The medication to relieve my BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia [enlarged prostate]) has not been effective. Passing urine and bowel movements have been erratic and hardly successful. I made a good decision late last week when I followed the advice of my friend and Mrs. tVM and scheduled an appointment with my VA medical team for Tuesday this week.
After a thorough conversation with my primary care physician, she proceeded with a physical exam, but moments after examining my abdomen – which was bloated and as tight as a snare drum – she said, “You need to get to the emergency room NOW.” Reflecting on what occurred at the ER leads me to think that her immediate and forceful decision to ‘get to the emergency room NOW’ was a life-saving call, something you’d expect from nothing less than an angel whose knowledge and perceptions are deeper than those of the common person.
I was less than pleased with the three-hour wait in the ER before seeing a doctor. Frankly, I was nearing the point of walking out and returning home to finish the bottle of Dr. Tobias’ Colon Cleanser which I had taken two days earlier with Vesuvian effect on my bowels but not on the urine. Moments before I was able to make that unwise decision because I couldn’t be patient, they called my name, and Mrs. tVM and I headed back to a treatment room.
Within minutes, the ER doctor declared that a Foley catheter was in order. “Will it hurt?” He raised his eyebrows but didn’t answer. I’m certain it took the technicians 20 to 30 seconds to insert and position the catheter, but it felt like 20 hours. That said, within minutes, my situation improved as urine flowed freely from the catheter. Twenty-four hours later, the staff informed me that 4 gallons of urine had passed, and it was still flowing.
The young doctor’s quick decision to insert the catheter without delay was something I’d expect from an angel, and from my perspective, his decision was life-saving. That evening, the kidney specialist informed me that I had experienced renal failure; my kidneys were operating at 10%, which is a life-threatening situation. Had my VA primary care physician not sent me to the ER… had the ER doctor not made an immediate decision to insert the catheter, “You would be facing serious consequences,” the kidney specialist told me. That is a very sobering statement.
As it is, after two days of bladder drainage – and the catheter is still in place – my kidneys have recovered to normal capacity and I’ve returned home.
The challenge remains, and there are battles yet to fight, and they will begin on Monday when I meet with the urologist to determine our course of action on the prostate, which at this stage, all fingers point to as the culprit.
I pray throughout the day with commitment and persistence. Through the last 48 hours, I’ve cried the cry of Bartimaeus the blind beggar over and over, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.” He has!
I’ve cried the plea of the leper, “If you choose to, you can make me clean.” He will guide the hands of his angels and he will!
Through it all, I think of Job who was touched by overwhelming misery but never lost his faith.
As I lay in the hospital bed for three days, I was tempted to allow the TV on the wall to distract me with meaningless gibberish; I never turned it on. I chose to say my rosary instead… over and over. It was another wise choice because it enabled me to find peace in the painful and challenging situation I found myself in. As each rosary bead passed through my fingers, I prayed for someone in my life facing challenges more significant than my own.
We are surrounded by angels, some disguised as friends, doctors, husbands and wives, sons and daughters… even dogs. Angels are real, and they are here to help us make good decisions and to give us strength when we need it most. Pay attention. As Thomas À Kempis wrote in The Imitation of Christ,
“When you think yourself farthest from me, often I am nearest to you.”