Once a month I travel to the great state of Michigan to receive IVIG (an infusion of donor antibodies to help a sister out) I see my hero/mentor/doctor/favorite person, get my infusion and then head on home. This month I was about midway through my infusion as well as my book when my daughter’s preschool called to say that she was running a temp of 102 and would need to be picked up immediately. I could hear her crying in the background. Did I mention I was in Michigan? Unable to rescue her? This shattered my mom heart. A dear friend came to her rescue until Dad could get there from work, but not before she started throwing up. I changed my flight from my phone while I was still mid-infusion. My baby girl just couldn’t do this without her Mommy. I had to be there.
I awoke the next morning to the sounds of whimpering from my feverish little one who promptly crawled into bed with me so I could snuggle all the yuckies away. It was mid-afternoon when I started to feel like maybe I had picked up some sort of brain-eating amoeba during my travels? But the infusions can cause headaches, even when you follow all of the instructions, so I attributed the sudden and overwhelming pain and fatigue to just that. By nightfall, it was ugly. I couldn’t keep anything down. The infusions dehydrate as a side effect so the number one instruction is always to “stay hydrated.”
By midnight, I was hoping that if I had an amoeba of some sort it would just hurry and finish the job. Seriously. I’ve been in a lot of pain over the last few years, but the headache was literally unbearable. As dawn broke, I knew it could be dangerous to let this continue on much longer. Husband called the doctor and the doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed.” Actually, he said for us to head to the ER. And the thought of having to ride in the car, or sit in the waiting room when I didn’t even have the strength to put a bra on or walk by myself was more than I could take in.
As we were driving the 2.5 miles from my house the local hospital, me with a bucket in my lap, just in case—I thought about a stories I’d read in “Half the Sky” and “Kisses from Katie” of women traveling 18 hours over dangerous terrain to get to a hospital to give birth, dying from complications before they ever arrived or delivering on sidewalks out in front of the “hospitals” because there were no delivery rooms available.
The hospital was merciful and efficient. My wait time was less than five minutes before I was back in a room, covered in warm blankets. Ten minutes in they were putting in an I.V. and telling me that they would get the pain and vomiting under control and then administer fluids. They turned the light off to keep me comfortable. My room was massive, clean and fully stocked. And I thought,” What would today look like if I didn’t live here, in America? What if I lived in that village in Uganda? Who would ease my suffering?”
Within minutes of the administration of my meds, I was no longer sick to my stomach and it was truly a gift from God. Relief would never cover what I felt. And while it’s taken a few days for the headache to subside, and it turns out that I had a virus (with a side of strep) and not an amoeba — the suffering was real.
Yesterday we took Avery to the pediatrician. She cried about the swab they crammed down her throat but perked up when we handed her some “good job” Skittles. She tested positive for Strep. After just one dose of her antibiotics, she woke up this morning without a fever. But I can’t stop thinking about the parents who don’t have access to healthcare, the ones who can’t go and get an antibiotic for their child. How do they end their children’s suffering? I keep asking the Lord how I help them. I know that their lives don’t matter any less to him than mine does.
How do we help them? I need to know.
How are you helping? Can you tell me? What ministries are you supporting? I know a few that a reputable, doing good work. I’ll list them below. Can we collaborate? Can we pray? Can we join together and do what the body of Christ is called to do?
People are suffering. I want to heed the call to help them.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Let’s do some awesome stuff for our King.