Chapter 6 – A Journey Through Hell

[headline_arial_small_centered color=”#000000″]There Is No Bad Day[/headline_arial_small_centered]

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Peace Amidst the Rage[/headline_tahoma_small_left]
That evening Nan went out with the kids to a gathering with some friends and sent me this text:

2012-10-26 nan a

“Sometimes the Lord calms the storm.  Sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms the soul.”

The storm was certainly raging for us at this time.  But through it all, we were consistently blessed with peace and calm in our moments of greatest need.  I can tell you from experience that statement is true.  That reminder helped me that day.  I did feel at peace that day, despite the fact that nothing improved with my pain (I do have to give some credit to the burger though;).)

While she was out, some friends dropped by to visit and brought a heaping plate of heavenly brownies, cookies, marshmallow caramel delightful treats.  At home alone with no energy to stand up to get food, their timing couldn’t have been better.  I devoured three or four of the delicious baked goods, and thanked them profusely for coming by right at that moment.  I asked Paul to kindly fetch me a heaping glass of milk, and oh how I enjoyed that combo after a week of starving on chicken soup.


As my friends left and I fell asleep I felt relatively good about life.  A couple hours later I woke up, but no big deal, I had streamlined the nightly poo process.  During my hospital stay I graduated from sleeping in man-diapers to simply sleeping without pants on a ‘hospital pad’.   And now I didn’t even need to make the trek to the bathroom.  When I woke up I just followed the routine: Force myself to a squatting position over the pad, scream in agony as the burning diarrhea poured out on the pad, catch my breath for a few minutes kneeling over the bed, then some heavy duty wipes, roll it all up in the pad, and make the deposit in the garbage just outside the door.

I just had enough energy to walk the 5 feet to the door, and could barely pull open the sliding glass and close it again.  Then I’d fumble for a new pad from my stash by the bed, unfold it quickly, and roll in for another attempt at a couple of hours of sleep before the next episode would be sure to begin.

Even though the pain storm raged on, I somehow felt things would get better now.  I slept another two hours in peace.


[headline_tahoma_medium_centered color=”#000000″]Chapter 6 – A Journey Through Hell[/headline_tahoma_medium_centered]

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Explosions In The Night[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

At 3:15 AM on October 27 an intense burning in my penis suddenly jarred me from my dreams.  Immediately, shocked screams of agony filled the room.

“OW!   OW!!!  HELP!  HELP!!!”

But nobody could hear me.  My sound proof chamber of a living room with all the sliding doors closed fulfilled its duty perfectly.  But tonight that posed a problem!  Different than anything I had experienced prior, the sharp, stabbing pain filled my penis and shot down into my bladder.  It came on fast and was not letting up.  Unfamiliar pain is far scarier than the tried and true.

I screamed out “Help!  HELP!  NAN!” again in vain, realizing she couldn’t hear me.  Fortunately I always kept my phone right by my bed.  I grabbed it and frantically dialed 911.

As the operator picked up I did my best to be calm and answer the questions, but it was tough to even breathe, let alone get coherent words out.

“I NEED AN AMBULANCE!”  I panicked into the phone.

“What is your name?”

“Aaron Kennard”

“Can you tell me what’s wrong?”

“OW!  OW!  PLEASE HELP!”  I screamed into the phone.  “My penis is exploding! I have ulcerative colitis and something is exploding inside me!”

“What’s your address?”  I blurted my address then more screams and moaning to please send help quickly.

“Can you get to your front door?”  She asked.

“I DON’T KNOW!  I’LL TRY.  HELP!  PLEASE HELP!”  I shouted panicking.

“Try to make it to your front door and stay on the line, the ambulance is on its way.”

“OK”.  I said, as I slumped off the bed and crawled toward the door.

I managed to pull the sliding door open from my knees amid moans of “OW! OW! HELP!  HELP!!”  All I could think to do was keep yelling and begging for help.   Nan immediately woke up to my screams and rushed into the kitchen.  Horror painted her face as she saw my skeletal naked frame screaming in agony crawling across the floor.  Moments later a knock rapped on the door…it could have only been a few minutes from when I made the call.

“What happened?  What’s going on??” She demanded.  The front door swung open as freezing winter mountain air rushed in with four EMT’s.

“I DON’T KNOW!  I DON’T KNOW!” I shouted in loud monotone.


“What’s gonna blow?”  She asked.  “What’s wrong??”

“I DON’T KNOW!  MY GROIN!  I DON’T KNOW!”  Fiercely shivering now and still screaming, they loaded me onto a stretcher and asked for my name and birth date.  Explosive pain threatened to burst my penis to pieces.  They piled three blankets over me and I rolled out the door and into the waiting ambulance.  More questions as they strapped me into place:  “What’s your name?”  “Aaron Kennard!” I replied.  “What’s your date of birth?” they asked.  “Didn’t they already ask me that two times in the house?”  I wondered.  I told them again.  “They must be testing to see if I’m coherent.  Yes, I’m here!  And I’m exploding!!  Please help me!!”  My mind raced.

One EMT sprayed a pain drug into my nose.  No relief.  Then the ambulance flew down the road with sirens blaring.  “Please God, let me live!  I don’t want to die.  Please help me!!” were my thoughts.  From my mouth came “OW!! OW!  AM I GOING TO DIE?”

Nothing like any pain I had ever experienced, I had the distinct feeling death was imminent.  I didn’t fear dying for my own sake.  But thoughts of my wife and children’s well-being consumed me and I deeply yearned to stay alive for their sake, the thought of leaving Nan alone with our four little kids simply unbearable.  Overwhelmed, I could only keep asking, “AM I GOING TO DIE?  PLEASE HELP ME!”

In the living room at home, broken and dejected on her knees, Nan sobbed uncontrollably.  “Please Heavenly Father!  Please don’t let him die!  Please let him be OK!!!  PLEASE!!”

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Emergency Room Protocol[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

The explosive pain lasted about 90 excruciating minutes, finally easing off around 4:45.  Everyone at the ER seemed to be moving in slow motion.  They had given me an IV of liquids and my pain had slightly eased, but nobody knew what to do with me, as usual.  I told them of my diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis, but that didn’t line up with the penis pain and made no sense to them.  It didn’t make sense to me either, but clearly something was drastically wrong.

They wheeled me to the X-ray room to look at my genital area.  About 15 minutes later they informed me I should probably just go home because they couldn’t see anything wrong.

“WHAT?!?!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  NO!!!  I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE!  There is something wrong with me and I’m not leaving until you find out what it is.”  What’s with these ER doctors always trying to send me home!?!

I was furious.  I couldn’t believe they had the nerve to say I should just go home and wait it out.  “Wait what out?  Are you not hearing what I’m telling you?  I’m in agony here!  I’m in severe pain!  I can’t keep living with this kind of pain.  I need you to figure out what is wrong!”  How many times do I need to repeat this torturous ER Doc convincing process?  Seriously.

About that time, a new wave of pain began, welcoming back my moaning and screaming, this time, focused in my bladder, which suddenly felt like exploding!  The nurse came in and I frantically told her “I need a catheter!  My bladder is going to burst!”

“We can’t give you a catheter unless we know you really are full, we can’t risk infection otherwise.”


“Sorry, we have to do an ultrasound before we can give you a catheter.”


What seemed like 15 minutes later and was probably closer to 3 or 4, they came in with an ultrasound machine.

“Wow, you’re full alright”.

“HELLO!!! THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU!  ARE YOU DEAF OR SOMETHING?”  Is what I thought in my head…how infuriating to be writhing in pain and have people with straight, long faces, slowly going about their business following all the protocols to the letter.  I could hardly believe it.  In their defense it was 4:30 A.M. and they were just doing their best to help me within the regulations they had been given.  But when you’re in massive pain, it’s really easy to get frustrated and impatient.  I was not myself.  Fortunately they brought in the catheter, drained my bladder, and soon the intense explosive pain subsided.