The first week of school started on Monday of this past week. I loved seeing my students and getting back into the routine of school. Wednesday afternoon, I began to feel a strange pain in my abdomen. Doubling over and holding on to my desk at times, I got through the attacks. As the week went on, these cramps continued to be intense and not at all what I wanted.
My daughters and I attended a Cultural Arts Expo in my town on Saturday morning, but even taking steps seemed to jar my abdomen and bring on more pain. After dealing with this type of pain again and again, I decided it was time to be checked out by the doctor. At the Urgent Care on Saturday afternoon, the PA (Physician’s Assistant) pressed on my abdomen which was incredibly tender causing more pain. She said, “Based on your symptoms, you need a CT scan and we can’t do it here. You’ll need to go to the ER.” This was the same PA who told me to go to the ER when I had blurry vision back in March. I was admitted to the hospital in March when it was discovered that I have diabetes. Going to the ER on a beautiful Saturday afternoon was not my plan, but I did as I was told.
The ER is an interesting place. Everyone who arrives, as I soon began to witness, is having a problem. As a matter of fact, everyone’s problems seemed pretty significant. I would feel my abdominal pain hit while I waited, would breathe through it and read my Facebook feed when I wasn’t hurting. My dear family joined me and we all just continued to wait. As I sat there freezing, I wondered how long it would take to be seen by a doctor. As I tried to distract myself with Facebook, a Bible verse appeared in FB. It was Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.” I kept repeating the verse in my mind. Whatever the doctor would discover, it would be okay, I thought. I decided to keep repeating the verse. The Holy Spirit held me as I held on to the truth of God’s Word. I determined that my body needed healing. God would find a way to fix this pain in my abdomen. I knew he would.
After waiting two hours in the ER, I was placed in a room, assessed by a PA and she ordered a CT scan of my abdomen. As I laid there and waited on the result, I kept Joshua 1:9 at the forefront of my mind. I told myself, “Be courageous. God is here.” Did I cry as I waited? Yes. I must admit, when you are lying on a hospital gurney, in a gown that opens in the back, getting poked for blood work and an IV port, your mind tends to get a bit overwhelmed with all that is happening. My husband and children comforted me with their hugs and words. I knew they were hungry so I told them to go out and get dinner. They left and I kept repeating the verse. I just knew that I was not alone even though no human was in my room. God’s abiding presence hovered and protected my mind.
The technician wheeled me to the CT scan room which was all white and sterile. Before long, I was back in my ER room. I started thinking about all that I needed to do. I wanted to be released from the ER and get home to be a wife and mom. The groceries needed to be purchased. The pictures needed developing so that my daughter would have pictures with which to decorate her Writer’s Notebook on Monday. The laundry was waiting to be folded. I pictured the dishes needing to be taken out of the dishwasher. In addition, I had been looking forward to Sunday morning when a special event would happen. One of our precious campers from our church summer camp was scheduled to be baptized. Our team of counselors had prayed with her in our cabin after cabin devotions on August 3. This child decided to follow Jesus and I had the privilege of witnessing this momentous occasion. I wanted to see her be baptized. I couldn’t be admitted to the hospital. I had to go home with a plan to make me better.
As I continued to view my FB feed as I laid there, another Scripture popped into view in FB. It was Job 5:9: “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” I had been repeating Joshua 1:9 and now I had another verse to repeat. I meditated on the truth that God can do anything. I prayed and asked Him to help the doctors figure out the problem in my abdomen. I needed an answer and treatment. I was so encouraged by the words that God’s doings cannot even be fathomed by me. “He has this in control”, I thought. Now, if I had not meditated on these two truths, I would’ve been overwhelmed by my situation there in the ER, but thankfully, God used FB to provide the truths that I needed to see. Hallelujah! I began to think of all the scenarios that could play out: hospital admission, exploratory surgery, intestinal perforation like had happened to a friend of mine. You know, you can really think of many possible explanations for pain, but ultimately, I decided that whatever the outcome, God knew about it and would help me through it.
Within 30 minutes of the CT scan, the door opened. I studied the PA’s eyes and her mouth. This was it. Would she tell me bad news, really bad news? Here it came: “You have the beginnings of diverticulitis. No perforations or abscesses in your intestines. Your pain is coming from the inflamation of your intestines with the diverticulitis. We’ll start you on antibiotics and will release you within the hour.” Oh, I was so relieved that it was “just” diverticulitis and no other complications. Hurray!
During the past decade, I have dealt with multiple bouts of diverticulitis. I wasn’t sure if this episode was diverticulitis or not, but knew that I had lived through some intense cramps. I know the antibiotics can bring on some unwelcomed symptoms for me, but in the end, the infection clears up. I was so thankful that I wasn’t admitted to the hospital. It was a relief to hear that this problem was fixable. My family returned from dinner thrilled that I’d be coming home with them. I left there with hope that with God’s help, I would come through this issue.
I am waiting on God to help me. The medicine has left me a bit sick to my stomach, but I am grateful that I am on the road to recovery. This morning, I got to witness the baptism. To God be the Glory for the great things that He has done! I also now have two Bible verses that gave me hope and courage during a very difficult time. I will continue to pray for God to provide His strength for me, to help me in my weakness and to prepare me for things that I cannot even fathom. God has given me time to practice relying on His strength. He told me to “Be strong and courageous.” With His help, I obeyed. Even through the tears and uncertainty, I trusted in His mighty power and in the mighty name of Jesus.