Monday, June 14, 2010

Sickroom reflections

The past few days have been doozies. Vomiting, fevers, little sleep. Poor Jonathan definitely got the worst of it. Not only could he not keep anything down, but he also had a high fever. Normally a dose of Tylenol would have fixed up the whole fever issue, but he couldn't even keep a dose of medicine down. So we had to resort to a more basic approach to nursing him: lukewarm baths and cool compresses. For hours I stayed by his side and bathed his feverish head.

The worst part of the illness, though, was not the fever, but the dehydration. Jonathan was so extremely thirsty, but he just couldn't keep anything down. We were giving him a mere teaspoon of Pedialyte at a time, hoping and praying that he wouldn't immediately vomit it back up, but having little success. He continued to get sick, over and over again.

Jonathan has always been a pretty tough kid, even as a baby. If he ever falls, gets bit by fire ants, or gets a cut or scratch, he rarely cries or complains. But, during this illness he was sobbing, uncontrollably at times, begging to be able to drink and quench his thirst.

"I'm so thirsty, Mommy! Can I please have just one big gulp. Please?!"

It broke my heart when I had to deny him such a basic want. No - not a want - a need. His body needed water, was desperate for water. Water would keep him hydrated, eliminate his thirst, help his body fight this horrible virus and probably help reduce his fever. Yet, I had to deny him. At that moment too much water would have been poison to his body, causing him to get sick once again and lose more water than he would have been able to consume.

"You must be patient, Jonathan. You have to wait and take it slowly. I know it hurts. I know you're thirsty. But, you must wait."

As I sat their caring for my very sick child, I was struck with a realization, one that I have to write about so I can remember it and recall it in times of future need.

How often do we cry out in prayer to God asking him for some basic need, not a "want" or a "like" but a real need, and God seems to say "no"?

"But, Lord," we argue, "I really need this. It's a good thing, basic to my survival, a true need. Why would you deny me? I need it. I need it now. Why must I wait?"

But, God knows all and knows what is truly best for us, what will, in the end, lead us to heaven. He denies us out of love for us. Just as I had to deny Jonathan a simple drink of water, God must, out of love for us, deny us things, even if by nature they are good and necessary. He can see pitfalls in our requests that we cannot. He possesses knowledge and wisdom that we do not. So, he denies us. And, I'm sure it is just as hard for him to say "no" at times to our requests as it was for me to deny Jonathan that refreshing drink of water.

Thankfully, after many hours, Jonathan was able to keep a teaspoon of water down, and then another. Finally, we risked giving him a dose of Tylenol. It stayed down! He was able to drink more, his fever broke and he was finally able to sleep. The next day he continued to improve until he was able to eat and drink again like a normal, healthy 8 year-old boy. I let him gulp all the water he wanted!

2010 06 13_6556_edited-1
Photo credit: Elizabeth

Our times of need are temporary as well, a mere season that will soon pass away. And as soon as the danger is gone, God will provide for us and, most likely, in an abundance that matches His great love for us.


Jill said...

What a beautiful reflection, Colleen. Just what I needed to hear.

Mellodee said...

Just in case you get another round of this kind of thing some day, don't forget about anti-vomiting medical suppositories. It's kind of scary to kids sometimes, but it keeps the medicine in them long enough to do some good. As for the thirst, two chips! Oh, and I remember my mom giving me a cold, damp wash cloth to suck on. It didn't take away the thirst completely, but it helped!