7 Feb 2021 by Rev Dr John Squires in: Letters, Thoughts, News


From Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister - Wellbeing

During the "quiet" period of January, I spent 15 days as a hospital patient. It was my left knee that took me to hospital, for an operation to insert an artificial joint into the inside section of the knee. Now I have a matching pair--my right knee was done 18 years ago!

The plan was for just 5 days in hospital, but my feet dictated otherwise. After three days, they became swollen and hypersensitive to even the lightest touch--and that slowed the progress of recovery for some days. Walking, even weight bearing, was out of the question for some days.

The extra days of being a patient in hospital gave me time to reflect. During that time, amidst the post-operative pain and the sessions with the Physio, as I slowly started to walk again, I was especially aware of a sense of gratitude.

I was, most certainly, grateful for doctors, pathologists, radiographers, and porters, enabling all the investigations to take place, even during the weekend. I was grateful for Elizabeth's daily visit, replenishing stocks of clothes and treats. 

I was grateful for good wishes from friends online and by phone, as well as pastoral visits from Anne Vorobieff of the Tuggeranong pastoral care team, and Andrew Mead, our chaplain to the Canberra hospitals. They both offered a supportive listening ear through the extended process of recovery.

And, especially, I was grateful for the roster of nurses who assisted and encouraged my every (painful) move, and dealt with all manner of bodily needs and medical requirements in a patient and efficient manner, with a compassionate dedication, available at every minute through the constant 24 hour cycle.

Yes, I was grateful.

I was intensely aware, of course, of the privilege I enjoyed in this situation, at a time when millions upon millions of people around the globe were suffering more deeply, grieving without pause, and waiting with anxiety, as the global pandemic continued its relentless path of damage. 

Being in Australia has meant that I have been both isolated from the worst of the pandemic and protected within the cocoon of our marvellous national health system. Both are cause for immense gratitude.

Now that I am home, walking more easily (still with crutches), attending rehab classes with a Physio three times a week, and starting to turn my attention to some (not yet all) of the matters in the Presbytery that are asking for my attention, my sense of gratitude is both deeper, and more intensely felt.

Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister—Wellbeing

Canberra Region Presbytery
Uniting Church in Australia
0408 024 642
blogs on ‘An Informed Faith’