Friday, June 29, 2012

What can you learn from your nose? outline

The Story…..

It has been about a year.  I had been experiencing a gradual loss of energy.  I found myself having to rest more in general, go home early in the afternoon for a nap, and reduce my evening appointments.  And then, as you have noticed, I began losing my voice.  I couldn’t preach three services, then two complete ones without great strain on my voice.  I adjusted by insuring I had a snack between services and I found that if I stopped singing as much I could preach both messages.  So, with snack in hand, I compensated for singing as much as I could by spending more time in the foyer during the worship set greeting latecomers, but things continued to get worse.  I thought it was just because I was 54, and this is how one feels as they “get older”.
So, to verify what was going on, I decided to get a physical check-up.  After several scans and exams, the doctor asked me if I had ever been a boxer……..a boxer?  Turns out the damage in my sinus area was a common result of using your nose for other things than it was intended, like in my case, heading soccer balls for about 30 years of my life.  I headed most of them quite well, but once in a while…….I missed. 
It turns out my right sinus had been blocked almost completely for years and quite an infection had developed.  As a result, this crud filled the right side of my head and was (this is really gross if you think about it) flowing down the back of my throat and over my vocal chords.  That is why my voice had lost its endurance and I was losing strength in general.  Once I had a clear picture of what was going on, I wanted to fix it as soon as possible…..ya thinkJ

The Works…….

So, we picked a date. Then, it was postponed because they set me up at the wrong facility.  Since I was scheduled for the works, as the nurse described it, the procedure needed to be done at the hospital.  It’s kind of humorous actually. When I met with the nurse to go over things, she picked up my paperwork, and then……I watched her eyes get real big as she exclaimed, “My, looks like you’re having the works!”   The works it will be.  So, I went to Youtube to see what I was getting into.  That was fun, but I couldn’t get Sharon to watch.  “Too gross,” she said J

Once it became clear what was needed, many of you came by and described how you too had the same procedure, to one degree or another.  Thanks for your reassuring words. 

Suffice it to say the procedure was successful. 

The Results

It has now been a week from the procedure.  My recovery has been a little longer than anticipated.  My less than positive response to a different anesthesia than I had been exposed to in the past and the extent of the procedure has posed some extra demands on my recovery.  However, the effects of the procedure were noticeable even in the fog of my initial waking moments.  My hearing is much more sensitive, my taste is more distinct (everything that has sugar seems much sweeter), and most impressive of all is my wife tells me I have stopped snoring.  That has several other implications that will only get better over time.     My first post-op exam was passed with flying colors and when I expressed frustration about my recovery I was reminded, ”Remember, you are 54, not 24.”  Indeed. 

Just sit and heal…..

I had my computer on my lap, the dining room table covered with books and files just waiting for my attention, and all I could do was drop my head back and close my eyes.  I was exhausted, working through the fog of pain meds in a body that could actually begin to get stronger without constantly fighting infection.  I still had high hopes of accomplishing great things.  Mom asked how I was feeling and I answered that despite my best hopes, it seems that all I can do right now is sit here and heal.   Here is an excerpt from a recent progress note I sent out to the Executive Leadership Team describing my current situation and plans for the weekend.

I continue to heal, but in what seems to be 2-4 hour cycles of strength and then collapse.  I regret I was not prepared to be out of the pulpit for two weeks.  Most reports I received told me I should be back on my feet in two days, not two weeks.  Oh well.  I may not have known, but God is not surprised.  Apparently he would like us to celebrate His work in VBS a little more than we had originally planned.  Enjoy the celebration and to God be the glory!

So, whether I had planned for it adequately or not, I am stopped and down.

Stopped and Down

Just some thoughts about what one can learn ……

You can’t ignore what needs fixin.’ 

Being in the house for the last 7 days straight has helped refresh my memory about what needs to be finished or repaired.  Things like the bedroom window, the front storm door, the fireplace mantle, the closet racks, and the list goes on.  Going at full speed allows me to ignore these things; when you are staring them in the face 24/7, not so much.

Life goes on. 

While I have been down two funerals have come and gone that otherwise I would have officiated.  These dear souls are gone anyway.  The grass has continued to grow.  Fortunately, we are in a dry spell, but it is still getting longer.  VBS came and went, and I never even got to see one moment of the event.  Yet, despite my absence, a staff that made up more than a third of the church led by Pastor Sue and Pastor John shared the good news of Jesus with more than a 100 young souls for 4 straight days.  Only time will tell the impact of their efforts.   Several people were given news about their physical condition that dwarfs my personal situation.  The worship service came off without a hitch, and this weekend will be the same.  

It seems that while I have a role in God’s plan, the world and God’s will for this world march ever towards its fulfillment.

Cleansing can be painful but is always fruitful.       

This process has been painful and continues to be painful.  But, I am grateful for those who know how to go in and clean it out.  As a result, I am and will be a healthier more effective steward of this temple.  Remember that it’s the hindrance the infection was having on my preaching that got my attention in the first place.  

Those who are going above and beyond their normal responsibilities to cover for me will gain helpful experience as a result.  

There are the physical outcomes that I already mentioned and also my doctor reminded me that more positive outcomes would keep coming for the next three to six months as I continue to heal.

To be continued………..

Pastor Mike  

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