The last few days have been very tough for me. I might say they were the lowest I have ever felt in life. Right after my son was released from hospital, my 5-month old baby also came down with pneumonia.
There is nothing more painful than seeing your children in agony—the feeling of helplessness, of aloneness, of wanting to make all the bad and hurt go away, but being powerless to do so.
So I put them in the doctor’s hands…but also, in God’s.
I clung to my faith so tightly in these last few days, when doing so was so hard to do. My husband is out of the country at the time and I had no choice but to send my son to stay with a good friend for two nights while I stayed by Alexandra’s side in ER. Our neighbor happens to be a nurse, and she assisted us, while her nephew drove us to the hospital. I’d also been able to contact our American doctor in Manila, the very trustworthy, no-nonsense Dr. Caroline Butler, to get some advice.
By the time she was put on the IV drip, she was already very dehydrated and losing color. It took so long to find her vein—more heart-wrenching minutes that seemed like hours. They tried both arms and both feet.
We were told there was no private room available, and I’d have to put her in the Pediatric ward with other children. Reluctantly, I signed the papers and paid the deposit (you can’t do anything in this country without putting cash down first!). But, stepping into the Pedia Ward, the stench was sickening. I nearly vomited. We wheeled her right back out, and at the last minute, a private room was available.
The doctor told us to expect at least a week recovery.
I cried and prayed and cried some more.
Fortunately, we have a very good nanny for the kids. My neck and back decided this was the perfect time to act up, and I suffered very acute pains for two days. She stayed with us, foregoing her Eid celebrations and holiday; she is an angel.
When I got to see my son for a few hours at the mall the next day, I felt I couldn’t leave him much longer. He was looking so frail, also just recovering from pneumonia. But I didn’t expect us to be out in less than three days.
Well, now I truly believe the darkest hour is just before dawn. The next day, when the doctor came to examine Alexandra, she was amazed. After just 48 hours, her condition had improved so much, that the doctor was willing to discharge us and let us continue oral antibiotic treatment at home. This was the miracle I had prayed for!
There is no better feeling than your children back home, safe and sound, and within arm’s reach. After all the exhaustion, the weak and helpless feeling, I know where my strength lies.
The ironic thing is, that at the start of this month, I had determined to write down one wonderful thing that happened, every day. I certainly didn’t keep track of every day, but this was the hardest month of all year. So, finding wonderful things throughout the days took a little more searching through all the rubble and trouble we were experiencing.
At the end of every day, the wonderful things were, in fact, the wonderful people put on our path:
- The nurse-neighbor who came to our rescue
- The two friends who helped me with Karsten
- The boy who drove us to the hospital
- The helpful doctor in Manila who refused payment for consultation fee
- The nurses and staff, many of whom were Living Asia Channel fans, who assisted us
- Our incredible nanny
- And many more…
I don’t take the days with my children for granted anymore…when they fall asleep at night, I love hearing their contented snoring. I know they are safe, close, and breathing. That’s enough for me.
That is a wonderful, wonderful feeling.
A poem begged to be written this morning…it has been at least a year since I’ve rhymed words.
Dare I write another chapter
With this shaky pen?
A thousand words escape my lips
I search for them
Dare I say unto tomorrow,
The stories there
Will be for a testament
That I must share?
Dare I walk this unknown pathway
Without a guide?
Seeing not what is beyond
Only what lies behind?
Dare I steadfastly find my footing
Through this rocky way?
When storm clouds gather overhead
Dare I even pray?
My heart has plummeted to depths unknown
My strength has faltered, feet have slipped
…I am alone.
But here, where all is battered,
What more to lose?
I have banked on man-made promises before
Now, FAITH I choose.
My spirit has been beaten down
But no—not destroyed
My courage finds, it’s not so small
It’s now employed
To fight, and then to conquer
All battles grim
I dare, never to surrender
I dare to WIN.
(13 August, 2013)