Saturday, January 30, 2010

"A Great Visit"

We are really excited about this weekend. My brother, Chuck, his wife, Diane and their son, David, are coming to Clearwater for a visit. (The only disappointment is that their daughter Laura Beth will not be here. She and her husband and son live in Australia.)

I can already tell you most of what will take place this weekend. Since all of our brood, kids and grandkids, will be here, the house will be active. Chuck and I will regale (some might say bore) everyone with old stories (which they have heard many times) and my children will talk about how much we are alike. We have the same mannerisms, laugh, smiles, and sense of humor. It is going to be a great visit.
My brother was my spiritual mentor. When I was about 10 years old and Chuck was about to go to college to prepare for the ministry, I had a “crisis of faith.”

“Chuck, I have a problem.”
“What is it?”
“I don’t know about heaven.”
What do you mean, you don’t know about heaven.”
[To my preacher friends, I am so sorry for the following admission.]
“If all we are going to do is sit in church and sing songs all day long, and then listen to preachers preach sermons all day long, I’m not really sure I want to go there.”
“What would you like to do in heaven?”
“Play baseball.”
“Bob, imagine the best baseball game you can. You hit a homerun every time you are up to bat. You catch every ball hit to you. All of your friends will be in the stands cheering for you. Heaven will be even better than any baseball game you can imagine.”
[Then he made the transition which has enabled his teaching about heaven to continue to help me, even today, maybe even especially today.]
“Bob, I know this is hard to believe, but there will probably come a day when you won’t like baseball like you like do today. Someday, the idea of doing nothing but playing baseball may not seem so wonderful. But, whatever you do like, whatever your favorite thing is, remember that heaven will be even better than the best you can imagine.”

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have sat in churches when pastors try to capture heaven for the congregation. I always say to myself – “Pastor, heaven is even better than anything you can imagine.”
[In an effort to hopefully redeem myself with the clergy, now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I am looking forward to the singing and preaching!]

Thanks, Chuck, for all of the lessons you taught and thanks for the weekend that I know we are going to have.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Anything I Want"

I thought it was about time to introduce you to some of our family. We will (of course) start with the grandchildren.

Megan, Bob, and Avery

Austin (3) and Andrew (4) helping Grandpa celebrate his birthday.

I’ll share a story which captures how I feel about my grandkids.

When Andrew was about 3, Jenny and Andrew went with Patra and me to Citrus Park Mall. We spent some time at the mall, ate lunch and were heading home, a trip of about 30 minutes. Andrew assured his mom that he did not need to use the facilities. About 1 mile into our trip home, Andrew advised us that he did need to use the facilities and he needed to use them now. All of you moms and dads know exactly what reaction all of the adults in the car had. “We just asked you, and you said no.” “There’s no bathroom in the car.” “Can’t you hold it?”
Fortunately, there was a McDonald’s a short distance ahead and so we pulled into the parking lot. As the car was coming to a stop, Andrew asked his mom if he could have some McNuggets. “No, we are only stopping to let you go to the bathroom.” “Can I have a coke?” “No, you’re not getting anything, we just ate at the mall. You are only going to the bathroom.”
As Jenny lifted him out of his car seat and into her arms, and as she was closing the door, Andrew said just loud enough for us all to hear – “Grandpa would let me get anything I want.
How true! My heart gets cheerful every time I think about these 4 little ones. To watch them grow and develop – to see them change. What a wonderful distraction God has given Patra and me. Megan was born while I was on my way to the nephrologist (kidney) office for my first appointment. Avery was born 6 days later. It was almost like God was saying that He had seen how much the first two meant to us so He was going to give us a double blessing right now with these two new girls. He is good!


Note from Emily: Thank you so much for leaving a comment for my dad! He loves reading them. Many of you have emailed my dad stating that this is your first time reading a blog and you need help leaving a comment. If this is your first time leaving a comment on a blog, it is easier than you think.

Under each post, click on the word "comments". A box will appear on your screen. Simply type your message in the box and then click on "anonymous" as your identity. Leave your name within the comment box and we will know who you are. This prevents you from having to set up a google account to leave a comment. I hope this helps!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Me and Michael Jackson"

Back on January 5, we went to Moffitt for a procedure to check and see if these nasty little diseases had invaded my digestive system. Below is the “report” I sent (pre-blog) on that day at Moffitt. And some of you probably wondered what I had in common with Michael Jackson.

"Me and Michael Jackson"

I thought I would give you a quick update on my visit to Moffitt – for an endoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy.
As those of you that know me understand, my first concern about any procedure involves the issue of sedation. I decided I would beat the nursing staff to the punch - “on a scale of 1-10, I would like my sedation to be a 20.” I will confess that my nurse really threw me a curve ball when she responded: “Mr. Bugg, you'll be glad to know you are going to have the same drug as Michael Jackson.” “PARDON ME. Are you talking about the Michael Jackson that recently DIED? FROM A DRUG? THE DRUG YOU PROPOSE INJECTING INTO ME?” I immediately checked to make sure she was wearing both of her latex gloves.
After being assured that there is a big (we're talking life and death big) difference between use and abuse of drugs, I decided to “just say Yes,” and proceeded rather quickly to “dreamland” (not to be confused with “Neverland.”)
I am happy to report that the procedures went well. There is one little concern – ever since I woke up, I have this strange desire to moonwalk. Now that would be a “thriller.”

Thank you for letting me share and thanks for the prayers. One of my new favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Writing these reports to you is therapeutic for me and helps me give thanks by trying to find something to smile about in the midst of the circumstances. Patra and I are encouraging each other to look back at the end of every day and laugh about something we learned or encountered. We understand the seriousness of the circumstances. We are around people that are undergoing incredibly difficult journeys. I would never want to say or write anything that minimizes the pain and struggles of those facing serious illnesses and diseases. We do not know where our journey will take us on any given day. We just want to be faithful wherever He leads, but at this point in our own journey, it is hard not to give thanks and not to smile at some of the people and circumstances we have encountered knowing that we can rest in the assurance that God is in control and He is always good.

God Bless!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Conscious Sedation"

First, let me say “Thank you” to those who have already responded to the blog. There have probably been at least 5 people that have read it. (Thank you Patra, Jenny, Emily, Adam and anonymous.) Watch out John Grisham. Seriously, thank you for the prayers and the wonderful comments and thoughts.
Back when this was all starting out, I wrote a note to several friends and to my Bible study classes about the kidney biopsy which was performed in October. We thought we would re-circulate that note and a few other “older notes” so that you can get an idea of the path we have traveled.

God Bless!


"Conscious Sedation"

I am pleased to report that I survived my kidney biopsy. Despite assurances from my medical team (yes, I am now assembling a team) that to their collective knowledge, no one had ever not survived a kidney biopsy (if that is true, why did they make me sign all those releases, consents, acknowledgments of risks and waivers?) my mind kept telling me, “there is always a first for everything.” (David certainly pegged me when he proclaimed that we are “fearfully” made. Psalm 139:14)
I had a little difficulty registering at the hospital. (Baycare facilities are high tech – they make sure you are who you say you are by optically scanning your palm print.) My palm print couldn't be read by the scanner. Doesn't everybody having a “procedure” have sweaty palms? Surely they took that into consideration when they invented the system. Fortunately I did not short out the machine and thanks to the generous use of paper towels, it was ultimately determined that I was not an imposter trying to rob me of “my procedure.” (I believe we could reduce the crime rate by making it the law that anyone convicted of identity theft in a hospital will be immediately sentenced to a kidney biopsy.)
After getting dressed – actually undressed – (biblically speaking - disrobed), I was introduced to the doctor who would do the deed. Modern medicine is amazing. Here was a man who had completed high school, college, medical school, residency and post-graduate training and yet, apparently through proper diet and exercise, he did not look to be more than 14 or 15 years of age. When he left the room, I told my wife that since he is not old enough to drive, I bet his parents are mighty proud of him every morning when they drop him off at the hospital.
After discussions about the discomfort/pain that might be associated with the procedure, the doctor decided that “conscious sedation” would be appropriate for me. I voted for “don't wake me until it is long over sedation” or a medically induced coma.
Since the emphasis in “conscious sedation” is obviously on the first word, I was able to participate in the procedure by informing the doctor when he entered my body (“give him more sedation”) and when he reached my kidney (“have you given him more sedation”) Since no one had ever probed my kidney before, I was rather surprised with how sure I was that he had arrived at the destination. I'm sure the doctor was equally surprised when my “consciously sedated” voice yelled – “YOU HAVE REACHED MY KIDNEY.”
When it was over, a nurse told me to “log roll” over onto the gurney – I haven't log rolled since the fourth grade. I have never “log rolled” while using oxygen, wearing a gown and having an I.V. It was not pretty.
I'm not a doctor but I thought I knew where my kidneys are. To get to my kidney, I would never have started from the spot on my back where the bandage is. It was the medical equivalent of flying from Tampa to Atlanta by way of Newark. But as with all journeys, the important thing is that we arrived safely.
Thanks for your prayers.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

(Proverbs 17:22)

A cheerful heart?
How can that even be possible?

My diagnosis is not good, the treatments don’t sound like fun, I’m not the bravest person in the world, I don’t even like shots (37 years ago the hardest part about getting married was the blood test). How is it possible to be cheerful during a time like this?

It is only possible for our family because of our faith. God has promised that He will never leave us. He is in control and He is good – all the time.

Very early in this journey, Patra and I knew that we would need to laugh as much as possible. Laughter doesn’t minimize the problem. We understand the severity of the situation. Laughter and a cheerful heart help you get through the difficult situations – yes, I am learning that a cheerful heart really is good medicine.

You may not be facing a bad medical diagnosis. Your “circumstance” may be financial, emotional, relational. Remember, “a cheerful heart is good medicine.”

We have been blessed with many friends who are supporting us. At any given moment, we know that some are standing with us while others are on their knees praying for us. (We are encouraging them to change positions often so they don’t grow weary.) We could never express how much your thoughts and prayers mean. They cheer our hearts!

We hope this blog will keep you up to date on what’s happening. Friends have told us that they appreciate being able to pray specifically. But we really do also hope that it will be an encouragement and blessing to those who read it. I am convinced that God wants to use this time to teach me new things – maybe I can pass some of those lessons on vicariously.


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