Because life is a series of edits

This, Too, Shall Pass (Lord God, I Hope So)

In Family, Health on March 27, 2009 at 9:00 am
In the future, I'm thinking about boycotting the last week of March. Let's review:
  • End of March 2007: My bout with gout (ouch).
  • End of March 2008: The Fall of the House of Half-Pints (a sad day).
  • End of March 2009: A hybrid of the world's worst ceiling renovation/indoor dust storm combined with two (count 'em: two) kidney stones soon to make their big (Lord, I hope not) entrance.
Spring Break week started off innocently enough: Megan and the girls headed to Oklahoma to visit her folks and I got some time to relax over the weekend before starting on the big living room project. I worked a full day at the bookstore on Monday, and then began demolition late Tuesday morning:

Things went smoothly (I'm much better at demolition than construction), and I got to this point in the progress by mid-afternoon:

From here, I finished pulling down the rest of the ceiling and put the finishing touches on an unbelievable house-permeating layer of lathe, plaster, and dry wall dust despite my best (but apparently inadequate) tape and plastic job. Coated in this same filth and muck and longing for a shower, I decided to call it a day, saving the clean-up for the next morning before my friend and general contractor, Dave, showed up to start hanging the new stuff. Besides, I was beat and was ready for an early bedtime.

That plan worked until about 1 a.m., when I woke up with a terribly acute ache in my lower left back. Embarrassed by how much a simple day's worth of physical labor seemed to affect me, I fought it for about an hour before finally getting up and applying some ointment to deal with what I assumed must be a pulled muscle. Two hours, three Tylenol, a hot bath, and 60 unsuccessful sleeping positions later, I determined that something else must be wrong and called my doctor. It was 4:30 a.m.

After taking four ibuprofen and getting in a few hours of sleep, I emailed Megan and told her I was probably in need of her returning from Tulsa, then called Dave to tell him that I probably wouldn't be available until the afternoon. Once the doctor's office opened, I made an appointment and went in, first seeing the doctor, who then me on for some lab work and a CT scan. Sure enough, I was the proud owner of not one but two kidney stones – the smaller one measuring 2×2 millimeters and still in the kidney; the larger one measuring 2×7 millimeters and making its way to my urinary tract.

Yeah, that's what I thought/said, too.

Coming home, I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up my prescribed pain medication, called Dave and cancelled for the day, and then called Megan, who had gotten my email and was already heading back to St. Louis with the ladies. I slept the afternoon and rejoiced at my wife and children walking in the door. By that time I was feeling a little better, so because the dust-covered house looked like something out of an archaeological dig, we grabbed some sandwiches at Jimmy John's and went to the park for a picnic before coming home, watched a movie (all six of us) in our bedroom, and finally turned in for the night.

Both Megan and I slept great and I was feeling pretty good Thursday morning, so we picked up the work site just in time for Dave to show up to start hanging 2x4s from which to hang the drywall. As he didn't need my help, I went back upstairs to lay down and ended up spending the rest of the morning there, as I had thrown up while trying to "push fluids" and felt weak again. Megan took the girls to the library so I could rest. By the time Dave was ready for me in the early afternoon, I was ready to work, and we made good progress all afternoon, getting to this point:


And then to this point: 


The good news: the worst (and messiest) part of the ceiling renovation is over; the other news: because of my illness and the fact that the ceiling needs a few more rounds of tape and mud before it's officially "done," it's doubtful we're going to get anything painted before school starts on Monday. This unfortunate reality mimics life in many ways: sometimes it takes so much effort just to maintain things that the time and energy required to actually improve them seems out of reach, and that's not even counting all the filth – dust in our house; sin in real life – that accumulates along the way (I won't even try to metaphorically figure out where kidney stones fit in…).

So, that's been my week – some progress, some pain, but little really to show for it (though if I successfully give birth to the stones before school starts, that will be a real accomplishment, especially if I live to tell about it). The encouraging thing for me in all this is I haven't really lost my temper, nor played the "woe is me" card (though one could argue I've been saving it up for this blog post), nor felt tempted to "curse God and die" as Job's wife suggested in the midst of his pain.

No, if anything (believe it or not), I've prayed more and tried to make the best of some unfortunate circumstances. In the midst of my struggles (minimal as they are in the larger scope of the world's problems), I've somehow been almost grateful for them and for what God has taught me through them. I've felt like I've learned some things about praying through pain and dealing with physical suffering – things I haven't really had to do much of in my life, but will probably have to do more of as I and others around me get older – and that encourages me.

In the words of my mother, "This, too, shall pass." With regard to my kidney stones, Lord God, I hope so.

Bring on April.
  1. Sorry you’re feeling so bad – and as someone who lived through a major house renovation, I feel your pain there, too.
    I thought you might appreciate that down here in the south, many of the African-americans refer to the type of arthritis they have as the “gouch.” They come to my office and tell me, “I got the gouch.” They never say “gout.” I am not sure if this is because it is so painful, or some other quirk of their dialect, but I always think it is probably an accurate assessment.
    Hope you feel better.

  2. Craig, that stinks about the stones. I’ll be praying for your pain and progress as you work through this (and– ahem– as they work through you).
    Good work on the ceiling, though– Dave is doing a fine job, it appears, and your efforts were not in vain.

  3. i never tho’t of “this too shall pass” in reference to kidney stones, but it certainly seems appropriate. hope they have passed by now–no fun. m

  4. I think the ceiling looks great. I’ll be praying about the kidney stones and a relief from the pain….tip (cut out the caffeine, esp. Mt. Dew if you drink that).

  5. i say keep the caffeine and just add more wine. don’t know that it actually does anything for the kidneys but it’ll sure make you feel better and giving up caffeine will only make you feel worse. :-) sorry about the stones bro. at least being a little laid up gave you the ability to do a nice long blog post.

  6. As of Saturday morning, I’m still waiting for the stones to make an appearance (sounds like I’m standing in line to see Mick Jagger and Keith Richards or something). Kidney still feels tender, but that’s about it.
    I don’t do caffeine in the form of coffee or Mountain Dew, but I probably do drink too much Coke Zero (average probably one a day). Will probably nix that for Darnly and drink more wine for Travis – that way I won’t feel what I’m missing.

  7. We wrote about similar topics this week but, as usual, you said it better. : )

  8. Not at all, Chels. Yours is much sadder and longer of a story – 43 days!? – whereas mine has been just a week with a few kidney stones thrown in for added drama. Hang in there with the repairs and remember – you used to rent!

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