Three nights ago, I had a terrifying experience. My son had complained of a migraine, so I decided to keep him home from church. My husband and daughters left for church, and I sent Noah to bed with an icepack for his pounding head. About fifteen minutes later, he stumbles into my room, gasping for breath and crying, “Mom, something’s wrong…I can’t breathe!” I looked up from my laptop and saw a terrible sight—my son, with his eyes swollen almost shut, his nose twice the size of normal, clutching his chest and panicking as he tried to draw a breath. I jumped up and raced to help him, praying silently in my soul for God to rescue us. I calmed him down, as his panic was making the asthma attack worse, grabbed his inhalers and a Benadryl pill and helped him get the medicine down a throat that was almost swollen shut. I quickly made a decision to get him in the car and race to the nearest ER after determining that the inhalers had eased his breathing enough to buy us the time to get to the hospital for help. We raced down the road, pushing the speed limit—I figured if I got pulled over, the policeman could help us get to the hospital faster. We arrived at the Emergency Room, walked in and when the triage desk took one look at my son, they immediately grabbed a wheelchair and took him to the back, in front of several other waiting patients. That, more than anything, scared me.
As the nurses got my son hooked up to a pulse oximeter (which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood), I could see that his oxygen levels were very low. He was now covered from head to toe in angry red hives, and his hands were swollen to the point of being unusable. A doctor came in almost immediately (another ER first for us!) and ordered an epinephrine shot and some prednisone to reduce the swelling. Within minutes of the shot, Noah’s breathing eased dramatically and he relaxed against the pillows.
The doctor, who was wonderful with Noah (the best we’ve ever had in an emergency room situation), believed that his reaction was probably due to something airborne, but was unable to determine what that might be. He decided to observe Noah for 2-3 hours before releasing us, to make sure he was stable. He warned me that when reactions come on this fast, it is very dangerous. He gave us a prescription for an Epi-pen (which delivers an emergency dose of epinephrine), so we can be prepared for next time. “Next time?!” my anxious heart silently cried, “I don’t ever want to experience this again!” We spent the next 3-1/2 hours waiting for his symptoms to subside so we could go home. Noah and I had some great conversations, watched a little TV, and I watched with relief as my boy’s hives faded and his swelling subsided. Inside, I prayed fervently to the God who made my little boy to protect him and to help us through this terrible ordeal.
I know that God was with us during those dark hours as I watched my son suffer. I felt His hand on me as I was able to calm Noah with soothing words and a calm demeanor, even though inside I was panicking, too. Both my husband and my son later commented on how unruffled I was throughout the whole ordeal…I know it was only because God provided what I needed to help save my son’s life. Noah and I also believe that God provided for us through Noah’s headache, as strange as that may sound. If he had felt well, and we had gone to church, I would not have had the tools to save his life. I was no longer carrying his inhalers with me, as his asthma had improved so much in recent years that it seemed unnecessary. I wouldn’t have had Benadryl, either, which helped to counteract the allergic reaction. Another provision that made the whole experience much more bearable is that from home, we were only about 7 minutes from our brand new hospital, with a terrific emergency room team. If we had been at church, we would have had to go to a different hospital, where we have had horrendous emergency room experiences. Looking back, it is so easy to see how we were held safely in God’s hands. Even though I was alone dealing with this crisis, I never felt alone, knowing that God was with us every step of the way.
Two days later, Noah and my husband were scheduled to go to the mountains for a father-son retreat. My heart was filled with fear at the thought of my son being outdoors, with all those possible allergens, and having another attack in a remote place without a hospital nearby. I did everything possible to ensure his safety—locating the nearest ambulance service, writing out detailed instructions for my husband for Noah’s medications, suggesting that my husband find the nearest landline in case his cell phone didn’t work, etc. Finally, though, I had to release control of the situation…it was out of my hands. I had to watch my husband and son drive away, knowing there was nothing I could do to protect him for the next couple of days.
Ultimately, it comes down to this…do I really believe that Noah belongs to God and is in His care? Am I willing to trust Him that whatever comes, He loves Noah best and has a perfect plan for his life? Why is it so hard to let go, and trust, and realize that I can’t keep him safe in this world? Sometimes I believe that God gave me Noah just to teach me these lessons in surrender. Those of you who know his whole life story know that God has saved this boy over and over again. He is a miracle many times over, and God has faithfully watched over this precious young man, working His will in Noah’s life. And I will rest in the peace that comes from knowing this: Noah is safe in God’s hands.
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