A Bug and a Prayer
He said he didn’t feel good when he got up yesterday morning. But I – known by our littles as ‘Mama’ on the days and in the moments when they are pleased with me … and known as ‘MOM,’ which clearly stands for ‘Mean Old Mother,’ on the days and in the moments when they are not – I have told the littles since they were actually little that they only could stay home from school or church or extracurricular activities or family events or whatever if they are either (a) feverish above 100 degrees (b) actively throwing up. (Technically, I have a third criterion of their getting to stay home if they are actively bleeding, but I don’t want them to, uh, create their own reason to stay home; so I haven’t told them that one.)
No fever? No visible stomach issue? No staying home. Mean Old Mother – that would be me – made Brent pile into the car with the rest of us. Mariana and all the other third-graders were getting their third-grade Bibles during the service, and we weren’t going to miss that; it only happens once.
By the time we made it to the sanctuary an hour and a half later, Brent looked awful. But Mother of the Year was unmoved. He just has to make it until Mariana gets her Bible. He’ll survive, I thought.
Pretty immediately when the service started, Brent started begging to go.
“Mama, when can we leave?” He looked pitiful, and I ached for him. Focus on the third-grade Bible, I told myself.
“When Mariana gets her Bible.”
Thirty seconds passed.
“Mama, when can we leave? I really don’t feel good.”
“I know, Baby. We’ll leave when Mariana gets her Bible.”
And so it continued for thirty minutes until he sat up from resting fitfully on my lap, looked up at me with panic in his eyes and said, “Mama, I’m about to throw up.” Two people have never walked so quickly down the miles-long center aisle of our church. Only a dog giving birth there would have drawn more attention away from our new senior pastor who had just gotten into the meat of his fabulous sermon.
Sure enough, Brent wasn’t malingering, which meant two more walks down the center aisle: one to get my purse and keys and another to get back to Brent. Within two hours, Brent had gotten sick enough often enough that I knew we were headed to the ER.
That child is like flypaper to the ‘fly’ of stomach bugs. It’s unreal. And every time he gets one – by which I mean every time – we end up in the ER for IV fluids. My sweet cousin had brought Brian and the other kiddos home by then, and so I loaded Brent in the car and headed to our fabulous local ER.
On the way there – on what was just a seven-minute car ride – Brent grew so severely dehydrated that he was slurring his words and was no longer able to finish his sentences. We parked at the ER, and I carried him most of the way to the entrance. But he wanted to try walking the last bit of the way, and it was scary: he couldn’t walk in a straight line, and his gait was suddenly stiff-legged and jerky. A short time after that, his responses to me were disjointed and delusional.
The next couple of hours were a bit unnerving as the ER folks worked to restore Brent to normal. They were alarmed by his inability to walk right, and they didn’t much like how severely pale he had become. His speech issues concerned them. At one point based on everything they saw but especially the results from his lab work, they considered admitting him, so severely dehydrated was he; at another point he had a setback that had them considering some scans to rule out some bad possible explanations for his symptoms.
Brian, Mariana, and Blake had gone to my folks’ house to celebrate my brother Andy’s birthday, which is of course where Brent and I had planned to be then. Brian and I had been texting back and forth whenever I had an update to give him. My family had been following Brent’s progress through those texts, and one exchange stands out.
After Brent and I had spent several hours in the ER and he’d had a second bag of IV fluids and various other meds and finally thirty minutes’ sleep, I had the great joy of texting Brian: ‘He just walked and he looked great. No more dizziness. No more slurred speech.’
Brian’s response? “Praise God. Mariana called for a prayer right before you sent that email.”
Out of the mouths of babes.
Apparently at a certain moment at the dinner table during my brother’s birthday celebration, Mariana said, “Excuse me, everyone! We need to pray right now for my brother, that he would get better right away and that he would be able to go home tonight and sleep in his own bed and not have to spend the night in the hospital.”
Everyone immediately agreed, and my other brother, Scott, offered a prayer of all Mariana said.
As soon as Scott’s prayer was done, Brian’s phone dinged with my good news text.
How’s that for timing?
When I talked several hours later to my brother, Andy, he said the timing was eerie. In the good power-of-God sort of way.
To God be the glory, not only for Brent’s healing – he’s back to normal neurologically now that he’s been clinically rehydrated, and he’s regaining his strength and appetite from the stomach bug part of it all – but also for the reminder to all of those at the table last night (and everyone else who will become acquainted with this story) that our God is a God who hears our prayers and who wants His children – of all ages – to understand His power and the power of prayer.
May that be a huge encouragement to you and yours today and always. It sure is to me and mine.