The Casket in the garage
Over the years of fighting cancer, it kicked my butt. I wanted to hear the testimony of a lady who was visiting our synagogue during the week. I sat in the back row with my wife and was going to tough it out. Half way through her wonderful testimony my wife says I was turning ash gray.
“Are you okay?” said my wife Sarah.
“No, we need to go I am very sick.”
My wife called our friend over. He took one look at me and called his son over, and they took me to the car. I could see the concern on the faces of my friends and my wife.
Sarah drove me home and talked to me on the way. I began craving sugar and ate all her mints and the hard candy we had in the car. I felt like I was going to die. The pain was overwhelming, but I insisted to go home. I told her if I am going to die, I will do it at home. My ez-chair became the world where I would sit and fight the pain which was ripping my body apart. I filled my mind with prayers and calling out to God.
“God, if you are going to take me, this is a good time... But I know you have plans for me... Help me!” this was my mantra for three days and two nights.
Months earlier, I was working on updating my final arrangements. I did not want to leave my wife with a mess to deal with when I die. Over the years, I have kept all my important documents in a two-inch ring binder. It sits on my desk in a pigeonhole.
The agreement I had made earlier at a local funeral home would no longer honor our agreement and want way too much money.
The next Shabbat during our Oneg I brought this up with the Rabbi and the elders. Rabbi assured the fellow ship would perform the service. Randy, one elder, stepped up. He is a veteran and has a wood shop. He has the specification the VA requires for a Jewish casket and he would make one. He has a friend in Old Town who owns a funeral home; I was to call him to make the arrangements.
I call Randy’s friend and gave him the information and He will honor the burial insurance I have. Now my wife can have the other life insurance to help her when I am gone. I worked all the details out.
It has been three days wanting to die in my ez-chair and Sarah talks me into going to the Hospital. Before leaving, I called Randy.
“Sarah has convinced me I should go to the hospital, and the pain is so bad I just want to die.”
“You have put quite a scare in all of us. I am just about done with your casket, and everyone at the synagogue is praying for you,” said Randy.
Once we arrived at the County Hospital, the ER Doctor came in. He asked, what is the problem?
“The pain is overwhelming. Can you help me?”
“You’re a junkie, and I have nothing to offer you... you can leave.”
I called the patient advocate; I explained I had been going through treatments at the hospital for my cancer. And how the ER Doctor treated me and I need some help. I called the Doctor’s office in the same hospital and told him I was there and I had called the patient advocate.
It wasn’t long before the Doctor who had been treating me for cancer sends his PA down to check on me; He was in surgery.
Later the ER Doctor returned and apologized. He gave me the hair of the dog and the pain left slowly. After looking over my medical records, he said they addicted me to opioids. I had been on 45 mg fentanyl and taking oxycodone 10mg. When the Doctor had reduced the Fentanyl to 35mg to wean off the drug, I went into with drawls.
I requested to be admitted to their program at the hospital to help me off opioids. His response was he would check into it. The VA in Spokane was full at their mental facility. The ER Doctor admitted me to the Hospital there. After three days, they transferred me to the VA. I spent twenty-one days in rehab, in the mental ward.
During that time God present me with several opportunities to serve him. I started a Bible study and my wife brought me my harmonica. Couple of guys had their wives bring their guitars and in our free time we played music and praise God in our Bible studies.
The Doctor planned to release the five of us; she told me before I left. Hope you know you have made a great impact on the surrounding people.
“It is not from me, but who lives in me. For to live is Christ to die is gain.”
“It has been an honor to know you and you and your friend will leave this afternoon.”
When I returned home Randy called and said do you have a place for this casket, it is taking up a lot of space in my shop.
“Sure, bring it over and I will put it in my garage.”
As we unloaded the casket in to my garage, I told him the story.
“You know if I take a turn for the worst I will have Sarah bring the casket and lay it by my bed. That way, when I know it’s my last breath, I will roll over into the casket and save you all the trouble. “
“I can see you still have your sense of humor, all the fellowship has been praying for you.”
This was three years ago. I have since been through fourteen months of treatment PRRT. And the result has given me a new lease on life. The cancer has been reducing in size and it has stopped growing. I account this to the continuous prays of my brothers and sisters and the doctors and nurses who used their gifts to heal me.
Till god calls me home I have a full schedule, to seek his plan each day.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)