Monday, September 9, 2013

Miracles Still Happen

by Nell: September 5th, 2013

            Eva and I had an appointment at the hospital to ultrasound her liver and determine if the antibiotics that had been killing her infection had also been shrinking the mass on her liver, which had been approximately 2.5 inches in diameter.  They were hoping that at very least the mass was the same size, and optimistically thinking that perhaps it had shrunk some.  Her blood tests were coming back each week with good numbers in reference to the infection, but because of the peculiarity of her situation, they had no way of knowing how the mass would react.

           Trev gave Birdie a blessing Wednesday night and in it told her that she would be completely healed, and that this situation would serve to give her experience and empathy for others going through difficult trials.  When I heard those words my heart leapt, daring to hope the end was in sight.  But because our Father’s timeline and my own rarely coincide, I tried to secure my emotions and not expect too much the following day, knowing that yes she would get better, but it still may be a long road of recovery. 

           Driving to Provo that next morning took years.  I felt like I was moving in slow motion.  My heart thudded harder and harder as we drew nearer.  I thought of Elder Holland’s talk from last General Conference, and the words, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief,” became my silent mantra as I considered the many instances in other peoples’ lives where miraculous events had happened.  I know and believe that the hand of God was guiding and protecting them.  I just wasn’t sure if it was His will for the same to happen today, for Eva.  For one reason or another, trials and hardships have different durations, and perhaps we had more to learn.  Then I’d scold myself for my wavering faith, and would dare to hope that we would find our end today, throwing me back into the cycle that would start over again- doubting and hoping. 

            The radiology techs came and took us back to the exam room.  Eva clutched my arm tightly, holding fast with both hands, and walked slowly and deliberately.  It was only then that it occurred to me that perhaps her anxiety level not only matched, but also most likely exceeded my own. 

            They went about their work, clicking and measuring.  Everything looked like a black blob to me, so I had no way of knowing what they saw, or whether it was good or bad news.  Techs are not allowed to comment on what they see, and as I’ve recently learned, have very good poker faces.  After several minutes, one looked at the other and he said, “Well, I’ll go pull up the original scans, so we can compare.”  He left the room and came back with his supervisor.  The supervisor took over the clicking for the next several minutes, scrutinizing each image, twisting the wand in each of her ribs to get the best views possible.  By now we were up to about the 40-minute mark, much longer than I had anticipated.  When the supervisor got on the phone with the “expert”, who pulled up the ultrasound images on his end and two began to confer, my anxiety rose exponentially.  What on earth was taking so long?  You could tell the supervisor was trying to remain passive, but that it was becoming difficult.  Finally, he blurted out, “I can’t measure anything, because there’s nothing here to measure!”

           Like the release of a pressure valve, my shoulders slumped and my eyes filled with tears.  I blinked fast, trying to keep it together.  “It’s just like Daddy said,” I whispered to Eva.  The tech smiled at us and said, “Heavenly Father must be watching out for you, Eva.”

           We walked out into the sunshine, and I felt light as a feather.  Dr. Osguthorpe rejoiced with us at the news saying that he couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.  He took out her picc line and although we love and appreciate all that the doctors have done for us, said the 6 most magical words, “You are all done with doctors.”   

Bye Bye picc line!

            There is much that we have learned throughout this ordeal.  One lesson in particular was taught to me by the Child Life Specialist at Primary Children’s.  When people would ask how I was doing, I had gotten into the habit of saying I was fine because, “It could be much worse.”  It doesn’t take long being at the hospital to realize there are many who are in deeper trouble than you are, and it’s humbling.  When I answered her in this same way, the Child Life Specialist cut me off and said, “You can’t say that.  You can’t think that.  Minimizing your experiences because others are having different ones just makes it so that you don’t deal with your situation.”  I thought a lot about that.  I wasn’t fine, and haven’t been fine for a long time, but didn’t feel like I was allowed to say that because Eva’s life wasn’t currently hanging by a thread.  It’s okay to tell people you’re not okay.

           We received an enormous outpouring of love and support from our friends and family.  Some messages of hope and courage came from friends we haven’t talked to in years.  There were meals brought in, groceries bought, cards were decorated and delivered.  People came and visited, brought us non-cafeteria food, took beautiful keepsake pictures, and offered their kind words and prayers.  I didn’t worry once about my kids at home because care was being taken on that end too.  Through it all, the service that touched us the most was done without asking first—people just saw a need and filled it.  So much emotional energy is wrapped up in having a sick kid that I couldn’t even think of what to ask help for.  How deeply we appreciate those who found a way to help, if only by a sweet message on Facebook or by text. 

           Another powerful lesson we had reaffirmed is that even more than before, I know, and Eva knows, that our Heavenly Father is aware of and loves her.  We had so many tender mercies and moments where we knew that heaven was close, and that we were being watched over.  Eva’s faith grew throughout this event.  She would ask for blessings, and always thanked her Father in prayer when she was able to be brave, especially during the skin-ripping dressing changes that made her cry every week, and countless “big pokes” over which she had no control. 

          Paramount was the lesson that miracles still happen.  Sometimes when everything works out, we dismiss it away as coincidence or good fortune.  But without hesitating, I know Eva was healed, and I know it was a miracle.  How grateful I am for that knowledge.  
Stylin' Zombie Girl

Another stellar styled outfit

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