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Joy, Laughter, Tears and Love… 02/28/2011

Posted by pastorhigdon in Uncategorized.
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Sunday was a day filled with blessings! It was one of those days that truly confirms that God has not only called me into ministry, but also equips me as well. It all began with worship Sunday morning. Both church services seemed to overflow with a sense of vitality and joy, which could be because both churches were preparing for large afternoon celebrations. Oak Grove was celebrating the 90th birthday of Mildred Craig a life long member of the church and Fountain was preparing to celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary and Renewal of Vows for Billy and Bonnie McCollum also lifelong members. Of course, from a pastoral perspective, wouldn’t you know it that these two historic events would be scheduled at almost the same time! (so goes the life of a pastor)

As I was on my way to Mildred’s birthday party, under a bit of a time constraint, I suddenly became painfully aware that the directions that I had received to the Senior Citizens Center, where the event was to be held, were, shall we say, in error. I stopped and asked an older man coming out of a local market if he knew the area, which he responded that he had lived here his entire life. When I asked him about the Senior Center, he said, “Isn’t that the place up on the hill? No, wait a minute, isn’t it down one of these streets? Or, is that the one that is out there by Walmart?” Oh my, I thought, he’s lived here his entire life and he’s asking me????

About the time I was figuring out that I would have to go to plan B, even though I had no idea what plan B was, a van pulled up and rolled down its window. “Are you lost?” Thank goodness, it was one of my parishioners. “Yes I’m afraid so!” I sheepishly responded. “Well, you’re in luck,”  he said, “you can follow me.” I have to admit, that God is really good to me. (much better than I deserve) What seemed to be heading towards a certain disaster, quickly became a great victory. I was able to arrive at the Birthday party and spend time with Mildred and her family before needing to leave for the Renewal of Vows service at Fountain.

As I reflect on the Renewal of Vows service and party at Fountain, I must say that they were truly memorable. There were so many in attendance, around 200, that we had to move chairs into the sanctuary, which is a first for me. The music, which was beautiful, was highlighted by a lady who also sang for the couple 50 years ago. Everything about the celebration seemed to go perfectly, including God weighing in on the festivities. The moment I pronounced them husband and wife again… a loud clap of thunder echoed through the valley. I took that as God voicing approval.

Sunday was filled with joy, laughter, tears and love. I don’t think that life (or ministry) gets any better than that.

Blessings

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Angels and Apple Pies at McDonald’s 02/26/2011

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It’s funny how even a McDonald’s Apple Pie can lead to an encounter with God. You may remember that I mentioned in an earlier post that I have really been having cravings for McDonald’s in the past couple of months and today was no exception. So, as I was travelling to Bedford, IN for a wedding, I decided that without Karen along, this would be a perfect time to indulge my craving. (I think she is really getting tired of my trips to McDonald’s)

I have to admit that things have been feeling a bit harried, hurried and rushed here over the past few days and this trip to Bedford for the wedding was no exception. After I finished placing my order, I decided to add an apple pie.

Imagine my surprise when the lady behind the counter shook her head, waved her hand in front of me, and said, “no you don’t want to do that.” (“Was this a Jedi mind trick she was using on me?” “These aren’t the droids you are looking for!”) Thinking that maybe she hadn’t heard me correctly, I said to her again, this time slooowly, “I– would– like– an– apple– pie” and she responded equally as slooowly, “Nooo  yoou  doon’t  waant tooo  doo thaaat.” This time I was paying closer attention and I noticed that she was holding up two fingers waving them back and forth.

“You really want to order two of them” she said. “If you buy one, they are .89 cents, and if you buy two it’s only $1.00.” She went on to tell me how wonderful they are warmed up in the microwave,  and then she asked if I had ever put ice cream on top of them. Within a moment I had snapped out of the “get there and get it done” funk that I was in and actually stopped to enjoy a conversation with this delightful person.

When I went and sat down, I continued to watch her as she interacted with other customers, and I realized what a blessing that she was to so many people.

As I left there, I realized that not only had she changed my entire outlook, but that she had helped me to understand how easy it is for each of us to brighten someones day.  It really didn’t take much, just a kind word, a little going above and beyond the call of duty, a little concern or compassion for a fellow traveler, or maybe something as simple as the offer of an extra apple pie to eat later.

By the worlds standards, this woman really wasn’t anything extraordinary. But there is no doubt that in God’s eyes (and mine) she is one very special lady.

Blessings

Like a Catfish Attracted to P.U. Stinkbait… 02/24/2011

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I think that I am finally beginning to grow up. I know that may be difficult for some of you to believe, but I really think that I am. Let me tell you why… I can’t tell you how often I used to get angry and irritated at a few of my “friends” on Facebook. They would say something profoundly unfair, and like a catfish attracted to P.U. Stink Bait, I would jump right in and offer my opinion. I also can’t tell you how many times that I have regretted that decision 🙂

There is one friend in particular that posts something almost on a daily basis that is pretty much the antithesis of everything that I belive and know to be true about faith, our country and the world. This person leaves no room for conversation, no room for the possibility that they may be wrong, and simply “Tells it like it is!” (Or, at least how this person believes it to be in their mind)

I can’t tell you how many times Karen has told me to just delete this person. (I think she has grown weary of listening to me) But, I didn’t do that, I have kept this person as a “friend” because I truly belive that they are helping me to become a better person. I no longer get angry when I read the posts, (Well, at least most of the time I don’t”) and instead of responding back  like a moth drawn to a light, I have begun to pray for this person instead. I don’t pray for this person to come around to the way that I think, and I certainly don’t pray for them because I think that I am right and this person is wrong.

Instead, I pray for this persons well-being and that perhaps God can offer a sense of peace and love for all that is good about this world, in spite of the flaws that seem to weigh so heavily. After I began to pray, I discovered that it is awfully difficult to remain angry with someone when you are praying for them 🙂

Am I growing up? I don’t know, probably not. Maybe I am just beginning to understand that in this world filled with politically charged and polarizing issues, it is way too easy to find things which divide us, that perhaps, the best thing that we can do for each other is to simply pray. You know, I am pretty certain I read that somewhere 🙂

Blessings

Don’t Worry, Be Happy! 02/22/2011

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In the past few days, I have been trying hard to put world events into some sort of focus and it seems that no mater how hard I try, I have been mostly unsuccessful. Recent national and world events are extremely unsettling and in many ways it feels like the world is changing right before our eyes. 

One example of unsettling events that will undoubtedly effect all of us, came to my attention this evening.  After our church meeting tonight, one of our members mentioned that if you haven’t filled up your gas tank yet, you should probably do so immediately, as the prices in Louisville have already jumped about 30 cents per gallon today. As he was speaking, I could feel that same old churning begin in the pit of my stomach, that feeling of concern and worry that I have felt so many times before. “What is going to happen?” “Am I going to be able to afford gas?”  “How will this affect my family?”

There is no doubt that I am a worrier. Actually, I come by it quite honestly. My mother taught me everything that she knew about worrying and she was a world-class expert. My Dad always said that if she didn’t have something real to worry about, she would just go ahead and make something up, which isn’t really that far from the truth.

But in reality, worrying is the opposite of faith. Jesus asked the question, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Obviously the answer is no, but the reality is that just the opposite is true. Worry not only affects our mind, but it also affects our body and our spirit. Worry, carried to extremes, will very much shorten our life.

George Washington even weighed in on the subject of worry by saying that, “Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”

Jesus gives us some very explicit instructions on how to deal with worry. His advice is to  “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” It really is  hard to worry when you are praising God:)

Jesus goes on to say, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I think that is pretty good advice! So with that in mind, I think that it is time for me to go to bed and let tomorrow take care of itself. The worrier in me has no doubt that it will have enough trouble of its own:)

Blessings

One Man’s Struggle Against (With) Technology… 02/21/2011

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“Wow Jim, I am amazed at how good you are with all of this new technology!” I mean, you are on Facebook, you have a twitter account, you have a Droid X, a Kindle  and now you have a blog, for heaven’s sake, until you told me, I didn’t even know what a blog was…”

These are a few of the comments that I have been receiving lately from some of my technologically challenged friends. For some reason, there are people out there who are under the mistaken impression that I am knowledgable and conversant with all of this new technology. For this reason, I feel that I can no longer maintain this facade, (I love that word) I must be true to who I am, and I can only do so by sharing with you a deep dark secret… Hi, my name is Jim, and I suffer from Technophobia! (The fear or dislike of advanced technology and complex devises.)

Too be honest, I have always had a bit of a fear of new technology. I remember when I had my Chiropractic office, we had the need to hire an office consultant to help manage a few of the business aspects of our practice. One of the first things that he wanted me to do was to get a fax machine. “What do I need one of those things for?” I asked. Well, after months and months of prodding, and against my better judgement, I finally added the second phone line (which required all new phones) and bought the new fax machine that he had been pestering me for.

I still remember when I made the purchase,  it was shortly after we had all survived Y2K. (I sure didn’t want to buy all of that new fangled stuff if the world was going to come crashing down all around me at the turn of the new millennium 🙂 So after it was installed and up and working, I called the consultant, and with a certain air of smugness and pride I informed him that I did as he requested and that we were now the proud owners of a new fax machine and a second phone line. After a moment of silence on his end of the line he said, “Well, now you are only one decade behind, you have officially moved into the “90’s,” let’s see how long it takes to move you into the next century!” (Talk about bursting my bubble)

So, here it is a decade later, (Oh my where has the time gone?) and I am still struggling with the new technology. My Covenant group has been discussing meeting over Skype… Oh no, that means that I have to get a web cam and I won’t know how to hook it up, and then I need to get the software, and what happens if it doesn’t work, or even worse, if it messes up my computer…. (Yes, this is exactly how my mind works…kind of scary isn’t it:) 

I am also facing an even more serious technological crisis, perhaps one of epic proportion.  All of my favorite cable channels are slowly being taken away from me one by one. It starts as a red announcement scrolling across the screen saying something about this channel is going digital, followed in a few weeks by momentary disruptions of that channel with an announcement about needing a special box to get this channel in the future, followed by that same message displayed permanently, followed by no channel at all 😦

 I think I am down to about three channels left on my TV. I haven’t had this few TV channels since my parents allowed me to stay up until 9:00 PM on Sunday night to watch Bonanza!

Now, you might ask, why don’t I just order the new boxes for the TV’s, I mean they are free right? Yes, they are, and I did order them, as a matter of fact, they have been sitting on the counter in the kitchen for a couple of weeks now.  (Much to Karen’s displeasure) But here is the problem, right now, I still have channels to watch. (albeit, they are getting fewer and fewer everyday) What happens if I start disconnecting things and end up losing what TV I already have? Oh the dilemmas that a technologically challenged person faces.

All I can say is that I will continue to fight the good fight, and I will try to maintain my facade (there is that word again:) of a tech savvy guy, but in the mean time, is there anyone who would let me come over tonight and watch The History Channel, I think “American Pickers” is a new one tonight:)

Blessings

The Shadow of Death…The Rest of the Story 02/20/2011

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After being released from the hospital, I returned to visit the urologist’s office on the following Monday for a followup visit. After a brief examination, he shared with me that the swelling would probably continue for some time to come, and that I would have to be careful with any lifting and sitting for extended periods of time, But other than those concerns he was pleased and told me to go home and that he would see me again in about three weeks to see how I was doing.

As he turned to leave the room, he stopped, turned around and asked me to sit back down. He said that he wanted to tell me something. He looked me in the eyes and said, “I am not sure if you understand how fortunate you are. I have been practicing medicine for many years and never once have I had someone presenting with the severity of  symptoms that you had when I first saw you that didn’t require immediate surgery.” He continued by saying that, as he was telling me this, he was getting goosebumps  just thinking about it.

He then said, “let me tell you what the surgery would have involved.” I would have made an incision all the way between your legs and then incisions down both legs, opening up the flesh washing it with antibiotics and allowing the infection to drain over time. You would have been in intensive care for weeks, and your recovery would have been measured in months, that is assuming that we would have been succesful in halting the spread of the infection at all, and frequently with these types of infections we are not necessarily successful. You are one very lucky man.”

I told him that I had asked about the surgery many times, but I never got an answer, he chuckled and said that the nurses were well aware of what surgery I was looking at, but thought that until I needed to know, it was probably best that I didn’t. (I couldn’t agree more) He then shook my hand, told me once again how fortunate I was and that he would see me in 3 weeks.

 After he left I began to think about all that had transpired. My first thought was how sick and dejected I felt when I left the Emergency Room that night, but then I realized, that had they taken action and sent me home with some sort of mild antibiotic like Penicillin or Amoxicillin, I would have waited several more days before I sought any additional help, and with this condition, even one more day could have meant the difference between life and death.

I thought about the response of my family doctor, who immediately took me and the condition seriously, and whose decisive actions in that moment undoubtedly saved my life. I thought about Karen’s determination to get me the help I needed, I thought about the countless prayers that were said for me, and I thought about all of those who came to see me and were holding me in their prayers.

I have no doubt that what happened to me was nothing short of a miracle. I also have no doubt that God worked through everyone involved to see me safely through this crises. I still have a way to go to get back to “normal.”  My stamina and energy are far from what they were in October and I still have absolutely no idea what cased this infection to flare up in the first place, which has me a bit apprehensive about what I should and should not be doing. But, I do know that God is good and that God is faithful and most importantly, I know that when I journeyed through the valley of the shadow of death, God was with me the whole time.

Blessings

Shadow of Death… continued once again 02/19/2011

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All throughout the night there seemed to be a steady stream of healthcare workers filtering in and out of my room. Although I really didn’t sleep very much, I was comforted by the pattern of vital sign checks, IV changes, and watching the information on the white board on the wall being erased while new information was added. Each person came in quietly without turning on a light, talking softly to me if need be, or simply smiling at me and doing the job that they needed to do by the soft light from the hallway and the glow of the night-light under the bed.  One nurse around 5:00 AM looked at me and asked, “Haven’t you slept at all tonight? You have been awake every time I have been in here.” I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders.

Suddenly at 6:00 AM the door burst open, the full array of lights in the room came on and I was greeted by the urologist, who I met yesterday. “Well, lets see if we are heading down to surgery!” he said rather matter-of-factly. I am not sure if I was more startled by the sudden burst of  light or by his words. After examining me, he thought for a moment, shook his head back and forth like he was weighing a decision that could go either way, then he said, “Well, the good news is that you aren’t any worse! We seem to have halted the advance of the infection. The bad news is, that I am not sure if you are actually any better. I tell you what, you just bought yourself 24 more hours. Same rules as yesterday, nothing to eat or drink after midnight in case we go to surgery tomorrow and I will see you in the morning.” And just as abruptly as he entered the room, he left. (The least he could have done was shut off the light, I thought to myself)

After he left, I began to wonder, “what kind of surgery is he talking about?” So the next time one of the nurses came in, I asked. She got a puzzled look on her face, thought for a moment and said that she really didn’t know, but that she would ask and get back to me. An hour or two later she said that she still didn’t have an answer, but she was checking on it. This pattern, upon reflection, actually continued several more times over the next two days, I would ask what the surgery involved, and they would respond that they didn’t know, but would be happy to check, and never came back with an actual answer to the question.  (admittedly I never thought to ask a doctor) Actually, at the time, I really didn’t give this much thought.

This might be a good time to describe to you the view from my window. Although, I had a beautiful view of the Knobs of Southern Indiana, there was something else that caught my eye, something even more beautiful than the changing leaves of Southern Indiana… I had a perfect view of the golden arches of McDonald’s.  One strange aspect of this illness was the fact that I never  lost my appetite. And, one thing that I really craved was McDonald’s, especially McDonald’s Sweet Tea. Since I went through this experience, Karen will tell you that I have had more McDonald’s cravings than ever, and we have eaten there more in this past 3 months than we have in total over the past 20 years.  Go figure:)

The next morning, not quite as early this time, my urologist returned and after examining me said that I certainly wasn’t worse, and perhaps I was beginning to improve. I could tell that there was even a little bit of white skin on what had been the red side of the line he drew two days earlier. He was still concerned about what had caused this to begin with, but he then shocked me and said that maybe I would be able to go home soon. (My family doctor, didn’t share his optimism) However, before I could go home he wanted me to be checked out by a gastrointestinal surgeon. So he maintained the no food or water order, and said that she would be in to see me later in the day.

Breakfast time came and went, no surgeon…  lunch time came and went and no surgeon…dinner time came and went and still no surgeon. I was beginning to get frustrated, and I was definitely hungry, it had been over 24 hours since I had anything to eat. The nurses had tried all day to find out when the surgeon was coming and finally around 7:00 PM they brought me in a tray of food (some type of turkey sub sandwich) I was supposed to have had biscuits and gravy for breakfast, chicken pot pie for lunch and turkey and dressing with all the trimmings for dinner, but because I had been on the no food or drink list, all I got was a turkey sub. 😦 Apparently, there was a mixup and the surgeon would be in to see me in the morning. So, once again, no food or drink after midnight. I was sure getting tired of hearing that.

The next morning. I was told that there had been a lower GI, CT scan ordered and that they had something for me to drink. The good news was that it actually tasted like lemonade and wasn’t bad at all. They took me to the CT area and what they did to me next just shouldn’t happen to anyone. Those of you who have had this done know exactly what I am talking about! Here is just one brief example. The technician said, “I am going to start pumping in these fluids, tell me when you can’t stand it anymore.”  “Tell you when I can’t stand it anymore!!!” what kind of stupid direction is that? I can assure you of one thing, it doesn’t take long to reach the point where you can’t stand it anymore, trust me on that one!

When I got back to my room, I probably felt almost as bad as I had the entire time I was in the hospital. Within a few minutes, the urologist came in and said, “Are you ready to go home?” I must have had the most puzzled look on my face because he said, “I know that you aren’t feeling very well. The swelling is going to take months to go away, your blood work is doing great,  the antibiotics are working great, the CT scan turned out perfect and here’s the deal, you can feel miserable here, or you can feel miserable at home, which do you prefer?” It took me all of 1.5 seconds to respond, “I want to go home!” He then said that he was still waiting for the surgeon to see me and that I had to be released by my family doctor but as far as he was concerned he was done with me and he wanted to see me in his office on Monday for a followup.

So, one more night in the hospital, my family doctor finally released me the following morning, the surgeon never showed up at all (which really irritated my urologist) and I was finally back home resting comfortably. (Well, as comfortably as possible)

So, now you know everything that I knew up to that point. However, what I was to learn Monday at the followup visit will haunt me and bless me for the rest of my life. Tomorrow I will share with you “The Rest of the Story…”

To be continued…

Blessings

Shadow of Death…continued again 02/18/2011

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Floyd Memorial Hospital

After a fitful and restless night, Karen was up and on the phone by 7:00 AM trying to contact my doctor’s office. By 9:00 AM, I was sitting (actually lying down) in an exam room waiting on my doctor to come in. (Karen was definitely a woman on a mission:) Over night the fever had started back up and what seemed like a rash the night before had turned into major swelling. The doctor took one look at me, diagnosed the problem as Cellulitis, gave me a shot of a strong antibiotic and ordered a prescription for two more. Unlike the Emergency Room, his response was overwhelming and decisive. I can say without any doubt whatsoever that his actions in that moment saved my life.

He told me that the situation was serious and that he was going to give the antibiotics 24 hours to respond. If there wasn’t a significant improvement by tomorrow, then he would have no choice but to put me in the hospital. I was to go home, go to bed and return the next day as his first patient of the morning.

The next day, I could honestly say that I “felt” better, but in the area of my lower trunk, what had been swollen approximately double normal size the day before had now doubled in size again… I was so miserable that I could hardly walk.

After seeing me, my doctor said that he had already been in communication about me to a good friend of his who was a urologist at Floyd Memorial Hospital, and this is who he wanted me to see. I was told to go home, pack a bag and go immediately to New Albany, that they would be expecting me. I still remember the expression of concern and compassion offered to me by the financial person as I was leaving the office. She didn’t ask about money, she didn’t say anything about insurance,  she looked at the papers, then back at me, and with great care she said that she would be praying for me. I knew then, if I hadn’t figured it out before, that the prior month, when I was searching for a doctor, God had led me to the right place.

When we arrived at Floyd Memorial, we were met by my daughter Terri and her friend Aaron. My son Ben was on his way down from Seymour. (I am afraid that at this point I was beginning to scare my family… honestly, I was beginning to get a little scared myself) I was taken almost immediately to a room, given another one of those wonderful hospital gowns to put on and for the first time in my life, I was officially admitted to a hospital. (I didn’t count the surgery on my head, since that was done as an outpatient 🙂

Within a half hour of arriving in my room, I met the urologist for the first time. My first impression was that he was simply a great guy. He would be someone who I would enjoy spending a day fishing with. He talked to me for a few minutes and then asked to examine me. He took one look and said, “OH LORD!” Now, I am not sure if your doctor has ever said those words when he/she looked at you before, I know that mine never has. And when the doctor happens to be a urologist, that just makes things that much worse.

He immediately took a pen out of his pocket and began to draw some type of lines on my legs. After he left, I looked to see what he had done, and I realized that he had drawn lines clear around both legs. I hadn’t noticed before, but the redness from the infection had caused  a clear line of demarkation around both legs about six inches down from the groin area. (the infection was spreading)

He told me that he was VERY concerned about this infection. He said that he was starting me on three different IV’s of antibiotics and that if there wasn’t remarkable improvement by morning, I would be on my way to surgery. He gave me instructions that I was to have no food or water after midnight (instructions that I would get used to hearing) and that he would see me in the morning. Then, before he left, he said something in passing about needing to get a catheter in me and I remember asking a bit indignantly, “What for!?!??” He just smiled and said that it was precautionary.

Within an hour, they were drawing blood, hooking up IV’s, taking me down for a very painful ultrasound test, and introducing me to the joys of Morphine. About 7:00 PM the nurse came back in the room with an armful of packages with bags and tubes and said the words I had been dreading, “I am here to put in your catheter.”  If that wasn’t the worst experience of my life up to that point, I am not sure what it would have been. 😦

The nurse had one person helping her, and no matter how hard they tried, it just wasn’t going in right. Finally she called for someone else, and within a moment I could hear this gruff voice bursting into the room.  (I say heard, because I hadn’t opened my eyes from the moment they started)

She began immediately barking orders at the nurses and then at me. I could feel that she was right in my face yelling at me to relax and informing me that this entire debacle was my fault, and if I would just relax and breathe it would all have been over five minutes ago. Within ten seconds I heard her say, “And that is how you do it ladies, do you need anything else from me?”  It was finally over. A little later the doctor told me that with all of the swelling that I had, they probably should have brought the first string in to do the catheter in the first place… he was probably right.

After they had all left the room and turned the lights down, (I still hadn’t opened my eyes)  I reached my hand over to Karen, and I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and I began to cry. Maybe it was the pain, maybe it was the morphine, but suddenly all of the anguish and fear of the past two days came flooding back to me. I was stuck here now, I couldn’t leave if I wanted to, I was hooked up to tubes and IV’s, I didn’t know what was going to happen, the doctor was talking about surgery in the morning. I was miserable and I was scared. I did the only thing that I knew to do… I began to pray.

To be continued…

The Shadow of Death…Continued 02/17/2011

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After leaving the hospital after my surgery, my recovery seemed to be going along well. I even felt well enough to tackle the next health objective, the dreaded colonoscopy. Words can’t even begin to describe how much I didn’t want to go through that experience. But, with much prayer, suffering and tears, I made it through all of the preparations (YUCK!) Wait a minute that wasn’t enough YUCK! YUCK! YUCK! Ok, that seemed a little better.

Actually,  the procedure went smoothly and I was given a clean bill of health, which was a tremendous relief. I was very much afraid that because of my brothers early diagnosis of Colon Cancer, that I may have had the same time bomb ticking away inside of me. God very much answers prayers.

So, my heart checked out great, my colon was clean as a whistle, I got the stitches out of my head. Everything was healing nicely! What could possibly go wrong now?

Four days after the colonoscopy, I was working in my office. Actually, I was working on the Christmas Eve Service and patting myself on the back for working so far in advance. At exactly 4:00 PM, I suddenly felt chilled to the bone. I went into the living room and thought that perhaps the furnace wasn’t working properly. I bumped up the heat, sat down in the recliner, put the electric blanket that Karen keeps by her chair on high, but I still couldn’t warm up. After about thirty minutes, it dawned on me that I must have a fever. I decided to take some Tylenol, go to bed and pile on a few extra blankets.

 By 6:00PM I was almost delirious. My skin was red-hot, I was chilling uncontrollably and I decided to take another round of Tylenol. (I know, that was probably not a good idea, but remember that I was a bit delirious so maybe you can cut me some slack:)

By 7:00PM I noticed that all around my lower trunk (There are more descriptive anatomy terms I could use, but this is a family blog:) I felt like I was breaking out in a rash, my entire lower trunk was on fire and I noticed a lot of itching.

At 8:00 Karen had enough and said “I am taking you to the Emergency Room!” I was so sick that I didn’t even argue. (Yeah, those of you who know me well realize that I must have been nearly unconscious not to argue)

The Emergency Room experience was truly awful. I was so sick that I could hardly sit in a chair, after an hour Karen asked them if there was a place that I could lie down. (The alternative was that I was going to fall down on the floor and just stay there for a while) Finally, they took me back to a room. I tried to tell them that I was 51 years old, that I have never been to an Emergency Room before, and that I have never felt so sick in my life, but they really didn’t seem to care very much. 

Unfortunately, by that time, the double dose of Tylenol had kicked in and my temperature had dropped significantly. After about an hour, they finally got around to giving me something to ease the discomfort, they took a few X-Rays, took some blood, checked for H1N1 flu and then decided by 1:00AM that I had an infection. (Duh) My white count was over 20,000 (normal is 4500-10,000)

Then the decision was made to send me home. “Send me home?” You have got to be kidding me, I thought. My instructions were to drink plenty of fluids and take Tylenol. The darkest night of my life, and I was sent home to drink fluids and take Tylenol. I left the hospital at 1:30AM with tears in my eyes, sick and dejected. What I didn’t know at the time was that their inaction probably saved my life.

I went home to bed… salvation would come in the morning.

To be continued…

Blessings

The Valley of the Shadow of Death… 02/16/2011

Posted by pastorhigdon in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Ok, I know several people have asked me, so let me address my health challenges that I went through last fall.

It all started back last summer when I made the decision to get healthy. (big mistake) I began a diet, lost about 25lbs and made a commitment to run in a 5K race for my birthday in October.  I also decided that I would put my long-held aversion to medical doctors aside and really get checked out and evaluated. I had three major concerns that I wanted to address.

1. Is my heart in good enough shape to be running?

2. My brother died from Colon Cancer at age 58, so I should probably put my fears aside and have a colonoscopy done.

3. I had a very small place/wound on my head that hadn’t healed in over a year (more like two years) and perhaps I should have it looked at. (duh)

The first task was to find a family doctor, since I haven’t been to one for many years. After selecting one that I was comfortable with, the evaluation process began.

The first step was the heart evaluation. I was scheduled for an EKG, an Echocardiogram and a Stress Test, all of which I passed with flying colors. Actually, the Stress test was a strange test, apparently if you complete the test without passing out you pass. So, I completed it (actually I thought I was going to die) and I was cleared by my doctor to run as much as I wanted to.

The next step was to have the place on my head looked at by a specialist. When I went to his office, he walked into the exam room, introduced himself, asked what he could help me with, looked at my head for about 10 seconds, diagnosed it as a Basil Cell Carcinoma, informed me that I was lucky and that this was the best kind to have and told me that I need surgery as soon as possible. The total time for the visit was under two minutes. (You don’t even want to know what those two minutes cost:(

Two weeks later I was dressed in a hospital gown, sitting in the surgery area at Jewish Hospital. Let me stop there for a moment and say that up to that moment, I had never been in a hospital before other than visiting and now I was about to have surgery. (Not exactly the best day of my life) I had hoped that the surgery would be performed under local anesthesia, but the doctor insisted that it must be done under general and my daughter, Terri, looked at me and said, “Dad, do you REALLY want to be awake when they are cutting on your head?” (She is wise beyond her years, that’s all that I can say about that!)

 To make a long story short, I woke up with a 5 inch incision with a bunch of stitches on top of my head that would have rivaled Frankenstein (which was quite appropriate since it was almost Halloween) To this day, I am not sure how such a little bitty spot could end up requiring a five-inch gash, but I guess that is what I get for not having it looked at 2 years ago when it would have been much easier to fix.

What I didn’t know when I left the hospital that day was that I would be returning much sooner than I expected and that this time I truly was preparing to walk through the shadow of death…

To be continued…

Blessings