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Thanksgiving was a delight at the Leap house, with some 30 people in attendance and eating themselves into a blessed coma.  As always, my wife Jan and the assorted contributing friends and family made it a wonderful day; the icing on the cake of the many things for which we’re thankful.

The next day I was traveling.  I had a work assignment in Craig, Colorado at Memorial Hospital. I’ve gone there since September and it is a wonderful place to work.  (Greetings to all my people in Craig!)  However, on the initial flight from Greenville, SC to Charlotte, NC, I developed this nagging, familiar pain in my left side.  Could it be?  Was it? Oh no…

It was, without doubt, a kidney stone.  As the plane taxied, and of course drove around what seemed like the entire airport, I was desperate to get off the plane, walk and (not to be indelicate) empty my bladder.  I finally deplaned and ran with great haste to the nearest restroom; but no luck.  (This is common in my kidney stone patients.  It’s called ‘hesitancy.’ I wasn’t hesitant to go, but my body was not willing.  Spirit willing, flesh weak, and all that.)

My flight would leave for Denver in an hour.  I had a decision to make.  Risk 2.5 hours of writhing in pain with nothing more than aspirin and all the vodka on the airplane, or cancel the whole shebang.  After soul searching, I went with plan B and called the very understanding folks at Vista Staffing (thanks Marc Gannon and Jordan Anderson!).  They concurred that it would be best not to take the chance, and then they scrambled to fill the slot in Craig.  (And thanks to you, unnamed doctor who worked for me!)

I found myself a taxi and ended up at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, as my bag flew on to Denver without me.  The care was excellent, expedient and professional.  I received a liter of normal saline and 15 mg of Toradol IV (yep, fellow docs, that’s all it took).  The pain vanished.  It might, of course, also have been related to the 8 baby aspirin I took in the airport; but who knows.  No CT scan, no ultrasound, only a little blood-work and urine.

My wife and our friend Terri then contacted Terri’s husband, my good friend Brian Williamson, who graciously drove from Greer, SC to Charlotte and took me first to his house, then to mine the next day.  Hats off to you, buddy.  You’re a life saver!

It was a frustrating day, but not without lessons.  You see, I had worried about that Colorado trip.  I was scheduled to land in Denver at 8pm and drive four hours to Craig, through the mountains. I was tired anyway.  Maybe God sent a little bit of kidney stone to keep me safe.  Maybe he sent it to remind me that my blood pressure has been high lately and I need to work on it (yes, there was pain…but it’s still too high and I need to lose weight and drink more water).  Or maybe, he sent it to remind me that ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley.’  (‘Go oft astray,’ thanks Robert Burns.’)

Certainly, it was to remind me of the value of friendship.  And to say ‘you’re not in control of everything, Dr. Leap.’

And possibly, it was so that I could have our first Advent devotion with my family, sitting before a lit candle in our living room, discussing faith and Christmas and a dozen other things.

Things change, plans change, God surprises us then rewards us and teaches us.

If I could go back to Thursday past, I’d say ‘Thank you God for my kidney stone and everything that surrounded it. Amen.’

Edwin ‘the stone’ Leap



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