"Hematuria"? Really???? What the heck is that, and why am I going through this?
Well, last Tuesday morning I had a scare. I went to the restroom and left blood in the toilet bowl. I'd seen this before, but it was usually miniscule amounts. This time, there was a lot of blood (and the blood was dark also). However, the bleeding stopped..... and I went on with my day. I had been looked at by the VA Urologist 2 weeks before... and he had indicated there was no evidence of bleeding (or a identifiable source). I took a picture of the evidence so I'd have something to show the Urologist the next time I saw him (sorry about the graphic picture, but it is the only way to convey what I was dealing with).
On Wednesday morning, I was bleeding after going to the restroom first thing in the morning, and this time... the bleeding wouldn't stop. I used a rag to contain the bleeding, hobbled into the bedroom, and asked Penny to take me to the ER. The blood on my legs and on my socks apparently were the convincer. As Sherman Hospital in Elgin was the closest ER, we went there. When we got there, I was immediately put into a room (a first for me). Within an hour, I received a cat-scan with contrast.... and the results were negative for any obstruction around my kidneys/intestines. As I was still bleeding (and it wasn't stopping), I was transferred to a room and admitted onto the 5th floor (and they put a catheter in me to clear out my bladder of the multiple clots that were in there). They ran more tests and I had a cystoscopy the following morning (by Penny's former urologist.... of all people). Apparently, the bladder had an injury and the urologist cauterized the tears (and he noted injuries in the urethra also). I have no clue how I could have been injured there. So they kept the catheter in me and I dealt with spasms once or twice an hour (pain so strong, I was tearing / barely containing my guttural scream afterward). Luckily, my room was a private room and I was by myself. By Friday afternoon, the pain was such that they felt they needed to get the catheter out given the unrelenting spasms (and the bleeding was minimal). The spasms then stopped and I was released from the hospital (I even was able to take a shower so I could go home without being funky.
During this time at the hospital... Deb Wolf stopped by Wednesday evening bringing Travis with to visit, Jeff Madsen (from my FVC life group) visited Wednesday nite & Thursday nite, Pastor Adam (Pastor for FVC Pingree Grove) stopped by on Thursday, and others came by... (along with several calls to my room) bolstering my spirits. We all prayed at our various times, and I went over John 10 with Pastor Adam (and he and I discussed multiple things). =) Jeff Madsen (despite being a Packers fan) I firmly believe will be a lifelong close friend of ours (and I look forward to growing in my faith anywhere close to Jeff and his wife's faith).
I am at home now re-learning how to manage my bladder as it is very weak (using pads to catch leakage)... a very humbling experience. During all of this, Penny has been my foundational rock, keeping our household going and taking care of me as best she can (I am a truly blessed man). I know this much, Penny and I are much closer now than at any time in our marriage and I firmly believe there is nothing that the other would do for the other. And our belief in Jesus and in God is growing daily......
I heard from my former boss that a good friend of ours has taken a turn for the worse health wise and now has full blown leukemia. This man stuck with me through thick and thin and we had the other's back when dealing with adversity at multiple companies. He is the kind of guy who will give you the shirt off his back in a snowstorm, and I feel just awful he is facing this battle. It seems that many of us who work ourselves so hard don't think of keeping our own health and pay a price for that over time. My predecessor (John Fugazy) retired at 57 and passed away from ALS at the age of 61. Kevin Koerner is now around that age and is looking at chemo and a bone marrow transplant. It would seem that people who work hard all of their lives are the ones who don't get to enjoy retirement..... and who face adversity when they are deserving of so much more out of life. I will be saying an extra prayer for my friend tonight.......