Sunday, June 10, 2007


It has been very difficult for me to concentrate my thoughts enough to write in recent weeks. Retiring after 33 years at HP has been a fairly big distraction all by itself. I have a few fears about my ability to make a successful transition to a new vocation. I even have a bit of recurring anxiety that perhaps I am falling far behind on all my e-mail or missing deadlines for the latest set of assignments. It is sort of a phantom missing limb pain!

But the big Kahuna is my fear around the surgery I have scheduled for tomorrow. It is almost inconcievable that the surgeon will cut a foot long gash in my leg, pull all the tissue out of the way and then use a power saw to remove then ends of my major leg bones.

I am sorry to say that I have been placing too much trust in modern pharmaceuticals to get me through this. Unfortunately, a little over a week ago the surgeon informed me that I have developed a very high tolerance for morphine like drugs. Consequently he may have trouble controlling my pain without stopping my breathing. I figured that there was something pretty remarkable about the fact that I could take 10 or 12 Vicodin-like tablets every day and still go about my business as if it were no more than a handful of tylenol. It has been especially disturbing that even a dozen major pain killers each day were barely enough to take the edge off the knee pain that I have been suffering.

The good news is that there is no doubt left in my mind that this surgery is necessary.

It is also rather nice to realize that it has been years since I have been this anxious. I struggled with anxiety for decades. Even a business trip or an upcoming presentation for work could be enough to trigger anxiety very much like what I am now having in anticipation of major surgery.

I realize now that my trust in opioids was misplaced. We are very blessed to have the medications that spare us from so much of the pain that our ancestors had to endure as a matter of course. Nonetheless, there will be pain, even very serious pain, in this life. Even if our bones are left intact, our hearts may be broken. Therefore, this is a very good time for me to remember that my trust must be in God and his goodness. He allows me to endure a lot of suffering, but his plan for me is perfect and all of this will be used to work good in my life.

May God bless each of you who may read this. May he give you the faith to believe that all things are being worked to a good purpose in your life. May he give me the ability to be an authentic example of how to trust him.
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