A Split Second!

I am sure that my eyes used to “glaze over” a little when older adults in our church began talking about their illnesses, doctor appointments and exploratory procedures. Now that I am one of those Medicare card-carrying seniors, I have joined the ranks of my peers who delight in droning on with numerous war stories! We had another procedure this week that required general anesthesia. By now we know the regimen because of experiences with past colonoscopies! The drill at the clinic surgery center has become all too familiar!

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This time it was an endoscopy. The first for either one of us. Monique has had a persistent cough for months now and our endocrinologist decided to clinically scope her “food pipe” as he referred to it. Technology has advanced to the point that the scope is equipped to take a biopsy, stretch or dilate any narrowed areas, and it is also fitted with a camera to document everything discovered with numerous pictures. All of this is quite fascinating! At least for the spouse who was a spectator on the sidelines this time!

The sedation given at the time of these procedures is the “best sleep I have ever had,” but it is all too short! The carefully measured Propofol that is administered by the anesthesiologist induces a state of total unawareness of anything! It seems to me that the time from when the doctor is ready to begin and my awakening in the recovery area is a split second. I always have to ask a nurse or look at the clock when I regain consciousness to see how much time has elapsed.

We had a witty and seasoned male nurse attending to Monique this time. He had apparently stepped out of the curtained partition in recovery just before I was summoned from the surgery waiting area. As soon as I pulled back the curtain, I observed that she was still soundly asleep. There was no one else around. So, I just stood by the gurney stroking her hair and face while whispering to her, “Honey, it’s time to wake up.”

No sooner than I had spoken, I was startled with this interruption, “You wake her… you baby-sit her!” I laughed a little, but the nurse had such a deadpan expression that I was not sure if he was joking or serious. I learned shortly, he was “carrying on” and not at all serious! He mentioned that Monique was slowly waking up from a great sleep. He then offered, “We have big guys who boast it takes a lot to put them asleep for procedures. And I tell them, we don’t have any trouble with that! Propofol does the trick every time!” 😉

After my last sedation, I woke up as quickly as I fell under the “Propofol spell!” I told Monique later that I think this is what death will be like. One minute we are awake to this life and the next moment we will awaken to a far greater reality, eternity! I think it will all occur within “a split second!”

The Apostle Paul alluded to this transition from this life to the next when he gave hope to the Corinthian believers with these words, “So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not home with the Lord.” (Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-8). I have passed along this hopeful affirmation at nearly every funeral I have conducted, “To be absent from the body is to be immediately present with the Lord! As we close our eyes to this life, we will instantly open them to a far greater reality – heaven and the presence of the Lord!”

The celebration of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ are reminders that life is moving to that omega point in history when the Risen Christ will appear at His second coming. It will all start with “the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who had died will rise… then, together with them, we who are still alive… will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

The old gospel song refers to the “Great Gettin’ Up Morning!” At graveside services, I often remark, “Someday, this place (referring to the tranquil cemetery setting) will be the busiest and most active of all places on the planet as the dead in Christ are raised up from the dead! On that day there will be resurrected bodies coming up whole and new and all because Christ is the resurrection and the life!”

Our hope is anchored in God’s Word that “everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life” and will be “raised when he comes back!” (1 Corinthians 15:21-23). I can’t wait for that glorious day when in “a split second” it all  begins! Have a blessed Easter! 

“Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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