The nurse that was traveling with us called it cholera. Knowing what I had didn’t make me feel any better. Knowing how long I had to travel before I made it back home made me feel much worse.
I made it to my seat and prayed that the time it took to fly from Romania to Atlanta would go by quickly. It was like I was in a walking coma. Absolutely drained. I was alert enough to check the back of the seat in front of me for a brown paper bag. An airsickness bag, I think they call it. There wasn’t one. But there was a bag that held all of the magazines. I took the magazines out and held on to the bag. Just in case. Pretty smart for a cholera patient.
Before the plane even took off I had to use that bag. My planning ahead paid off. It’s just too bad that the bag was clear instead of brown like the official airsickness bags. It didn’t bother me at the time but I’m sure that my wife and the poor lady next to her weren’t too thrilled when I passed it over to them to hand to the flight attendant. Always check for an official airsickness bag.
People looked at me like I was crazy. Who gets airsickness on the ground? If only I had the strength to tell them that it was cholera.
A few days after we touched down in Atlanta we had to share pictures from our missions trip to Romania with our church. That’s somewhere in the Bible, I think. After returning from a missions trip, show pictures to your church during a special Sunday night service. I was sitting at the front of the church, waiting to speak, and still not fully recovered. To top it all off, there were no airsickness bags in the pews. But Casey was sitting next to me.
“Casey, if I have to run out of here, be ready to fill in for me.”
I never had to use him but it was good to know that he was there on that night almost ten years ago.
Last Wednesday night I stood up to preach to my church during our weekly prayer service. From nowhere, no more than five minutes after I started, it felt like my old friend had returned for a visit. Cholera, not Casey.
People would tell me later that my face turned pale. I stopped preaching and told everyone that I couldn’t go any further. I tried to walk down to my office but I couldn’t even do that. Two men pretty much carried me down the stairs. I was like Paul Newman after he ate fifty eggs in Cool Hand Luke. I always wanted to be like Paul Newman.
I spent the rest of the week laying in bed and watching Dog the Bounty Hunter reruns. In case you missed it, they found that guy they were looking for. In every episode.
I managed to do a wedding rehearsal, wedding ceremony and speak at a funeral that weekend. It was scary at times but it all worked out. But I knew that there was no way that I could preach that Sunday morning. I was just too weak.
Thankfully, several weeks before all of this, I made arrangements for an old friend to visit me last Sunday. Casey, not cholera. And this time I sat at the front of the church and listened to Casey preach about how God is in complete control of everything.
Even stomach viruses.