Monthly Archives: June 2011

The personal church of the individual

In the dramatic selection of Matthew, the hated tax-collector and Simon, the zealot, as disciples, Jesus demonstrates the weakness of those who pull out of churches because they don’t like certain people or the way things are done. In ordinary Jewish society Simon the zealot would have ‘hated Matthew’s guts’ to the point of wishing mischief and murder on Matthew. In choosing these two, Jesus demonstrated what Jeff Buchanan observed, “that you can only be a real Christian by being with people who are not like you.”


Posted by on 28 June, 2011 in Articles, Devotional


From treading water to dog-paddle

It’s been nearly three weeks since I blogged about the loss of 950ml of blood. I expected my haemoglobin to eventually drop to below 90 after 10 days as it usually does, at which stage I would receive the two units of blood top-up. None of that happened. My haemoglobin has been steady but not yet back to normal so I haven’t received my hoped for ‘fix’.

I was beginning to look to the IV blood drip as my saviour – even to the point of singing to the little pack of blood hanging above me that beautiful song,”You raise me up … to more than I can be”!

This time my body has accepted the struggle to produce new blood, along with its struggle against the metastases, etc. In that time I’ve also had to contend with a couple of small liver internal bleeds that are very painful (unlike the larger duodenum bleeds). In spite of these battles that have meant nearly three weeks of ‘one day up; one day flat’, I feel as if I’ve finally moved from treading water to making forward progress, even if it is only dog-paddle.


Posted by on 26 June, 2011 in Medical, Personal


The old body is not giving up yet!

After losing 950ml blood between Friday lunch time and Saturday morning, I expected to be lining up for a blood transfusion this week as has been the case every other time this has happened. I was complaining that they didn’t pre-empt the expected further drop in my haemoglobin and give me the blood they had already cross-matched on Friday night at the Nelson Hospital. Instead I had to have follow-up blood tests on Saturday morning and again this morning (Tuesday).

Yesterday was one of the worst days I’ve had for a long time. No energy, lethargic and feelings of nausea. Today I have felt a good deal better and it appears the body has again responded well. My blood count dropped to 99 on Friday night, was up to 102 on Saturday morning and was 103 this morning. They will not transfuse unless the count drops to below 90. Here’s hoping the upward trend continues and my energy is renewed every morning, as the prophet Isaiah said.

Yesterday may have been complicated by the fact that I had 2 cups of coffee during the day and I’ve recently discovered that coffee (whether ordinary or decaffinated) actually closes the liver down for an extended period and it is not able to process bile! (See also: Caffeine blues)With my liver under some stress, perhaps that had something to do with the feelings of nausea.

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Posted by on 7 June, 2011 in Medical, Personal


A great bunch of teenagers

I was really impressed by the campers at The Crossing, in Geraldine last week. Seventeen homeschoolers between 14 & 17 yrs of age gathered from as far away as Cambridge in the North Island to Dunedin in the South. It was all the accommodation could hold and there were 2 other speakers besides me. I had 6 lectures on ‘Developing a Biblical Worldview’ and the interaction was great. The young people were courteous to this old bloke and not afraid to put forward their views on a wide variety of topics. I was particularly impressed at the way they sang – particularly the boys. Most boys I’ve encountered of that age are shy about singing too loud in worship but these ones did not hold back. They sang very enthusiastically and they all showed great talent on ‘talent night’. I was so blessed to be part of their scene for those few days.

Some of the campers at Jumpstart 2011

The campers were an enthusiastic group in all they did

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Posted by on 7 June, 2011 in Devotional, Family, Personal


Same story; same routine; same old run-around!

I arrived home on Friday night from Geraldine after a wonderful time with the 14 – 17 yr old campers.

Unfortunately, I noticed just before I left the Bible College at mid-day, that I had started bleeding again from the duodenal tissue damage. By the time I got to Christchurch airport I had lost 250ml. By the time I arrived in Nelson at 6.30pm I had lost a further 300ml. I have always been instructed that when this happens I should take myself off the the Emergency Dept at the hospital. I had a feeling that the routine would be the same as usual so first phoned the after-hours duty doctor (these things always seem to happen on Friday nights and over long weekends). The duty doctor advised against seeing me saying that she would refer me straight away to the hospital, so save my money, bypass her and go direct to A & E.

I was admitted to A & E and a full blood test was done. My haemoglobin had dropped from 109 to 99. They had cross-matched 2 units of blood but did not want to give them to me that night because my count was not low enough. I was sent home and told to report back on Saturday morning for a review and new blood count. When I got home at about 10.30pm I had lost a further 150ml making a total of 700ml. I reported back this morning, had a new test and the haemoglobin was holding steady. The doctors admitted that it will probably fall by the end of the weekend and that I will probably need a blood transfusion later next week. The house-surgeon even agreed that it was logical that as I’d lost more than 2 units, a 2 unit top-up now might prevent a frustrating week combatting the side-effects of a falling blood count. Nevertheless I was sent me home after a wasted morning with a form for another blood test on Tuesday, after the Queens Birthday holiday.

It is the same pattern every time this happens. I think next time I will bypass A & E and just get a blood test a week after the next bleed. I know when I need a transfusion because the energy levels plunge and I get headachey. I cannot understand why, when they know this will happen, the Hospital cannot pre-empt things by giving me a couple of units as soon as I have lost them. Then again I’ve discovered that medical bureaucratic procedures don’t always factor in common sense.

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Posted by on 4 June, 2011 in Medical, Personal