If all things go well, Mark should be on his way home by tomorrow afternoon. His therapy is progressing and we both feel confident (in a very relative, shakey, insecure way) that we can handle things on our own. Of course, there is a bit of anxiety, but overwhelmingly we feel relieved to be out of the hospital setting. I spent the day picking up medical equipment and rearranging our bedroom to squeeze in his hospital rent-a-bed. Remember those Craftmatic adjustable bed commercials? Yeah, it’s sort of like that. If only our insurance would pitch in for “The Clapper”.

Mark has been feeling better physically, and we were told yesterday that the abdominal x-ray showed nothing noteable. The doctors and assuming at this point that Mark simply has an “irritable bowel”. Now, I can see those of you who know Mark well laughing and thinking to yourself, “no duh!”.

It’s amazing to think that Mark has been in the hospital now for a whole month. We were reflecting on it yesterday, and talking about all of the blessings we’ve seen in the midst of it. God has given Mark an amazing ability to be content, patient, and confident while he’s been in the hospital. (Of course, I’ve tried to make up for those deficits of fear and anxiety by personally freaking out on a daily basis, but I digress . . ) I’ve seen Mark live contentment and complete faith in God every step of this journey.

God has showed His hand in other ways, too. We’ve grown closer to each other and to our family and friends, and God has revealed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he has blessed us with people in our lives who love us and care for us. We have both learned a hard lesson in accepting help from others, in every way imagineable. We have been overwhelmed with love for our community and church. God is also gaining glory at UCIMC. Mark is know all over the hospital as “the pastor who stopped to help people and survived a deadly accident”. Mark is a favorite with the nurses and therapists on the floor. (We’d like to think it has to do with his awesome attitude, but in truth it may have more to do with the Trader Joe’s chocolates we keep by the door. . . and very little to do with that flattering hospital gown. ouch.) At any rate, Mark has wasted no opportunity talking to the nurses and care staff about his faith. I also think that the constant influx of people bringing meals and praying over Mark has touched the staff as well. Our experience has been such a contrast in the rehab unit, where patients are often very angry and lonely. One of Mark’s occupational therapists, who is not a Christian, brought her boyfriend in to meet Mark today, and Mark invited them to Easter. So seeds are being planted even now.

It’s bittersweet to leave the hospital, because there really have been some incredible people caring for Mark. We’ll miss the awesome staff, the room service, the fresh sheets, and that blessed, blessed, call button by the bed. But we won’t miss the drive to Orange in morning traffic, the half-mile walk from the parking lot, the creaky hospital cot and the lack of cell phone reception. (Wait, is this supposed to be about Mark?) Okay, Mark won’t miss the middle-of-the-night vital signs check, the flourescent lights and bright-white walls, the lack of privacy, the hospital cuisine, and the funny antiseptic smell. Not to mention constantly mooning people as he walks down the hall. Oh wait, he did that before. Guess it’s a prexisting condition. So anyway, say a little prayer that Mark will make his prison break on schedule and be able to go to the Easter service!