Daily Archives: March 8, 2010

Padre Steve Gets Adolf the Kidney Stone Removed: Musings on Laser Lithotripsy

Adolf Von Grosse Schmertzen will see his last sunrise in the morning, or whatever he can view from where he is at in the ureter.  Whatever, since he has stayed in his bunker and made my life miserable for the past two weeks he will not get to stay intact as a reward for leaving.  Instead he is going to get blasted to pieces by the latest and greatest in Kidney Stone breaker-upper technology, the Laser Lithotripsy using a holmium laser mounted in a endoscope.

This procedure is replacing the older method of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy as the standard of care in treating bastards like Adolf.  The older method was less invasive and used shock waves generated outside the body to break up the stone. The new method which according to the literature is “minimally invasive” involves passing the endoscope up the pee-pee thru the bladder and into the tunnel, the ureter, between the bladder and kidney where Adolf is dug into, sort of like his namesake who did the same in a Berlin Bunker back in 1945.  When the endoscope reaches Adolf the Urologist will direct a “laser” beam into Adolf “vaporizing the stone.”

Evidently there is no stone that has been able to withstand this high tech assault and the remnants of Adolf will be flushed into to sewer of history.  The success rate for this procedure is in the 90-95 percent rate according to the literature which means that for me there is a 50-50 chance of success though only a ten percent chance of that.  My assumption as to why this has replaced extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is that for the Urologist it is much more like imitating Luke Skywalker when he blasts the Death Star or playing the video game Asteroids.

Now I will go in tomorrow and be prepped for the procedure, I report at 815 and am told that it will be an hour or two until the procedure will begin.  Usually the preparation involves placing an IV, placing monitor equipment and asking lots of questions.  The one question I hope they ask if I have any special religious needs.  If they do I will ask if the have a live chicken, a sharp knife and an altar with candles and a shot of rum.  I am told that I will go under “General Anesthesia” which I imagine as being forced to watch a very boring Army General giving a briefing on power point to his subordinates.  Since I have slept through a few of those I image that this will be the case again.

Today I got a call from the Ambulatory Procedure Unit where I will be prepared for battle and then taken to the Operating Room, or the O.R. as medical professionals call it.  My Urologist says that the procedure could take up to three hours but that he expects that it will be done sooner than that. I do hope so because I need to wake up fast after the briefing of the boring General so that I can get home and then top off the day at Stein Club appreciation night at Gordon Biersch…yes, I know I’ve heard that you are not supposed to have alcohol after being under anesthesia but it won’t be like I will be having a beer in post-op, they don’t have any good beer there but I digress.

Today Adolf obviously sensing that his time is short has been giving me a lot of pain even with the Vicodin on board.  I cannot eat or drink anything after midnight so I’d better finish this so I can eat something to go with my last dose of Vicodin.  Providing nothing goes wrong I expect to be writing of my experiences tomorrow night, inshallah.

Of course my mind drifts to great medical films like Robin Cook’s Coma and certain episodes of House, M*A*S*H, Scrubs, the X-Files and the “Junior Mint” episode of Seinfeld which I find very comforting when facing surgery.

Pray for me a sinner,


Padre Steve+


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A War Crime Denier, an American Terrorist in Karachi, a Christian Bully and thoughts on Grace and Reconciliation on a Lenten Sunday

Molly Checking My Facts

Well sports fans I sit up with my little Papillion-Dachshund mix Molly musing tonight after watch a replay of a pre-season baseball game.  Today of course I have been dealing with the pain caused by Adolf my large and well dug in kidney stone who evidently will resist until the end and have to be blasted by a laser on Tuesday.  I didn’t sleep well last night and woke up in pain this morning and look to be doing the same tonight, hopefully the pain and sleep meds will kick in and I will get some sleep.  As I wait I shall write as Bucky Katt once said “you can wordify anything if you just verb it.” So tonight I shall spend some time with a war crime denier, an American traitor, an allegedly “Christian” political pundit and muse on grace and reconciliation, which are key themes in my Lenten journey this year.

So anyway….today was a weird day.  I had an irate Japanese “Rape of Nanking” denier comment on my article about that subject.  Sorry, the truth hurts war crimes and atrocities committed against civilians by any nation are immoral and to defend the indefensible or try to deflect criticism by referring to other nations that have done similar acts is simply being an accomplice to evil.  That goes for any nation including the United States and unfortunately our history is not always as pristine as some would make it out to be.

Moving on… there are conflicting reports that one of the great traitors in modern United States history, Adam Gadahn the chief spokesman for Al Qaeda was apprehended by Pakistani security forces in Karachi yesterday. A day after Gadahn urged Moslems in the US to emulate the Fort Hood terrorist Major Malik Hasan and attack high value targets in the United States Pakistani officials announced that he had been captured. However later reports that the Al Qaeda member captured may not be him after all.  This guy is a slime bag of the biggest order and I hope that if we didn’t get him this time that he will catch a Hellfire missile between his eyes so he can be the martyr that he urges others to be.  Lead by example Adam, its called leadership but then it is always easier to urge people that you don’t know or care about to do the dying for you.  Don’t worry someday you will get your 70 Virginians and they will kick your sorry ass for eternity.  If the Hellfire doesn’t get you Adam I hope that you get captured and sent to prison here in the US with the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN or the Terrible Blond Network) piped into your jail cell 24/7, an unending supply of Chick tracts and Gordon Klingenschmitt as your Chaplain, a fate worse than a fate worse than death.

While the aforementioned idiots are simply idiotic at least they don’t attempt to rationalize illegal or dishonorable activity by citing scripture and invoking Jesus like Townhall.com columnist Doug Giles did on Sunday.  Giles likes to fancy himself a defender of American and Christian values but is simply a bully whose imbecilic theological rants are about as Christian as those of Adam Gadahn, the American born Al Qaeda spokesman.  Giles prostitutes the Christian faith and wraps it around the flag so that the Gospel is indistinguishable from right wing politics.  The fact that he uses Jesus and says that Jesus would approve of such behavior is blasphemous and the fact that he has a degree from a seminary puts him on the same level as religious leaders of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard clerics in camouflage.  I do believe that Christians should not divorce their faith from politics and that faith can inform and guide a Christian in life and even in politics but Giles and his radicalized followers are dangerous and will be the death of the Evangelical church.  His justification of the use of methods including deception and violence that in times past would have been denounced by the church are simply heretical and not a part of the Christian faith, even if he can “proof text” by citing disjointed and unrelated scriptural texts and by drawing false analogies to justify or prove his point.  While he as a conservative pundit may well oppose and even rightly criticize his political opponents it is wrong to use God or Scripture to justify unseemly and dirty politics even if one is tackling equally unseemly opponents.  I think this is why so many theologians, pastors and church leaders throughout history going back the Apostles and early Church Fathers distained politics and felt that Christians and their faith could only be corrupted by involvement in political movements.  The actions and words of Giles and his fellow travelers may make them feel better but only undermine their witness as Christians as they prostitute the faith for short term political advantage.

Though I did not get to Church today because of not sleeping and being in pain I was able to celebrate Eucharist at home with the Abbess.  If you have read my Lenten meditations you might notice the theme of reconciliation.  Such was the case in the lectionary readings for today, the Gospel being the parable of the Prodigal Son out of Luke Chapter 15 and the New Testament lesson being 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21, the latter which has been a major part of my theological journey since my return from Iraq.  I post the passage below because it speaks volumes about the ontological change that should be part of the Christian life imparted in the waters of Baptism and how that change should be a major part of how we relate to others in the world.  I think it stands in stark contrast to those of any political party who use Scripture and the faith for political gain and power.

“17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,* not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (NRSV)

As Karl Barth said “Grace must find expression in life, otherwise it is not grace.” I dare say that Giles and other “Christian” radicals have forgotten the grace of God or somehow do not think that applies to their opponents.  In their zeal they misuse Scripture and justify hatred forgetting the great commandments to love God and love our neighbor and the witness of Christians who lived in truly evil times like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said Our enemies are those who harbor hostility against us, not those against whom we cherish hostility… As a Christian I am called to treat my enemy as a brother and to meet hostility with love. My behavior is thus determined not by the way others treat me, but by the treatment I receive from Jesus.”

And so to you my friends I wish you a good night.


Padre Steve+

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