I call on the Lord in my distress,
and he answers me.
Save me, Lord,
from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.
- Psalm 120:1-2
In this modern world, people say that everyone has their own truth – that no truth is objective. Does that mean that true lies exist? Are maybe false truths?
If you do not mind, I will tell a story. It may be true, and it may not be, allegedly. I would hate to get sued by someone who believes in objective truth, but only when they think they can make a dollar or two.
My wife got her fistula surgery done in mid-January and, if things worked normally, she should have been using the fistula exclusively by the end of March. While the surgeon said it was a wonderful fistula, the people using the fistula said that it was too small, in the wrong place, not enough blood flow, the fistula rolled and most could not insert the needle properly, … I have forgotten over half the excuses. They said a few of these excuses before they screwed up, having her nearly bleed to death on Easter weekend. Now they are frightened and do not want to touch her fistula – allegedly.
She has had exploratory procedures on two occasions and both times she had a balloon angioplasty to see if helping the fistula to get bigger would make it grow, but the procedure seems to have the opposite effect.
For those who do not know, a fistula is a by-pass made by connecting an artery directly to a vein, allowing the needles to be inserted like an IV, thus a lot safer for the patient. When hemodialysis is performed, they remove blood, filter it, and then put the filtered blood back. Thus, you need to put two needles into the fistula. When my wife started dialysis, they put temporary catheters in her shoulder, she has two plastic tubes with valves sticking out, color coded for “in” and “out.” Since the vein catheter is in the jugular, she must take sponge baths, never a shower, too close to the heart for the risk of infection. Thus, this delay in getting the fistula working has been a big problem.
Before the second of these procedures, scheduled for a Friday, she was told on Monday of that week that she must arrive an hour early. We agreed. On Tuesday, a nurse said that the procedure was cancelled. We thought that he had looked at the schedule and saw that her name was scratched off for 8:00am and did not see that she was inserted at 7:00am. Then on Wednesday, I received a phone call that the procedure was rescheduled for the following Monday. Since my wife had discontinued her blood thinning medicine for three days by this point, she was concerned and called the clinic. They said that an emergency had come up.
A scheduled emergency is hard to fathom. A scheduled emergency days in advance is ludicrous. No one can schedule an emergency. There are oxymorons and then there are impossibilities.
To illustrate, I had a friend that was a volunteer score keeper for the Masters Golf Tournament. (There are people who physically change those iconic scoreboard signs that are scattered around the golf course.) After the tournament each year, the volunteers place a name card into a hat and a few get their cards drawn, allowing them to play one round of golf on the fabled course with the Sunday pin placement. After over 20 years of volunteering, my friend’s name was drawn. Most of his friends had played multiple times, but he had never had his name drawn from the hat until that year. Our mutual boss, about the same time of the drawing, announced an ukase. (Since our boss had delusions of grandeur, thinking himself something like the czar of Russia, we called his edicts “ukases.”) The ukase was that we had too many projects that were behind schedule (none were mine) and all vacation days, personal time, etc. was hereby cancelled. My friend did not take this well. We gathered in the hallway as he charged into the boss’ office. He said that he was playing his complementary round of golf. The boss said that he would have to cancel. He said, “I will take off one day of vacation, not a week, ONE DAY!” The boss did not even give him eye contact but said “Denied.” He said, “Then, I will be sick that day!” The boss said, “You cannot schedule sick days in advance. DENIED!” He said, “Then, you better get ready for a eulogy, because I will DIE that day!” He stormed out of the office. He did not die. He played golf. The boss did not think his ukase through. If we were behind on projects and shorthanded enough to cancel vacations, he could not justify firing my friend for missing one day of work. My friend became the group’s hero for standing up to the czar and surviving.
Prepared to see the doctor, my wife went to dialysis on Thursday, after officially hearing that there was a scheduled emergency. She was prepared to have some fun with the doctor. She did not have to wait long. The doctor walked up to her and asked if she was prepared for her procedure the next day. The fact that he did not know made it that much better.
For the following dialogue “W” for my wife, “D” for the doctor, and “N” for a nurse from another clinic that was filling in that day (thus, unafraid of getting fired).
D: Are you ready for the procedure tomorrow?
W: I was, but it was postponed until Monday because of an emergency.
D: It is Thursday. You cannot have an emergency tomorrow scheduled a day in advance.
W: Oh, the emergency was scheduled on Tuesday.
D: I have never heard of such a thing.
W: And why not? The clinic has three initials in huge letters on the sign at the entrance. I think that middle letter stands for your name. You are a partner. Your name is on the building, and your clinic schedules emergencies when they do not want to work on Fridays.
N: Sounds like an emergency round of golf.
With that being suggested, the entire room, all nurses and patients, started laughing. The doctor, a partner in the group, turned red and left the room, forgetting that he had other patients to see. My wife never learned what the “emergency” really was.
Since then, a nurse from a different clinic, who visited for a few days, suggested a different method and it seems to work a little better. There is hope. Of course, someone volunteering to donate a kidney would be the best solution. Then she would not have to have dialysis.
The reason why I had to “qualify” the story as maybe true, maybe not is that we will probably never know what parts of this tale are actually true. The conversation with my old boss is as accurate as I remember it. I have to take my wife’s word for her conversation with the doctor.
But God knows the truth.
I have heard many people say this, but it is easier to tell the truth. It is just too hard to keep track of the lies.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.