許多時候, 當你認為自己快要走出隧道時，另一個更長更暗的隧道卻就在你面前！ 但感謝上帝； 不管隧道有多長有多黑，作為基督徒，我們仍然可以肯定，隧道的盡頭不僅有光，還有“永遠不會離開我們，也不會拋棄我們”的上帝親自帶領我們穿過隧道！
[第 1 天 6 月 15 日星期三：長隧道前的平靜] 6月15日星期三，我去醫院做了TURP手術，以治療我前列腺腫大的問題。 手術本身進行得很順利，令我驚訝的是手術後沒有疼痛。 TURP 通常是門診手術，但醫生卻讓我選擇過夜以確保一切正常。 第二天早上我出院了，一切似乎都很順利。
[第 2 天 6 月 16 日星期四：第一條長隧道] 但是在我回到家後不久，前列腺開始流血，我又衝回了急診室。 然而，這一次，急診室很忙，等待醫生和護士的時間比我上次到急診室時要長。 它還開始了長達 15 小時的劇烈痙攣和流血的折磨，導致我不斷地痛苦地喊叫。
[第 3 天 6 月 17 日星期五：第一條隧道盡頭的亮光] 感謝上帝，午夜時分(12:30 am)救援終於到來：我的醫生做了緊急手術來止住我的前列腺出血 (這出血可能是由於他的“好意”行動，即在 TURP 手術後的第二天早上就取出我的導尿管。） 當我早上 5 點被推回病房時，我鬆了一口氣，出血的問題終於解決了！
[第二條隧道] 然而，我前面還有另一條隧道。 由於我的前列腺出血 15 小時，我的血壓已經低到危險的地步，經過了一整天的輸血後，最後在凌晨 1 點，我的血細胞數和血壓終於恢復到正常範圍內。
[第三條隧道] 然而還有一條更暗的隧道在等著我：就在我的血壓恢復正常後，我經歷了幾次胸痛和其他表明潛在心血管問題的症狀。 早在三月份，當我在土耳其的一個考古遺址爬山時，我也經歷過類似的胸痛。 醫生告訴我心臟問題不能輕忽，既然我已經在醫院了，是好機會徹底檢查。
[第 4-5 天 6 月 18-19 日 星期六-星期日： 大風暴前的平靜] 週末到了，醫院活動不多； 我第一次有機會在病床上休息，恢復體力，並慶祝父親節。 我的第三和第四個女兒來看我，我也被“升級”到了可以看到美麗窗戶的病床。
[第 6 天 6 月 20 日星期一] 星期一到了，帶來了新的繁忙日程的開始。 現在注意力轉移到我的心臟問題上。 早上我做了心臟超音波，下午做了 CT (電腦斷層掃描)，以確定我間歇性胸痛的原因。
下午晚些時候，心臟科醫生來宣布判決：好消息和不太好的消息。 “好消息”是我很幸運還活著。 “不太好消息”是一條非常重要的血管，LAD 動脈，被阻塞了 95%(所謂的寡婦製造者)，我被安排在第二天一早進行支架手術。 聽到這個消息我很震驚。 這不是我來醫院的目的！
然而，發生的一切都是有原因的。 醫生聽到我在土耳其經歷的胸痛，提醒他我可能有嚴重的心血管問題。 而我的胸痛，是因為我因前列腺手術並發症而住院時發生的。 我們的時間和生命都在上帝的手中！ 如果上帝還沒有叫我們回天家，那說明在地上祂還有工作要我們去完成！
[第 7 天 6 月 21 日星期二] 早上 7 點之前，我被推進了手術室，我是當天進行手術的第一位患者。我再次被醫院工作人員的專業和人性化的運作而驚嘆。雖然 TURP 和支架手術並不少見，但我的前列腺狀況受到支架手術所需的血液稀釋劑的影響。手術之後我很不舒服，現在也擔心我同時患有兩種“相互競爭”(ㄧ個需凝血, 另ㄧ個需稀釋血液)的疾病。
然而，在當天結束的時候，心臟科醫生來祝賀我成功完成了手術，並表示驚訝於上帝從三月份最初的胸痛開始，通過 TURP 手術和隨後的並發症讓我活著！
[第 8 天 6 月 22 日星期三] 由於所有主要手術現已完成，注意力轉移回我的前列腺以及如何因血液稀釋劑問題而恢復。
[第 9 天 6 月 23 日星期四：最後一條隧道] 最後我的泌尿科醫生決定移除導尿管並監測我的狀況。 這開始了我的情緒過山車。 我隨著尿液的顏色上下起伏。 如果尿清了，我就放心了。 如果尿液比泌尿科團隊可接受的更紅，我將開始對自己能夠很快出院失去信心。
[第 10 天 6 月 24 日星期五] 最後我的病情終於被認為可以出院，但由於我過去的“記錄”，我的醫生“升級”了我在醫院多住一晚。 我需要留下來進一步觀察。
[第 11 天 6 月 25 日星期六：終戰] 第二天早上5點，我再次被血尿和膀胱痙攣驚醒。 我的心沉了下去，我開始害怕我會回到原點。 我所能做的就是呼求上帝把我從坑里救出來。
感謝上帝 – 不久之後，我能夠排出剩餘的血液，並且令人驚訝地在一天的剩餘時間裡根本沒有出現任何血液。 尿液很清澈！ 下午，我終於出院了，可以回家了。
在醫院裡，我得知一個在台灣以前很照顧我父母的牧師突然因癌症去世了； 她和我同年。 此外，紐約的另一位我個人認識和尊重的牧師被診斷出患有白血病並開始化療。 事奉上帝並不能免除一個人不生病。
這是我第一次感覺到死亡離我如此之近，但我內心有一種強烈的平安，因為在上帝帶我回天家之前我已經吹“號“了。 生命中重要的不是我們活了多久； 不管我們現在多麼健康，總有一天我們還是會離開世界。 關鍵問題是：“當我離開這個世界時，我將如何面對上帝？”。 正如我的心臟科醫生對我說的：“上帝讓你活著，所以祂一定有工作讓你完成！” 很多次我與上帝爭戰，問祂為什麼給我這個任務，但現在我知道被選中是一種榮幸。
箴 言 3:25 忽然來的驚恐，你不要害怕；惡人遭毀滅，也不要恐懼，26 因為耶和華是你的倚靠，他必保護你的腳不陷入羅網。
Very often when you think you are almost out of the tunnel, yet another longer and darker tunnel is ahead of you! But thanks be to God; no matter how long and dark the tunnel, as believers we can still be sure that there is not only light at the end of the tunnel but God Himself who “will never leave us nor forsake us” to guide us through the tunnel!
[Day 1. 6/15 Wed. Calm before the big long tunnel] On Wednesday, June 15, I went to the hospital for a TURP procedure to take care of my enlarged prostate issue. The procedure itself went well and I was surprised that there was no pain after the procedure. TURP is usually an outpatient procedure, but the doctor gave me the option of staying overnight to make sure everything was ok. The next morning I was discharged and everything seemed to be going very smoothly.
[Day 2. 6/16 Thur. The first long tunnel] But shortly after I arrived home, bleeding started and I rushed to the ER again. This time, however, the ER was very busy and the wait to be seen by doctors and nurses was longer than it had been during my previous visit to the ER. It also kicked off a 15-hour ordeal of bleeding and painful spasms resulting in my constantly calling out in pain.
[Day 3. 6/17 Fri. Light at the end of the first tunnel] Thanks be to God that relief came at midnight: my doctor performed an emergency operation to stop the bleeding in my prostate which was probably caused by his “kind” action (“kind”, that is, in his sincerely good intention to have my catheter removed the morning after the TURP procedure). What a relief it was when I was wheeled back to my hospital room at 5 am with the bleeding no longer a problem!
[The second tunnel] There was, however, still another tunnel ahead of me to enter. Due to the bleeding in my prostate for 15 hours, my blood pressure had become dangerously low and was now a cause for concern. I was given one unit, then another, of blood, and finally after “a whole day’s work” at 1 am my blood counts and blood pressure came back to within a normal range.
[The third tunnel] Yet another darker tunnel was waiting for me: Just after my blood pressure went back to normal, I experienced a few incidences of chest pain and other symptoms indicating potential cardiovascular problems. Back in March I had had similar chest pains when I had climbed a hill at one archeological site in Turkiye. The doctor told me that heart issues definitely needed to be addressed, and since I was already in the hospital, it was a good opportunity to have a thorough heart examination.
[Day 4-5 6/18-19 Sat. – Sun. The calm before the BIG storm] The weekend arrived during which there was not much activity; I had an opportunity to rest and to regain some strength as well as to celebrate Father’s Day, for the first time from a hospital bed. My third and fourth daughters came to visit me and I was also “upgraded” to a bed with a beautiful window view.
[Day 6 6/20 Mon.] Monday arrived, bringing with it the start of a new busy schedule. Now the attention shifted to my heart problem. In the morning I had an echocardiogram and in the afternoon, a CT, to find the cause for my intermittent chest pains.
In the late afternoon the cardiologist came to announce the verdict: good news and not-so-good news. The “good news” was that I was fortunate to still be alive. The “not so good news” was that a very important blood vessel, the LAD artery (so-called “the Widowmaker”), was 95% blocked and I was scheduled to have stent surgery early the next morning. I was shocked to hear the news. This was not what I had come to the hospital for!
However, everything that happens does so for a reason. Hearing of the chest pain I had experienced in Turkey alerted the cardiologist to the possibility of my having a serious cardiovascular problem. And I was able to mention the chest pain because I was in the hospital as a result of complications from the prostate procedure. Our times and life are all in God’s hands! If God hasn’t yet called us home, it means that He still has work for us to finish on earth!
[Day 7 6/21 Tuesday] Before 7 am, I was wheeled into the Operating Room, the first patient of the day to be operated on by the cardiologist. Again I was inspired by how professional and personal the hospital staff were.
The TURP and stent procedures are not uncommon, but my prostate condition was negatively impacted by the blood thinner that I needed to take for the stent surgery. I was quite uncomfortable afterwards and also was now concerned that I had two “competing” illnesses at the same time.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the cardiologist came to congratulate me on having gone through a successful operation, expressing amazement that God had kept me alive since the initial chest pains in March, through the TURP procedure and the ensuing complications!
[Day 8 6/22 Wed.] As all major operations were now completed, attention shifted back to my prostate and how to recover, given the blood thinner issue.
[Day 9 6/23 Thur. The last tunnel] Finally my urologist decided to remove the catheter and to monitor my condition. This started a roller coaster of emotions in me; I went up and down with the color of my urine. If the urine was clear, I would feel at ease. If the urine was redder than acceptable to the urology team, I would begin to lose confidence in my being able to be discharged from the hospital soon.
[Day 10 6/24 Fri.] Finally my condition was deemed good enough for me to be discharged, but because of my past “record”, my doctor “upgraded” me to one extra night’s stay in the hospital. I would need to remain for further observation.
[Day 11 6/25 Sat. The final battle] The next morning at 5 am, I awoke to bloody urine and bladder spasms once again. My heart sank and I became afraid that I was going back to square one. All I could do was to cry out to God to save me from the pit.
Thankfully, after a short while, I was able to expel the rest of the blood and amazingly no more blood appeared for the rest of the day. The urine was clear! Late in the afternoon I was finally discharged and was able to return home.
[People to be thanked]
Words cannot express my gratitude to so many medical staff who cared for me at the hospital. Many are just in their early twenties, including some young mothers of toddlers, needing to work long hours yet caring for others’ physical needs with a joyful spirit.
I am humbled and grateful for countless numbers of brothers and sisters in Christ, relatives, and friends who prayed for me as I updated my condition daily through social media. I knew I was not alone in the hospital and that I was sustained by endless prayers.
I am thankful for my family. They were able to receive more “real-time” updates, so they experienced a rough ride emotionally. For my wife Linda, this was the fourth and fifth time accompanying me in the hospital. Every day she came, never having any complaints. Now back home, more than ever I depend on her to figure out which medicines I should take and when to visit doctors. Now I truly know what God meant when He said “It is not good for man to be alone”. I am truly blessed by God that I have Linda as my wife.
Just eight weeks ago I had contracted Bell’s Palsy which was supposed to take months to recover. However, an extremely kind brother from my church tirelessly provided acupuncture treatments for me. I was able to recover almost completely from the facial numbness before I entered this new storm.
I am especially thankful for Amy Sand‘s song You Still Love Me which was with me every night, especially when I was in pain. The lyrics which say “When it seems no end of darkness. I still believe You still love me, to give me strength, to give me hope. To see that light is not far away. ” kept me continuing on through the seemingly endless tunnels.
Most of all, I thank God for having given me this “second life”!
While in the hospital I received the sad news that a pastor who had cared for my parents in Taiwan had suddenly passed away due to cancer; she was the same age as I am. Also, another pastor in NY whom I know personally and highly respect was diagnosed with leukemia and is starting chemotherapy. To serve God does not exempt one from illnesses.
This was the very first time I had ever sensed death so close to me, yet I had a strong peace within because I have blown the “Trumpet” before God takes me home. What matters in life is not the length we live; no matter how healthy we are now, one day we will still leave the earth. The key question is: “Am I going to be able to face God when I leave this earth?” As my cardiologist said to me, “God has kept you alive, so He must have work for you to accomplish!” Many times I fought with God, asking why He had given me this task, but I know it is an honor to be chosen.
Thank you to all who have read to this point in my long article. I will end with the lyrics of one of my wife’s favorite songs, “Only One Life”:
Only one life,
So soon it will pass –
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one chance to do His will
So give to Jesus all your days
It’s the only life that pays
When you recall
You have but one life.
PS: I pray that this is the last hospital “episode” for the season. —
Proverbs 3:25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.