Appreciating Jehovah’s Protection
The following letter is from a teen-ager who respected God’s law regarding blood
For the first time I can say that I feel fine. I have just completed a period of six months under supervision of a kidney research team at this California hospital. Happily, as I review the experience, I can see that I was under the protective supervision of Jehovah.
During the first seven weeks I underwent a series of tests. These revealed that my right kidney was afflicted by a congenital defect—a stenosed artery. This turned out to be the main artery feeding the kidney. Normally as large as a pencil, in my case it was barely larger than a straight pin.
The Creator designed a marvelous mechanism within the kidney whereby the requisite volume of circulating blood for any particular situation is assured. A powerful hormone called renin is secreted by the kidney, and in just the right amounts either to stimulate or reduce the flow of blood. But it all takes place so smoothly that we are not even conscious of the adjustments. However, this mechanism can and does overfunction under certain circumstances. My right kidney, for example, was producing a phenomenal three times the normal amount of renin, raising my blood pressure as high as 200/160. Normal for me should be 120/70.
Medicine failed to reduce the pressure. In fact, it kept climbing and affected my eyes to such a degree that I had to get glasses. One of the drugs prescribed severely affected my memory. Another reduced me to a functionless state. I had to drop out of school. The functioning of my body had so accelerated that I slept a very deep sleep for sixteen hours each day, and in my waking hours I would often have violent headaches. Three or four times a day I would have a severe nosebleed. Exhaustion and high drug dosage kept me in a continual state of lethargy.
A DIFFICULT DECISION
Surgery was indicated as the most promising means of relief. The chief resident urologist offered a choice: He could repair the artery and save half the kidney by help of blood transfusions, or remove the kidney entirely without recourse to blood transfusion. Repair of the artery would involve a high degree of postsurgical hemorrhage. On the other hand, I could survive and do well on one healthy kidney. Removal of the kidney was my choice.
The day before surgery was due the chairman of the kidney transplant team came in and asked if I would agree to making the kidney I was relinquishing available to a young patient whose kidneys had failed. It appears that though the artery leading to my kidney was not functioning, the kidney itself was in good shape. The doctor was keen to have my kidney, but I explained to him that as one of Jehovah’s witnesses I must abide by what God’s law indicates in such a matter. I told him he would get a frank and thorough answer to his inquiry after we had had a family discussion of God’s Word on the issue.
Later that day we informed him of our Biblical position with respect to human flesh and its use and quoted the relevant passages of God’s Word. He asked if I could retain a good conscience after denying my kidney to his young patient. In reply I pointed out that my kidney was not mine to give, and must be used in harmony with the will of the One who created it. And he was compelled to admit that even with the kidney he could not guarantee the survival of his patient. I pointed out that future life through the promised resurrection for myself and his young patient depended upon our obedience to God’s principles as set out in the Holy Scriptures.
LEANING ON JEHOVAH
Next the anesthetist came to see me. At this hospital, I understand, the anesthetist wields considerable authority. He can order blood transfusion regardless of any agreement between patient and surgeon. He presented me with a paper to be signed. It contained a paragraph in which he stated that my religious convictions severely hampered his ability and, in his opinion, I was therefore a grave surgical risk. He asked to be released from all liability in the event of my death. The hour was late and I was without my parents’ guidance. In silent prayer I leaned on Jehovah to see me through the crisis. I signed his affidavit.
This man resented being placed lower than God, and permitted his emotions to interfere with proper routine service. While waiting outside the operating room I heard him persuading his colleagues to confront my surgeon. Again I went to Jehovah for his help. The surgeon then came upon the scene. What would he do? He emphatically refused to violate his agreement with me, declaring that it was no man’s position to criticize me or any other person over his sound religious conviction.
The anesthetist reluctantly agreed to go ahead. He was quite curt and rough with me as he readied me. He began fumbling on simple procedures. As his anger grew, his errors became more glaring. Finally, after seven serious mistakes in routine preparation, the supervising professor of anesthesiology stepped in and took over the job himself.
The success of the operation was dramatic. It turned out that within two minutes of the removal of the kidney the pressure began to drop until it settled to a normal level. I left the hospital, but had to return when it appeared that the pressure was again building up dangerously. After seven days I began to get better. Evidently it had been a postsurgical reaction due to my body’s having to adjust after having had such a high supply of renin. Now that it is all over with I have never felt so good in my life.
Since recovery, I have had to learn many things over again. It seems that for the past three years especially my memory was greatly impaired. But what a privilege to have normal functions back, and how happy I am that Jehovah protected me through such a trying experience! It is my hope that I can arrange my affairs so as to become a full-time preacher of God’s promised kingdom that will bring health and peace to those who put their trust in Jehovah.
With you, dear fellow Witness, lauding Jehovah,