Pray, but see your doctor too!

Monique and I have had several medical visits in the past 12 weeks. I always wondered what retired people do and have found that some of our "extra" time is spent going to the doctor or dentist! In total, we have had two colonoscopies at the clinic, one prompt care visit for a sinus infection, a yearly physical exam for blood work and meds, and a molar tooth extraction. That is TMI for most of you! "Too Much Information!" About those first two "scrubbings" at the clinic, we learned that the preparation for a colonoscopy gets harder to endure with age. There is redemption though in the saying, "This too shall pass!" You get to eat a "monster breakfast" afterwards without concern for calories!

One other necessary thing that you learn to endure in every medical case is the pre-procedure interview in which the staff of nurses asks you the same questions over and over again. I feel like they think we are senile and maybe we are! They even apologize for this continual review of our medical histories and say, "I know this may be annoying, but we need to ask you again..." Their questions cover a wide-range of history like the all important release of liability question, "Do you have a living will?" I am not being flippant about this, but I know and they know that they are not as interested in my life as they are in who is going to get the blame for my death!
"Are you allergic to anything?"

A question I rather enjoy being asked is "Are you allergic to anything?" And I always respond forthrightly and confidently, "Yes, penicillin!" A couple of years ago, a young nurse practitioner in Albuquerque asked a follow-up after I'd been "whooped upon" by a southwest spider , "And how do you know this?" I love to say what my dad colorfully responded years ago when I asked him the same question about my allergy. Dad said, "You 'swolled up' (Now, don't bother to look that up in the dictionary! That is not a word, but rather it is Vandalia-ese, the language of my upbringing!) like a poisoned pup!!" The nurse responded with a mixture of curiosity if not, horror, "OOOHHH MY!" she exclaimed!

Allergies are nothing to sneeze at (pun intended for those allergic to hay fever!). Our youngest grand son out in New Mexico is allergic to tree nuts and another grand son here in Illinois was allergic to peanuts for most of his preschool years, but now has seemingly outgrown that allergy. Thank you, Lord for EpiPens (epinephrine injections! It is tough being allergic to anything, but nuts seem to be in everything and that's why you will see warnings on cereal boxes and candy wrappers that state, "Allergy Information: Manufactured on the same equipment that processes nuts."

Now, this brings me to shots. During my annual exam this last week, our nurse practitioner who is more of a doctor to us than our regular physician because we see her more often, said to me, "Mike, you are due a tetanus shot today!" I retorted, "How do you know?" She looked at her laptop and responded, "Your records show that it was 10 years ago since your last!"

I then commented, "I remember the last tetanus shot I received and it was a "booger!" What I meant was that while I hardly felt the shot being administered, three days later I still could feel a cramping in my arm! The nurse didn't deny that this could happen, but explained that if I should cut myself on a rusty nail I would be in a lot more discomfort! With resignation, I said, "Okay! Give it to me. I do have a lot of yard word to catch up on this spring!"

Dr. Herschel Hobbs, the late and great Bible pastor-teacher of another day used to say, "Pray for healing and get the best medical attention available!" Over the years, I have tried to apply this maxim to my medical situations and to those of our fellow church members. Here in Springfield, we are blessed to live in a community with top-tier hospitals and doctor clinics that offer great medical resources.

But as James reminds us, our Lord, the Great Physician, also blesses the prayers of faith from our brothers and sisters who hold us up during times of need. It is with thanksgiving that we receive this good word from James,  "...Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man (and woman) has great power as it is working" (5:16b). Thank you to each of our fellow prayer warriors! What would we do without you?!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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