Monday, July 25, 2005

Part V


I had not been to the doctor my entire freshman year, so I went by the nurses' office at Lipscomb to find a good one. She recommended a doctor in Brentwood, so I called to make sure they would accept my health insurance and made an appointment.

I couldn't get in with a doctor, so I saw a nurse practioner. She ran lots of tests, all to no avail. She had no idea what was wrong with me, so she wanted me to find a specialist.

It was near the end of the school year, so I knew it would be better for me to find someone at home (in Kentucky). My grandfather (the one that I have talked about previously) had a lot of GI problems before his death, and had a wonderful doctor that really loved and cared for him deeply. There was no issue in finding a gastroenterologist. I knew who I would go see.

I made my appointment with Dr. Fisher and was in to see him quickly. We had a nice chat about my grandpa, about how much we missed him, and about my grandmother and how she was handling his death. I told him of my symptoms, and he decided he would run some tests to check for bacterial or viral infections and Chrone's Disease. All came back negative. He decided (I believe at a loss for knowing what else it could be) to diagnose me with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I thought this was a farse, but I took the meds he prescribed, anyway.

The pills worked for about a week. Actually, they completely constipated me for about a week. Then they quit working. I got worse. Instead of just "going" after meals, it was 5-6 times/day. Something was seriously wrong.

I called the good doctor again and spoke to his nurse. She had me increase my dose to double what I was currently taking. Again, it constipated me for about a week, and then stopped working.

I gave up after that. I didn't call back. I just quit taking the pills. It was time to go on my yearly mission trip, anyway, and I didn't have time to make any more doctors appointments.

This was the same type of mission trip that I described in an earlier post. We traveled up to Cedar Rapids, IA to work on homes for people with disabilities and lower incomes who could either not afford to have the work done, or could not do the work themselves. My sister, (we had not been on a mission trip without one another), my finace' (at the time), and my mom (who had never been on a mission trip before) all went with our church youth group.

On these trips, we are sponsored by the township and by various churches in the area. Each youth group is broken up and mixed in with different youth groups from across the country and we are sent out to work on projects. Each team is sponsored by a specific congregation, and it is the job of said congregation to bring the team lunch every day. I informed our congregation of my special diet needs, and they were more than happy to bring me a simple turkey sub (no cheese) every day. We were staying in a school, and, each night, the cafeteria workers would fix us dinner. It was rare that they had anything that I could eat, so, I would wait until everyone else had finished their dinner and my youth minister would pack me and several others into the church van to take me to McDonalds to get a fish sandwich, and everyone else to Wal-Mart to shop or just mess around until time for nightly devo. I would usually sit in the van by myself and eat while everyone else went in to Wal-Mart.

The week was going great. We met some really cool people and really enjoying the whole mission experience. When Friday rolled around, our church brought us lunch. Something "different" this time. They wanted to get me something besides a turkey sandwich, since the rest of the group was munching on pizza instead of sandwiches, so they brought me a chicken sub. It was a nice thought, but I knew I wouldn't be able to eat it. But I was starving....and they decided to hang out with us and get to know us a little better while we I didn't really have a choice.

I paid for it, but it was different this time. I immediately didn't feel well. One of the men and his wife from the church took me back to the school. I didn't even have time to take a shower and get the roofing tar out of my hair. I collapsed on the steps in the school leading up to the room where we were staying. I started having the most intense pain in my abdomen that I have ever had. It would come, I would double over in pain, crouched in the fetal position, and then it would subside. Then it would hit again. I was crying. The guy who was preaching for us that week, Rob, saw me and asked me who to call. I told him that my mom was on the trip, and it just-so-happened that her group had finished their project early and she was on her way up from the showers to our room. He ran to get her and we decided that I needed to go to the ER. Now. So, a couple of the adults kind of carried me out to a church van and someone drove us to the ER.

They got me back to the ER pretty quickly. My mom had this nagging feeling that it was my gallbladder. Several of my relatives on her side of the family had their gallbladders removed, and I knew it was possible for teenagers to have this problem because I had a couple of friends who had their gallbladders removed. The doc in the ER was sure it wasn't.

Him: You're too young.
Me: But it runs in my family!
Him: Nah. That's not what it is. We'll just give you this GI cocktail and that'll take care of it.
Mom: Can't you at least do an ultrasound or something just to make sure? Our insurance will pay for it.
Him: She's too young. I don't know what it is, but it's not her gallbladder.

So the nurse came in with this paper cup full of this puke-green colored liquid. It smelled disgusting and it tasted even worse. I was still in pain. She told me that it was full of all kinds of different medicines ending in the letters -cane, which translated meant that I would drink it and it would numb my GI track...including my mouth. It worked for the pain, but it didn't solve my problem.

That night, during the worship service, my entire body broke out in hives. I was itching like crazy. I got my mom and my youth minister's attention and we walked out to the back of the auditorium so I could show them what was going on. We didn't know what to do. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I figured it was a reaction to something in the GI cocktail. Randy (my youth minister) grabbed my hand and dragged me down to the front of the auditorium where Rob was standing. He said, "Rob, pray for her. Now." So Rob stopped all of the singing and prayed over me for healing.

I was confident it was going to work. I knew what Jesus said about having faith the size of a mustard seed and how that small amount of faith could move mountains. My faith was bigger than that, and I sure as heck wasn't trying to move a mountain. All I wanted was to be able to eat anything I wanted without having to suffer because of it. I wanted my rash to go away, and I sure didn't want to go through the pain that I had gone through earlier that day.

I knew I was healed.


At 3:26 PM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

That last sentence is like a big hammer hanging over you, and us now. Waiting urgently with patience.


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

I can't believe the hospital let you leave!!!

You've got us hanging again. :-) Next installment, please.


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