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My God Has A Sense of Humor

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Hardy L. Brown
Last Thursday was quite a day at my home. As most of you know I was diagnosed back in 2002 with ALS, better known as Lou Gherig’s Disease and was later diagnosed to be PLS a less aggressive form of this muscular disease. Also staying with us is my mother in law, Melba Minter, who was placed on hospice care in October and taken off hospice in March of this year. Both of us in the wonderful care of Cheryl, my wife and her daughter. All of us have been humming along singing the many wonderful blessings showered  down upon us when Thursday night at 7:30 pm we had to call 911 for Melba. She had not been eating or drinking any water for the past few days.

While the paramedics were coming for her, I needed Cheryl’s assistance because I wasn’t feeling well. Cheryl had to decide whether she should go to the hospital with her mom or stay with me.

Well, God sent Norma Archie, Melba’s sister and Lynn Renee Lee, our oldest daughter who works in Kaiser Fontana’s emergency room where Melba was headed. They went with Melba and Cheryl stayed with me. Shortly after they left my situation turned serious and I almost fainted. Staying conscious, Cheryl kept asking me if I wanted her to call 911. Not wanting to be left “home alone” or be out done by Melba I reluctantly said yes in between fainting episodes. So she called 911 and when the paramedics arrived they started asking me questions to see if I knew who I was and where I was, and I was off to Kaiser Fontana.  On the way to Kaiser I had the most wonderful medic by the first name of Dustin and a last name to long to remember, and he represented the department very well.

Upon arriving at Kaiser I was greeted almost like a celebrity because my daughter had told the staff that I was coming to visit my mother in law, only I was going to need services while doing it. My nurse Helen Geberekeristos, RN immediately started to work on me, hooking me up to machines and giving me oxygen while changing my clothes at the same time. While this was going on a phlebotomist, started patting my hands and arms searching for a vein to draw blood. I said to him, “man you are real eager to take this blood…are you sure you like your job?” He responded yes. Once that was complete in came Dr. Benjamin Wakamatsu, who went to work checking every opening on my body to make sure they were open. He found openings that I didn’t even know existed.

Like I said not wanting to be left “home alone” the family started to arrive, in came Lynn Renee, Cheryl, Paulette, Rickerby, my brother-in-law Freddie, aunt Norma and later Pastor Larry Campbell was on the phone, checking to see how I was doing and if he needed to come to the hospital. He was shocked when I said “hi pastor, keep on praying,” of which he did. Later Regina in Sacramento and Hardy, II in Ohio called to find out what was going on at home.

After all of the tests were taken a decision had to be made to keep me or send me home and I was starting to get hungry. The nurse said we had to wait for the internist to review all the tests plus make a personal visit. Around 3:00 am Dr. Gustay Smith, came into the room and started asking the same questions everyone else had asked to see if I would remember what I had said before. He, like all the other caregivers that night, was not only professional but warm, gentle and understanding. I did notice something different with Smith and during the conversation I learned that his father was afflicted with MS so he had a particular sensitivity to my condition.

Now in the meantime they had decided to release Melba to go home and so was everybody else. So I told the wife I guess we had better figure out how to check out as well. So around 4:00 am and hungry, Dr. Smith said ever thing looks fine but I am going to require you to have a couple of procedures be done in a week or two then see your regular physician Dr. Joseph Paredes.  That night I learned that the diversity in our health care system is part of its strength, from the Indonesian medic to the Ethiopian nurse to the Asian doctor and Latino phlebotomist, good help comes from people of all races, sexes, and religions. I also discovered another strength of the Kaiser Permanente system, other than the people, and that is having access to my medical information online with the ability to email my doctor. Since last Thursday I have communicated with my doctor several times. He has explained the lab test results and suggested I come to see him.

After you go through something like that it is easy to sit back and laugh at some of the things God allows you to go through. I can imagine now that Job got a good laugh after his bad health ordeal and loss of family which was restored to him. On a night when not one – but two – ambulances have to visit your home, and your family takes up not one – but two – beds in a crowded emergency room, when it’s all over and you make it through the only thing you can do is laugh with God. He certainly has a sense of humor.

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