Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Lenten Miracle?

In recent years, I've noticed a trend of parents removing coffee tables from their living rooms -- apparently pediatricians got together and decided they were Death Traps. Kids were bumping their heads on them or something.

Mostly, I've noticed it leaves the rest of us without a place to put our drinks down. And that's annoying.

We did not grow up in a household where the family revolved around the children. NOTHING was child-proofed. Nothing was moved to high shelves out of our reach.We were just taught to leave stuff alone. And if either of us had gotten a split lip crashing into the coffee table, I'm pretty sure the response woulda been "watch out for the furniture dumbass."

Good or bad, the occasional unobstructed light socket gave me an early appreciation for the value of going outta my way to not hurt myself. Our only visit to the E.R. as children involved my brother (now the chef) slicing his thumb open on a tuna can. (Probably he was going to make us a lovely nicoise or something - I don't remember).

Consequently, I have zero tolerance for pain. I have no experience with it. And that's by design. If something hurts, I just stop doing it.I'm not an athlete.I don't have kids. I'm rarely caught doing anything that might result in injury. I've never broken a bone (unless you count my toe, which I dropped a beer stein on in high school). I've never spent the night in the hospital as a patient.I'm there a lot as a bystander, and they TERRIFY me.

So I was SCARED when I woke up a couple weeks ago in so much pain I couldn't walk. I couldn't move. It was in my lower left side. It was so frightening, I diagnosed myself with kidney stones -- mostly on the basis of people saying it's pain like you've never felt before. This fit.
Because it was deadline, I managed to tough it out for three days of horse-sized, dentist-prescribed ibuprofen and several gallons of cranberry juice.

On the fourth day, I managed to drag myself into my doctor's office. I explained this pain was like, a Seven (on the scale of one to ten I've seen them quiz my parents on in the hospital). Til then, I don't think I'd ever topped a three, so this got my attention.

She was sympathetic, but a couple negative ultra-sounds later, she said a colonoscopy was all that modern medicine had left to offer me.

Seriously? Cause I think that's about as barbaric as leeches.

After a lot of time on WebMD (where I first convinced myself I had prostatitis), I couldn't believe I possibly had diverticulitis (the odds-on favorite) mainly because I eat better than about 90 percent of the American population, notwithstanding the occasional post-Ambien box of Cheese Nips.

I coulda lived with the test itself -- I know from an endoscopy I had several years back that my G.I. guy doesn't believe pain builds character and he doesn't let his patients suffer -- but I also know that the prep for the test involves a gallon of something that tastes like liquid Pez.Forget it.
The nurse clarified that the FDA took the pill-prep off the market in December (so I barely missed the deadline), and now it's only TWO LITERS of stuff to drink.

I didn't schedule the test. I knew Katie Couric would be disappointed in me, but I can't drink two liters of something that tastes GOOD. I wouldn't be able to drink two liters of iced tea if it didn't have the proper tea-to-lemon ratio, or was served at the wrong temperature. I couldn't see the liquid Pez in my future.

I'm always amazed at my Mom-friends NOT because they get thru labor - but because they survive drinking that flat orange sprite type drink that they use to test for gestational diabetes.

So I weaned myself down to Advil, ate a lot of Activia (because Jamie Lee Curtis would never steer us wrong), and prepared to die.

And three days ago, I finally woke up with no pain for the first time in two weeks.

I don't know if I was spontaneously cured, because I still don't know what was wrong with me.

I just filed it under "miracle." Tex says Jesus probably healed me because I gave up swearing for Lent.

Poor Jesus.I hope he's not too busy.

I'm gonna be callin on him a lot, because if the last couple weeks is any indication of how my health future is going to play out, it's made for people who are made of sterner stuff than I am.


  1. I'm so glad you're feeling the healing power of Lent! Just when I was ready to fall off the no-bacon wagon, I read your Lenten Miracle post, then immediately went to the kitchen and cleared out all remains of pork and pork-like products, even the bacon grease I've been saving just in case an emergency frying situation came up!

    Ashes to ashes...

  2. Kidney stones rate 11 on a scale of 10.