Friday, May 15, 2015

The Joys of Hyponatremia

Dear John,
I mowed after work today, and you know what that means: I had lots of time to think. Give me too much of that and my mind wanders off into some strange stuff. Today was no exception.
I was thinking again about your last couple of months and how hard I fought to get them to treat your pneumonia. Nobody wanted to because you had lung cancer. From my point of view, that concept lay somewhere between ludicrous and criminally negligent. After butting heads with your doctor and getting nowhere, I played the ace of trumps. I said, "Second opinion, Dr. Patel."
And Dr. Patel rode to the rescue. He came to see you while I was at work and immediately - and forcefully - ordered exactly the six things I'd been demanding. I could have kissed his feet.
I wanted him because he knew you and your history, since he'd taken care of you when you were in ICU several years earlier with pneumonia and a sodium of 116. (I'd seen hyponatremia before, but never as low as 116. You had to set a new record.) And so, as I mowed around the big locust tree this evening, I realized what a blessing that ICU admission really was. We met Dr. Patel and he got to know both of us so he could rescue us years later.
Today I got a glimpse of the other side of the tapestry - you know, the side where the picture is. We live on the back side where the knots and loose strings and things are and we generally have no idea what it's all about. But this afternoon I saw how one thread, and one that seemed so bad at the time, was necessary for events that came years later. And that glimpse encourages me. It reminds me that God is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful, and it's all under control. And I don't have to understand my life. As we've said for years, there won't be a quiz.
All of this rumination is a round-about way of thanking you for going to work that night with bronchitis, using your inhaler and giving yourself the hiccups, and drinking enough water to drop your sodium to horrific levels. Don't even try to tell me that you had later events in mind and planned it all. I know better. You were just being stubborn. But it was still a good move and I'm grateful for it. If I ever need a pulmonologist, I will inflict myself on Dr. Patel. He's a good man and an excellent physician. He was very good to us.
That's the end of my mowing-musings. Thanks for listening. I love you, adore you, and worship the ground you walk on, no matter what your sodium is,

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