He Gives Good Gifts -or- My Magical Thanksgiving

This post talks about kidney stones and related stuff… I didn’t write it to be crude, but to talk about what I’m thinking. Just a heads up.


So, for those of you who don’t know, over the last 7 days I’ve had a battle with multiple kidney stones. It’s been a pretty rough week.

My family had a trip planned to North Carolina to see Yvonne’s brother in a musical. The trip was fully covered and in many ways, non-refundable.

Wednesday morning, (the day we were leaving) I was hit with the first stone. It was miserable.

Now, I’ve had stones before, but this one was a doozie, and it was putting up a real fight. But from everything that I know of passing stones, (passed 2 in the past) This one passed through. Relief came… Thinking that all would now be well, and that I could rest at the hotel, we packed up, and headed to North Carolina.

Day Two was thanksgiving. The morning I was feeling some new pain. This was frustrating. I thought we were done with this. Relief came though, and we drove the rest of the way to Winston-Salem. I even drove a good bit of the way. I was feeling great… Sore… But great…

Friday, I woke up feeling awesome. The stones were passed, and I was going to have a fun weekend with my girls and get some much needed r and r. But then… that afternoon…

The pain was like a dull spear being shoved in through my back and out my front, and wiggled around just for fun. It radiated all through my lower abdomen on the left side. I took some pain meds, that would normally make me numb. They did nothing. Something was very wrong. It had been three days, I had to get help.

I hate going to Emergency Rooms. I don’t have the cash for that. But I went anyway.

My first impression of this one was not ideal. It was 11 at night when I checked in. The girls went back to the hotel to rest, and I waited 4 hours before they gave me anything for the pain.

A doctor finally saw me. The gave me a CT scan, and told me that I had multiple stones…3. He told me that the largest was 3.5 mm, so I should be able to pass them without incident. He wrote some prescriptions for many reasons, and sent me on my way to relax at the hotel and have good luck passing them…

Well, By Sunday morning, I was in so much pain, even though totally doped up, that I couldn’t function. The pain meds made me have bizarre dreams and I would wake every few minutes not knowing what was reality. And they actually didn’t dull the pain a bit. It was bad, and nothing was changing, I had to go back.

Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention in there that the financial aid people came and looked at my situation, and they said that since I’m a dad who works full time, that I’d be totally covered by emergency medicaid. So That took that load off.

So Sunday morning in the Er went much better. I met an amazing Urologist who took wonderful care of me. In fact, the whole staff was so kind. It was like they saved their best staff for Sunday mornings. This doc recommended that we go in and laser blast em and such and break them up and all that with a camera… just like in that movie Inner Space. (only they didn’t shrink themselves to get in a tiny machine)

Anywhoo… there’s lots of stories to tell in there. But they found not three, but 5 or 6 or more that he broke up, blasted and so forth. The big 3.5 mm one wasn’t budging. He said that the procedure was absolutely necessary because of the inflammation it had caused, nothing could have passed and I could have ended up in big big trouble.

So we talked for a while about causes. Oddly, he shrugged off coffee and Yerba Mate’ (a south american green tea that I adore)… what he was concerned about was my water intake, and my diet.

***This portion is for the good of all, just thought you’d want to know***

He said that 1, I needed to produce 1 to 1.5 liters of water a day. Not drink, but produce… I thought that was an interesting way to put it. He also said that keeping it acidic enough to break down stuff was important.

A lot of his patients will make their own lemonade everyday, just to give that kick, or simply add lemon to their water. (which is what I prefer, I love tart and sour)

Another thing he warned about was oxalates, and this I’m gonna have to research more, but spinach is one that is high in them.  And how these need to be balanced by a healthy amount of calcium… I nodded… The water thing, I knew, was an issue for me. I have to change that.

But then, he hit me in the gut. Animal protein and salt.

Aww man… he said that a diet high in the two, with not enough water was a breeding ground for kidney stones.

Now, here’s where this hits me with God…

I love red meat. I adore steak, I mean seriously, I would eat it every day if I could. And I dump sea salt on everything. Nothing makes me more excited that salty, medium rare meat with crispy fat on the outside and oh my… I’m in heaven.

But I looked back on the previous year, it’s like it rushed at me. I saw circumstance after circumstance where I sneaked in another meaty snack or added that much more salt, and my conscience was bothered.

In many cases, I believe that we truly, inside know what we’re supposed to do. God made us in His image, to be with Him and like Him… we were made to be these amazing creatures, connected to the earth and filed with life.

For example, I can look back on many of those situations, and remember thinking, “Come on John, you don’t need that.” But I turned it off and did it anyway. This is totally how our consciences shut down and go numb.

I guess I just want to encourage you to listen… in the little things, listen.

I made a lot of pain for myself and others this weekend because of not paying attention and not caring about anything but satisfying my own belly and desires. I missed work on one of the most maddeningly busy days of the season.

God has been gracious to me though, and I never understand why. My friends, David and April Parkerson even drove all the way out here in an RV to give us a cozy ride home. How awesome is that.

But I really have a lesson to learn from this… I am not my own. I want to have life to give to others, and not drain from others.

This weekend, God poured out a lot of life on me. I am very very thankful.

Now, I need to pour it back out on His feet.




One thought on “He Gives Good Gifts -or- My Magical Thanksgiving

  1. Rebecca Milam

    That’s good John. I know exactly what you mean with the “little things”. I can’t tell you how many times I sneak a cup of regular coffee and excuse it away with “I didn’t sleep well” or “I have a lot to do today and need a boost”. I know it’s not good for that baby but my brain can explain away almost anything. Thanks for the reminder, this isn’t my baby or my body. Love you brother.


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