most of my clothes had been burned off, but the pain hadn’t really set in. As I had tried to remove my leather boots, I became aware that for some reason I couldn’t get my fingers to work like they should. The first I came to realize just how serious it was, was when a coworker came around a piece of equipment and the look on his face told me that things were bad. A few minutes later when the EMTs had loaded me in the ambulance and we were on the way to the hospital, I had the opportunity to ask the EMT how bad it was. He told me I had been seriously injured, and probably wouldn’t make it. After getting to the hospital I asked the ER Doctor the same question and she told me I had a high mortality injury and had little chance for survival.
Although I was never told the cliche line from the movies “you need to get your affairs in order” that thought did cross my mind several times from when I began to realize how serious it was until I was sedated for helicopter ride to the burn unit. What comes to mind when you think you are going to die? Are there things you need to do? Plans that need to be made? Things that need to be said?
I really wasn’t in a place that I could do much. It wasn’t like I could get more life insurance on the way to the hospital! But I did have to start thinking through “were my affairs in order”? The first thought that ran through my mind was about my salvation. Was I secure that I was “right” with God? As our pastor likes to say, “was I 100% sure I was going to Heaven?” I was secure that I had given my life to Christ back in high school and that I was on a faith journey, although looking back on it, it was a slow journey.
Then came the thoughts of if I died what would happen? Would my family know how much I loved them? Would I get to see them again? Did I have enough life insurance to provide for Carly and the kids? Would she stay in Texas? Where would I want to be buried? Would she be able to figure out how to pay the bills? Would she know where the key was for the safety deposit box was? The list goes on and on. It’s kind of strange how the mind will work.
Fortunately, Carly was able to get to the hospital and we got to say a few words before they sedated me. There really wasn’t much to say other than how much I loved her, and to take care of the kids. There wasn’t a list of instructions, or where she would find the important paperwork or even a helpful reminder about paying the bill for the storage unit we had recently rented. (it almost went to auction before Carly’s dad saved our treasures by catching up on the rent)
The rest of my worries and concerns were unfounded as after my long hospital stay, I was able to survive a horrific burn injury.
A few weeks ago my dad, Keith Bowers, started having some medical issues, testing showed that cancer had returned to a bone at the base of the skull. This was causing inflammation in his brain and causing the medical issues. They started him on a 10 day radiation regime and scheduled him for a PET scan to determine if the cancer was anyplace else. Two weeks ago I went with my parents and younger sister, Amber, to the doctor’s visit to get those PET scan results. The prognosis wasn’t good. The cancer had spread to other areas also. The doctor told us that dad would “need to get his affairs in order” as he might only have 6 months.
So, today, we ask for prayers as we go through this time, as those questions come flooding through our minds and we start having difficult conversations about my dad’s affairs. We pray that you would grasp that life can change in instant and make sure that some of the most important things are taken care of in your own life.