Monday, April 16, 2012

Goodbyes, Planes, Hugs, and ER Rooms: God is Good...

On Thursday evening, I attended our English Corner/ Bible Study. Although, the Luke had prepared a lesson for that evening, they asked me if I wanted to and give a message seeing how I might be gone for awhile. I did not really have anything prepared, and was really tired, but if you know me, I don't turn down opportunities to talk. God provided wonderfully here by giving me this passage to share 2 Corinthians 4:16-18;5:1-10
Thursday English Corner/ Bible Study

I began by giving them some testimony about my coming to salvation, and as I shared with my students the night before, there are two outcomes to this to this upcoming battle. Both of which are a win-win

I explained how that if I won the physical fight with cancer, then I get to stay here on this earth for a while longer, but if I lose the physical fight with cancer, I get to go home! I explained how that for one who is a believer, that this place on earth is not our home-that heaven is the true home of the believer. I had referenced the scripture before starting, but we had not yet read the scripture. As I finished sharing, I told them that this was not just something I had made up to comfort myself, but that I believed it because God had stated it through Paul in the Bible. And, that even though none of us had never seen heaven, or God for that matter, we can still believe both God and heaven were real because scripture tells so.: 2Cor.5:7-8. I also told them that the bible tells us this in many other passages. We then turned to the scriptures and they all took turns reading a verse. I was then able to reiterate that this was available for anyone who would believe in Jesus as God's Son, and trusting Him to forgive them of their sins, reinforcing the strong gospel presentation given by Elaine as we headed into the Easter weekend. So, pray for those who are coming and as of yet do not believe, that these, and future messages will continue to draw them to God. I must say that it was my pleasure and honor to serve God alongside of Matthijis, and Luke & Elaine. I believe that under their guidance, God will use them and this study to bring honor and glory to His name.

On Friday, a group of my students came to say goodbye and help deliver my luggage downstairs and we were able to have a group picture together. How I wish I would have thought to have a group picture like this with the other class.
Crazy Goodbyes!

I just flew in from China and boy are my arms tired (said while duck walking). Ha ha, not my arms, but my whole body. I woke up Saturday morning with a bad case of the runs. Funny thing is that while packing, I looked at the Imodium  ( medicine), and thought, "Nah, I don't need that."
Famous last words. Unfortunately, I could have sorely used that Imodium. On the first leg of the flight, the crew was able to help me out, but the last 2 legs, Shanghai-to-Atlanta (2hr layover), and then Atlanta-to-Nashville, I was on my own. Even though I was given special assistance along the way by being in a wheel chair, I had just bought some in Atlanta when they called for me to board the flight to Nashville. I decided then not to take them as I would soon be in Vanderbilt Hospital and figure the less medicine I took on my own, the better off I would be for them to treat me.

I only tell that story to emphasize how miserable I was coming home, that coupled with almost total exhaustion made for a long miserable 21 hour trip home. Even so, all that misery was wiped away in an instant. As I was being wheeled out of terminal heading towards the baggage claim, I caught a glimpse of some familiar faces. The young man pushing me asked if there would be someone coming to pick me up. I said "Oh yeah" and pointed to my sisters and a group of about 30 of my church family members. At first, he did not realize there were so many until we got a little closer. I told him how blessed I felt. My spirit was greatly uplifted. We all had a hug-fest right there at the terminal exit. After retrieving my luggage, we waited until my sister got her car and came to exit level we were on, had another hug-fest, and I said my goodbyes and headed off to Vanderbilt Emergency room.  After getting turned  around a bit we arrived around 7:30 p.m.

I could not have asked for a nicer group of  folks to admit and care for me as they evaluated my situation. From the intake people-to the ER doc and her residents, everyone was kind, caring and very thorough in their work. Because Vanderbilt is a teaching hospital, I would be asked many of the same questions by the ER doc, and her residents (they each saw me separately), but they were very nice and apologetic, and I realized that they were in the learning process and on their way to being future great doctors. Ha ha, the shot of morphine and Zofran they gave me mellowed me out to the point I probably would have not cared if a 100 people interviewed me during the course of evaluation.  

I had another ultra sound and CAT Scan performed, and what seemed like a quart of blood drawn. After that my sister's Jane, Molly, and I waited in our examining room as the staff processed and analyzed the results. They were trying to determine exactly which medical team I would be handed over to for future treatment. Poor Jane was so tired, that after the CAT Scan, the nurse opened the door and there she was laying my bed! Bless her heart!

Finally, around 1:30 a.m. or so, I was admitted and taken to my room. By the time we got settled, I believe it was nearly 2:30 a.m. Jane and Molly stayed until I was completely settled and they had long drive home.

The next day (Sunday April 15th-which is today for me) my medical team came in to interview me. They were still waiting for some results and decided that nothing would be happening until at least Monday. Once they received the results, they would determine a course of action. The first is in addressing my jaundice and trying to identify the exact source of the jaundice. The lead doctor has the opinion that the gall stones and gall bladder are not the major issue. For now, I am receiving some general antibiotics.

However, I did have a major pain inducing episode from the gall bladder area this morning. Although, they were a bit slow in getting me the pain med, they finally did in the form of a Lori tab, Tennessee's ( and probably the US's most abused prescription drug. At first it made me groggy, and finally it made its way into my system and the pain subsided. There was some confusion about the availability of a pain med for me, but as it turns out, they do have pain meds listed in my chart as "prn" every four hours( you nurses out there, feel free to correct me if I got the term wrong, he he) which means roughly that a pain med is available every four hours as needed. Hopefully, I won't need them and I will not request them unless necessary. In China, I became quite familiar with the beginning signs of these gall bladder attacks, and have told the nurses that I would only ask for them as I recognized the beginning stages.

The second step they are trying to determine is where, and what kind of biopsies they want to perform to gain the needed suspected tissues for examination to determine the exact nature of their malignancy, or benignity. We are all pretty sure that there is some malignancy because of the scans and some of the early returns of the blood work. I am thinking, from the conversations, that they will set these biopsies tomorrow at the earliest, or Tuesday at the latest. Then we can get on with the treatment.

The good news in all of this is that today I've felt much better than I have in weeks. They are giving me meds to relieve the itchy skin, which also makes me a bit groggy. But, that has allowed me to rest more than I've been able to for quite some time.I have also been able to share a little bit with various members of the staff, including Dr. Jirjis, the head of my medical team about my work and purpose for being in China for the last five years.

So, as I close, I ask you to pray for wisdom and guidance for the medical team. Ask God to be honing their skills even now before they do the first procedure. Pray the same for my nursing staff as they go about their duties of caring for me during my stay. Pray for my sisters, my family, and members of my church family, as they make the journeys back and forth form Shelbyville-to-Nashville-and back again as they come to support and help with my needs. Pray for their safe journeys, and give God some praise for the love and caring of me. Praise God for His provision for me. Please continue to pray for the study group back in China, that through that group, God will be honored and glorified, with new believers coming into the family, and present believers being strengthened and  spiritually fed by the teaching. And pray for me, that I can maintain that Romans 8:28 attitude as all of this unfolds.  As always, I thank you for reading, and hope that you will find some blessings here. God is always looking for, and does bless us. Let us look for those blessings and give Him the honor and glory He deserves. Until the next time...

P.S. I did do a spell check and briefly proofed it but I wrote this pretty late, so do forgive my usual poor grammar and punctuation. Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. This is going to sound kind of crazy, but you could pray that I have TB. The head of my medical team just came in and told me they are pretty conflicted to the exact nature of my illness. He has 3 choices. The recurrence of testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, and TB. What is confusing them is that the symptoms conflict with each other enough to say specifically "this is what you have.". So, they are going to go through a series of procedures, beginning with the least invasive and work their way through to biopsies if needed. Our God is an Awesome God!


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