I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1
Little did I know that following exploratory surgery, an additional four IV pumps and a ventilator would be added on New Year's Day.
While the nation was sleeping in and then watching football, we were watching our son breathe, grateful to God for every breath he took and for the machines that were helping him. In fact, God has been faithful to us every step of the way of our sudden, terrifying journey. The Bible relates several instances of memorials - places where God either provides or has His people construct something that, when seen, will remind us of His provision and His faithfulness to us. This is my memorial, my remembrance - so that I don't forget what God has done for us, how he provided for us and sustained us through this indescribably difficult time, but most of all so that God may be glorified.
Several things came together to make this experience "the perfect storm" - if there is such a thing.
1 - Many years ago we moved to an area blessed to have three research/teaching hospitals within 30 miles of our home. One of them has a stand-alone Emergency Room three miles from our house. We joined in with Joshua, saying "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
2 - My husband was not traveling, and in fact, was on a much needed & well deserved vacation. " 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.' " Mark 2:27
3 - A critical care ambulance was stationed at the local ER, ready to transport to the main hospital, the one with the PICU. Staffed w/paramedics, they were able to continue a desperately needed blood transfusion in the ambulance. This reminded me of Moses' words to Joshua: "The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8
4 - A PICU bed opened at the hospital nearest to our home just at the time our son needed it. "I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars… so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name" Isaiah 45:2-3
5 & 6 The attending physician in the PICU that night "happened to be" the Medical Director for the Children's Hospital. The surgeon-on-call was the Surgeon-in-Chief of Pediatric Surgery. Can it get any better? "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…to Him be the glory" Ephesians 3:20-21
7 - The faculty physicians, nursing staff, RT's, PT's and others were incredible - we believe our son had fantastic care! We never felt like our son was a number - he wasn't just "Room 9" to the faculty and staff - he was a real person. Every person who came in the room called him by name (even when they knew he was unable to respond to them) - that was amazing to me! Although I know they didn't know him personally and may have just glanced at a chart to get his name as they walked in, the fact that they cared enough to do that speaks volumes about them as professionals and as people. They were God's hands and feet in our lives. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no Evil, for You are with me; thy rod and staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4
8 - A dear friend who works at the hospital went the extra mile to make sure we were cared for and in the process made us feel very loved. John 13:35 - "By this all men will know you are My disciples if you have love for one another."
9 - We have medical insurance. "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:9
10 - Friends & neighbors took care of our pets, our mail and put together the newly delivered bookcases that were still in their boxes in the middle of our living room floor. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" Matthew 19:19
11 - Pastors and friends came to listen, to pray with us and even to provide some much needed moments of levity. Most of all they reminded us of God's presence and love for us. "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things" Romans 10:15
12 - A special friend agreed to graciously serve as our "administrative assistant" by keeping our local friends up to date on the situation so that they would know how to pray effectively. "But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." 1 Corinthians 12:18
13 - Worldwide, family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and even strangers stepped up and stood in the gap for us and prayed without ceasing. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16
14 - As mysteriously as the bleeding started, it stopped. He is our Jehovah-Rapha - Our Lord who heals. " Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name." Psalm 103:1
Today is the one month mark. Follow up testing was completed yesterday and my son was given a clean bill of health. While he was not able to determine why the bleeding occurred, the physician said that he did not see anything in the testing that would lead him to believe that it would ever happen again. He is free to go about doing all of the things that any teenage boy should be doing!
I'll close with one of the songs that has been going through my mind all month. It brought much peace to me and I hope it ministers to you as much as it does to me.