It has been an interesting week for me and my family. I was jolted from my sleep at 4 am Tuesday morning with a tearing type pain in my mid- and left upper “belly”, radiating to my back. This pain would not subside, and only increased with any deep breathing, movement, and ingestion of water, food, meds, etc.
So, at 7 am, my wife took me to our “local” Emergency Department. From there I was transported by ambulance to Barnes Hospital’s Emergency Department, still in bad pain, even with ‘majorly strong’ narcotic pain meds (barely cut the edge off the pain – never got rid of the pain).
In total, I was in two hospitals; had one ambulance trip; many, many, many blood tests, including blood cultures; probes shoved up my nose into the sinuses (I don’t know why, either, if you’re asking); several EKG’s; a few X-rays; CT scans; and was even “scoped” (A tube with a camera placed down my throat, looking at my Esophagus (food tube), Stomach, and Duodenum (connects the stomach to the intestines). I also had about six separate IV’s; and only God knows how many needle sticks for blood work, IV tries, and heparin shots.
I was NPO (No food or liquids from Monday afternoon to Friday afternoon, and I really did not care because of the pain I was experiencing. At one point, I was given so much “pain meds”, my blood pressure literally dropped down to 68/30, which isn’t good for a person who is on meds for HIGH blood pressure. At this point, I felt like I was going to be with Sister Death (a Franciscan thing), yet, I was not upset or concerned for myself, but only for my family being without me. During this time, I was calm, relaxed, and warm; it actually felt nice, and I perceive this feeling as a sort of “refuge” amidst all the pain and discomfort I was experiencing.
This entire time, the only prayer I was continually repeating was “your will be done”. I asked for a Catholic Priest that night THREE times, and three more times throughout my hospitalization. Sadly, I never saw a priest or anyone from “Pastoral Care” at any point in my hospitalization.
I started having some relief in the intensity of the pain (why?) on Friday, and all test results came back negative. All involved in my care (Internal Medicine, Hospitalists, Gastroenterology, Urology, and Radiology) could not find a cause for my pain. With an unknown source of pain, but with my pain being controlled reasonably with medications, I was discharge home to follow up with my Primary Care Doctor this week.
Yes, I am still in considerable pain – -STILL (Never totally left), – – but it is manageable. I know what it ISN’T, which is good because there are a lot of really bad things that have been ruled-out. I would just love to know what it IS, but “God’s will be done”.
I thank you all for the prayers and thoughts; they worked. Please keep up the prayers for me and my family, for I see this possibly being a long-term event. All I can say is there possibly are many souls no longer in purgatory as I have been offering up all my pain, and every beat of my heart, as a continuous prayer for their souls. So, maybe there is a good thing resulting from my illness afterall.
There will be no Gospel reflection for this week. I am still not up to the challenge and time of writing one. I will have everything back in place for next week however. Sorry for any inconvenience.
God Bless and Pax
Dan Halley, SFO