Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Letting Go of Lemons

I've sat down to write it a few different times.

But, every attempt at constructively crafting it takes me down a path of resentment and remorse, both of which derail my efforts.

On September 19, we went to the hospital. We knew Chaia was breathing over 90 times a minute and wasn't eating all that great.

We went back and forth. Is it just a bug? Are we first time parents over-reacting at something rather inconsequential?

Then we went. Something nagged at us to go. So we went.

And we entered the ER with this little bundle and went through registration and saw a triage doctor who did vitals, acknowledged the rapid breathing, but said all else was good and to go ahead and have a seat in the waiting room. She suggested it was probably just a little bug.

Three hours later. People had come in after us and been seen and left. We still sat. I checked at the desk. We were still on the list. I don't know if it was the "Over-reactive idiot parents" list or what list we were on. Regardless...we still sat.

Chaia wasn't in distress. She was still smiling, which now that we know a little more about her, it is clear she is a borderline masochist and probably wasn't telling us the whole story of her crisis. But she continued to breathe rapidly.

Knowing what we know now, it is frustrating to think that an ER doctor would shrug us off. I want to blame her. I want to villify that hospital for this gross oversight in care. She was starting a heart attack and you put us on a list?

That part of the story is called resentment.

We made a decision at hour 3 to pray and leave.

We walked out the doors of the hospital.

She actually seemed to rebound the next few days. Less rapid breathing and a little more eating. We chalked it up to over concerned parenting and continued with our time in Columbus.

Then she almost died. Then, 25% of her heart was irreparably damaged.

That part of the story is called remorse.

The resentment and remorse are almost crippling when we let them be. "They should have done that." "We should have done this."

They are almost crippling for you too. Blaming others for your circumstances, your hardship, your life. Being consumed by guilt over your own choices, sin and shortcomings. They cause your rearview mirror to get larger and your windshield to get smaller. Your past consumes your future.

Letting go of lemons is the hardest thing to do. Bitterness doesn't just wash off. It is a stain that needs deep cleansing.

But where I'm finding hope is in the Sovereignty and Goodness of God.

If we get into that hospital, there is a good chance Chaia dies without ever being diagnosed.

Instead the whirlwind of Orrville, lifeflight, Akron Childrens, transport, Cleveland Clinic took place. And a parade of teams of doctors that was easily over 50 at the Clinic jumped on Chaia's case in the first 24 hours...12 cardiologists (both adult and pediatric) looking at Chaia...still not finding a diagnosis until a geneticist who's specialty is rare genetic diseases crosses paths with Chaia. No doctor at the Clinic had ever seen GACI, but this geneticist had read about it and was insightful enough to look for calcium deposits in her other organs.

We ended up at the right place at the right time, and Chaia is still here...with a lot of unknowns...a lot of odds still stacked against her.

And our future kids have a fighting chance if they get this disease, as well.

So, God has infused his grace in ways we only barely have glimpsed.
I have found the story of redemption and hope that He has been working out in the Thompson clan.

It begins where the lemons end.


Anonymous said...

Ben - As a parent of two boys with asthma, I had difficulty reading this post. (Quite simply - I identified with the ER visits, the scared feeling as you wait to be seen, and the look of a little baby in a hospital gown.) I felt like your words were being pulled straight from this mom's mind and heart. God is faithful - and we'll be praying for your family.

Mama Karen said...

Still praying for the continuing work in your lives and in Chaia! Thank you for sharing so much of your heart with us. I find each post inspiring and thought provoking. Thank you for letting God use this time to minister to us too! Praying daily.

Shane Hardman said...

Thanks Ben for sharing this. I really needed to hear exactly what you had to say this morning. I struggle with the "what ifs" and really needed the encouragement.

You are in our prayers always.


Anonymous said...

You guys are great Parents! Who would have known Chaia's diagnosis...only God at one point and he took care of her!
Letting go of those lemons will bring hmmmm chocolates to all! God has lead you in the direction you have needed to go, keep following! As for the bra....he he.....that is only the beginning of "girly" things to come!! Hold on to your boot straps Ben and Shaina!! The ride will be wonderous! God Bless The Thompson Family!!

Amanda said...

I also needed to hear this, and thank you. John and I would have left that hospital too, if we had even bothered to take her there at all. I'll be praying for you guys, and myself, to not beat ourselves up over the decisions we make. He is sovereign and He will be glorified in all things.