When It Hurts So Bad You Want to Die!

When it Hurts So Bad You Want to Die

By Susan Deborah Schiller

Many nights I awoke to screaming – but this night was different. Like a mother in tune with her babies every cry, so I could tell when my husband was at the end of his rope. Two years earlier they had sent him home with massive prescriptions for Oxycontin, Percocet, Morphine, and many other narcotics, to die. Having exhausted the resources of the medical field, we were simply doing our best to survive. Living in the wilderness made the nearest local hospital more than an hour away.

By morning, the pain had not subsided and although he was already taking pain meds normally reserved for terminal patients, we bumped up his medication even higher. The pain pills still weren't cutting it. So I called the emergency room and asked if I could bring my husband in. Our hope was that an injection of Demerol or something more powerful might take the edge off his misery. The woman on the other end of the phone could hear my anguish and she replied, "That’s what we're here for! Bring your husband in right away!"

I packed Randy into the pickup truck and we painfully made our way down the bumpy dirt road, traveling slowly the 1 ½ hours it took us to get to the hospital. Every bump caused Randy to scream inside – and sometimes out loud as well. We finally made it to the hospital and walked up to the registration desk. In between the door and the desk stood a stern-faced administrator. Her lips in a tight line, she intercepted us before we could get to the front desk.

Sternly, she began by listing all the requirements she would need before Randy would be allowed to see the doctor. The first requirement was that we would need to have x-rays and an undetermined set of tests, including blood work.

But what she emphasized primarily is that we needed to pay for these services up front, because we didn’t have health insurance. She spoke in such a way that it was debatable what side of the law she was on, but it really didn't matter at that point… we were too overwhelmed to complain. I barely made it out the door before a flood of tears cascaded down my cheeks.

We didn’t need all the tests – Randy had already been through nine surgical procedures at that point and had been sent home to die when our health insurance expired. What he needed was help with the pain… something to knock him out, or at least to take the edge off the pain. The administrator apologized on behalf of the nurse who had spoken to me over the phone, saying that she was new and didn’t know better.

We left the hospital in worse condition than when we entered.

My husband, with tears streaming down his worn face, said to me, “They don’t allow animals to be treated this way – we put animals out of their misery.” I cried as I drove for the next 45-minutes… not just for our situation, but for all the people who are in pain and there’s no cure for them.

Whether in hospitals or churches, many people are losing hope that there’s a cure. Maybe you know of someone, right now, who is at the end of their rope…

I'll never forget that day… the hopelessness I felt. You can only go so far without hope. But the anguish I felt inside wasn't for our own situation – somehow the weight of all the suffering people was right on top of me, face-to-face. I looked up to Heaven and made a promise that if somehow my husband's pain would be lifted away, we would spend the rest of our lives helping others to find freedom from disease and pain.

Pain and sickness are death in slow motion, and God's heart is to bring us through, in His timing and ways.

1-7 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
   heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
   pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
   a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—
   and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
   give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
   a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.

When I think back to that day when the hospital basically shut its door on us…. and my desperate plea to Heaven… I can now say it was all worthwhile.

I'm glad Randy is free from pain now. He has chosen to move on, to begin a new life with a different wife. Sometimes I wonder if he remembers all these stories of battling for his life, or if they are just part of the haze from heavy narcotics. Nevertheless, I am the storyteller of my own life. I choose to remember our stories because so much treasure was unearthed in the mines of our history.

I learned to battle through so many fears and to see God provide in the worst of times. I cannot throw away the life lessons just because the tests were tough. In fact, and even though he is gone, I believe my love can still make a difference.

With all my love,



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lily November 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Susan, I can’t believe that hospital treated you and your family that way. How horrible. Am I completely naive? How did Randy get well?! In any case, I’m happy that things turned out well and that you shared your gripping story.



Susan McKenzie November 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm

It actually was much worse, Lily… but I try to lighten the story as much as I can. God intervened in a powerful way … otherwise he would surely have died. Our story has traveled around the world and many people have received hope and encouragement as well as healings. Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond – many blessings!


Anonymous November 23, 2010 at 10:32 am

Susan, you are an amazing writer…you have found “your voice” and because of that you hold the power to influence others through your words. I am one of those who feel blessed that our paths have crossed. Thank you for sharing yourself and for teaching the power and value of the written word through your stories.


Susan McKenzie November 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

There are many of us with kindred hearts and I feel you are one, Denny… thanks for your words of encouragement…. especially from such a gifted writer as yourself! You’re touching the hearts of parents and children – the backbone and the heart of society…. making a huge difference!


Carla J Gardiner November 23, 2010 at 4:47 am

You are so right, Susan. Sharing our innermost tragedies and celebrations is what ties up our whole life in a nutshell. If all people ever see are the happy times, they won’t get the essence of the real person in us.

I have my own story and will be sharing that in my life story, too. Thanks for being so open and transparent, it is painful, but inspiring. I’m sure so many others will relate and take comfort in knowing they can get through the difficult times, just like you and your husband did.

Carla Gardiner


Susan McKenzie November 23, 2010 at 4:48 am

I look forward to hearing your story, Carla! Thanks for stopping by and writing!


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