I am hanging out in the pediatric wing of Baptist Memorial Hospital. I’m here with Allie, my 8 month old. She had a fever with a mean cough and runny nose for a couple of days. Then the cough turned into a wheezing, and it was clear she was having trouble catching her breath. So I took her to the pediatrician, pretty much expecting him to tell me it was just a bad cold. He didn’t.
After listening to her lungs, doing a complete blood count, and measuring oxygen levels before and after an Albuteral treatment, the doctor said she had bronchiolitis. Basically, the lining of her airways were swollen, making it harder for her to breathe. This was caused by a nasty cold virus called (RSV). The virus also caused her airways to become infected, resulting in pneumonia. She had a ton of mucus in her chest, and because she is so little, she doesn’t have the muscle power to cough that crud up. So her little swollen lungs filled with mucus.
Our pediatrician calmly told me to drive Allie directly to the hospital. Oddly, I never experienced any anxiety. I was not worried at all. Don’t get me wrong, I was concerned. I just wasn’t emotional about it. I felt like I was being sent on an adventure.
When we got to the ER, the receptionist pulled up the order from our pediatrician. As he read it, his eyes got big, and he said, “Oh, they are going to call her right back.” I thought, “Wow, he must think she’s in pretty bad shape,” but I never got overly excited about it. And when the ER doctor told us we were definitely being admitted, I didn’t panic. When I saw my baby wearing oxygen, an IV, a heart monitor, and an oxygen monitor, I wasn’t overwhelmed with sadness.
I began to wonder if my lack of worrying meant I was a bad parent. I began to worry because I wasn’t worried. I wasn’t the mom who was constantly crying and too worried to sleep. And part of me felt like I should’ve been that worked up. But then a friend reminded me of a discussion our Sunday School class had two weeks ago.
We were talking about joy and how God wants us to be joyful in all circumstances. Our class batted around possible definitions for joy and wondered how one could be joyful in the midst of terrible circumstances, like when your infant is hospitalized with a severe illness. We decided that joy is an inner peace and confidence in God’s goodness and His sovereignty, no matter what happens. One of my classmates wisely noted that we can’t imagine ourselves having the capability of being joyful when the worst is happening to us. It’s not until we are actually in the tragic situation that God, through His sufficient grace, offers us the ability to choose joy. Make no mistake, it’s a choice. God doesn’t force joy into our hearts. But He offers us the truth that He is both good and sovereign, completely in control of the situation. We can choose to believe God and be comforted, or we can choose to not believe God and be anxious.
Maybe my sense of peace throughout Allie’s hospitalization was because I trusted God with my child’s health. I’d like to think so. It’s either that, or I am emotionally deranged. You be the judge.