Mmmm… Narcotics (or “I Smell… Yellow”)

Do I have your attention yet?  Because this post is actually NOT about narcotics… exactly.  Let me bring you up to speed.  The other day (Tuesday, Oct. 11), I went to the ER.  See, I had been having chest pains for about a week and I was getting kind of fed up with it.  I initially sent out a message via Twitter saying I was having some chest pain issues. Next day, it felt like I had just stretched some muscles out a little too much, so I wasn’t too worried. But, since then, it had grown increasingly more painful. Monday night, I was in a semi-significant amount of pain, and Tuesday I almost passed out because I would take a breath and pain shot through my chest like lightning.

I drove myself to the doctor.  Chest pain, right?  The doctor asked me some initial questions at reception and said it was probably musculo-skeletal, so please just have a seat and wait.  When I was finally brought back, the lady who took my BP absolutely FREAKED ME OUT.  She was nice and everything… don’t get me wrong.  But when the initial BP reading beeped, I saw her eyes get kind of… big.  She says to me, “let me check this again.” She takes out the old school BP and takes it TWO MORE TIMES with her eyes getting progressively rounder each time (think small coffe cup saucers. Something was freaking this girl out.)

“What’s wrong?”, I asked.  She said, “it’s just really high.”  It was 186/120. Ambulance was called. Hospital was visited. EKG’s, blood and other test performed.

My nurse, who was WONDERFUL, came in and administered a POWERFUL narcotic to help me with the pain.  Slightly strange and loopy things were spoken (At one point I’m told I said, “I smell something. It smells like… yellow.”). My wife was an amazing, calm and prayerful presence until Tia and Tamara came on the television. 🙂 Figures…

Eventually, all the bad things were ruled out. No heart issues. No clots… It just seems that, at some point, I somehow tore muscles in my left upper rib area. The high BP was caused by my body dealing with the pain.  So, while I won’t die from this, it just feels like I’m going to.

What’s my point?

I found out something that day.  Narcotics don’t do anything for you really.  The pain in my chest never actually stopped.  (I found this out as the narcotic started to wear off) The narcotic they gave me, just stopped my receptors from sending the signal to my brain.  And that concludes today’s medical blog post.  Wait… I don’t do that here.  I had a different point, didn’t I? Oh, yeah…

One of the things I do with some frequency is play drums.  When I asked the doctor if this was going to affect my playing he told me that I would have to lay out for about six weeks due to the range of motion issues.  If I kept it up, my body wouldn’t heal and I would just be back at the hospital in worse condition.  The problem, of course, was that I HAD to play the very next night.  But I told the doctor not to worry… I was playing at a Presbyterian Church which was almost like not playing drums at all. (That was a joke.  I actually love playing at this church.  I play with them several times a year.  The spirit of the joke, however, is true.)

So, I get to the church and as we’re playing I start a drum fill and I twist funny and the pain shoots all through my chest and down my left arm… IT WAS AWFUL.  I never missed a beat, but I sure wanted to.  We started playing a song called “Ancient of Days” (it’s already considered an oldie), and there’s a part where the audience, back when it was a fresh and new song, would clap together.  Over the years, it has become kind of standard for the drums to play the clapped part.  So I did.  But then…

I looked out over the sea of, mostly, passive faces, and there was one person who was really throwing herself into worship.  And then, I saw another who was doing the clap on the pew in front of him.  I have to tell you… My pain went away.  Now, I felt my pain still, but suddenly it wasn’t bothering me anymore.  It was like God was using these two tiny instances as a kind of “spiritual narcotic” for me. It didn’t do away with the pain, but it helped me to not feel it, at least in the same way or intensity.

Later it hit me… How many times does God use us to do little things that we consider not a very big deal, but that do tremendous work in someone else’s life?  Those two people will never know this side of Heaven the effect they had on me that night.  I say that to my shame.  I should have sought them out afterwards and at least said thank you… or something.

We shouldn’t dismiss the tiny things that we do or that are done for us.  Jesus said, that to give someone a cup of water in His name, was the same thing as giving Him, Jesus, a cup of water. (Matthew 25:35).  I drink (sometimes) 8-10 glasses of some kind of water based beverage everyday.  I usually eat at least two hot meals, and thanks to my wife’s cold naturedness I sleep under one sheet, a blanket and a GIANT comforter.  These things are NOTHING to me anymore.  I sometimes forget to appreciate them because I’m used to them.  Now we could certainly make a big deal of giving the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords an giant offering and we would probably be inclined to look down on our own offering if all we had to give was a cup of water, but what if the recipient is just a person in a hospital bed sick from cancer… or a person on the street who is living with meth addiction… or a person who hasn’t eaten in three days.  How HUGE would a cup of water be to them, much less a hot meal or a blanket?

Don’t discount the huge work that God is doing in you and through you.  It’s the little things.

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