Health care hellI can’t do it. I can’t write about just anything today. My friend is sick and not just sick, but really sick.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
I can’t do it. I can’t write about just anything today. My friend is sick and not just sick, but really sick.
I was going to write about cucumbers and how good they are for you — how they help you to regulate your body’s blood pH and neutralize acidity. How they prevent water retention, sooth ulcers, improve connective tissue, normalize body temperature, dissolve kidney stones and promote hair growth.
I was also going to mention how they reduce inflammation in conditions like arthritis, asthma, and gout, regulate blood pressure, lower the risk of cancer, build bones, help with bleeding disorders and maintain normal electrical activity in the heart and so much more.
There’s no denying that cucumbers are really good for you and so is taking care of yourself, because if you don’t, you’ll be as sick as my friend someday and not later but sooner.
My niece got married this past Saturday in Bottineau in a wonderful ceremony with an overfilled church and a reception at an armory bursting with 400 friends and family members visiting, hugging, laughing, dancing and celebrating a glorious and loving event.
It was one of those precious happenings that you’ll remember forever, savor, review, smile about, and one which, whenever you think about it, will pick you up even during bad times.
My family members came in from far and wide; places like Oregon, Virginia and Texas, with my son and his girlfriend flying in from California.
I loved it, hated to see it end, hated putting my son on a plane again and watching it fly away. But even more, I hated what happened next because what happened next happened at a hospital in Bismarck and that’s where we took the elevator from ecstasy to heartbreak and happiness to sadness.
You see, you can be prepared to see someone you know who is really sick, know everything about their condition, try to shove it into a box and file it away with your emotions but when you walk through that door and see them laying there wrapped in intravenous lines, diagnostic wires, oxygen tubes and wearing discolored skin, it’s a whole new story and a big dose of reality nearly knocks you down like a fist to the gut.
I wanted to cry, leave really quickly, stay there indefinitely, hug the poor man and figure out how to fix him up. I wanted to go back in time, change everything that’d led up to that moment and erase the past because much of what had taken place in the past, a host of bad decisions, had led to that moment.
And I’m no rookie to this stuff, having put on surgical garb in my youth and hovered over my father’s bed shortly after he’d been in an explosion, burned all over his body with his head swollen three times the size and what was left of his burned hair falling out and discoloring his pillow like charcoal.
I’ve also seen a crumpled young man lying in a ditch after he rolled his car, flew out of it and then had it roll over him and a bull rider get killed on the 4th of July, and another have his eye torn out and so much more and you’ve seen things like that too.
So I’ve been down that trail before but this one was different because this is about a liver shutting down and saying goodbye, a staph infection setting in trying to destroy a leg and inoperable aneurisms forming in three different places, with the overall package sending my friend directly to health care hell.
This one is about one too many drinks at one too many bars until your liver says I’ve had enough to go with weakened/bulging vessels that have driven him straight to a purgatory that sits somewhere between living well and living hell.
If you’re like me, you probably think that this will never happen to you because you enjoy a few drinks now and then but you’re not a stumbling drunk who weaves his way down the street and guess what? Neither was he.
This is a man who was a champion on the basketball court and on the baseball field, a four-time teacher of the year and college recruiter, a champion basketball coach, a motivational speaker and one of “Five Outstanding Young North Dakotans” with two master’s degrees and an endless list of people that he has counseled and helped.
He recently kept one distraught friend from quitting his job, pulled another from the depths of depression and told another that the three things you must do in life is be right with your family, determine what you are good at and share it with others, and have one God that you believe in and pray to.
This is a good man who failed to take care of himself and now resides in a painful abyss. If it can happen to him, it can happen to you. So don’t do the same.
Holten is a freelance columnist and cartoonist from Dickinson.