I spent the day at the ER with my out-of-the-box middle kid yesterday. He's the one with the crazy high pain thresh hold, the one we have to watch closely when he finally says he hurts. Because a simple mosquito bite can turn into a staff infection but he's just scratching. This is not me. My pain tolerance is low, embarrassingly low. Like my first-born. But the first-born was home with dad, learning how to play Pretty Woman on the guitar, while I was in the ER with the one who loves scotch tape.
But it wasn't a mosquito bite this time, it was an ear infection that had gone on too long, but I had a sense that the infection had spread. The child with the ear ache said his whole head on the left side hurt terribly bad, and his heart was racing. I placed my hands upon him and felt the strangest rhythms pumping hard behind his rib cage. So I put him in the car and headed back to the doctor for the third time. Because of this sense - this sense that something was wrong.
And I prayed. I prayed hard that the doctor would have a sense that something was wrong too, and not merely say "give him another couple days on this antibiotic" if something really was happening on the inside of my boy's skin. I asked The Lord for crazy amounts of wisdom for the Doc as we pulled up to the medical clinic. It wasn't long and the doctor was looking at my child with the smiling face, who was coping so well with the pain. And I continued to pray, because I didn't want my that happy face to mask any problem.
Then the doctor turned to me and said, "I think the infection might be in the bone behind his left ear causing him all that pain, but it's not meningitis, he's just too active and articulate. But mastoiditis is serious enough that I'd like you to head straight to the ER downtown at the Children's Hospital and get a CAT scan. And so we did.
It was a long 7 hours that followed, as we waited, waited, waited together. Then they put in his IV and he got scared, but he did it and I was proud. And he wanted to know about everything they poked and prodded him with and asked if he could help with every needle, every button, every piece of medical tape. And I laughed, half-expecting to find a role of medical tape in his pocket on the other side of this.
The CAT scan machine made his body shake slightly. I imagine it was a strange mixture of fear, pain, and excitement, because he is a creative with a wild imagination and that machine was so Star Trek that he might have been hoping it would teleport him somewhere strange and exciting. So his body shook.
When the technician went to attach the line to the IV port my wide-eyed, shaking boy asked, "Can I do it?" And he did. Then when it was time to flush the line with a syringe, again he asked, "can I do it?" And she let him.
Turns out the infected ear was in fact dripping liquid down on that mastoid bone, causing problems. But we're home now with a new regime of antibiotics, and he's watching Saturday morning cartoons with his brothers and I'm about to make a stack of pancakes to ease all that ails.
But I just wanted to shout out another one of My Favorite Things... A Mother's Sixth Sense, otherwise known as The Holy Spirit.
God's Holy Spirit is nearer than hurried heart rates and deeper than infection, and I walked into the hospital knowing that God's own Spirit was living in the bones and blood and tissue of my boy. That nothing would escape Him, and that each of my child's days have been ordered and numbered. His Spirit leads and guides us through the world that is unseen, offering us this peace and perspective.
Such peace is found in faith.
So I worshiped this God we know and trust in the midst of the trembling unknowns... because He knows. And my peace that passed understanding yesterday was a light to my son. And so he grabbed hold of peace with me and I prayed, "Thank you, God, for leading us here to the Hospital today. We trust you, Lord." And my child said "Amen."