Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hospital tales 1: I’ll just keep on working

When life sends you into a tailspin, tell the tales.

“What can I do for my leg?” I questioned the Lord in my journal on July 9.

Admittedly, asking the Lord a direct question is a dangerous practice because I might hear wrong, but that doesn’t keep me from trying.

“Swim and sit in the Jacuzzi and let healing time pass," I thought I heard.


“Baby it with hot packs and cold packs. Ask Sarah.”

A few days later Sarah, my beloved, read my journal while I was lying in the hospital. “You sure didn’t do a very good job of hearing the Lord,” she said with a laugh.

“That’s true,” I said, “the only thing I got right was asking you.”

When I asked Sarah, a nurse, if I should use hot pack or cold packs under my sore knee she asked to look at it. “There’s a reddened area above your knee and it’s hot to touch,” she reported. “That could be a blood clot above the back of your knee. You better call your doctor.”

Now denial is a wonderful thing. It keeps us from spending too much time thinking about the fact that we can die at any moment.

I vaguely knew that blood clots in the leg can break off and be deadly but I didn’t spend time worrying about that. I called the doctor who ordered an ultrasound. “If it is a clot,” she said, “I’ll have to put you in the hospital.” I felt my denial slip a bit but I quickly pulled it back up.

In radiology at the local hospital I watched beautiful, color, abstract patterns on a screen while the tech pressed the ultrasound by my groin. “What’s that?” asked Sarah.

“That’s a clot,” the tech said. My denial was very good. I wondered how she could see the clot beneath my knee from by my groin. Only later did I realize the clot went from below my knee to my groin.

True to her word the doctor put me in the hospital.

I wasn’t supposed to use my cell phone because it would mess up the telemetry, the nurse said. I sneaked and used my cell phone a few times to complete arrangements for hosting a sister church the next day at Plow Creek.

My denial firmly in place, I kept working in the hospital, making phone calls and studying The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make by Hans Finzel.

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