Friday, July 29, 2011

"Dodging Bullets"

Friday, July 29, 2011

“Dodging Bullets”

From Bob (dictated to Patra)

This week turned out to be much more exciting than I would ever have imagined.

Friday morning I woke up very sick. Patra and I went to dialysis and they told us to head to the E.R. When we arrived at the hospital they loaded me with pain killers and sent me to the hospital's dialysis room. I was so sick to my stomach so they had to reduce the time I was on dialysis.

The doctors discovered that I had a bowel obstruction. I was told I would probably need surgery. As the surgeon explained what he would have to do for the surgery, it did not sound like something I would enjoy. However, he also said there was a chance the problem might resolve itself.

This is where my real problems started. The doctors inserted a naso-gastric tube. Naso = nose. Gastric = stomach. I would encourage everyone to avoid a naso-gastric tube.

Let me explain how this works… First, all the doctors disappear. They do not like screaming.

A nurse finds several of her colleagues that have no objection to torture and invites them to join in. The nurse in charge wears a hood to protect her identity. In my case that was unnecessary. I never knew that when I screamed I shut my eyes.

They take a large garden hose and stuff it down your nose all the way into your stomach. You are left with the garden hose in your throat which prevents swallowing. Speaking of swallowing…as long as the naso gastric tube is in your throat, you should abstain from swallowing.

Fortunately my body was able to get rid of the bowel obstruction without the need of surgery. When this happened one of my doctors told me I had dodged another bullet. My surgeon shook my hand and said “Hallelujah”.

On Monday, while in dialysis, my heart went out of rhythm again. That kept me in the hospital one more day while they straightened out my medications. On Tuesday, I was released from the hospital.

I would ask that you continue to pray, and I solicit your prayers specifically that I would not have a repeat of the blockage. I do not believe that I could survive another episode without surgery.

The doctors advised me that there is nothing I can do to prevent another episode. There is no medication, exercise or diet that will impact whether or not the blockage reoccurs. I am convinced that your prayers helped me avoid the surgery. I admit to being very afraid of another episode of obstruction.


Father, let your light shine in my life so that I might be a testimony of the love of Jesus. I pray that I will not have another obstruction. I am so grateful for those who prayed for me. Father, I don’t understand all of the things you are doing in my life but I do know that I love you, I trust you and I know that you are good and faithful.

Until next Friday. God willing.

Bob

Friday, July 22, 2011

What's Love Got To Do With It?

**NOTE**
-From Adam

After this blog was written and posted, Dad was unfortunately back in the emergency room with abdominal pain. Apparently, he has some intestinal blockage which is causing his pain. He is now in less pain thanks to medication, but he will be in the hospital while the doctors try to figure out what is happening. Thanks again for your prayers and support.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"What's love got to do with it?"

From Bob

It was a good week! No calls to 911. No hospital visits.

Last Saturday, Patra and I traveled to Gainesville to visit Emily and her family and was able to see her new house. The trip required some planning. Patra “built” a bed with a twin mattress in the back of the minivan so I was able to sleep. It did cause a little concern by the young man who served us at the McDonalds drive thru. He did a double take as he looked back at the pale skinny sick man lying in the back of the van.

Adam and Sharon also drove up to Gainesville so I was able to see both our new grandsons, Riley and Anderson, as well as Avery and Austin.



The other day I was getting ready to put my head phones on so I could listen to my iPod. Before I could get the headphones on, I noticed the song that was playing over the dialysis center radio.

“What’s love got to do with it?” “Love’s a second hand emotion.” I believe this Tina Turner song came out in 1993.

What’s love got to do with it?

EVERYTHING!!!

John 3:16 For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Love is the key.

Particularly as I have taught the men’s Bible Study, I have found that they are often reluctant to accept the love of God. I remember sitting with a man several years ago. It was obvious he wanted to make a profession of faith. However, as we talked he told me about some of his service during the Vietnam war. He had served our country well but his service had been violent and he had been involved in situations where he had taken a life.

He knew that LOVE had everything to do with it, but he had a very difficult time accepting that God could love him in light of what he had done.

I pray that he has now seen how God LOVES him.

As I have battled this “nasty little disease” it has been wonderful to know that God LOVES me. I don’t deserve the love God has for me. No matter what happens, no matter how dark the road, God LOVES me. I have been spent too many hours on hospital beds afraid of the next procedure, until I remembered that God loved me. Nothing else really mattered.

God, thank you for loving me. I pray for those who do not yet understand how much you love them. Your love is amazing.

Until next Friday. God willing.

Bob

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dialysis World

Friday, July 15

“Dialysis World”
From Bob

I am so thankful to Jenny, Emily, Adam and Patra for their help with the blog. Many times it is not until late Thursday night that the decision is made that I will be unable to help. They take over for me and make sure that those who read the blog are kept up to date. With so little time to prepare, I am always amazed at how well they present the blog.

I have not needed to go into the hospital for 4 weeks. That is a big answer to prayer. My last prayer every night is that I not wake up in the hospital or in an ambulance headed to the hospital.

I am still having pretty significant pain from the shingles. Fortunately, the pain pills help alleviate the pain. The most significant problems I am having now are fatigue and confusion.

For the past several weeks, I have wanted to write about a topic that I believe God wants me to share with you. Unfortunately my mental confusion makes it hard to concentrate. So bear with me and hopefully God will translate this lesson for us all. I went in this week and had a blood transfusion. That has given me a little boost and I believe will give me the strength to finish this blog.

When I was first diagnosed with this “nasty little disease,” I told Patra I did not want to miss the lessons God has for us. After some time, I became convinced that God wanted to teach me about pride. Every time we talked about it, Patra said “But you are not prideful.”

Prior to having my kidneys shut down, I knew very little about kidney dialysis. I didn’t realize that I was about to enter a different world.

Welcome to “Dialysis World.”

God has made it very clear that I need to give attention my new situation.

Let me give you a little picture of “Dialysis World.” These are my new friends. Some have lives very similar to mine. Many of them are much worse physically than I am. Many have diabetes. Many have become amputees. Many have rare or frightening diseases. Almost every week, someone is in the hospital. Many are financially limited. They wonder where the money for a sandwich will come for that night. Most are transported to and from dialysis by a transportation service. Many are not compliant with their scheduled dialysis. Recently one of my new friends told me stories about his recent stint in prison.

There are doctors and nurses and technicians who work very hard filtering our blood and removing excess fluid. My schedule is Monday,Wednesday and Friday. We spend typically 4 hours on the dialysis machine. Almost every day, either I or one of my friends will have trouble during dialysis. You would think we'd feel better after the cleansing of blood, but it leaves us exhausted and dehydrated. I have passed out a few times myself.

God has led me to understand that I need to focus on “Dialysis World.” Before I look at my own problems, I need to remember this new ministry that God has given me. This is very different from any group I have been with. My new friends are from every walk of life.

After I have given consideration to “Dialysis World” I can then look at my own problems. It is amazing how my own problems seem so much more manageable after thinking about the bigger problems. My new friends are teaching me a great deal about dealing with life’s issues.

How about you? Are you focused only on your own problems? Is there a bigger picture that you need to consider?

Dear God:

Thank you for all the lessons you teach me. Help me to understand your teaching. I thank you for my friends in “Dialysis World.” I pray that I will be a blessing to my new friends. I thank you for a good week and I pray that if it is your will, I can stay out of the hospital.


Until next Friday. God willing!

Bob

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Quiet Week

"A Quiet Week"
from Jenny

It's been a relatively quiet week for my parents. And that's good news. My dad remains about the same. He is still battling some confusion and some pain from his shingles. But he's also had a few mornings where he's felt well enough (and clear-headed enough) to sit and read the newspaper.

Today (Friday), Dad's schedule will change a bit as he receives a blood transfusion instead of his regularly scheduled dialysis. Dialysis will take place on Saturday, and then he'll be back to his normal routine by Monday.

Any week that he can stay out of the hospital is a good week, and we've counted about three weeks at home now! We're so very thankful to God for that blessing.

And in comparison to many previous posts that have included new conditions, new complications, etc. I'm grateful to God that this will be such a short & sweet udpate today! Thank you again for your prayers and friendship.

Friday, July 1, 2011

These Days

Friday, July 1
from Jenny

On Thursday of this week, my parents shared a wonderful visit with a longtime friend. When my mom was about fifteen years old, she met Jackie, a young woman who became a mentor, teacher and dear friend through the years. Jackie was instrumental in leading my mom to Christ, she worked at my parents' high school, and was actually the one who introduced them to eachother when they were 17 years old! Jackie joked with me today, as I stopped by to briefly say hello, that she began and ended her matchmaking career with my mom & dad. She figured she should stop while she had a good track record, I suppose! Jackie and her sister spent sweet time with my parents today just encouraging them, playing with a few of the grandkids, and catching up on old times. It was a real treat for my parents.

These days, we have been blessed with lots of special visits like Jackie's. Just last week, Uncle Chuck (my Dad's brother) was back in town and was able to spend part of his time at the house while he attended a conference nearby. Emily & James were able to come down from Gainesville, too. It's really great for us (their kids) to see all the love and support of those who know my parents so well and from all different parts of their lives.

My dad enjoys the visits and is usually able to lie on the couch for a few minutes and contribute to the conversation here and there. But the shingles are still causing him tremendous pain, and the pain medications leave him exhausted and often confused. Today, he wanted to talk about his dialysis schedule with me. He began by saying that he thought he was a little fuzzy and asked me what today was. It took me a good ten seconds to recall the correct answer for myself, and he got it right before I did! I laughed, and told him he seemed to be in better shape mentally than I was at the moment!

Dad has stayed out of the hospital for two weeks now, and we are all SOOOO grateful for that! A hospital bed was given to my Dad this week to use at home, and he was so excited the morning after his first night's sleep in it. With the ability to raise and lower his head, he is getting more comfortable periods of sleep.

He struggles with his continued, unquenchable thirst (if you recall, he is limited to 32 oz. of liquid each day because of dialysis and his congestive heart failure).
My mom asked him tonight (Thursday) what he would write about if he could compose his own blog post. His answer: The Samaritan woman who went to the well for water and Jesus' offer of water that would quench her thirst forever. He said he'd like some of that thirst-quenching water tonight. My mom told me, "I'm sure he would have turned that into a wonderful blog post."

I have no doubt.

But these days, he just isn't able to gather the strength. So, we'll just keep on reporting our weekly updates on his behalf. We'll continue to use these opportunities to express our gratitude for the strength you infuse into us through your prayers and friendship. We'll keep on praising God for His presence and peace, and we'll continue to ask for your prayers.
 

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