Little Pieces of Toast

Okay, so this is it. This morning at 11 am (EST) I sign in to ‘day surgery’ at Guelph General Hospital, then at 1pm they wheel me in and start cutting. If all goes well I’ll be home in time for supper.

I had the pre-op appointment yesterday and it was full of assurances that everything was going to work out just fine, my doctor is extremely good at what he does, and I’m healthy enough there should be no difficulties. And, oh yes… due to budget cuts I can’t have a piece of toast anymore when I wake up – layoffs to follow.

That’s right! There was much apologizing for the fact that there would be no toast. Apparently, since a surgery patient can’t eat for 12 hours beforehand, it was their custom to feed them some juice and toast when they woke up to settle the grumbling stomach. When budget cuts came along the toast was the first to go. Now I just get the juice and a biscuit.

I guess everyone has ‘stuff’ with which they struggle; seemingly small stuff to you and I maybe, but it holds meaning for the people involved because it’s indicative of changes they’d rather not see. There are certainly a lot bigger problems in our health care system than supplying toast for day surgery patients, but those who work there see it as ‘just one more thing‘ that takes the joy out of their existence because it reminds them of what might follow – layoffs or whatever other darkness looms on the horizon.

We all have little pieces of toast in our lives. Things that on the surface seem small and insignificant, but we are tempted to fall on our swords to protect them because of what they represent. We cry out against the powers that be, “Come on already! I know it’s tough and we need to make changes, but can’t we at least keep the toast?

If we can keep the toast, if we can manage one small victory as the darkness encroaches, then maybe we will survive this after all. Maybe it will serve as one small glimmer of light to give us some comfort.

So as I head into the hospital today, as much as I completely dread the experience (I haven’t been under the knife since I was 17), I find myself thinking about the nurse in pre-op who felt the need to apologize for the lack of toast. I know she’s feeling a pain of her own and needs prayer and support as much as I do.

So please, gentle reader, if you are inclined to pray for me this day as I endure my ordeal, for which I am truly grateful, then please remember the toast, and also pray for those at the hospital who face an uncertain future. And when you speak to the Father, offer a word for anyone you know who is struggling to hang on to one small comfort in life, that it might help them see their way through the temporary darkness and into a brighter tomorrow.

Until I return from surgery… Shalom

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