On December 31, 2008, my husband and I spent our anniversary in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of a children’s hospital in Minneapolis, Mn. The day before I had gone to the bigger city in the next county from our home to run errands and attend a meeting. I took our second daughter with me, a sweet 19 month old companion. While at my meeting she unexpectedly had a seizure. She had had small seizures before when sick, so I stayed calm and she was quickly ok.
Until she wasn’t. She had another seizure soon after and when it didn’t stop at three minutes we called 911. It hadn’t stopped by the time the paramedics arrived. Despite the increasingly large doses of medication the paramedics administered in the ambulance, it didn’t stop before we arrived at the hospital. The doctors were ready for us and gave her more medications until the seizure finally stopped after more then forty five minutes in hospital continually seizing.
Meanwhile I had called my husband to come and he called all the circuit pastors. They arrived soon after he and our older daughter did at the hospital. The circuit had a great level of support for each other, and it was evident right there in the emergency room.
At the time we lived rurally. The county we lived in didn’t have paramedics. It didn’t have a large hospital. God that day looked out for us and our quick access to medical care truly was in His hands.
The doctors performed blood work, a spinal tap, and a CT scan. Our tiny little girl remained unconscious and unresponsive through all of it. The doctors couldn’t find an infection but they did see “something” in her brain that wasn’t quite right. They made the decision to airlift her to the Twin Cities to a children’s hospital with pediatric neurologists.
In good weather it is only a 4 hour car trip. Northern Minnesota is not known for good weather in the end if December and there was a blizzard outside. You may not know this- I didn’t at the time- but parents are generally not able to ride on helicopter life flights. There isn’t room. You pack up your tiny beloved child and send them off and then have to slowly make the trek by car.
The weather was so bad helicopters were grounded. They were able to secure a small fixed wing plane out of Fargo to fly her to the hospital to take care of her and by God’s grace there was an extra seat for me on the plane. She was still unconscious but I was able to be with her. Before boarding the plane the circuit prayed for our little daughter. At the request of the doctors they went through the commendation of the dying. That morning she had been fine. Now we were preparing to have her die and desperately clinging to God’s promises to us. After a brief ambulance ride to the airport, my daughter and I were on our way to the children’s hospital. We didn’t know if she would be alive when we got there.
My husband drove through the night (and blizzard) and was able to drop our older daughter with relatives to meet us there. In the days that followed we came closer as a family then we had ever been before. We clung to God and His word, our daughter’s baptism and to Jesus and his grace. We sang hymns and held her close despite all of the cords and wires and tubes. We prayed.
It is a fearful thing to see your desperately loved child unable to breathe on their own, unmoving, and so broken. We learned that the ct scan at the small hospital didn’t show cancer after a MRI was clear. When she woke up finally she could no longer sit, stand, and could barely talk.
There is the temptation when things are seemingly hopeless to feel like God has abandoned you. “Thy will be done” is not soothing when you remember that God’s will is not always ours and see that unfolding in a disastrous way. But still His Word holds true in spite of all that your eyes, ears, reason, senses are telling you…
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Not a cliche, but the Word of the Lord. Not meant to make everything alright in this life, but meant to be believed by faith. The same God who does these things (allows or sends) is the one who is Jesus.
Today, my daughter is a delight and our precious child. Her medication helps maintain a mostly seizure-free life. She is a well adjusted little first grader learning at home. More than that she is God’s own child and I have faith that at the end of all things she will be healed by our Great Physician.