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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What Ails Me?

In the preface, or forward to a book I have somewhere called "Medical Ethics for Nurses" there is a quote from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen to the effect that every good doctor( or nurse) needs to have an incision and a good sense of humor. Over the past sixteen years I have striven to cultivate the latter while trying to avoid the former. I have been quite successful until recently.

For the first time since I was an infant, I was in a hospital as a patient. In the past week I have been having problems with vertigo, dizziness, and on Sunday, intense chest pain. I had to say the words I never wish to hear; namely, "honey, take me to the emergency room now," and "hi! I think I am having a heart attack."

Oddly enough, just saying those words gave me some measure of peace. But these few words were probably the hardest words I have ever said.

After the dust has cleared, it appears that I did not have a heart attack, but that the heart was suffering the effects of high blood pressure on it. I am on medications to control my pressure, but I still feel weak as a newborn kitten. An MRI done of my brain confirmed what one of my partners always suspected, that there is nothing in there of any concern.

For the first time in my life, I got to experience a hospital from the other side. I never realized just how vulnerable one is as a patient, subject to midnight blood draws, blood pressure measurements, and the mysterious 4:30 wakeup to ask if I had had a bowel movement yet. Throw on top of that the sleepless times, filled with worries and fears about the future - more often about how I would provide for my family than about any future suffering. Add to that the recriminations about not exercising more and eating less, second-guessing my doctors, and just the constant question 'why?'

After much prayer, especially the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, it is apparent to my wife and I that while only God knows why He gave me this little cross, there are indications that He was preparing us for this little sidetrip. At the last moment in January, we changed plans for vacation and took our children to see Mother Angelica's cloistered nuns, and the Benedictine monks in Alabama. We then took our children to see my grandmother and my youngest brother in Florida, something which may never be possible again. A lot of what we did we may never do again as a family.

All the while, we treated this as a pilgrimage, begging God to send us more children.

God always answers these requests in His own way. The last time we stormed Heaven with prayers with this intensity and purpose was in 2004, when we were praying for the Little Flower to intercede for us. Did she ever. On the final day of the novena my wife had a severe gall bladder attack. She had surgery to remove the offending organ, and within three months was expecting our youngest daughter.

So now it looks as if it is my turn to suffer a bit, hopefully as a prelude to another Noisykid. I don't think I will need surgery for my present ailment, but that is not clear at this time.

What is clear is that the next girl, whenever she shows up, will be Faustina.

Thank you for your prayers.


semperficatholic said...

Glad you are home now and hope you are feeling better. I have my forum praying for you. We await the announcement of a little Faustina.

Let us know if you need anything.


antonia said...

oh goodness, I am glad to hear that it was "just" a bit of hypertension & not a full blown MI.

Still sounds pretty scary though, with an over-night stay in hospital and all.

God Bless

Truthseeker said...

The Roman Sacristan let me know of your ailments, so I, too, have been praying for you and your family. Now that I know that you have been praying to St. Faustina, I will also pray to her for your health AND your intentions; she is one of my favorites. Let us know how you are getting along.


Lori from Semperficatholic said...

Well we here on the farm have been praying the St. Therese 24 Glory Be Novena for you and a friend named Deena who appears to have the same illness as you. I figured little soon to be Faustina needed a middle name. Faustina Therese? Has a nice ring to it!



Roman Sacristan said...

Yet still able to blog from the hospital. You may be down, but you have some fortitude!
You're in our prayers (as always).

Bridget said...

You have certainly been in our prayers. ('Aunt with even more noisy kids' called us right away.)
We sure know what it's like to trudge and pray your way down this path.

All will be well, all will be well.

NC said...

I hope you are feeling a little better.
My Dad suffered the effects of hypertension from his mid-thirties. So far I have been spared but, despite the warnings of physicians, now aged 46 I haven't done a great deal to ward it off. Your recent experience tells me that I ought to! (I don't have anyone to get me to the emergency room.)
As a Father with no noisykids of my own, I will offer Mass for your intentions this week.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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