Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The News Popped Up This Morning To Reveal . . .

Gerald Ford passed away. I am very sad. I met Mr. Ford once, several years ago. It wasn't a real meeting, I guess. He was riding on a golf cart and his security people would not stop to let him talk to people nearby. He waved at me and made eye contact. I like to consider it a meeting. I also heard him give a very inspirational speech that I have never forgot. He was not the best speaker (better than GWB), but his heart was obviously in the right place. His message was simple and clear. He was a very hopeful person. With his passing a little bit of goodness has gone out of the world. *sniffle*

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Enter A Subject: Christmas

It's that time of year. I'm definitely getting into the Christmas spirit now. It helps that most of my Christmas shopping has been dealt with. It also helps that other people are catching the Christmas spirit and generating it all around. I love how people get mostly happy around Christmas. That is, other than the annoying last minute shoppers who are out to get everything off the shelves. They might knock you down in the process. There are a lot of people like that. I don't do last minute shopping for more than one gift anymore. I just can't stand the crowds and the angry customers.

Back to the happy subject. I was talking to my favorite insurance man the other day. He was so happy and Christmasy that I could not help but catch the infectious mood. Christmas is an amazing time of the year. It's the time when we all try to overlook other people's faults and have a good time with the people we love. It's a time when we ignore the artificial, superficial issues and strive to be better people. It's a time when we stop forgetting to tell our friends and family that we love them and we always will.

I just like Christmas. Other than the story of Jesus' birth, my favorite Christmas story will always be "A Christmas Carol." I think it's the only good Dickens story, really. It's short and to the point. It tells the story of one man's redemption. I am a sucker for stories of redemption. There's just something about Scrooge that rings truest at Christmas time. He's the old man getting washed away in the waters of baptism that God gave to us through Jesus. After that there is renewal. But none of that could have been possible without Jesus' birth as a tiny baby. There is an awesomeness in Jesus' birth that we often forget. It's not just a pretty picture book, or a cutesy story with fuzzy animals and hay. No, Jesus birth was as important as the events that followed his birth. It is a much greater story with far more truth in it than the story of Scrooge that I enjoy so much. It moves me to more emotion, despite the fact that it is a lot easier to identify with "A Christmas Carol" or some other more modern story that we watch or read at Christmas time.

But more than that, Jesus birth reminds me every year of the gift of grace God offered to me and to all people. That is something that no other story can capture, no matter how touching or emotional it is. This is because grace is more than a story and more than an emotion. It is beyond my ability to imagine or understand. The Christmas spirit is the time when I find myself most able to contemplate grace. And yet I still cannot fathom the wonder and power of God's mercy on humankind. To extend the same grace to each one of us with no resentments or annoyances. That is far beyond our human comprehension. God is good, and Christmas is the time of year that forces me to remember that fact. Let this dreadful ramble remind you not to get so wrapped up in plans and presents that you ignore the truth about Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Look A Bunny!

I won't say this is Ah, Logic worthy, but it sure got me thinking. I have often been annoyed at people in general for their propensity to blame problems on those who are obviously not creating chaos of the intensity that has been alleged. Skirting the issues is a proud tradition of the human condition. Here are a few interesting points about that. Maybe I'll talk about this again in a later post. At the moment I'm being interrupted constantly and it's getting old. But that tends to happen at work . . .

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm A Healthy Person After All

In the annals of weird, medical phenomena you will find a page with my name on it. Here is a person who eats right, takes care of herself (although she could exercise a bit more) and yet she has a serious -- sometimes debilitating -- pain in her side that has been there for years and refuses to go away. This pain has left a dogging question in my mind. And at long last the answer to my question has emerged. I have to say that I like my primary care physician and my gastroenterologist very much. They're great people and without them I would still be wondering if I'm dying or something.

The good news is, I do not have an ulcer, I am perfectly healthy. I have a weird colon. Yup, that's it. I'm sure I've mentioned the fact before that I am a very small person. I never thought that being small could be a bad thing -- aside from the fact that if I accidentally skip a meal I become very weak. But there is one other problem with being this small. My colon has to make some rather sharp turns in order to fit itself inside of my abdomen. Thus, my food has a difficult time making it from one end to the other. In effect, my colon spasms to get the food through and that causes me a lot of pain. I had a colonoscopy the other day and they showed me the photos of my weird colon. Yeah, it's weird. I've seen photos from those procedures before and they didn't look quite like mine. There were some very sharp corners and some twisted spots. It was weird all right. Now I know why no one has ever been able to find anything wrong with me before.

The bad news is the chronic pain. The one thing I feared about all this was that I would be in pain for the rest of my life. I wanted something to be done to get rid of the pain completely. I wanted to live my life without that. But on this crazy journey of medical tests and all kinds of crap (sometimes literally, tmi) I have come to realize one thing. I don't care if I always have this pain, I care if I always have this pain and do not know why I have it. In the knowing lies the answer. I can make things easier on myself and I intend to do just that by eating even more right and exercising more.

In the end I am reminded once again of my own mortality. Physical weakness is part of how God reminds us that we need Him. Perhaps I can count all this as some sort of blessing even on the days when it is impossible to think like that.

Also, if any of you ever have to have a colonoscopy, let me tell you the two days before it are the worst thing imaginable. No, they're even worse than that. You have to "cleanse" your colon on those days. Just take the worst thing you can possibly imagine and multiply it by 27, that's how bad it is. I'm really hoping I will only have to endure that once in my life.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ah, Logic # 7

Sad, cynical and true. The fact of the matter is, people do not care when genocide happens in Africa, they just act like they care. There could be many reasons for this, I chock it up to the fact that there's no economic value to helping over there. I am sure there are more reasons than that. It's as if no one cares about that part of the world. Sometimes it bothers me that I get lumped into the great white Satan that is accused of not caring in regards to Africa and especially the Sudan. The harsh truth is that I probably deserve that label as much as any American or European. We do not like helping countries in Africa. Heck, we do not even remember there are separate countries over there.

I told someone that I was learning Zulu and she asked me if it was a bush language! It's only one of the official languages of South Africa which is one of the more stable countries in Africa. It's a place, not just a jungle. I'm tired of the whole "dark continent" view of Africa. I'm also tired of listening to people talk about colonialism and why that was bad for Africa. Everything does not revolve around jungles and colonization. I'm sorry, it just doesn't. There are many aspects of culture, politics and religion that remain in African countries from well before colonization.

Also, if you want to talk about colonization, why are the Muslim areas of Africa never mentioned? Some of them are, as in the article I linked to at the top of this post. But most are not and there are some dreadful, institutionalized human rights abuses (especially in regards to women) that occur on a regular basis in those areas.

Okay, okay. It's a rant. Next time I talk about this, I'll be nicer.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Bandaid Moment

In order to understand the title of my post, I refer you to this post on my livejournal that I wrote some time ago. To me, a bandaid moment is the moment when someone I've never met before does something that is completely unselfish. And the person does that for me. They will never be repaid because I will never meet them again. They simply act in a way that restores my faith in God. I have had other bandaid moments, always when I least expect them. Today I really needed one. I was not thinking of one or the fact that I needed one. Yet it seems that whenever I am at my wit's end, God gives me a bandaid moment and I see again that He will always provide for me. That's what happened to me today.

I've had a rough day. I went to the doctor earlier and found out about some stuff that really scares me. I've wanted to cry all day, but I've worked hard. I've also been in a lot of pain today and that has not helped the situation. My discouragement scale was definitely dipping close to despair.

I went to the pharmacy to get some pain medicine and some other stuff that I have to take in preparation for a scary medical test I mentioned in the previous post. Craig was with me. When I went to pick up the medications the total came up to 82 cents. Now, I do not carry cash pretty much ever. So I asked Craig if he had 82 cents. He said he did not. I decided we would have to take the medicine to the regular checkout and the cashier got it ready. Then she remembered that she had already rung it up and could not just void it off the register. I was going to have to pay for all my other stuff with the medicine and I had an item that needed to be weighed, so I would have to take that to the regular checkout as the pharmacy checkout did not have a scale.

The customer standing next to me suddenly pulled out a dollar and offered to pay for my medicine. I was surprised and tried not to accept, but she paid anyway. I thanked her profusuely and said a silent prayer for her. I could not believe someone would do that for me. As I left the store I struggled to hold back tears at the kindness of that woman.

My faith in God has been restored, or rejuvenated because it never really went away. I have to say that if God will take care of me even when I am lazy and forgetful then He will take care of me in the midst of my current crisis. I should carry some cash with me now and then. I should have been willing to pay for that with one of my cards or I should have just left the items that needed to be weighed. But instead God took care of me and showed me that He's still there, He has not left me despite my pain, my suffering and the fear I have felt in regards to whatever could be physically wrong with me. He is so amazing and so merciful. He did not have to give his life for mine and defeat death so that I could have eternal life. And on top of all that have a kind person in the right place so that when I was stupid and lazy I could still be taken care of. But He did. God's love is wonderful. I am in awe.

A Stomach Update

No stomach ulcer. So that's good. However, there are complications and the scenario keeps looking scarier. It might be any number of other things and the complications will send me back to the gastroenterologist for a very, very scary test. I also have to have a CT scan which is not a biggie as I've had that done before.

I'm worried. I'm still in pain, although on some meds to deal with that. Please pray for me if you are the praying sort.

The endoscopy of the past week was particularly painless. I was flying high on the anesthesia they gave me. I was very, very happy and nice to everyone. I thanked them profusely for everything down to the pair of fuzzy socks they gave me to wear while I was at the doctor's. I am such a weirdo. Afterwards I slept for hours.

I'm happy this is not a stomach ulcer. But I am a bit worried about what else could be wrong. Keep praying. I need courage. Haha, and money.

Thanks for all your prayers. And thanks for all the congratulations below. Trust me, your words did make me feel a lot better.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I'll Tell You What Would Make Me Feel Better

But first, I'll tell you why I don't feel good at all. The last week and a half has been somewhat traumatic in the physical pain sense. That is to say, I am in severe physical pain. My left side hurts so much that most of the time I do not want to move, but if I don't move it feels worse than if I am walking around. I also have no energy.

So, on Friday I went to the doctor and she thinks I have an ulcer. Yeah, remember last March/April's posts (if you're a longtime reader) about all this? Where they thought I had a slow digestive system. Well, the pain is a lot worse now, and now it's a suspected stomach ulcer. That means I'm looking at never eating spicy food again. Okay, no cheese, no chocolate, no wine, no salsa, no jalepenos. I may as well eat mush for the rest of my life.

Wednesday is an interesting date because I'm going to have an interesting test done that should tell the doctors if I have an ulcer. Keep me in your prayers on that.

But it would really make me feel better if you all posted congratulations on my winning NaNoWriMo.