Monday, December 28, 2009

The Last Week

I've had quite an interesting last 10 days or so.... let me 'splain.

A week ago Thursday, Dec 17, we were having a pot luck lunch at our church. Just before it was to begin, I got a horrible pain in my back. It felt as if I pinched a nerve or something. The pain was intense and took me to my knees. I kicked off the potluck, but went back to my office to lay down, hoping to get some relief. None came.

My wife and a church member had recently had very good results with a chiropractor, so I decided to visit one. The X-rays showed that I had a dislocated rib. I had never even heard of a dislocated rib before, so it was a bit of a surprise. He did an adjustment, which both hurt and felt good. He told me to put ice on it and gave me a gel pack to use. I suffered with it all weekend long.

Monday came and I returned for another adjustment. It hurt so bad that I fell to my knees. It alarmed the chiropractor and we went back to his office to re-examine the X-rays. It clearly showed one of my ribs at an odd angle to the rest of them. He said that the pain I was exhibiting was not consistent with his diagnosis, and asked for a UA. He came back and said it was full of blood and that I needed to go see an MD.

Well, I went by K-Mart to finish my last minute shopping. After that, I went to the ER at the new Muskogee Community Hospital. WOW! Was I impressed! Anytime I had to wait for anything more than a moment, they apologized. They were as courteous as the staff at a Five Star hotel. They were professional in every way. Every staff member I encountered wasn't just courteous; they were personable as well.

I was attended by a Physician's Assistant, Rocky (fellow Sooner Alum). As soon as he walked in he said, "Oh, I see you have a kidney stone." I asked him how he could tell and he said I was doing the "kidney stone dance".

He ordered some non-narcotic pain relief because I didn't have anyone to drive me home. He ordered a CT Scan. He ordered a liter of saline via IV. The result of the CT Scan showed that I had already passed a stone that left a trail of damage through the kidney. It showed that I had two small stones in the upper part just waiting for the opportune moment. He prescribed some Lortab and a couple of other things.

I had high hopes for the Lortab. I was not impressed. It made me light-headed, but only mildly affected the pain. As the week progressed, the pain subsided a little, but was still significant enough to alter my well-being.

Christmas Eve came with the forecast of a big winter storm. Who knew it would turn out to be the biggest blizzard in recent Oklahoma history? It started sleeting here in Wagoner at about 2 o'clock. Mom had already called to say they were moving up our Christmas Eve celebration to 4 pm instead of the traditional 6 pm. By the time we left at 2:30, ice was already forming on the car and rooftops.

We were all disappointed when family members began calling to say that there was just no way they were going to be able to make it. We went ahead and ate then opened presents. By the time we were finished at around 6 or 6:30, the sleet was coming down at an alarming rate, still mixed with freezing rain and some snow. We decided to drive home on the main highway (US 69) and before we could reach it, it became snow. Before I reached the highway, I had to stop to clean the windshield wipers of the ice because they were ineffective and only making it hard to see.

Without a doubt, that was the most difficult drive of my life. It was really scary. For much of the (only) 15 mile trip, we could only see 20 feet or so in front of the car. It had turned into a full fledged blizzard. I had to stop another time to clean the windshield wipers again, and by the time we turned on our street, I could barely see out of the ice covered windshield. Mom said some other family members were stuck on HWY 69 North of Wagoner because a semi-truck had jack-knifed and blocked the road.

Christmas morning saw the sun shining bright and the landscape transformed into a winter wonderland. We had a White Christmas! The girls were thrilled and I got out and took a lot of pictures (see posts below). However, we still needed to go to Vinita to spend Christmas.

The road was horrible. It was ice-packed and treacherous. We counted 20 vehicles in the ditches between Wagoner and Vinita. One of the cars was in the center median and still had Christmas presents in the back seat. We thought that was sad.

We spent a delightful Christmas with Sally's family, but I needed to get back to Wagoner so that I could preach on Sunday. Sally's sister suggested that instead of Sally taking me home, then returning by herself, that I should just take the car (Kia Sportage 4x4) and then return to Vinita on Thursday to get everyone. We all thought that sounded like a good idea and I'm glad we did that. The road back was better than Christmas morning, but it still wasn't good.

On the way back to Wagoner, I got a phone call from one of my deacons. We talked about the weather and decided to cancel Sunday School. I figured that if I could drive from Vinita to Wagoner and other people could get out and go to Wal-Mart, then they could come to church, too. I didn't realize that almost every church in NEOK had cancelled services. One of the members and his son, came all the way from Porter with a tractor and cleared the parking lot for us! (I looked out a little while ago and the lot is practically dry today)

We don't have a huge church. Last Sunday, our attendance was 83. I was expecting perhaps 10 people and decided that I would be ecstatic if 15 people actually showed up. I couldn't believe it when the final count was 38! My very first Sunday, we only had 25 people there! We did decided to cancel the evening service because the roads would re-freeze at dark and that would be dangerous.

This morning, I woke up and was feeling much better. The pain in my kidney is down to a dull roar instead of the sharp iron bar in my back. However, as I left the bedroom, the house felt unusually cold. (we use a small space heater in the master bedroom because it is an add-on and the furnace doesn't warm it very well) I looked and the thermostat was set on 70, but the thermometer read 55. I turned it off and back on and the fan came on. I never heard the furnace "light", so I took of the front cover and waited. The electronic ignitor attempted to light the furnace about 7 times, but it never lit. Oh great.

So, now, I am doing the dishes, doing laundry and waiting for the furnace repair guy to come. At least it's given me a little chance to get you caught up on the last 10 days or so of life as I know it.
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