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GROB: Kidney failure and prayer blankets

By James Grob,

I underestimated the power of a prayer blanket.

I spent most of the month of May in the hospital, I’m sorry to say. I was sick and got dehydrated and it caused my kidneys — which have always been two of my most reliable organs, along with my heart and lungs — to shut down and just stop working.

As you might suspect, this is not a good thing.

GROB: Kidney failure and prayer blankets
James Grob

But smart doctors knew how to treat me, and strong nurses worked hard, and after a stint in intensive care and a couple days of care that was not as intensive, I was better and so were my kidneys.

Then things got worse, which things sometimes tend to do.

The same smart doctors who made my kidneys better had instructed me to go back on a particular medication I had been taking before. I even questioned as to whether or not that was a good idea, and they seemed to think my inquiry was cute. What did I know? After all, they’d studied hard for several years to become doctors, and they’d just made me better, so of course they were right.

As I came to find out, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Someone on my medical team didn’t do his or her homework in regard to my medication. If he or she had, he or she would have quickly realized that a couple doses of that medication would literally wreck my kidneys, which weren’t yet strong enough to handle that medicine.

I took the medicine, as instructed, and sure enough, I became way more sick than I’d been before. My kidneys were angry. I might as well have eaten hemlock and washed it down with a cool glass of arsenic. I’d literally poisoned myself.

One doctor who hadn’t been advised as to the medication I was taking was even more angry than my kidneys. Had he been advised, he would have kept me off that medicine, he told me. But no one bothered to ask him.

I’m not a litigious person and have no intention of taking anyone to court over the matter. It was just a dumb mistake — one that almost cost me my life — which landed me in intensive care for a few more days and in the hospital for a couple more weeks. I’m home now, and although I am miles away from normal, I’m much better.

And this is where the aforementioned prayer blanket comes in.

While enjoying my stay at the hospital, I received a visit from one of my church pastors, who brought me a beautiful blanket. She said it was a “prayer blanket,” and some ladies at church wanted me to have it.

Now, I was raised a Christian and still attend church, but I’ve never put much stock into the power of prayer and the miracles of Christ. I’m not saying they didn’t happen, I just think maybe Jesus knew some tricks, somehow had some advanced knowledge of science for the day, and so had a way of making it look like he was walking on water or curing lepers or casting out evil spirits.

Now, before you get mad at me and scream that I’m a blasphemer or some such thing, let me tell you that to me, the most important thing about Jesus was his message and his philosophy — far more important than any miracle he may or may not have pulled off. Do unto others, welcome strangers as you would neighbors, be kind to everyone, help those in need, don’t pass judgment until you have honestly judged yourself.

Don’t be a hypocrite. Love one another above all. Be honest. Forgive others.

I’ve always tried to live my life that way, and although I often fail, my heart is more full and my mind is more clear because I endeavor to live by those simple rules, the way Jesus did.

So in my miserable state, I was still grateful for my silly little prayer blanket. It was warm and comfortable. Someone out there cared about me, and it’s a good feeling to know that.

And I covered myself in the blanket and prayed. I thought, what the heck, worst thing that could happen is it doesn’t work, and I’m in the same state as I was before.

I prayed that my pain and sickness would ease, that my misery would subside.

And as they sometimes say in the Bible, “Lo and behold.” It worked.

Maybe it was just the medicine kicking in and the good work of my nurses paying off, and maybe it was the psychology of it all, and maybe it was all a big coincidence. But the fact is, I started feeling better at that exact moment.

I’m home now, and I keep the prayer blanket by my favorite chair, and cover myself with it from time to time.

I realize that there’s a good chance that the blanket’s effectiveness is all in my mind. I realize that it probably really isn’t helping me.

But it’s a nice, warm blanket. And it certainly doesn’t hurt.

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