Archives For illness

First, an apology:

If I used to comment regularly on your blog, and haven’t lately (or in awhile), I’m sorry.


Due to a vast confluence of circumstances–trials, tribulations, and indeed some victories–I’ve been in “Head Down” mode.

What’s that, you ask?

It’s like this:

Say that life is like a football (American style) game, and a receiver has just snatched the ball from the air. That ball becomes his life, and he must do everything possible to power through the crushing throng of defenders. He goes “head down,” and does his utmost to get to the goal.

Let’s further say that I’m that receiver; lately, it’s all I can do to hold onto that ball. Forget moving forward for right now. The crushing tide of the “defenders”–illnesses, obligations–just, you know, life–has got me down.

Stupid as it is, when my character–Sam Gamgee–was knocked out of Clay Morgan’s March Movie Madness 2, that really bummed me out.

It was just one more thing. One more defeat.

I feel stupid and weak admitting this.


Concomitant with my struggle, I had a child who desperately wanted to go on an eighth grade trip. For which I had no way to pay. And for which my wife and I both felt bad about.

The kicker here is that all I could do was bemoan the fact that I didn’t get to go to the Killer Tribes conference. Which I actually asked God to please work out somehow. Did I ask Him to provide for my son’s need?

No–I did not. (It seems that God had plans of His own on that score, and my wife and I are both profoundly humbled by, and extremely grateful for, how unexpectedly He came through for Jonathan. God knows he needed it).

That, my friends, is for me yet another aspect of that “head down” mode–when I can’t see past my own skin.

Which we also know as: depression.

So, as I indicated at the beginning, if I seem to have gone underground, not been around, or acted out in weird ways, now you know why.

Has life ever felt like too much to you? Have you ever struggled with the demon of depression?

As with millions of families, mine was stricken with illness(es) this past month. It started with my wife’s grandmother falling, and subsequently breaking her hip (she’s 98). Which was followed by a very serious surgery. (It’s cool–grandma came through with flying colors).

That stressor was followed by each of the four (including me) members of my family falling like dominoes in the path of the crud. First, my wife; then, our daughter, me, and lastly our teenage son.

Lisa developed a deep, throaty, yet gurgly cough that left her feeling rather phlegmatic. I had a cough, and congestion–and did our son. Our poor little girl–though it seemed she just had a “bad cold,” one day she awoke with a high fever that wouldn’t come down.

Turns out, after a trip to the E.R., she had pneumonia (did I mention her grandpa had it, too?).

Awesome? Not so much. The good news is that we seem to have caught it right on the cusp of turning bad, and no hospitalization was required.

We dodged a bullet on that one. And thank God for that!

That was a week ago Sunday. And where do you think we ended up again this past Sunday?

You guessed it: the E.R. This time, it was my wife, who although she seemed to have gotten over the crud, now had severe abdominal pains, accompanied with bleeding.

We get checked in, get her triaged, give a urine sample, finally get back to a room.

And we wait.

And wait some more.

(Anyone who’s ever been to the hospital can attest to the interminable waiting which occurs).

Someone comes in, asks for a urine sample. We tell them one was given at triage.

We wait.

Someone else comes in, again asking for a urine sample. We say, again, piss off… Er, rather, you’ve already got one.

More waiting…

Finally, a doctor shows up, and says…

[Based on her level of discomfort, the presence of blood, etc., I’m not sure what I expected to hear. But I thought it was something serious]

What he actually said was:

“Your pregnancy test was positive. And you have a raging UTI.”

Pregnancy what what? I didn’t know we were even trying. Or that you were testing.

My wife says “Doctor, you’re kidding, right?”

To which he replies “No, ma’am, not even with a gun to my head would I joke about test results with a patient. But I can see this is unexpected news. We can follow up with a blood test.”

He exuents like a boss. We’re sitting there thunderstruck. My first thought is “Sweetie, is there something you need to tell me?” But I know my wife, you? There weren’t no “funny bidness” going on.

She calls her mom; I start laughing, and can’t stop. After the month we just had, after spending two consecutive Sundays in the E.R.–this is how God shows up?

We’re having another child? It’s too much, and I lose it…

[Cue Jeopardy theme here. Ok, roll theme]

Yes, we waited some more.

And yet some more.

Then the “vampires,” er, phlebotomists came, pulled blood from her arm.

Yep, you guessed it–more waiting.

(In the meantime, my Mrs.’s pain level has been steadily declining).

At this point, I’d say we’re about four-and-a-half hours into this little adventure in odyssey, when the doctor returns, begins telling us that her HCG levels (based on blood test) are 0.05, or nominal for the average, healthy, non-pregnant female the species. He then starts to mention something about a UTI, my wife asks a question, and his phone rings…

(I’m not making this up). Doc says “Hi, sweetie! No, I’m with a patient. [To us: “I have to take this”].”

What? We look at each like “Did that just happen?”

“So you’re not pregnant?”

“Guess not. And I wonder about the UTI, too.”

The doctor returns, says “That was my wife, it was about one of our kids. I knew you wouldn’t mind.”

After almost five hours, and an on, then off, pregnancy? We wouldn’t mind? We ask about the likelihood of the initial labs getting, you know, switched. He poo-pops that, tells us to retest in ten days, that we’re free to go.

He exuents again like (he thinks he’s) a boss. We don’t see doctor douchebag anymore And don’t ever hope to again.

I close the door, help my wife change I to her clothes.

We wait.

The discharge nurse shows up, Lisa signs the papers, she gives her a script for Augmentin, we go.


We’re exhausted at this point, but something just doesn’t feel right. I’m leaning towards her still having a UTI, but she says she now feels fine.

We go to bed.

The next morning, we get the kids off to school, and Lisa decides to follow up with our primary care doctor. Here’s the TL;DR version:

Two tests results later, and the verdict is in–she’s neither pregnant, nor does she have a UTI.

Which means: who was pregnant? Who had a UTI? Whose sample got switched with Lisa’s?

But we feel sorry for the poor pregnant woman who left the hospital the previous night without getting the proper treatment.

In other words, “Ketchup, Mayo, you’re ‘in-condiment.'”

(Oh, by the way, I would be remiss to say that the likeliest cause of Lisa’s symptoms, and thus the cause of our trip to the happiest place on earth: a kidney stone.

Yes, we’re the proud parents of a crystalline sphere of calcium carbonate!)

How about you? Have you ever had anything weird, funny, of just plain strange happen in the hospital?


After twenty one years of marriage, my wife still amazes me. There are things that she clues into that I’m oblivious to. Such as when, recently, our daughter was ill, and I said:

“There’s no way her temperature is that high. There’s something wrong with this thermometer.”

Yes, I know, I’m brilliant like that. 😉
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