Last Wednesday/Thursday, I was down at the emergency room for nearly seven hours. I went to the emergency room for what I thought was something fairly minor. The only reason I'd been sent to the emergency room was because I called after 11:00 p.m. I didn't really think it was that big of a deal and it really wasn't in the end but...
Let me lay a bit of groundwork. I have cold-induced asthma. My asthma is such that I never even knew I had asthma until my son's pediatrician told me I had asthma. He had just informed me that the cold I thought my son (age 3) had was actually asthma. I scoffed at that. "No, he's just like me." I barked like Sparky the Seal (a Minnesota icon). My son's pediatrician gave me a cold stare. "Yes, I know. You're the one he inherited it from. Exactly how long do your colds last?" I mumbled something about October to May or so. "That's not a cold and you don't cough. You bark and wheeze. Make an appointment to see your doctor ASAP and tell her I said your son has cold-induced asthma and so do you."
Thus began my relationship with an inhaler. Wow! I thought I just got tired out easy. I didn't know I could be over a cold in a week or so! The barking stopped too. Best of all, I didn't have to use my inhaler unless I started coming down with a cold. A few days of using the inhaler and I'd snap right back from colds. It was amazing. We also replaced my chalkboards with whiteboards and my colds went down to a couple of days a year. My asthma isn't severe enough to be life-threatening. I just get in a vicious cycle of having a wheezy chronic bark. In fact, without the chalk dust irritant and Minnesota's tougher public smoking laws I haven't needed to use an inhaler in over a year until... Wednesday night.
Before I went to bed I felt an old familiar tightening in my lungs and a bit of a wheeze. I knew chemo is not kind to your mouth, nasal passages, etc. so I decided to call the Care Line. Since it was late, I had to go to the emergency room. My husband and I figured they'd listen to my lungs, put me on a nebulizer for a bit, give me an albuterol prescription and send me on my way. Wrong! That's what they would do for most people. I was now different.
Although I had no fever and my oxygen levels were still in the 90's (my breathing was just a bit labored and wheezy) no one wanted to take any chances with me. I had a bunch of blood tests. I was put on an IV to get my fluids up because one of my blood samples couldn't be from my port. Chemo drugs make it extremely difficult to draw blood from veins which is why a lot of chemo patients have a port put in. I kept having to remind people not to take my blood pressure or try to draw blood from my left arm. I was missing a couple of lymph nodes so no blood pressure or injections, IV's, etc from that arm ever again due to potential complications and infections.
A Christian nurse from the lab prayed with me because my veins had refused to cooperate. Prayer worked. An illusive vein rose up and she nabbed it. The nurse then added me to her prayer list. Something good came out of all of this! I was given an EKG and placed on a heart monitor. Everything was fine.
At 4:00 a.m. they decided to do a CT scan of my chest and lungs even though everything had come back okay. "We just want to make sure there aren't any blood clots." Blood clots? I was finally released a little before 6:30 a.m. with...a prescription for an albuterol inhaler.
Now, I really thought this was overkill. So did everyone else. If only they had just given me the prescription in the first place. I'd spent half the night wide awake. I needed my rest. I had to sit around with a bunch of sick kids who had the flu when my immunity was down. Grrr...grumble, grumble. They were making a big deal out of nothing!
That was the way I thought, until I talked with my oncologist's nurse. "I know it seems like they overreacted but they really didn't." She went on to inform me that chemo patients are at very high-risk for forming embolisms in the heart and lungs. We're also at a higher than normal risk for infections and the smallest most innocent seeming things can spin out of control very quickly. "If this would have happened during the day, your oncologist would have ordered the exact same treatment. We just will not take any chances with you. I know it seems strange when you feel okay but you're high-risk." I remembered a previous conversation I'd had just a few days before. "Keep track of your temperature. If it ever goes above 100.5 call us immediately. If it's after hours go to urgent care and if it is after 10:00 p.m. go to the emergency room...immediately."
Hmm...how does this apply to me as a Christian?
Although I am redeemed and a new creation in Christ Jesus, I still live in this world. As a member of the human race, I am susceptible to sin. In order to avoid sin, I have to take certain precautions just like you have to take certain precautions to avoid illness. First and foremost, I need to have a close relationship with God. If I'm spending my time listening and talking to God, I am much more likely to shut-out the suggestions and comments of the enemy.
I have to carefully guard my mind. Paul gives us some excellent guidelines [bible]Philippians 4:8[/bible] I need to study God's word both on my own as well as with other fellow believers. I need to ask God to open up my heart and mind to his word so I will receive what he wants to teach me. I also need to follow the examples of godly men and women who have learned from experience and heed their wisdom.[bible]Philippians 4:9[/bible] I need to remember that no matter how careful you are, little things can creep in unawares. I have to recognize that I am susceptible to sin therefore I have to constantly examine myself.
5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)It is my responsibility to take care of myself. Although God brings people into my life to minister to me and help me, it is still my responsibility to be proactive. I need to daily ask God to shine his light upon my heart and ask him to reveal things which are trying to gain a foothold in my heart. I must not trivialize anything. The enemy is usually does not attack Christians with the "big stuff". Usually, it just a little thought here, a bit of a compromise there which will eventually explode into a full-blown infection! While God can heal all of our "infections" we're much better off going to him in the very beginning!
May we all faithfully and daily take steps to keep ourselves spiritually healthy!
Great analogy! I am so glad everything was OK, even if ya had to lose a night of sleep being pricked and prodded! You are continually in my prayers and I admire your stength as you go through this. Blessings! Andrea
OK, take two! My comment went off to la la land! What an awesome analogy! We must be vigilant about the sin that creeps into our lives. I am so glad you are OK even if it meant you had to lose a night sleep being pricked and prodded! You are continually in my prayers and your strength throughout this is so very encouraging. May God's healing be upon your body. Much love, Andrea
Praise God for a Christian nurse and the POWER OF PRAYER! Woo hoo!
And thank you for continuing to share your struggles and victories with us so we can continue in the fight with you.
This is a great illustration of how we MUST be vigilant and alert at ALL times against the enemy and his wiles of sin, lest we be devoured.
I am SO thankful you are under great care of doctors, as well as the Great Physician.