Oh wow, just titling this post makes me stop and come to grips with the error of my ways …
As I have shared recently, I was diagnosed with epididymitis about 5 weeks ago and have been dealing with the pain for close to 7 weeks or more. Treatment with antibiotics prescribed by my primary care physician had little or no effect so the next step was a follow-up with my urologist. In prayer, I had told the Lord (a bit too boldly I might add) that if it wasn’t better by February, I would schedule the follow-up with my urologist. It wasn’t, and I did. So Tuesday morning’s appointment came and I had high expectations … I was confident I would come home either with a stronger antibiotic for round 2 or at least some clear next steps.
After probing around in the underlands, my urologist said …
“It’s not epididymitis … you’re suffering from referred pain.”
Plus OBTW, my blood pressure is also spiking … due to the pain I imagine.
So what is referred pain? Referred pain … sometimes called reflective pain … basically means that a pain is perceived at a location other than the site that is generating or stimulating the pain.
And quite frankly, while not previously considered, that diagnosis might just be spot on. For some time I have been telling my wife that it seems like a pain in one spot goes away only to be replaced immediately by a pain somewhere else. My nighttime sleeping coming in short bursts of 1-3 hours (on good nights) and pain/discomfort is usually my wake-up call. All that plus my ibuprofen/acetaminophen expenditures are on the rise …
So while I didn’t get what I expected at the doctor … I’m becoming more confident by the hour (and let me be clear … my first response was one bordering more on depression than thanksgiving) I did get exactly what I needed.
So time to hop on the doctor-go-round once again … first for hypertension then for pain management.
Have you personally dealt with referred pain? Any insights/advice you can provide?
As I was wrestling with all this during the morning commute, the Holy Spirit drew me to the following two passages and convicted me to answer two questions … the first question …
Do you wish to get well?
Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. John 5:2-9 (NASB)
Let me be totally honest here … sometimes I languish in my illness and pain expecting a miraculous cure or healing in the midst of my inaction. So the words of Jesus to the man at the pool (and please note he was labeled as ill/sick not paralyzed) echo in my soul and prick my spirit … Do you wish to get well? Get up … and walk. Now, I fully and completely realize that for many, that last option is simply not possible … but as for me, I must take these questions to heart and respond more boldly in the midst of illness and pain.
And the second question …
Who is your primary Physican?
A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse–after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'” And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:25-34 (NASB)
Above, I pretty much admitted … ‘God you had your chance. Now its time for my urologist to do his magic.’ Sad but true. The lesson of the hemorrhaging woman is a powerful message for me. For 12 years, she had seen physician after physician … only to find she was worse off than when she began. And then by faith, she finally realized her primary Physician was Jesus … and she was healed of her affliction.
Now please don’t misunderstand me … in the kingdom of God … in God’s plan and purpose … physicians do indeed have a place. But it is not a place of gods … and oftentimes I … and maybe you as well … treat them as such. Unfairly, I might add. From time to time, I need to be reminded: It is God not my doctors … that heals me.
Just like God has made us ambassadors of reconciliation, I imagine our doctors should be considered ambassadors of healing. While we and they can do great things … only God can reconcile and heal.
Thanks for the reminder Lord … thanks for the reminder!