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Saturday, December 27, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

Pastoral Medicine

Back around 1994 I began deputation ministry for my denomination in order to go to Chile as a church planter. As I began traveling (about 6000 miles per month) I began gaining weight. About this time my wife reported that my snoring had also increased. In short, I simply didn't feel well.

I went to my pastor for counseling. He said "Kevin, you look like you're gaining weight. And you look tired. How is your prayer life?" I told him that it "wasn't what it ought to be." He then told me how prayer would help me handle stress, blah blah blah.

Of course, being the dutiful drone, I bought it. But not a whole lot changed. I went to Chile, lost weight, and was able to take a siesta in the afternoon. During periods of heightened stress I would snore terribly, and my wife began to notice me gasping breath in my sleep.

I came to the states and took a stressful job as a therapist serving low income people. I gained back most of the weight I had previously lost. This time, I didn't go back to the pastor. . .I went to an MD. She referred me to a sleep specialist, who performed two sleep studies on me. The diagnosis was severe obstructive sleep apnea. I wake up about 30 times per hour at night, and always feel dead all day long, especially in the afternoon.

The doc prescribed a CPAP machine, and I slept with it for the first time last night. I woke up on my own after 8 hours of sleep (whereas I ususally awaken about 3-4 times fully per night). I have had energy all day long, and even after having a beer with lunch don't feel the need to nap. I even rode about 5 miles on the bike with my wife this AM.

So, the pastor told me to pray. He can't be faulted, he's not qualified. But isn't it funny how he didn't even think of a medical condition?

I wonder how many other people have fallen victim to this type of quackery. . . .

Kevin