“When you wake up, you’ll be in another room.” Those were the last words I remember Dr. Timmons, an I.C.U. doctor at Timmins and District Hospital, saying before I was intubated. I was exposed to someone wearing perfume at a business, which caused me to go into anaphylaxis. Many of you have read I have an extremely rare auto immune condition called mastocytosis. I have way too many mast (immune and systemic) cells. It was a terrifying experience for me. An awake intubation didn’t work. That’s when Dr. Timmins said, “Kevin, the plan has changed. I’m going to need to put you to sleep.” I was told by Dr. Savita Kalra, an internal medicine doctor and physician in charge of my care, that the anesthesiologist had to help Dr. Timmons by using fiber optics, to see what narrow opening in my throat remained. The anesthesiologist put pen markings on my neck in the event a tracheotomy would be needed. Thankfully, that was not necessary.
As I recover I reflect on those last words of Dr. Timmons before I was put to sleep and intubated. “When you wake up, you’ll be in another room.” For those who believe in God we know when our work is done, He takes us to another room, an eternal room in Heaven. There is no more sorrow or pain there. The struggles of our earthly life are over.
I got thinking though how every day we choose the way we shall live. We can be loving; we can be cruel. We can be angry; we can be glad. We can be hopeful; we can be hopeless. We can live a life loving others; we can be indifferent. We can be bickering; we can be building up others. We can hold on to the past; we can be healed of our inner pain, and embrace our future. We can hold on to grudges; we can grow by forgiving those who hurt us.
I too have a choice. I could hold on to my rage at the insensitive comments of others like these. “Kevin will need to stay home. He’s like the boy in the bubble. I’m going to choose to wear my scented products because I like it. I don’t care about you being allergic to them.” Karen says to these people: “You think your right to stink pretty supercedes my husband’s and the rights of others to live.” “You need to get Kevin away,” says the allergist, Karen says, “Away from Toronto?” The allergist responds.“No, off this planet.” I choose to forgive these people. I pray God will fully carry out the forgiveness in my heart. Sometimes, people say these things because they don’t know what else to say. They say something without thinking. That I do understand. What infuriates me though is those who willfully choose to wear their scented products, knowing it can be debilitating and life-threatening to people with conditions like mast cell activation disease, mastocytosis and multiple chemical sensitivity. They are playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with our lives. We have an equal right to full inclusion in society, work and educational opportunities as those without these challenging conditions.
You and I have choices. What room will we choose to live in? Will it be one that encourages or erodes others? God leaves the choice with us. When we wake up, when God gives us a call of the way we should live our life, how will we live it?
I pray we all choose the right room with God – one of light, not darkness, one of giving, not greed, one of tolerance, not intolerance and one of reaching out to others with the enduring message of God’s love for all.
Kevin and Karen Osborne are Christian pastoral counsellors and psychotherapists. Kevin is studying to become a psychologist and professor of Psychology. He feels called to also be a chaplain. We have started You Can Hope Again Counselling. Karen enjoys doing cross-stitch while I like writing and singing songs. Karen makes me laugh when she sings the kitty bed-time song saying, “It’s that time. It’s the bestest kitty time of the day!” Kevin enjoys teasing the kitties and making them do kitty dances with music. Their kitty, Catherine, loves it when kitty daddeh sings All Things Bright and Beautiful. Kevin likes doing impressions. He tells children’s stories and helps others with their problems using his hand puppet, Dr. Teddy, who is a therapy bear. He is a partner with us in our counselling practice.We are available to assist with worship and preaching to give busy pastors and ministers a much-needed break. We offer in-office, and phone counselling to anyone in the world.