Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Week

Last week I was hit by pain which I cannot fully describe. I can say that it was the worst pain I've ever felt, and I've been through a lot.

The pain was so bad that I found myself on my knees, doubled over before collapsing onto my side. It felt as though something major had erupted in my midsection. And by eruption, I mean that it felt like I was being cut into my side with a machete. The screaming which followed couldn't be stopped even though I knew that wouldn't slow the agony which was headed my way.

Initially, I hoped that it was the world's worst gas pain, but instead of moving or passing the pain simply became more intense until it couldn't possibly have hurt any more than it did.

That's when I went to the emergency room. Looking back about a week, I now wish that I had had the courage to call 911. Instead, I worried that doing so might have turned out to be a waste of resources. What if it was only gas? Tying up a rescue squad team for that would have been inexcusable. That's why I decided to drive myself to Lewis-Gale. As it turns out, that was a poor decision; what if I had passed out at the wheel?

I pulled into the parking lot, finally, and was able to make it to the door of ER. At that point I was again doubled over, gasping for whatever air I could siphon into my lungs. I was helped into a wheelchair where, gratefully, I sat.

Welcome to day one of kidney stone pain.

Having been given various painkillers and prescriptions for same, I left several hours later to beging an intense ordeal.

The next day, the pain roared back, vengeful in its tantrum. That pain was met with hydrocodone and Naproxin, which helped me enough to sleep -provided that I did so with my knees on the floor and my upper body on the bed. I achieved two hours of sleep for each day I suffered, not accounting for one banner day which allowed me four.

The second day of the pain was as bad as the first. I couldn't stop the pain this time with four hydrocodone and a Naproxin. No way. ER gave me morphine during my second visit. Two hours later, two-thirds of the pain had subsided. The ER physician overseeing my case prescribed hydromorphone, which turned out to be as effective at killing pain as it did constipating every French fry I ever ate in my fifty-one plus years.

But, in the midst of the suffering, I prayed. Let me qualify that. I cried out to God. I begged Him. I pleaded Him. I called a prayer line for additional prayer. I wondered why God was taking so long to ease the suffering which appeared, in every way, to be unbearable.

I completely acted unlike the jerk I normally am.

But, in the very center of the battle against pain, I realized two things. The first of these is that God Knows more about my abilities to endure than I ever will.

The second is that the old saying is entirely true: he who bends his knees before God can stand before anything.

My kidney stone has passed. My stomach, rubbed raw by the sheer volume of water and number of pain killers I consumed, is righting itself. I've had ulcers in the past, so this is going to take a few more days.

Even so, one week has changed my outlook profoundly. I'm eternally thankful to God.

The world is not a problem.

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