It started out with an unexpected requirement for a costly overhaul of my old car – we didn’t expect that financial hit. We would have two more significant financial hits before the week was out – and at least a couple of gut punches.
On June 9, Micky had an elective major procedure done as an overnight stay. This was the unspoken request mentioned in the last edition of The SteffeScope. It is a commonly done procedure and should have gone well. Instead, there was damage to a nearby organ and the female surgeon attempted a repair. It should have not added any real problem. Instead, she had unusual pain that I was convinced was a complication of the procedure but we had no luck in getting the surgeon to take my idea seriously. Micky went home the next morning but had several attacks of pain over the next few days. They lessened each day and most of the time she was fine and without pain. As a physician, I am very leery of trying to control the care of my loved ones (realizing my lack of objectivity), but I put my foot down last Tuesday when the office nurse tried to convince her it was fine and she could stay home until her scheduled appointment – I made it clear that she would be seen that day. She was. I went with her and talked to the original surgeon. I was polite but very clear about my concern about the complication. All she did was to order a lab test that day. She did tell us that that the pathology result was fine – the procedure had been done for a premalignant condition and so we were very relieved by that good report.
The next morning, Micky’s surgeon moved with a great deal more alacrity when the test result was abnormal. An emergent CT scan that morning confirmed my fears and actually showed something a bit worse. I took over and directed her care from that point, calling one of my local surgeon friends who I deeply respect. He admitted her for a procedure that very same day. Unfortunately, he couldn’t solve the problem but confirmed the diagnosis that we had both suspected. This was a technical problem from the attempted repair. Micky stayed in the hospital that night and the next afternoon, to our great relief, the invasive radiologist was able to get a stent through for internal drainage. She went home a few hours after that procedure and is now without pain. However, one complication persists and the other may take weeks to month to identify and treat. It is very possible that she is up for two or three more procedures in the future. Please pray for her healing, that these complications will heal with consequence, that we can continue to do our ministries around the realities of her care and that we can process our anger and frustration in a way that brings honor to Christ.
In case those stresses weren’t enough, I was waiting in the hospital Wednesday evening and got a call from Sean while Micky was under anesthesia. There had been a very loud clap of thunder and he lost cable service. That happens so often here that it didn’t seem like much – until he went outside and sent me a picture of where the lightning had hit. I got home late that night.The next morning, I wasn’t sleeping well for concern for Micky – and went outside as soon as the predawn gave me enough light to see. To make a long story short, lighting had exploded two brick columns; put holes in three more and wall of the garage; took out our security system; took out two of three of our cooling units (fortunately only the thermostats as it turned out); wiped out both garage door openers, our exercise equipment, our irrigation system (including blowing a hole in the pipe underground) and fried most of our electronics in the house – anything hooked to a cable or a telephone line was fried. We lost our internet and we hope to have it restored by Monday afternoon. The smell of burned electronics was strong. We were so grateful that the house had not caught on fire.
Micky’s problems required that I cancel the trip to the Continued Medical and Dental Education Commission meeting in Chicago which was held this past two days (only lost a bit of money on the airline ticket). We still haven’t decided about my trip to Africa which requires that I leave this coming Thursday for ten days. In an attempt to prevent all the well-meaning advice that is likely to come, I hereby promise I will not go unless Micky gives me explicit permission and I am very comfortable that she is likely to be fine in my absence. She is my highest priority. I won’t make that decision until after the x-ray on Tuesday morning and after our consultation with the second surgeon on Tuesday afternoon. If this were not such an important trip for the future for PAACS, I wouldn’t even consider going. It is not an easy decision. I would appreciate your prayers for us while we make this decision.
Sean has been a trooper through all of this. He has only 12 days left of school but still has a lot left to do. He has been working very hard, 8 – 10 hours a day six days a week for the past month. I have admired his approach to this. The lack of internet since the storm has interfered with his ability to do his distance learning. We are going to talk to the teachers and see if some of the projects can be skipped. He has also handled Micky’s problems well. He is very close to his mother and was undoubtedly afraid, but we were open with each other and we relied on prayer together to get us all through. He is doing a good job of taking care of her.
Have to wonder what we are doing so well that Satan has felt so obliged to slow us down.