FAITH, FAMILY, AND DIVERTICULITIS

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market!  I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend!  The weather was kind of off and on all weekend, but Monday turned out nice.

So, last week I wrote about Regas Seasoning and I guess, by default, Regas restaurant.  I put out a challenge to find Regas Seasoning and wouldn’t you know, the next morning, a customer came in and brought me a bottle of Regas Seasoning she had bought from the same place I found it.  I guess I owe her a couple of Kurobuta pork chops.  I also received a lot of feedback about Regas restaurant.  Several people sent me stories about their fond memories of going to Regas. 

I would have to say my memories of going to Regas as a kid are split about fifty-fifty between fond and not so fond.  It has nothing to do with the restaurant, it was more to do with the company I was with.  You see, the only time we went to Regas was with family on special occasions.  Sometimes, it was with relatives I liked and other times it was with relatives I didn’t really want to be around.  Either way, we were going to Regas, and we were going to act like we enjoyed it, even if I was miserable half the time.  I guess that was one of the first life-lessons my parents taught me; you do what you gotta do to keep peace in the family.

Well, this has been an interesting week for me.  Monday started with Memorial Day, which was a workday for us at the store.  Holidays are always good days to work because everyone seems a lot more relaxed.  That goes for staff and customers, so it makes for a pretty stress-free day.

Tuesday, I went to a funeral.  My friend’s father passed away, so my family and I went to the funeral.  After the service, I ran into the preacher from my church, and he told me the last thing you want to hear from your preacher.  “I want to come out to the store tomorrow and visit with you.  Will you be there in the afternoon?”  Well, I was trapped.  I’m always here on Wednesdays and, at the spur of the moment, I couldn’t think of a good excuse to get out of the visit.  Honestly, what was blocking my thought process was the image of Jesus going into the temple only to find that they had turned it into a marketplace full of merchants and money changers.  He then proceeded to turn over all the tables, condemned them, and ran them out of the temple.  I didn’t think the store or I fit that description, but when you are raised a Baptist, you always have a healthy fear of God’s judgment, and it just follows that you fear your preacher‘s judgment.  I sure wasn’t looking forward to the chance he might come into the store and start wrecking all the displays and condemning me.  I just feel a lot safer and more comfortable if I only see the preacher at church on Sunday.  I ended up spending the rest of Tuesday evening with preacher and condemnation anxiety and preparing for my day of judgement on Wednesday.

Well, as luck would have it, I was either awakened or I woke up at five in the morning with the inside of my body on fire and the Grim Reaper at my bedside.  I fought the Reaper off long enough to go drink about a gallon of water and find the numerous thermometers we have at the house.  We have taken our temps at home most every day since COVID started, so we have quite a few around the house.  None of them ever read the same so you kind of just have to take the average of all of them.  This morning, they were all conclusive; I was hot.  After considering my options, I did what any smart person does when they feel like they are dying.  I laid down on the couch and hoped I would feel “all better” in a little while.  I guess that’s a guy theory because, when my wife got up and found me on the couch, she asked what was wrong.  I told her I felt like I was dying so I thought I would lay down a little while until I felt better.  Her response, in so many words, was that was a bad idea.  So, after some discussion, I told her I would take a shower and if I felt well enough afterwards, I would head to work but go by my doctor’s office on the way there.  Otherwise, she could take me to the ER. 

I felt a little better after getting cleaned up, so I headed to the doctor on my way to work.  I actually go to the doctor’s office just down the sidewalk from the store, so it made it easy.  I didn’t have an appointment, but most all of the people that work in the shopping center know each other and are willing to do favors for you when you need one, so they got me worked in quickly with a nurse and physician’s assistant.  After some testing, they decided I had a urinary tract infection and either a kidney stone or diverticulitis or all maybe three.  They would know more when they got the results back from my blood work, and they were scheduling a CT scan for further clarification.  They did give me a big shot while I was there for good measure.  I don’t even know what the shot was for, but at that point in my suffering, if they had clubbed me in the head, I would have probably been okay with it.  Assuming the shot would soon make me feel better, I asked them if I could go on in to work, and they gave me the same look my wife had given me earlier that morning.  The two options they gave me were, go immediately to the hospital or go home and lie perfectly still until we call you.  I chose going home, of course.  After lying perfectly still at the house for a while, the doctor’s office called me to let me know I was scheduled for my CT scan at three-thirty that afternoon.  Not long after that call, the financial office from UT hospital called to confirm the appointment, told me it was going to cost four hundred dollars after insurance, and are you going to pay for it.  That sounded like a trick question to me (we don’t ask that question at the store).  I couldn’t think of anyone else that might want to pay for it for me, so I said yes.  That seemed to satisfy her.  Then came the next trick question.  How are you going to pay for it?  After some thought, I went with “money”.  I guess that worked because she said we will see you at three-thirty. 

When it came time to go, I was beyond the point of driving safely, so my wife took me.  We went in to register and, after my name and date of birth, they asked me if I was going to pay for it.  I was ready this time and said yes.  You guessed it; the next question was how?  This time I changed up my answer to a question; how do you want to be paid?  Her reply, cash, check, or credit card.  I gave her a credit card, and I was in.  In hindsight, I am wondering if you answer no, do they do it for free?

 Shortly thereafter, they called me back to get the scan.  She told me it would take about four minutes.  So, I laid down on a table and you ride into a tube, hold your breath and then you ride back out.  About the time you catch your breath, you ride back into the tube, hold your breath, then ride back out, and then it was done.  They said they would send the results to my doctor immediately, and I was on my way.  That ride through the tube turned out to be about one hundred dollars a minute, after insurance, which I think is about how much it cost me a minute to take the family to Disney World to ride the rides the last time we went there, so I guess that was a fair price.

We were not home long before the doctor’s office called to tell me I had a severe case of diverticulitis.  They prescribed me two medications to take for the next ten days and wanted me to come in the next morning for more blood work and a consultation from my doctor.  Meanwhile, I was to continue to lie perfectly still.

The next morning, my wife took me to the doctor for my consultation and test.  She sat in on the meeting with the doctor.  I guess she knows I listen to everything but choose to only hear what I want to hear.  She hears everything!  I did hear one thing the doctor said that resonated with me.  It went like this, if I didn’t follow his strict instructions, they would probably end up cutting me wide open and start taking out bad parts.  I think my wife heard that part too because she had been watching me like a hawk ever since we left the meeting.  Well, that was Thursday and I think today is Saturday.  I’ve lost track of time, which is easy to do after a few days, when you just sit or lie still all day long.  I did go to work yesterday and sat still there for a couple of hours just for a change of scenery.  I don’t know if they were glad to see me, but I was sure glad to see them!  I am feeling better and better every day and hope to be back to a more normal way of life next week?

As you have probably noticed by now (if you haven’t fallen asleep), when I am bored, heavily medicated, on a diet of mush and water and having to sit still all day, I write really long stories that have nothing to do with anything, much less the grocery store.  On top of that, I managed to drag my faith, preacher, wife, family, and healthcare providers into this story, as well.  I know I have poked a little fun at them in this story, but I am very grateful and blessed to be surrounded by people and organizations that take the time to give me care, kindness, and love!

I guess that should be the goal for all of us, and I hope we offer you a little of that when you come to the grocery store.  I am sure we fall short on occasion.  Not because I am not surrounded by great teachers and examples; more because I need to be a better student.  I need to listen to everything and not just hear what I want to hear.

I am going to another funeral on Monday to celebrate the life of another friend’s mother.  This one is at a Presbyterian church.  I don’t know much about the Presbyterian denomination; do they judge and condemn like the Baptists do? I just want to be prepared.  I don’t need another week like last week.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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