Add on intermittent but pretty severe lower back pain and how much longer would you wait?
Whatever your answer is it would probably double if you weren't able to speak the local language.
How do I know?
Because I was in that exact dilemma until this week.
Finally . . . with the help of a dear national friend . . . I made my way to a physical therapist to be evaluated.
How was I to know it was an appointment with death?
It was hot outside which I'm sure was why my mouth was dry. Bella* met me at the tram stop and we walked across the street and down a ways to the bus stop. She chatted kindly with me buoying up my spirits. (I wonder if she knew my stomach was in knots.)
The bus ride was a lot shorter than I thought. Drat.
We crossed the parking lot of a strip mall and stepped over an interrupting driveway to a plain two-story building. My nerves were so jangled I couldn't make out the words on all the little signs never mind find anything about Fyzio therapeutic.
That must be why God sent Bella with me. She found the office number and led the way to suite 17.9 on the second floor - first floor in Czech.
The door was closed and if I were alone I would have simply stood there until it somehow opened. I marveled at Bella's bravery as she waited a few moments and then knocked. Clever lady!
Soňa welcomed us in, letting us know she was with another patient at the moment. I was happy to wait. Bella and I chatted away my nervous energy. I didn't care how long it took.
When Soňa sat down with me she seemed hesitant about her language skills, but Bella encouraged her to carry on. At least I guess that's what Bella was saying because I don't understand much Czech. They were smiling at each other in that sorta way, if you know what I mean.
We held a conversation about my situation in simple but clear English. Then Soňa asked me to stand. She led me through a few activities to "locate my pain". It was almost as if some sort of ethereal connection was being built between the two of us. Whatever it was I found it comfortable to follow her lead even though some of the movements brought physical strain.
In a short amount of time with minimal language support Soňa had me lie on my stomach on a large flat table. She began working on my legs, asking me frequently about my pain levels. At one point all I could respond was, "Oooooh wow!" No translation needed.
The relief I felt in the most bothersome knee was indescribable. If she'd kept up that particular stretch I think I would have melted onto the floor.
It was pretty easy from that point on to trust Soňa's hands. I concentrated on her technique and the various information she was sharing with me.
Was it all a piece of cake? No.
Soňa kept asking me about my pain when that wasn't really what I was feeling. I had to take extra care in describing an ache or pressure or discomfort. I know she didn't understand the word stabbing because both times I said it wasn't really "stabbing pain" she asked Bella for clarification.
At the close of our time together Soňa gave me two specific exercises, one for my knees and one for my back. Thankfully Bella was there to take notes for me even though Soňa gave the instructions in English. I was in such a euphoric state that I wouldn't have remembered what she said. Relief and hope are like that.
I made another appointment with enthusiasm, looking forward to the professional and personal support available to me in the recovery process.
When we shook hands to say good-bye I did my best to communicate the confidence and warmth I felt to Soňa. I said, "I believe God brought me to Prague so that you could care for me." And I meant it.
My near death experience did prove fatal.
Death to fear of language issues in intimate settings.
Death to pain that goes unaddressed for no good reason.
Death to self-consciousness in intimidating circumstances.
For me it was a life experience that reached far beyond the physical arena.
"I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
Psalm 16:8 NIV,1984
"I trust you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands."
Psalm 31:14,15a NIV,1984
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
Psalm 42:5 NIV,1984
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12 NIV,1984
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for."
Hebrews 11:1,2 NIV,1984
What scary thing are you facing, postponing, trying to avoid all together?
Don't sell God short. He's right there waiting to meet your need.
Trust Him with biblical hope and move forward.
Let me know how it turns out!
*name changed to protect privacy