We had a little scare with Christin over the past few days. I'm so thankful to say that it looks like everything is healing fine, but here's what happened. . .
On Thursday night after supper I was playing the piano while the girls (as usual) danced around the living room before we started family devotions. Christin was playing on the couch and suddenly cried out in pain and froze, refusing to move. We had to pry her fingers off the cushions and calm her down to get a good look at her. But in checking her over, we didn't see anything obviously wrong, she could move her toes, knees, etc and nothing seemed broken. We massaged her legs a bit and she sat meekly and quietly until bedtime.
She slept fine but the next morning, upon trying to get out of bed, she collapsed. She got up again, but cried as she limped toward me. She was obviously in pain but I still couldn't tell where. We put her on our bed and carefully looked over all of her joints and muscles. Again, no obvious injury, no screaming in pain when we touched a certain area, nothing like that. We did some internet research and it seemed like a possible diagnosis was something called "toxic synovitis" which is basically (as I understand it) an infection that can settle in the hip. We had her walk 10 steps or so a few times to get a clearer picture of where she was hurting, and she was definitely favoring the left leg, unwilling to put any weight on it, and shuffling along while holding her hip and crying.
She was fine to sit and rest so we gave her some motrin and propped her up on the couch with a whole bunch of books and toys. She spent a quiet morning but I thought I'd better ask the opinion of an American doctor friend. I sent off an email about 11:30 and by 12:30 he had emailed back saying he thought we should get to a bigger city for further evaluation. Oh my. . .
The problem, he said, was that we didn't know what was causing her to limp, and there are some things that can cause it ranging from the "merely troublesome to the scary." So we needed to rule out the truly scary stuff before we would know what was wrong. He recommended we call another American doctor who practices in a nearby city and see if we could get in to see him. However, that doctor was about to go out of the office for the afternoon and was not available over the weekend, so he suggested getting a blood test, particularly something called a CRP which tests for inflammation (I think! not so great with all this medical stuff!) and x-ray done locally.
So off we went to the local hospital, ready to ask for all of those things. But, as can happen, the doctor who examined Christin did not want to order the xray. He had his reasons and wouldn't listen to mine. We did get the complete blood count done though no one knew what the CRP was. So, we didn't totally strike out!
Home again for a few minutes before we headed off to our weekly worship time with other foreigners. I was still concerned about Christin but was thankful to have some time together with friends too! But my mind kept thinking about what might still need to be done.
When we returned home we were in further contact with our American doctor friend. . . he said he really did want Christin to have that more thorough exam in the capital city, that it should happen sooner rather than later, and that I should fly if I needed to. By this point I was ready to do whatever was needed to travel immediately.
A flurry of preparations and not too much sleep later, I left my house, carrying 30lb Christin in the Ergo, at 6am on Saturday. I had no idea what to expect. I had packed enough clothes for 2-3 days in case she needed to be admitted to the hospital. I was reminded again how our times are in His hands. Our plans for our lives can so easily be completely and totally disrupted!
I arrived in the capital city about 8am and it took me a full half an hour to exit the airport, yikes. Whew, lots of walking carrying a heavy child plus a backpack and strolling a suitcase. . . eat your heart out, Jillian! I got my workout right there! But, I got in a taxi and was at the hospital by 9am, and without an appointment was seen by a doctor within a half hour. Amazing!
The doctor there was great. He was an American and asked lots of thoughtful questions and seemed to really care. He appreciated that I had all of Christin's recent medical records available and he agreed, there are some nasty things that it COULD be so it was definitely wise to check it out. First he ordered a blood test (including the CRP) and an x-ray, then said if we needed to he would do a more extensive blood test and possibly an MRI.
Poor Christin, she was really scared by the whole thing. She did NOT like the doctor touching her, she did NOT like sitting in his office, she seemed truly frightened and cried a lot during all of the tests. The x-ray was her least favorite; lying on the cold table which moved underneath her, she looked up at me with terrified eyes and said "I want go HOME, Mama, Mama, Mama, I just want you!" (Her favorite expression, somewhat ironic since usually when she says it I am already near or even holding her!) The implication is "I don't want any of this other stuff!" I just want you!
However, we made it through (me lugging around all that stuff, plus winter coats, hats, etc) and finally the results came back. Her blood test--normal. The x-ray--also normal. No sign of inflammation or infection, no red flags in any of the tests, the x-rays showed the tissue around the hip to also be healthy and normal. Praise the Lord!
The doctor's best guess was that she somehow strained or pulled her muscle in her hip, maybe jumping on the couch? Or maybe trying to "do ballet" like her older sisters? It's hard to say. But since the bone and the tissue around it were sound, and no sign of infection, all of the nasty possibilities were ruled out. Oh, what thankful relief I felt in that moment!
At this point it was 11am and I was totally done. I mean, done in terms of I had paid the bill and was free to go, and also DONE in terms of I wanted it all to be over. My flight home didn't leave until 7:40pm, and I even could have gone to hang out at a friend of some friends' house during the day, but at that point, I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to shop for imported stuff, I didn't want to eat lunch, even. . . I was just done. I strapped Christin back in the Ergo, loaded up my backpack, got back in a taxi and went directly back to the airport.
The Lord really showed his favor and mercy. . . in the next hour, I changed my ticket to a 1:55 flight, took Christin to the bathroom (no small feat, any of you who've traveled alone with children know!), was checked in and sitting down to eat lunch at Burger King. Can we all just shout an Amen?! I was so thankful. All went smoothly, including a tall Caramel Frappucino which went down quite nicely (ha!) and Christin and I found ourselves getting back on a plane about 1:30. We both zonked on the return flight, I slept in several uncomfortable positions and Christin was out the whole time as well.
If you can believe it, I was home again by 4pm. What a day! What a trip! I truly spent the majority of the day in transit, but I am so thankful for the good result. We are continuing to give Christin the motrin and only allowing her to walk when she initiates it, but today already she seems much better. She is only limping slightly and truly seems almost normal again. Kids bounce back fast, I guess! The doctor encouraged me to watch for any sign of infection or worsening of the symptoms, but so far so good.
So my prayer this morning during my time with the Lord was simply, "what would you have me learn from this experience, Lord?" And He brought several things to mind. For one, I was struck again by the paradox of modern medicine. On one hand doctors know so, so much more now than they ever have regarding the body, its ailments, and how to treat them. Great progress has been made! Medicines, drugs, machines that help diagnose and treat are all very complicated and specific. But on the other hand, we know so very, very little. Many times doctors have to say, "I'm sorry. There's nothing we can do." or "We just don't know how to treat this."
In my time this morning I was led to Psalm 139 which I always think of as the pro-life psalm. That probably sounds silly, but today I was struck anew by the first 6 verses or so which focus on the Lord's knowledge of us. He knows. . . He knows. There is nothing He does not know. He knows not only the complex workings of our bodies but the even more complex working of our hearts. I was fascinated yesterday to get a glimpse through the xray of Christin's bones in her pelvis and legs, feeling like though I'm her mother, I've never seen her bone structure before. Yet this simple glance is the tiniest fraction of what her Heavenly Father knows about her. How great is our God!
And, though thankfully Christin's problem seems to be resolving easily, yesterday I was comforted by the fact that He also knows our days, they are each numbered in His book. He has a plan for Christin which will not be thwarted. Her days are in His hands.
So, if I didn't learn anything else through this experience, I am entrusting myself and my family again into His hands. What a good and gracious God we serve. May we rest in Him tonight!