Nurses

Waiting

Room 9.  I had seen it before, but never as a patient.  In fact, I had never been beyond the security doors as a patient at this hospital.  There was the time I hurt my knee, joined the queue and ended up at an after-hours clinic.  The bed was somewhat more comfortable and afforded me opportunity to sleep between bouts of vomiting.

Samples were asked for.  Solid and liquid.  The loud-voiced other patient was right, this toilet space wrecked of urine.  I had to take my socks off.  There was a pool of water in the toilet.  I would tiptoe gingerly around it to procure a sufficient sample.  It would be a while before my bowels willingly offered anything so it would be just the one sample – other than that drawn out by intravenous.

Relief

Time passed slowly and I was surprised to learn how short a time I had actually been at the hospital.  This time the inordinately long wait times didn’t quite apply to me.  Though I was yet to see a doctor, I was being attended to and had even been given a cocktail of variously administered medications to help ease symptoms.  Abdominal pain, now most certainly localising in the right side, was being addressed by analgesics of varying strengths, to my relief.

Looming

Between having my plastic patient ID tag printed and seeing the first actual doctor, there was a small band of nurses attend me.  None of them had ventured to suggest what I feared.  So I asked. “What do you think is actually wrong with me?”  The suggestion of a severe stomach bug seemed to be the go to, but as nurses, they were confident (or perhaps obligated) to say they simply didn’t know.

My fear was that it was as my friend and I had co-diagnosed – that I was under the sway of appendicitis.  I knew what this would mean.  I knew this would result in me having to endure something I had never before experienced: surgery.

Serenity

There were things about this situation that seemed beyond my control.  I had learned how to pray through these situations.  God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

Fetal Position

Double

I was doubled over in pain, in bed.

The pain was centralised in my abdomen as if I had a bad stomach bug.  It seemed the internalised pressure was having a significant impact on my stools, a squeezing like liquefaction.  I was no stranger to watery stools so I was mostly unconcerned.  My mantra was This too shall pass.

I slept, in the fetal position from early evening until what would normally be bedtime on a Saturday evening.  The pain had not abated and I was to make several trips to the toilet before the clock struck twelve.  Some pills before back to bed for the night.

Double

The fetal position was employed all night in an attempt to mitigate the increasing abdominal pain.  By the next morning, the liquefaction was making an upward journey – water in, vomit out, abdominal tight.  Back to bed and the fetal position.  Two days of being doubled over in pain and discomfort that I reduced to a stomach bug.

Toil

More pills, this time with an anti-nausea tablet that would hopefully give me a reprieve from the vomiting.  It availed little.  I told a friend who proceded with caring questions of “Where did the pain start?”, “Where is the pain now?”, “What other symptoms have you got?”  Questions I would be asked multiple times in the ensuing days by those with large student loans and hard soled shoes.

She said what I had considered, “Maybe it’s appendicitis…”  I sought another opinion from Dr. Google.  It lined up.  I wasn’t confident in our amateur diagnosis, but there was sufficient reason to see qualified medical advice.

I thought the after-hours would be a sufficient stop as my chauffeur drove in the opposite direction.  The hospital.  The seemingly unnecessarily overcrowded hospital where wait times extended into hours.  The joy of joys.  Labourous waiting, discomforted and in pain.

Trouble

The vomiting continued into small white pails.  “How long would it be?” she enquired.  “I really need to lie down” I expressed.  Between enquiry and request, the nurse was to be called, but this hadn’t happened.  Soon after my request, the heavy and heavily guarded doors swung open.  “Mr Ward?”

The previous enquiry and the expression that soon followed it were in response to a rise in the numbers, where 1 is next to no pain, and 10 – the most unbearable of pains.  By the time I made it through the doors, it was approaching the upper end of the scale.  This was when the little white pail was put to greatest use as the watery yellow content seemed to force itself out of my body.   The pain causing the vomiting, by this stage, accentuated by the pain of vomiting.

I was given a bed, hard and hardly accommodating.  There would be other beds, in time and process.

 

Helping addicts

If you want to help addicts, you will create a culture that delights in openness and honesty. Be someone with whom they can speak without fear of self-righteous judgment. Invite them to speak this new language of truthfulness, in which they speak honestly and aim to know the Truth—who is the antidote to all idolatry.

 

https://www.ccef.org/resources/blog/two-underused-biblical-resources

A perennial project

Addictions continue their upward swing. Given that we live during a time when self-control is not yet prized, our cultural strategy with hardships is to medicate them away rather than stand in the midst of them. And the possibilities for medicating hardships are always increasing. To sexual obsessions, add illegal drugs, then prescription narcotics, then computer games, and there are more to come. With this in mind, the church has a perennial project: to draw out fresh insights from Scripture on modern addictions, and move toward those who are enslaved by them.

 

https://www.ccef.org/resources/blog/two-underused-biblical-resources

Peace

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – – Romans 5:1
 
The reality of this peace is that God has made peace where there was no peace – and this peace comes through the blood of Christ’s cross.
 
“For in [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” – – Colossians 1:19-20

Overeaters Anonymous

My name is Brendon. I am a compulsive overeater (COE). I am 33 years old, it has taken me that long to admit to that, but in doing so, I felt immediate relief.

I had been toying with the idea of attending an Overeaters Anonymous (OA) for a few weeks after having started listening to Russell Brand’s book: Recovery.

6th of January 2018 – I attended my first OA meeting where I learned how meetings work. I had only intended on observing. The meeting was an online meeting, one of many that occur throughout the day every day – an online OA meeting that draws an international attendance.

Some of the others are long time adherants to their programme so I was interested to hear them share. “Sharing” seems to be the main element in the meeting – people simply talk about whatever they have on their hearts – whether it is related to a set topic, or not. As people shared, I realised that there are real people who really struggle with compulsive overeating. I realised that because of the global attendance, that COE is a global struggle. This begins to erode any sense of isolation – that is, the idea that there only small pockets of people in certain places of the world, with particular cultural influences that struggle with COE.

As I sat, attentive to the shares of other attendees, I felt the courage to go beyond the role of mere spectator. I indicated that I too wanted to share.

My turn approached. I leaned in to the screen, the keyboard, with my left hand cradling my face. I felt a heaviness. It was welling up in my gut – it felt like there was literally something in my stomach weighing me down.

With great apprehension, I began to type. Name. Location. First time adherant.

I was welcomed, by every participant. I with chin in hand.

Hesitant. Nervous. Willing. Fingers back on keys.

“I am a compulsive overeater. I am powerless over food.”

The heaviness in my stomach began to rise. I am sure that if I had actually spoken the words, I would be able to see/hear/feel it come out my mouth. I am not sure I experienced it come out my fingers but as it rose, it definitely began to disolve.

I described ways in which life had become unmanageable as a result of overeating – especially the physical consequences as manifested not only in my being overweight, but the fact that I have bad skin, poor sleep routines, and regularly fluctuate on the scale of digestive regularity.

This was step one. I had taken it. I was on the road to recovery. And I felt good. I was thanked for sharing, encouraged to return to the group.

The End

This is the end
Of making friends,
Colleague and acquaintance
This is the end
Of making mends
With those who tried my patience

This is the end
Of my pretend(ing)
To be to all a stranger
This is the end
Of my rescind(ing)
Foe for friend exchanger

This is the end
Of all things friends
But only for a season
For ’tis the eve of 018
And this the only reason

The Bittersweet Reality of the Gospel

I preached this sermon at South City Reformed Baptist Church on Sunday 19th of November 2017.

I had as my text, Psalm 119:1-4 from which I attempted to demonstrate that until sin is bitter to us, Christ will not be sweet.

Psalm 119:1-4

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,

who walk in the law of the Lord!

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,

who seek him with their whole heart,

who also do no wrong,

but walk in his ways!

You have commanded your precepts

to be kept diligently.

an ongoing testimony of God's grace