The power of a praying proctologist

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"Thank you, Sir, may I have another?"

“Thank you, Sir, may I have another?”

All of the preparations for the colonoscopy went as expected; it was what occurred moments before the actual procedure that were a surprise. I planned on writing about my colonoscopy experience in an effort to help others but I KNEW I was going to write when my doctor surprised me.

As the medical team wheeled me into the area, we engaged in pleasant conversation. After all this time, things were finally ready. A sterile piece of equipment was soon headed where no man had trodden asunder.

But before the doctor began the colonoscopy, my doctor did the craziest thing.

He prayed for me.

And it wasn’t a haphazard, “I better do this because I’m a doctor in the Bible Belt” kind of supplication.

No, quite the contrary.

Um, yeah...

Um, yeah…

Instead, he gently leaned over me, the room grew still and he kindly placed his hands on me and prayed. As the words flowed out of his mouth, I remember distinctly feeling that this guy meant what he said.

Though there was a very embarrassing aspect of what was going to happen next, this man was caring for another part of me that was even more raw and I wouldn’t have thought that possible. It was my heart, the spiritual beating of my soul.

I didn’t feel like I was in a revival which is hilarious considering I was getting a colonoscopy and those things don’t usually go together. Nor did I sense that he was scared about what he was going to do so he had to ask Jesus for help. Instead I sensed humility, reverence and respect. He recognized that he was being entrusted with a special task. Our previous conversations have basically dealt with far more temporal matters, wink, wink. As I lay there on the table, I thought, “Thank you God. No matter what, this is going to be ok.”

And while I recognize that some people might find this whole praying notion super weird, for me, I wanted to sing with joy.

Before drifting into a fuzzy vapor, I declared, “You have no idea what a comfort your prayer was to me. Why didn’t I know this about you before? I’m going to tell all the ladies in my Bible Study about you!”

Then his assistant talked to me about Chicago cuisine.

Prayers!

Portillo’s!

Pizza!

Oh yes, what a glorious day! Bring on the colonoscopy!

And then poof, the procedure was done and I was awake. As if the experience couldn’t get more wonderful, I dreamt about Justin Bieber. Not even joking.

So here I sit praising God that I can sit.

I rejoice that my test results weren’t just good, y’all they were “EXCELLENT.” Every aspect of the tests were EXCELLENT! #shablam #eatgreenthings

As the medication wore off and the doctor spoke to my husband, over and over again, I said, “You have no idea what your prayer did for me. Thank you. This was the BEST COLONOSCOPY EVER!”

Me

Me

Pass this post onto someone you love who needs a colonoscopy. Tell them that yes, it’s awkward, unpleasant and a basically big giant poo-fest but s/he can do it. I did and I’m a wimp. I hope I kept it real but not real gross. God does show up in the strangest and most amazing places.

Colonoscopy, part two

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The colonoscopy prep continued yet I never lost my indomitable sense of humor. That’s not ever going to be flushable. Read on if you dare. I am keeping it real but not real gross.

photo copy 27Admittedly, there were many times I wanted to give up. I wanted to eat, relax, have a reprieve. I had already put it off for a year, why not postpone it a little longer? The only thing that stopped me from ruining the process was the strong desire to not have to do it again anytime in the near future!

7. Since I was restricted to a liquids only fast, I asked the Hubs if he and Ike could not eat in front of me. As picture #7 proves, this worked until I spotted him with a bowl of cereal. Since his colonoscopy is next Thursday. I might grill a steak the night before to give him a dose of his own medicine.

8. Ironically, though things were flying and that’s putting it mildly, at 7:47pm, my ability to leave the bathroom for more than 10 seconds was realized. Someone on Survivor ate a bite of pig brains and I contemplated the contestants’ bodily functions in between experiencing my own. “Wow, they must have a lot of diarrhea and other intestinal issues,” I mused in empathy.

9. Following a worthless night of sleep, I chugged another 16 oz. of the solution and swigged an additional 32 oz. of water.

10. Chills went up my spine and I braced for the next round of activity around 6:26 in the morning. A friend sent me a text telling me she was praying for me and we shared another bowel bonding moment.

"I'm not having a colonoscopy in the technical sense but I'm back in Ranger School so it's almost the same thing!"

“I’m not having a colonoscopy in the technical sense but I’m back in Ranger School so it’s almost the same thing!”

Weary and irritable. I pondered the fact that my Soldier had begun Ranger School that EXACT SAME morning. When I had informed Nate of my colonoscopy, we had chuckled a few days prior. “Mom, basically I’m going to be having the same thing done to me on that day!” Oh how I love that kid!

11. Back to those Charmin Freshmates. Truly a Godsend. During my experience, I wondered if I might go through the entire box. When feelings of guilt or indulgence came my way, I told myself I deserved such extravagance. On this morning, Charmin Freshmates were the equivalent of me eating a bowl of slightly melted vanilla bean ice cream with salted caramel sauce enjoyed with an unsticky spoon and that’s saying quite a lot!

12. Then everything settled down at 8:40am. You don’t realize how full of it you are, until you aren’t. I had no more to give and I’ll spare you the biological details.

I’m proud of me for taking care of myself! Send this post to a loved one who needs a colonoscopy. They can do it!

Counting my blessings

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Aaron post-surgery, no kale but I'm not complaining!

Aaron post-surgery, no kale but I’m not complaining!

A week ago, Aaron had stomach pains and bam, within 24 hours, he was recovering in the hospital from appendix surgery. Although we have been silly and jovial about his speedy recovery, please do not take this as a lack of appre- ciation. I’m a 14 hours’ drive away from my boy. He’s never had surgery and I wasn’t there when that changed. Not known for my calm and demure nature, I was shockingly peaceful although he was in Chicago and I in North Carolina. The Lord used many people to stand in the gap. I have to acknowledge the sweet details God did not overlook.

1. Wisdom – It’s still surprising that my middle OS thought it was worth going to the hospital for abdominal pains. Aaron consulted with his RA, the Hubs and a few buddies and went to the hospital in the middle of the night. With this quick thinking, perhaps Aaron was spared a burst appendix.

Maybe Uncle Rich needs to be hospitalized! ;)

Maybe Uncle Rich needs to be hospitalized! ūüėČ

2. Family – near and far my family rallied around Aaron. My sister, aunt and uncle came to visit him in the hospital. When my family said they would be happy to help if Aaron ever needed anything, they meant it.¬†My cousin’s family reached out to my boy too.¬†This allowed me as a mama to feel connected despite being so far away.¬†¬†You wouldn’t have known Aaron had surgery a few hours previously, upon their visit, my aunt felt a party-like atmosphere in his room. A sense of celebration filled the air!

3. Humor – Since he was a toddler, I’ve always considered Aaron to be my human tv. He entertains me immensely. This time, however, my ministry-minded OS needed distraction. According to my boy, there were times in the Emergency Room where shrieks of laughter emanated from his room. Most people who go to the ER aren’t particularly jocular, Aaron’s friends made appendicitis kinda sorta fun.

I loved seeing this smiling face4. Testimony – The doctors asked perfunctory questions about Aaron’s personal life. “How much alcohol do you drink on an average week?” they inquired. Aaron’s reply, “I don’t.” They persisted because Aaron’s buddy chuckled at the question. “No seriously, how much do you drink?” the doctor wondered. My middle OS then replied, “I go to Bible college.” The doctor quickly retorted, “That doesn’t have anything to do with the question.” Aaron’s answer was steady and honest. He doesn’t drink. We are NOT perfect people but I delight in times when my family’s testimony is consistent and true.

5. Scripture – Aaron’s friends wrote Scripture verses on the nurses’ orders on the white board. They prayed for and over him and claimed God’s Word as truth. I pray the staff felt the Lord’s presence in his room.

6. Sacrifice – One of Aaron’s friend had just returned from her precious grandma’s funeral. She went right away to the hospital. Another suffered a horrible family tragedy and still wanted to come see Aaron. Incredible and selfless. They were not only concerned about Aaron but about me! I was deeply touched by everyone’s thoughtfulness. His friends were willing to do anything. ANYTHING. Two stayed overnight and helped him in very personal ways. I was in almost¬†constant communication with them and I never had to initiate any conversation.

7. Face time – with my boy, his friends, his doctor, the surgeon. If your college student has an appendectomy, make sure you have an iPhone.

Prune juice and me looking like a chunky monkey

8. Kale and prunes – After surgery, I informed the doctor that Aaron needed kale. They don’t have kale on stand-by at Northwestern Memorial Hospital but I appreciated that the doctors were pro-kale. We also learned that Aaron actually likes prune juice. He appreciated the flavor in addition to its “medicinal” qualities. Huh…

9. Sweetness – I was leaving my own doctor appointment when Aaron’s physician called me to tell me the surgery was successful. “Will you see him in the recovery room?” I inquired. “Yes, I will.” “As soon as you see him, can you tell Aaron that I love him very much?” ¬†There was a smile in the doctor’s voice as he answered, “I’ll be happy to do that.” The surgeon not only cared for Aaron physically but emotionally. A lady in the lobby overheard my conversation and asked me how my boy was doing. Kindness abounded near and far. Aaron recalled the surgeon giving him my message. Love.

10. School – Imagine entire classrooms of college students praying for your child. Imagine a professor beginning a lecture offering up prayers for your kid. That was our experience at Moody Bible Institute. Appendectomies stink but having legions of caring people nearby is cheerful medicine.

As far as I’m concerned, I already have my Christmas gifts. They came to me in the unexpected and most blessed ways.

Like a bowl full of Jello

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images-1I wrote on Tuesday how I enjoyed being normal.

Then Wednesday happened and I went to the hospital with a fast and irregular heartbeat.

When they hooked me up to the monitors, my stupid heart was pounding at 209 beats per minute.

I felt faint and clammy and utterly exhausted. My moment of normalcy was short-lived.

I’ve lived with a weird heart rate since I was a little girl.

When I was pregnant with my oldest OS, I had an especially nasty bout of it, quite similar to Wednesday’s episode and was hospitalized overnight for that event.

Finally they gave my heart problem a name, it’s SVT, supraventricular tachycardia. With little warning, my heart will flutter like a bowl of Jello. I do not like gelatinous things, in particular when that gelatinous thing happens to havoc in my body.

images-3A friend called and I tried to ignore my crazy heart and speak normally. I’m not sure I succeeded though. Then another friend called and this time, I felt too weak to talk. The Hubs was having lunch with a friend and when he returned, he noticed I wasn’t any better. I didn’t complain or protest when he announced we were going to the hospital.

If you are ever looking for a quick way to be seen in the Emergency Room, have a heart problem. You will suddenly become a high priority patient.

I was quickly ushered into an examining room and before I knew it, an IV was inserted into my arm after two tries. I felt very weak and lifeless and then the doctor told me I was going to have some medicine pumped in my veins.

images-2The nurse grabbed my arm and asked me if I was ready.

Say what???

I couldn’t understand why they were asking me this, what was going to happen?

Was I going to feel something?

The nurse emphatically told me yes, I was going to feel something.

No sooner had the adenosine entered my system, then my heart rate went from about 209 to about 113 in a matter of seconds.

It’s like you’re driving fast on a slippery road and then suddenly you hit the breaks and stop.

I was blessed because the adenosine worked on the first try. I learned that this doesn’t always happen. I also learned I do not like bedpans…

I saw the cardiologist today and will try another medication to help keep my heart beating normally. Have you ever thought about how we take for granted things like a strong and steady heart beat? As of Wednesday, I praise the Lord for my husband being home to take me to the hospital and for a beating heart that’s behaving.