PostHeaderIcon 1. Events leading up to the ER

So in December of 2008 We moved back to Utah.  I work for a software company whose main focus is in Systems Integration, like Symantec’s Altiris, or Novell’s Zen Works.  When we moved there we spent the initial time living in my in-laws basement. LANDesk is a great company to work for, but in the beginning I started out as a contractor who had to handle my own benefits.  As a person with Crohn’s  I dealt with at least 5 major Health insurance carriers who would not cover me because of my “Pre-existing condition” .  I’m not a huge fan of the new Healthcare, but I do applaud the move to keep insurance companies from denying right to coverage based on a pre-existing condition.  ANY-HOO…


So short of it was I couldn’t get normal health insurance, mind you I could afford it, but no one would accept me.  I didn’t want my insurance coverage to lapse, otherwise I wouldn’t be covered for my Crohn’s on a group policy down the road.  So I ended up having to deal with a sub-insurance company.  I chose Selecthealth. They are one a few companies owned by larger insurance companies and they provide a specific purpose — They cover the uncoverable…. somewhat.  They have some limits such as…

  • They won’t cover medical expenses for pre-existing conditions
  • They only do terms of up to 6 months with a maximum of 2 terms every 24 months
  • If I come up with some condition during the first term, in the second term it is listed as a “Pre-existing condition”
  • All cost is payed up front.
  • Deductibles are high

So with those caveat’s they give you

  • Limited Health insurance
  • the ability to extend your insurance coverage until getting onto a group policy

So as much as I will always hate them, I’m glad they existed for me to keep my family covered.


I thought that my health was all right but as I got into the first few months of 2009 I started to lose weight again.  I had to take sick days and spent them curled up in a ball, near a bathroom, never knowing if I would have a sudden onset of severe diarrhea or vomiting.  My stomach was distended and bloated.  And I just sucked it up cause, I’m a man (or something) and  I didn’t want to be a medically financial burden on my family.  At the same time, I was trying to plan an 8th Anniversary trip for Kaylene and I to Portland Oregon where I served my mission for the LDS Church.  I had no idea how I was going to do this with my health in such painful decline.

My Father, Father-in-law, and my brothers/in-law got me through this period.  I would be in severe pain and I had men around me who tried their best to represent god, and they blessed me.  They offered me blessings of health and support during my pain, and I felt my burden eased.  To be clear, I FELT my burden lifted, my pain was fleeting, and I was amazed to see the difference in my body after I received blessings from them.  Mind you I was still troubled, I was still worried.  I still felt pain, but never to the extent that I could not do my job, or that I had to go to the hospital, or worry as much about “costs”.  I am privileged to have been blessed by them and it gives me a knowledge and a testimony in the power of the priesthood used righteously.  It also taught me lessons in the power of faith in my family, love for them, and the trust that they would have in me.

I was able to go on my anniversary trip and enjoy the whole time with my wonderful spouse.  I cherish that time we had in Oregon.  Thanks to my family for watching Michael, Aiden, and Joseph.


In July of 2009 LANDesk was finally able to hire me on as a full time employee.  My Selecthealth term had just run out and they were able to get me on the group policy before wasting any more money – 😉 . It was a sigh of relief for Kaylene and I and I hadn’t felt any major pain since before Oregon.  I dove into work and family.  Kaylene and I continued our search for a house to call home and we went on a number of trips with our Real Estate Agent.  I know that Kaylene poured over hundreds of homes and toured many homes, and yet nothing ever seemed to stick.  In September My tummy started getting bloated again and was a little uncomfortable.  At this point, I should have gone and seen a doctor about my tummy now that I was insured.  Hind sight being 20-20 and all that…


I woke up sick…  I really do think it was that simple.  I woke up and it was the middle of the night.  I just felt that swirl in my tummy.  I had been to the ER 2-3 weeks before and received a CAT scan.  The results of the scan were that my gut was intact, but there was some concern about getting me back into see a gastroenterologist.  I Called in sick and spent the next two days near a bathroom.  AGAIN, with the vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, and discomfort.  When ladies complain about cramping, I can understand what they mean (TMI FILTER NOT WORKING).  I spent those days either in the bathroom or laying down on the floor near the bathroom.  On the third day…. (sounds kinda biblical, heh) Kaylene took me in to see one of the doctors at our family practice.  He had looked over the scans and thought I should be on some pain medication and then see one of their Gastro doctors the following Tuesday.  This being a Friday, I wasn’t looking toward the weekend.

My wife knew that I was in trouble, but I just wanted to “deal with it”.  Kaylene had me taking some additional herbs with my medication, one of them being Cayenne.  Guess it’s good for the gut, but not for the taste buds.  I got home, laid down and continued the pained routine of the last few days.  Kaylene had an appointment with the Realtor to see some homes and went out with her.  Now for the the last three days she was asking what she could do or if I was ok, and I being a stupid bull headed man kept saying “Yes, hon, I’ll be ok.  I just have to get past this…”.  So she goes out and while she is out, I start throwing up again.  This time it comes up “Cayenne Pepper” brown.  It got to a point where I was thinking, “I didn’t have this much Cayenne pepper”.  I think it was then that I also realized it didn’t smell like Cayenne either.  (This is a huge feat now that I think of it since the Cayenne I had thrown up had stripped my nose and throat).  Kaylene got home,  and I wasn’t sure what was happening, she asked me again if I was ok and I said “I’m feeling better”.  Why did I say that, I don’t know, but I’ll admit that I WAS TOTALLY WRONG.  Bless my sweet wife she did the best she could and she and her mom were wise enough to realize that I was probably throwing up blood.  She put me in the car and she and Nathan (Brother-in-law)  raced me to the Hospital.

A FEW THINGS I’ve learned from this experience.

  1. Trust your wife’s instincts
  2. Don’t be a macho man – refer to #1
  3. Faith, Hope, and Love – and the greatest of these is love.
  4. I know the power of a priesthood blessing.
  5. Don’t fear the Doctor(AKA Reaper)
  6. Be humble enough to ask for help – again with the #1

Kaylene,  even though everyone is going to read this, I want you to know that I am sorry.  I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.  I’m sorry I put you through all of this.  I’m sorry I didn’t listen to your judgement.  I’m sorry you had to be that close to losing me.  I love you.  I am so glad YOU were there when I woke up.  I’m humbled that you forgive me my faults.  I love you, my sweetheart.

3 Responses to “1. Events leading up to the ER”

  • Mark Steele says:

    Thanks for writing this and the upcoming pieces. A window on your world, and much to be learned from your experiences. And well written to boot!

  • Kaylene says:

    You make me sound like a saint, thanks. Love you!

  • Peggy Steele says:

    This is AWESOME and humbling and SO glad Kaylene is a SAINT and saved your life along with the Rawlings family when Dad and I were in CALIF! SO glad you’re with us!

    Loving ya both!

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