Last week, we were watching Dr House, MD, and one of the “cases” he had to solve reminded me of the time when my child was in hospital, just over 14 years ago. I wrote this article thirteen days later. It’s so weird that I stumbled across this piece just a few days after that episode on House. Which also reminds me of my previous blog entry, titled "Synchronism"... Maybe God just wanted to remind me of something, as I had learnt a few valuable lessons about Him as a Father figure… a parent. I hope you will benefit some by reading about that dreadful time in our lives…
My little girl became very sick on the day she turned five. She developed really bad tonsilitis, which poisoned her blood, which in return caused a bacterial infection, which caused Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome or SSSS (read here about this agonising condition, if you want to, but it’s not a pretty sight).
Initially, the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her and we had some horrific diagnoses before they decided on this one… And this was the first lesson I learnt. I prayed and begged God to have mercy on my little girl, and although she was in excruciating pain, I still believe He did, as it could have been SO much worse.
You’ll see, when you read about this illness, that it could, if not diagnosed quickly enough, even result in death. God had so much mercy, and I could see it in a lot of things: she didn’t have a fever (not even once, and the doctor kept waiting for the fever), she ate very well (better than at home) despite her sore tonsils, and she drank a lot of fluids. She was taken to hospital on the day after she got sick, so she received the best care and the quickest response. The doctors were dedicated and did a lot of research and acted accordingly as soon as possible. This highlighted my second lesson, no matter what we go through, God will care for us.
My husband was so saddened and upset by what happened, that he prayed to God, and said: “Lord, let me become sick in her place…” and needless to say, we both were struck by this revelation: God is a father, He didn’t want his children to suffer, so He sent his only Son to suffer in our place. For the first time ever, I realised how much God really loves us. I also felt like taking her place.
So many times during the long nights when she screamed in agony and frustration, I wanted to scream in agony and frustration for not being able to do anything to help her out of her misery and not being able to hold her in my arms, because I’d hurt her even more. God must have felt the same before Jesus came!
Throughout this long week I didn’t want to leave my daughter’s side. I stayed and waited there. I wanted to hold her hand, or put my arm around her, but I couldn’t, so I just sat as close as possible to her, especially during the times when she hurt most. God spoke to me in those moments, and He said, "Elaine, this is how I feel about my children. I am there with them all the time, especially when life hurts most." But, I am a mere human and had to go and shower now and again.
A lot of people prayed for little Kara, and for that I’ll be forever thankful. I believe those prayers carried a lot of the weight and lightened a lot of the pain. We had so much support and love throughout that time, I can never say thank you enough. God gave us people to be his hands and feet, to be the arms that can hold us and the voices to encourage us.
Some didn’t understand how serious this illness was, and others just wanted to know what was going on and asked for photos. At first, I said to the Lord I didn’t want to play on people’s emotions or shock them unnecessarily, but then the image of the cross with Jesus, battered and bloodied, came to mind, and God said, "Some don’t understand until they see it for themselves." Seeing is so powerful, and that’s why we are bombarded at times, especially around Easter, with images of Jesus on the cross. To see what He went through, so that we can understand it better.
What surprised me most, was the speed with which she became ill, and the speed with which she became healthy again. Exactly six days after she became ill, it turned, and she was laughing, playing and being her old cocky self again. Her skin (on the outside) was still dry and flaky and peeling like a snake’s, but the light was back in her eyes. She was without pain, and she was back again. Now, 13 days later, she’s still peeling off the little pieces of dry skin, because every inch of her body’s skin came off, like a nudist's that was in the sun for too long! But, that’s the process of salvation also, salvation is quick, but changing into the image of Christ takes time. Shedding all the old habits and ways take time. Her face is new and shiny, she is more beautiful to me now than ever before, and I thank God for it all.
Now, 14 years later, she can't even remember that ordeal. But we will never forget. I still cry when I talk about it, as it was the closest that I have ever come to losing my child. I understand God's heart better now... a million small lessons later... but I don't think anyone can ever really fathom the magnitude of his love. He showed me that He truly understands.