Anyone afflicted with Essential Tremors understands that too familiar feeling of helplessness that can overwhelm like a dark cloud of an approaching thunderstorm. It brings along with it, worry and thoughts of gloom and doom as we try to manage simple tasks the rest of the world takes for granted. Those feelings persuade us into believing we are nothing more than a medical condition; a disorder, a diagnosis without cure.
In the Christian faith, we are taught that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. It was through Christs’ suffering that we were made whole again and reunited in peace and union with God as he intended, but here on this earthly plane, we are broken vessels and must bear in the suffering of Christ so we can also share in His joy. That joy is oneness with Him and the ultimate happiness that we will be reborn with new bodies in the heavenly realm. It is easy to forget those promises when we hurt. God feels very far away and we wonder if our pain will ever end, or at least, be given a respite for some time. A chance to know something other than what we can’t do is a real pleasure, even if it is only for a short time.
As I have mentioned before in this blog, I live with my daughter and our little dog. Our fur baby is a blessing and licks away many tears when I feel my tremors getting the best of me. My daughter takes care of me and helps with most tasks I find impossible on most days, She cooks, helps me with laundry, reassures me when the tremors are bad. She drives me to my doctor appointments which is a huge blessing as our family physician is an hour away. I am truly grateful for her help. Sometimes, the tables are turned though, and last week was a true test of my faith and my ability to rely on him in troubled times.
My daughter suffers from migraines. And though many times she is able to cope with a mild attack, there have been some that have rendered her helpless and in such pain she cries, praying that relief will come. As she suffers with many allergies and asthma as well as a heart condition, she is unable to take many medications for her migraine attacks. We have been turned away at urgent care centers with the platitudes of “Hope you feel better. I’m sorry we can’t do anything for you.” Ice packs, Tylenol, and rest are her only comfort.
The times during major attacks, she vomits uncontrollably. And I mean, uncontrollably! She can’t keep down ginger ale. Soda crackers, Gatorade, dry toast are not the most palatable foods, but come most recommended for nausea. My daughter can’t keep down a Tylenol for vomiting it right back up. The pills for nausea prescribed by her doctor is not even immune. And when she had been vomiting for 24 hours last week, and the migraine raging still, I had no choice but to brace myself. She had to get to a doctor and I would have to drive her there!
This is no easy task. We live in a small town with one hospital that is renown for its ineptness. Not even local nurses will visit. My doctor’s nurse stated that if she were dying, she would rather be driven an hour away to a hospital in the city than let anyone at the local hospital near her. Our nearest option is a 35 minute drive on one of the busiest interstates on the east coast, (add to that, this was a Friday afternoon) and I was terrified. I never drive at night anymore and never on busy roads with heavy traffic. The section between our home and the doctor is notorious for fatal accidents, but my daughter was sick, and when our children are suffering we will not let anyone or anything stand in our way!
I got my daughter into our little car and sat down behind the wheel. I prayed with hands clasped at my chest, pinched my eyes closed and spoke out, “I can do this,” I repeated over and over. “I can do this.”
God is depicted in the Bible as a loving parent who looks over us. Maybe my mother bear protective nature is how God feels when I am hurt. He wants to take away my suffering, and he knows he can’t as long as I am in this crude, earthly shell. But no matter the obstacles, he is going to help me through the toughest part while I am here apart from him. When our children are growing inside of our bodies, we can control what happens to them, to a certain degree, but once they are born, we are separate, and that feeling of helplessness when they are hurt, sick, or in pain is more than we can bear.
My daughter is feeling better now. After a shot in her backside to ease the nausea, she was able to keep down her Tylenol and some crackers and cola. I got her back home and though exhausted, I feel like I climbed Mount Everest and back down again. When she had a hysterectomy 3 years ago, I had to take the wheel to and from UNC Hospital, a good hour and a half from home, but we made it. I was sweating, nervous and thanking God for his answer to my many pleas for safety and her recovery. Our dog, who normally likes to pounce on my daughter’s belly while she sits in a recliner, was gentle and happy to nestle down next to her avoiding her tender belly. Animals have that special sense and know when and where we hurt. Though she doesn’t particularly know what to make of the noises my daughter makes when her nausea flares up.
Today we are safe. I know there will be more battles in the future, but I know God will be there as he is for anyone who calls on him. Some days I doubt when the hurt is too much, but I will remember these moments when he has brought us through and remember he is also a parent; feeling the hurt and pain and wanting to take it away, just as I do for my own children when they are suffering.
What a blessing to know that whatever we encounter, God knows what we are feeling, and sends others in our path to share the journey, even on a busy interstate.