“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.”
                                    — Psalm 46:1

I am aging much faster than I’d like.Emotionally I could still be a teenager, but physically I’m an age-related shambles.

ADVISORY: This becomes graphic about my medical conditions.

I have Stage 3 kidney failure, along with high blood pressure and diabetes, which may be its causes.  There is also a stone in my urinary tract, about a half inch in diameter, which all my doctors (plural) believe is blocking the passage of fluid and causing fluid to back up into my kidneys.  At the very least, it’s a question mark.  I do not believe as they do; the stone does not bother me in any way; but unless I have some kind of sentimental attachment to the stone, which I don’t, I decided it is just as well to take it out — and remove the question mark.

The stone can’t be pulled out, so the plan became to put me under general anesthesia, go in there with a laser, and break the stone into little pieces that can be removed one way or another.  This was scheduled for Friday, April 26.  I have had to go through some screening ahead of time to make sure my body can handle the stresses of that procedure.  One remaining task, given my COPD, is a chest X-ray.

But things just got more complicated this morning, Tuesday, April 2.

This morning, got a voice mail from my PCP’s office saying my EKG was abnormal, and I need to see a cardiologist before I can have the surgery.  I apprehend that (1) this will doom the surgery, and (2) the specific problem come specifically from smoking.

So we have to balance(*) the needs of my heart against the needs of my kidneys.

This is scary.

My deteriorating health is the result of years and years of futile anxiety over things I cannot possibly change.  As I said in the introduction to The Way of Peace, “All my life, I have been concerned for people who seemed to me to have a harder lot than they deserved — who were loaded down with heavy burdens.  In time, I came to see that I likewise carried needless heavy burdens.”  My brothers and cousins are not aging this fast.  Will I live long enough to accomplish anything as William Tell, the talk show host?

There’s heart disease on both sides of my family.

Heart disease isn’t a death sentence.

To succeed as a talk show host, you don’t need to not be in a wheelchair.  You don’t need to not be on oxygen.  My voice is unimpaired; my mind is unimpaired.  My language is unimpaired.

My will to love is unimpaired.

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.”


(*)The Wikipedia article on kidney stones points to many other balances in whether or not a person develops kidney stones: calcium intake vs. sodium intake, oxalate intake, vitamin D intake, the pH of one’s urine (acidity vs. alkalinity) …

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