As the mother of five children, three of them boys, I feel very lucky that my trips to the emergency room have been relatively few (relative, that is, to my mom buddies whose offspring were always shoving random objects up their noses or breaking their legs in three places in bizarre playground accidents.) Still, it’s always traumatic to pull up to that entrance next to the ambulances with a sick or injured little one in the back seat. Steve and I remained home with Peter last night when Sher and Yaj sped off to Abington Hospital with Aiden. He had been coughing for a couple of days, but suddenly he was barking like a seal and struggling to breathe. Textbook symptoms of croup, yet knowing how common this virus is in kids didn’t take any of the fear away.
While we waited for news, I thought back on ER experiences we have had over the years. There was the checkup at Dr. Lockman's office with six week old Julie that rapidly became a rushed trip to triage, then to admission for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Then when baby Sheridan was transported by ambulance to Beebe Hospital in Lewes with dehydration in the summer heat. Rose’s ruptured ovarian cyst, which necessitated emergency middle of the night surgery. A concussion here, a fractured arm there…now that I add them up, I guess we WERE rather frequent pacers, and non-readers of old magazines, in medical center waiting rooms.
The older I get, the more I worry about possible serious complications with any illness or procedure. I think maybe it’s because I HAVE been so fortunate up until now, and so many others with precious little ones have not. And why is that? I haven’t done any super-duper good deeds to earn me a reprieve, that’s for sure. Is it all just a spin of the Wheel of Fortune? In my Big Book of Questions for God when I arrive at the Pearly Gates, the suffering of children is at the top of the list.
I cannot believe in a God who causes bad things to happen. I struggle with a God who allows bad things to happen at all. But I can take comfort in a God who paces the cold, fluorescently-lit waiting rooms with us, and who also holds the innocents in His arms, soothing their fevered brows, whispering words of love. My God is right there, sleeping in detention centers with terrified refugee children, holding the hand of a tiny patient on an operating table, and God cries with them.
And in the emergency rooms of our lives, God is with the doctors and nurses who, sometimes, are able to work miracles.
Our Aiden came home very late, after a dose of steroids that tamed his dreadful cough. He slept, and today he seems better. As I hug my grandson, I try to give my worries and fears up to the God who understands, and who stands, with me through it all.