Tuesday, October 12, 2010

When God hides His face.

My son David has been sick for nearly a year.

He had the flu last December, December 2009. He did recover from that. Last Christmas was the last time he was healthy.

He went to a New Year's party with some friends, and caught something else. He was scheduled to have his wisdom teeth out on January 4, the thought being that he would have the entire month to recover before he had to go back to college where he is pursuing a saxophone performance major along with pre-med. He was sniffling on the way to the surgery. I said, "Maybe we'd better reschedule this." He said, "No, I need to get it over with." He was having pain from his wisdom teeth, so it couldn't be put off indefinitely. He hates to miss school. He hates to get behind in his coursework.

I have kicked myself so many times over this. If only I had been brave enough to tell the oral surgeon that we wanted the procedure done with only local, not general anesthetic, with no tube down DJ's throat, if only, if only, if only...

He got pneumonia. Among other things. He spent the rest of the winter on antibiotics and steroids and albuterol and various maintenance asthma medications. He coughed and coughed and coughed. We medicated him until he was reeling from the medications, and then we tried to pull back and use naturalistic approaches, and nothing worked. Nothing. He has inhaled and nebulized, swallowed pills and drunk liquid vitamins, he has sinus rinsed and nasal sprayed and rubbed essential oils into the soles of his feet. He cut out all sugar and white flour from his diet. He eats protein and vegetables and takes a lunch from home every day because he can't find wholesome enough food on campus. He exercises and usually goes to bed early.

One of his prescriptions was Pulmacort. The doctor thought it would do him more good than his Advair because it can be taken in the nebulizer, so she switched him over. Advair is $187 per month. The Pulmacort was $466. He took it for three or four days, and then broke out in a horrific rash which was probably an allergic reaction, so they discontinued the Pulmacort. Of course, it was not returnable. The rash, however, lasted for three and a half months. Right around the time we were struggling with the Pulmacort, he came down with Bell's Palsy.

Praise Jesus, he did recover from the Bell's Palsy, and he can play his saxophone again.

He didn't get a job this summer; there was too much upheaval in his health at the beginning, and by the time he was stabilized, the jobs were gone. He wanted to volunteer at the hospital, which he needs to do as a pre-med student, but he was still coughing too much, and we were unsure of whether his immunities were strong enough to hold up in a hospital environment.

One week before school started, he got a job through a temp agency, unloading boxes in a warehouse. After two days of it, he was coughing up strings of black stuff. We counseled him to quit the job. He went back to school still coughing.

Through all of this, he has pushed himself to exercise every day except when he is at his very sickest. He has maintained a perfect GPA in school. I honestly do not know how he does it.

Now he is sick again. Sunday night he was having trouble breathing, so he used his nebulizer with albuterol. It made him nauseated and it made his heart pound. He got the chills. He spent the night wrapped tightly in his comforter, feeling his heart race at 130 beats per minute, watching the clock go from 11:00 to 11:30 to 12:00 to 12:30 to 1:00 to 1:30... until he finally fell asleep at about 5:30. He got up at 7:30 and went to college with his sister.

He called home and said he was too nauseated to stay. I picked him up and brought him home. He said he had a feeling like the lump you get in your throat right before you cry, except it went from his throat all the way down into his chest. He had very little appetite. I made him tea and more tea, and bought him Mucinex, hoping it would loosen whatever was in his chest. He took a six hour nap and practiced the piano.

He coughed and coughed. He coughed up stuff that was bright orange. I worked on trying to get him in to see a doctor. Part of the problem is that he is between the pediatrician and finding an adult doctor. Part of the problem is that some of the doctors in the past seemed to hurt more than they helped. Part of the problem is that we have lousy insurance and no doctors want to take him as a new patient.

He came to me last night, his blue eyes pale with exhaustion in his flushed face, and he said, "How long can I take this? I'm tired of this. I've been coughing for almost a year now." It took him this long to express that to me. I have laid in bed so many nights, listening to him coughing and feeling as though I can't take it anymore. And then I feel so ashamed, because he is bearing the brunt of it. He is the one coughing, I only have to listen to it. And I have wondered how he keeps on.

I have prayed and prayed and prayed. I have enlisted friends and family to pray. We have called church leaders to come over and annoint him with oil and pray. I have laid my hands on him and wept and prayed. I have prayed through all hours of the night some nights.

I just want to know where God is. I am so tired. I am so worried. My heart is so heavy. I love my beautiful boy so very, very much, and I can't help him, and God doesn't seem to want to answer our prayers.

I look to scripture for comfort, and I come to passages like Isaiah 45:15, which says, "Truly You are a God who hides Himself, O God and Savior of Israel." This after reading all about His sovereign power. Where is the love? Where is the goodness? Where is the mercy?

God, where are You? Are you tenderhearted and merciful, or aren't You? Are You punishing us for something? I know I am wicked, and I know DJ has wicked tendencies sometimes, but weren't we forgiven in Christ? Don't You promise to work in us through the power of Your Holy Spirit? Are you going to purify us, or are You going to kill us?

God, we need You so badly. You are the only One who understands our bodies and our hearts. We need Your healing power and Your sustaining grace.

Please don't hide Your face from us. Please turn Your face towards us and show us Your goodness and Your lovingkindness.

We need the old priestly blessing from Numbers... "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)

God, you have promised never to leave us nor forsake us. Please show us that You are keeping Your promise. Please show us that You are faithful and loving.


Cal said...

My sympathy and prayers are with you and your son!

Hope T. said...

Oh my goodness, Ruth. I am so sorry; I can imagine as a mother how this tears your heart out :(
Since I am in a different state, I have no suggestion for a doctor but I sincerely hope that someone near you knows a physician who can really help.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much for your prayers. We went to Urgent Care tonight and experienced a miracle... we were seen and discharged and went to the 24/7 pharmacy a couple miles away for three prescriptions, and still got home in less than 2 hours, before 10 p.m. It wasn't a miraculous healing, but it was clear that God's hand was on us. Timing like that simply does not happen, apart from a gracious miracle. So although my son is still coughing up blood, we have medicine, we are getting to bed at a decent time, and I feel like God's face is actually turned towards us. Thank you, Jesus, and thank you to everyone who prayed for us.