Category Archives: testimony

My Testimony

This is my testimony to the saving grace of God in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other…”

Nahum 1:2 “The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

My Testimony



Four hourly observations wherein blood pressure, oxygen levels, and my temperature were taken and recorded were replaced with a question asked with less rigid regularity: “How are you feeling?”  An instant reading in-ear thermometer was replaced by sweat soaked bed linen.  I had a fever and not one she’d given me.  Chest pain and laboured breathing.

My plight was medicated with regularly taken analgesics and less often taken hard stuff some of which promised to mitigate the fever.  Occasion necessitated ad hoc descending of stairs.  Accompanying stair climbing was the feeling of breathlessness and exhaustion exceeding that which could be attributed to the surgery of three days ago.

The laborious breathing and rattly feeling made me think of it as a chest infection.  I made a GP appointment to coincide with the removal of stitches.  The stitches were not ready for removal, but the GP colluded with my suspicions and prescribed a course of antibiotics.


By Tuesday night, I didn’t feel right and the niggling, mountain climbing inhibiting issues became more of a concern.  Chest pain intensification.  Breathing difficulties dialled up a notch. Ambulance called.  I was back in the emergency department’s waiting room.  Six hours later, readmission.

A scan was ordered and the results showed two large pockets of non-descript infection.  One was subhepatic (which means under the liver) and being the bigger of the two, was the cause of the laboured breathing an associated chest pain.  Pocket pressing on the diaphragm giving the disguising itself as a chest infection.


Oral antibiotics were superceded by intravenous and a nil-by-mouth order.  It was thought that another surgical procedure would be required to drain the fluid.  Bloodwork on readmission showed concern-worthy inflammatory markers and other indications of infection.  Remaining an inpatient for several days, daily blood work showed desirable movement in results.  The threat of surgery waned with each daily laboratory report.

During this time I was fairly mobile – often taking walks with the IV infusion device to sit in chairs but sun-facing windows.  This sense of mobility broke the monotony of being confined to a hospital bed, though while there, I did manage to work through many of the movies that made its way into the catalogue of the 1980s.

Pain reports began to come down, as did the inflammatory markers revealed by bloodwork.  It was time for discharge – to again make the switch between antibiotic delivery methods, again with prescriptions of analgesics and harder stuff (which were never dispensed).

Home again with a second medical certificate to give to the boss.  It was Saturday.  This second admission brought the sum of my hospital stays to 8 days.

Away From Hospital

The Journey Home

I left the hospital with a bit of pain and some difficulty breathing. It had been thought that this was a simple hangover from the surgery.  With pillow bracing my recently operated on-abdomen, I waited for my ride to approach the drop-off (and pick-up) are.

As we, now in a motor-vehicle, departed from the hospital carpark, I realised how in need it was of resurfacing (the hospital carpark, not the vehicle).  Every dip and slump and bump and ridge and area of patched up bitumen had an impact on my tender torso.  I grimaced, bracing for the impact of every topological feature of what ought to have been a completely level surface.

Emphatic apologies issued forth from the mouth of my driver as I attempted to deflect them with my eyes.  She was doing her best given the circumstances.

Arriving home, I gingerly emerged from the car and shuffled towards the door, pillow still tightly clutched.  As I opened the door, the greatest of challenges lay before me – a set of stairs.  The prize at the top of these steps was the comfort and ease of my very own bed.

Out the corner of my eye, I spotted another prize.  A package had arrived in my absence and I was looking forward to opening it and availing myself of the joy it promised.  Unpacked and plugged in, I sat, almost tentatively on the couch.  It was then that I felt the effects of the sevredol: nausea, a feeling of deep muscular relaxation, light-headedness (perhaps it would be better to dub this “away-with-the-fairies-ness).

The Next Move

Bedtime was approaching – or at least a time when it would be acceptable to go to bed.  Unless I was prepared to sleep on the couch (which I wasn’t, I had long pined for my bed), this meant I would need to ascend the stairs.  As I sat, in a prescribed-drug induced daze, I steeled myself for what was becoming more and more inevitable.

Standing, shuffling, and then actual stepping.   One foot on one stair, pushing my weight upwards.  Each step followed by a rest, and repeat.  With one hand I braced my abdomen with a pillow; with the other, I strangled the handrail.

Exhausted, I reached the top.  It was like I had scaled an Everest and the air was thin.  Unlike the actual mountain, there were lodgings at the top of my mountain, lodgings I had long anticipated.  Puffed, I shuffled on.  There it was – my El Dorado.  A new challenge emerged – getting from the shuffling standing position to a level lower than the couch.  Bending my knees, I allowed gravity to aid as I brace (physically, and mentally) for a kind of impact.

I was home and in my bed – and here I would spend the majority of my time for the next week.




The bladder was working. Water as solid and liquid had been consumed. How was I going to get out of this bed and to the toilet? I remember being told to ask for the assistance of a nurse at this all-important juncture.

Using a pillow to place suitable, bracing pressure on the abdomen, I used the mechanical bed to position my body for standing. However tentative, I was vertical. Steps more like shuffles, one at a time.

Trying to urinate without exerting internal pressure on my abdomen was a new challenge. Perhaps I could duo with Weird Al Yankovic for our parody – “Let it Flow“. The gas with which my abdomen had been pumped made an initial escape.


Flushing and washing, I shuffled back to the bed. Getting up was a level 1 challenge, getting back into bed would be level 2. I was exhausted but thankful for the mechanical bed.

Postoperative pain was certainly mitigated by the anaesthesia that remained in my body. But there was a lingering difficulty when it came to breathing. It felt like there was pressure being applied to my rib cage. Breathing properly, low and slow, was a painful exercise. Thankfully there was some strong pain medication, charted to help relieve postoperative pain, that was relieving the pain in my chest.

I was admitted on the Sunday. I had the surgery on the Monday.


Mobility had improved significantly, necessitated by a regime of self-imposed fluid replacement. Sure, getting up and down, in and out of bed, remained a low-level challenge, nothing my postoperative body couldn’t handle. It seemed there was another reason why getting up to go to the toilet was such an exhausting endeavour. It had to do with the breathing. Between attending nature, I was getting oxygen through a nasal canular, with my spirometry and blood pressure remaining relatively low.

And yet, I was discharged. Initial conversation with the initial consultant seemed optimistic. Surgery went well. I was independent and mobile. Further recovery would be made at home. Low-grade analgesics were prescribed. Pushback One: That wouldn’t be enough pain relief. A new script issued with next level drugs.

There were no further instructions given, at least not straight away. I asked the nurse to take the anchor out and attend my dressings.

Packing my things, I let my ride know to come get me. Packing my things was exhausting. By the time my ride got there, I was in a lot of pain and was apparently looking pale. Heeding her guidance, I began reconsidering the wisdom of the consultant. Further heeding her guidance, I cleared the bed and lay down.


A man with brown skin in a yellow high-vis knocked, entered, and sat in the corner. His initial assessment was that I was looking pretty white. Upon iteration, he upped his diagnosis to looking pretty under the weather, questioning the discharge order.

I had decided I would stay, that I would put my foot down. The second conversation with a second consultant resulted in a rescinding of the discharge order, on the grounds of my concerns with painful breathing. Off he went to do the necessary paperwork. He soon returned with questions, “Is it the pain that makes you want to stay in?”, “What if we gave you something stronger?”

Even though, at this stage, I would have happily remained an inpatient, the pain was the main concern – now addressed with the offer of something harder. A new script in hand, including the requisit paperwork for a controlled medication, I was discharged – officially.

View previous post.


A New Bed

I would be wheeled to Surgery Assessment.  A doctor had seen me and was concerned that my abdominal pain was more than a stomach bug.  How much more, they wouldn’t say.  This was the better of the beds.

There the vomiting continued.  Yellow.  Bright yellow, bile.  Later I would hear what others heard as I reached and wrung the content of an empty stomach into the little white pail.

I was put on a new list, to be seen by a different team of doctors.  This time the doctors I was to be seen by had hard soled shoes.  These were unaccustomed with the halls of General ED.  Nonetheless, it was their job to tend to the specifics of my conditions, to make clearer estimations.

It first came from one of their mouths, “It could be appendicitis…” I was sure an ultrasound would be ordered.  Rather, I was told of two basic ways of determining appendicitis.  The first was a CT scan, which I have come to understand is very seldom ordered.  The second was exploratory surgery.

The First Night

I was kept in overnight to monitor the progress of the pain in my side.  Perhaps aided by pain-relieving drugs, I drifted in an out of sleep.  I took the occasional walk.  I made a cup of tea.  Around me, the sound of sleep apnea contributed to my restlessness.

At least I had stopped with the vomiting.  A nil-by-mouth policy was imposed from 2 am and my name added to the surgery schedule.

I woke with parched lips, seemingly desperate for a drink.  It wasn’t going to happen.  In a moment of cruel mercy, I was allowed to swish but not swallow.  Next came the tight white stockings requisite for those pending surgery.

Suspicions Confirmed

A group of hard soled doctors at varying stages of their training made up the entourage of the Chief Surgeon.  Her proddings, interjected by questions for her students, confirmed a classic case of appendicitis.  Surgery loomed ever closer.

I called my boss to tell him I wouldn’t be into work that day, or for a few days.  It was a quirky conversation.  We’d speak again in the coming days, once I knew what recovery might look like.

“In the next 15 to 30 minutes, we’ll take you up to theatre….” The elevator stopped as the hospital switched over to reserve power.  Reengaged, the elevator completed its journey, doors opening to the clinical white of theatres.


The mains power was now back in.  A stream of individuals who would be involved in the surgery came to talk to me.  They emerged from the operation theatre to me, in a sort of anti-chamber.  The anesthesiologist was tasked with putting me to sleep, keeping me asleep, and managing the pain.

Theatre was ready and I got to walk in.  The bed, more like a bench, was narrow.

I woke up in recovery, not knowing how I got there or how long I was out.  My concerns turned to quenching a half-day thirst.  I did so with abandon and an ice block.

I was still highly medicated when I was allocated to Ward 34 North.  Initial visitors would bring my toothbrush and I would begin the journey back to normality – without an appendix.



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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


It’s been an irksome few weeks.

The BlackoutRegular readers of this blog will be aware that on 1 September 2016 I had an MVA: Motor Vehicle Accident.  This MVA resulted in the writing off of the vehicle in which it occurred.

The immediate impact that it had on me was that of whiplash, as per the agreement of multiple physicians that I have seen since the accident.

The Neurologist’s Opinion

Though this be the majority opinion, there have been some doctors (a General Practitioner and a Neurologist) that suspect it might  be worse than that.  Their suspicion is that I had a complex partial seizure.   The neurologist ordered a series of tests (some of which are yet to happen) and suggested I avoid driving for at least 6 months.

So the warring question has been:  What is it?

One of the reasons for the suspicion of seizure is that I sustained no head trauma, that is, I didn’t actually hit my head.  The question that arises from that is: Can I get a concussion without hitting my head?

Dr. Google seems to suggest that it is quite possible, especially given the initial diagnosis of a whiplash injury.

This is the direction Dr. Google pointed me in:

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). It can occur after an impact to the head or after a whiplash-type injury that causes the head and brain to shake quickly back and forth. Concussions are usually not life-threatening, but they can cause serious symptoms that require medical treatment. (Healthline, 2016)

Concussion – Expected Recovery Time

It’s been 68 days since the MVA.  Expert medical opinion suggests that the effects of a concussion would last a few weeks, but its been 9 weeks and 5 days, and still the headache, and neck pain persists.

The doctor I saw yesterday isn’t alone in suggesting that I have something called Post-Concussion Syndrome.

Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which various symptoms — such as headaches and dizziness — last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion. (Mayo Clinic, 2016)

This describes my experience with a great degree of precision.

It also provides a window of relief.  The prospect of having had a seizure, and the long-reaching consequences, has been a source of nagging fear and frustration.  If, however, the diagnosis of post-concussive syndrome sticks, then the fear and frustration are unsubstantiated, at least in part.


Waiting. This is my website.  It bears my name.  I pay money for that right.

So in addition to writing/posting about things pro-life, church, Bible, etc, am I allowed to shine the light upon myself now and then?

On 1st September 2016, I had an MVA – a motor vehicle accident.  This took place in a covered carpark at Manukau Pak n Save.  Until recently, despite suspicions, there has been little clarity as to how the accident happened.  I say that because to this day, there is a brief period of time I cannot recall, a brief period of time during which I had a blackout.  I came to as the vehicle I was responsible for operating came into contact with a concrete pillar, writing the vehicle off.

In the following days and weeks I was privileged to see a number of doctors (some more than once) addressing symptomatic and causal concerns.  In terms of symptoms, I have had a constant headache since the accident (though it varies in severity) as well as neck, shoulder, and back pain.

No driving sir…

I was advised by doctors not to drive.  The concern was a repeat blackout – not in a desolate car park, but a busy motorway.

How long would this doctor advised prohibition be in place?  Basically until I saw a neurologist.  Initially I had received a letter telling me I could be waiting up to four months.  Another letter, received the same week confirmed it would be four weeks which brings me to today: October Four, and the appointment with the neurologist.

Every doctor I have seen over the course of the last month or so has been very thorough – Dr. Brockington no less.  The result of the physical examination and my recital of what has now become a well-rehearsed recollection of events was a diagnosis in which Dr. Brockington suspects I had a seizure.  This seizure is a probable explanation for the blackout and post-crash deviation of character.

I had approached this neurology appointment with anticipation and expectation.   Per expectation, it would be a mere formality that would see me driving again.  So great was my expectation that I’d gone out of my way to get the key for a car that a co-worker had been using.

Following the appointment, I went to where the car was parked (in a secure, code-accessible lock-up) but only to put the key in the car.  “No driving yet, key is in the car” was the text.

No driving yet.

It was bad news.  Dr. Brockington’s question was not had I had a seizure, but what kind of seizure had I had.  That will be what follow-up testing will determine.  But on the basis of her diagnosis, there’ll be no driving for me in the next six months – at least.  The NZTA has laws around the suspension of drivers licenses for people who have had interrelated seizures and MVA’s.  This is a matter of public safety which was captured by the concern of previously seen doctors.

This is What We've Been Waiting ForThere’s a reason that even the medical professionals call it an EEG.  An electroencephalogram is a test used to detect abnormalities related to electrical activity of the brain. This procedure tracks and records brain wave patterns. Small metal discs with thin wires (electrodes) are placed on the scalp.  , The signals are sent to a computer to record the results.

In addition to an EEG, I will be having some brain imaging done.  Beyond just surveying the cranial landscape, the tests need to determine the probability of seizures reoccurring.  Apparently, if I have two seizures in the course of six months, it’s called epilepsy.

So this is what we’ve been waiting for.

The neurologist’s appointment, assessment and diagnosis,  and clearance to drive.  Two out of three of these things happened today, but not the one I wanted.

I guess it’s going to be a matter of waiting so more.  Waiting to see what happens over the course of the next weeks and months.  And I guess there’ll be, in the next few days, a sense in which I have to deal with the reality and implication of the situation.”>”>