Covid hit the country and our little personal universe in March, 2020. On Saturday, March 7, of that year, we were with our son and his family at Sea World for a fabulous day. This photo marks my memory of that magical experience.
I remember seeing hand sanitizers on the counter of a food stand at Sea World on that day, and thinking, “that is a novel idea…” Little did we realize what was coming. That next week the long fog of Covid began to descend across the USA, and around the globe.
In early December of 2020 Covid hit our small retirement village with a vengeance with over 125 cases recorded before it subsided. We lost three residents to heaven at that time, and three other men came down with very serious cases that required many days of hospitalization.
Back in early July of this year Connie began to suspect that she might have contracted Covid — again. This was da ja vu, right? We borrowed a home test kit from a friend and botched it. So, what do we do now on a late Saturday afternoon? We decided to head for CVS because they bailed out Connie with a medical need right after Hurricane Irma visited our area in 2017. You go back to a trusted place, right?
In a few minutes we went out the door with a large plastic bag containing 16 free test kits courtesy of the United States government. At home we botched the first test attempt, but then — we strike it rich and successfully test. Connie has Covid; I don’t. Not yet. Now what do we do?
We vowed to call the emergency phone number of our trusted Maxwell Medical Group in the morning. The weekend medical emergency person did a marvelous job getting through to Dr. Maxwell and called us back very soon. By 10:00 A.M., on Sunday morning, I was at our Walmart pharmacy when they opened. But they were out of Paxlovid already, and the pharmacist told me he already checked with their sister store 10 miles north. I said what about CVS? He called the man who had given us 16 test kits the night before. When I walked into CVS, that same pharmacist spied me and called out, “I’m filling your order right now.” That is God’s grace in action!
Since then and before, there have been several twists and turns, but through it all our Lord has been faithful. Plus, a number of medical personnel have come alongside to help us navigate the pathway. These experiences have caused me to reflect on the five wonderful doctors God has given me in my life — and four of them Connie and I have shared. Let me introduce you to them. God’s grace has been evident all along our journey.
Dr. Titus Johnson – delivered me at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago in 1941. About five years later he took my tonsils out in the same hospital. What I’ve learned since is that this family friend spent his entire medical career shuttling back and forth between Swedish Covenant and the Congo. Dr. Johnson is a legend in missionary medicine and a book tells his story.
Dr. Harold McGinnes – was a fine surgeon when I served in Normal, Illinois, as a youth pastor and later with AACS. He called me at a hotel one night while I was on a ministry trip in Mississippi to tell me he performed emergency surgery on Connie and removed a very diseased appendix. What a blessing this godly physician was to our little family. He would say, “All healing is divine. God just gave me the privilege to participate in the process. I cut out the offending part, and God heals the body.” I still have this well-worn book in my library from him.
Dr. Omer Tveten – became our family doctor in St. Paul, Minnesota when I assumed the pastorate in 1970. His practice was in a simple building on Payne Ave, but he was beloved by the community. This dedicated bachelor physician served our family for over 30 years until my mother moved to Idaho prior to her homegoing.
Dr. Ron Hughes – became our wonderful doctor and good personal friend during our 18 years in Rocky Mount, NC. Ron was a fellow deacon when he advised me to have a Stress Test in 2003 that led to my life-saving quintuple by-pass heart surgery. Ron and his wife Toni are dear friends.
Dr. Marvin Maxwell – then coming to Florida, the Lord led us to our beloved family doctor, Dr. Maxwell, and his whole staff at Maxwell Medical Clinic. This is the faithful doctor who has shepherded us through many medical challenges since moving to Maranatha Village – including two bouts with Covid.
Our Lord has given us many other fine medical professionals over the years, and especially in these “retirement” years in Florida. We listen to their direction and trust God for His guidance and protection. That is a safe place to be. In the grasp of His grace.