What to Do When Fear Creeps in the Doorway

fear in the doorFear started with a fever. Three days after my outpatient surgery, I felt pretty icky (not that one ever feels great after a surgery), so I took a mid-day nap. When I woke up, I took my temperature and discovered that it had risen to 100.9—just a smidge over what my post-op instructions had said to call my surgeon if I experienced.

I hesitated. After all, I felt icky, not awful. Of course, I hadn’t really had much of an appetite the last two days, and I felt nauseous around food, so I caved to my inner prompting to go ahead and call the doctor.

“Come on in to the office,” she said. And so I did. It involved a 90-mile drive—fortunately, Pedro could take off work to do the driving. Because of road construction, the usual 90-minute trip turned into a two-hour trip—and I made it to the doctor’s office right before they closed for the day. After a quick exam, she gave me orders for a CT scan—not exactly what I expected.

It turns out that the hospital’s outpatient radiology department couldn’t take me, and so I had to go through the emergency room to get the CT scan. It also so happens that yesterday was one of the busiest days of the year for the ER—with eleven life-flight arrivals, not to mention the various and sundry stubbed toes, fevers and heart attacks.

I felt a little fraudulent, waiting for triage, and then for a visit from the ER doc. After all, I just needed a CT scan and I didn’t feel awful. I only felt icky. As the hands on the clock marched past six, then seven, then eight, then nine, then 10, I questioned my decision. But, since Pedro hadn’t suggested that we leave and come back tomorrow, I kept my mouth shut.

When the ER doc finally came to visit around eleven, I sheepishly explained that my surgeon wanted a CT scan with contrast. He sounded dubious, but agreed to do what she had ordered—adding a kidney function test to the list of things to do before the scan.

At midnight, when the radiology tech came to take me for the scan, I asked why I hadn’t had contrast and she said she couldn’t tell me. I hate it when people know but they can’t tell you. Fear nibbled at my freezing toes.

The doc came back at one and explained that my kidney function wasn’t what they wanted it to be, so they hadn’t used contrast—but that the CT looked fine. They would pump me full of liquids and do another test in a few hours.

I sent Pedro to a hotel while I dozed through two more blood draws and bags of IV liquids. Around seven this morning, the new shift came in and the doctor greeted me with, “Does anyone in your family have a history of kidney failure?”

Stop.

(I’ll keep writing, even though my five minutes are up)

This morning has included more tests, more IV fluids and a lot of waiting for answers. I’m not a patient patient. My kidneys continue to operate at one-half to one-third capacity, so they want to keep me another 24 hours. I haven’t spoken to the nephrologist yet (that words remind me of something Egyptian, for some reason—maybe because of Nefertiti).

I still feel icky (but obviously well enough to write my five-minute Friday blog post) and I suspect the doctors are trying to unravel the mystery of why an extremely healthy person would show up in the ER with ‘acute kidney failure’.

Fear? It tried to get in the room when the doctor walked out this morning, but I refuse to let it enter. I’ll close the book covers on worst-case-scenarios and open the covers of my Bible instead. Because I know without a doubt that God loves me—and there is no room in love for fear.

I know without a doubt that God loves me--and there's no room for fear. Click To Tweet

What about you? What do you do when fear creeps in the doorway?

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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