July 15, 2021
“Truman!” My husband gasped.
I turned around to see my young son sitting stunned. I realized he wasn’t conscious although his eyes were open. In a matter of a few seconds, he regained consciousness in pain. He had been teetering on a metal railing like a typical eleven-year-old boy just moments before. He reached to tousle the hair of his older sister. Also, a typical move of an annoying younger brother. It was in doing this he lost his balance and fell backward and whacked the back of his skull on the concrete below.
“Truman, are you okay?” I rushed to his side.
He nodded the color draining from his face. He was breathing heavily. He needed to use the bathroom. No wait, he needed to throw up. He didn’t know what he needed. He was seriously shaken.
“Just sit still Truman. We are getting some ice buddy.” My husband tried to calm him.
As I watched my son, I knew we needed a doctor. He wasn’t himself. He had a giant goose egg on the back of his head and he couldn’t shake the feeling of nausea. My mind raced.
Concussion. I thought.
We sat on the steps and applied a bag of ice as we tried to assess the situation. We were visiting near Ann Arbor, MI with friends and were headed back to our campsite that was two hours away.
“What should we do babe?” My husband questioned.
“We need to take him to urgent care,” I stated.
Fear was beginning to grip my esophagus. I could feel the terror edging its way around the back of my eyes. What I was seeing was triggering my fight or flight response.
“Go get the truck,” I said.
He ran down the street and I tried to keep a calm demeanor in front of my son.
“Hey buddy, you are going to be alright. We just need to make sure there isn’t any damage we cannot see.” I held the ice to the back of his head.
“You are going to be ok, okay?” I reassured him.
Truman nodded but looked unsure. He knew something was wrong. I found out later that everything had gone numb and he was doing a body protocol checking that each of his limbs was still functioning.
My husband pulled up in the truck and we ushered Truman into the backseat. I gave my friends a quick hug goodbye and then jumped in next to Tru. We arrived at Urgent Care a short nine minutes later but were promptly sent to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. We shuffled a bleary and deteriorating boy back into the truck and sped off to the children’s emergency room.
Because COVID-19 was still wreaking havoc I was the only parent allowed in the hospital with Truman. I quickly kissed my husband and walked him into the ER. I tried not to appear panicked as I filled out all the necessary paperwork. Thankfully the emergency room was virtually empty. In about fifteen minutes we were taken back to our room.
Truman’s eyes drooped with sleep and he continued to complain of nausea. The nurse did an initial intake and examined Truman. She felt around his head, neck, and back. She grabbed a blood pressure test and evaluated his strength in his hands and feet. Lastly, she tested whether or not his eyes dilated properly.
Once her exam was complete she told him he could rest.
“Is it okay for him to sleep?” I inquired.
I had always heard if someone suffered from a concussion you were meant to keep them awake at all costs. The nurse informed me that that was old research and that actually keeping a concussion patient awake can sometimes cause more harm than good.
“It’s fine if he sleeps. I’ll be right outside the door if you need anything. The doctor will be along shortly. Do you want a cup of tea or coffee?” she asked.
I shook my head. I couldn’t think of eating or drinking anything. All I could think was, “Is my son ok?”
Fear has a creative arm worse than reality. One of the facets of fear is that it extends its life well past the moment of trauma. The scary movie is never as scary as when you are replaying or rehearsing it in your mind.
Fear presented a series of possibilities, each one worse than the next.
He is bleeding internally.
His brain is swelling even though you cannot see it.
The longer it takes for the doctor to arrive the more likely he will have permanent lasting issues.
I could share a book of fear-mongering ideas I ruminated on, but you get the idea. It was at this moment that the doctor arrived.
“How are we doing?” he said cheerfully.
“I’ve had better days,” I replied.
He then roused Truman awake and asked him to sit up. He proceeded to do a similar examination. He was thorough and asked Truman several questions. He then had him turn his head from left to right.
Truman asked for a bucket. His nausea had spiked again. As Truman sat slumped over his bucket the doctor explained what his initial thoughts were.
“He definitely has a mild concussion. I don’t think it is more than this but I would like to…”
Truman heaved and began to vomit. I lunged toward him to hold the bucket and console him as he regurgitated his brunch.
“It’s ok, Tru. It’s alright. Let it all out. Poor boy.” the doctor coached.
After Truman was finished the doctor obtained a fresh bucket and then continued explaining his observations.
I interrupted, “You still think it’s MILD after that?”
“Oh yes. I don’t think it is anything more but I would like to keep him for observation for a bit.
We will need to see that he has stopped vomiting and is able to keep something down like a popsicle. Does that sound ok?”
I don’t know why doctors ask that. “No nothing sounds ok! I have no idea if that is a good idea or terrible. You are the expert so I’m trusting you,” I thought.
Being in the hospital, especially the emergency room is like being in hell for control freaks. This was where I was. At the mercy of a team of people to help my boy get better. I had no idea how mild or terrible my son’s concussion was or could become. Almost as soon as the doctor left the room my boy fell asleep.
I was left alone in a hospital room to wait. Waiting has a way of forcing a choice. You can worry or worship. While I was very much on the precipice of worrying for the foreseeable future I chose the latter. I put on soft worship music and began praising God right there in the emergency room. I praised God for His hand in my son’s life. I praised Him for the opportunity to pray over my son. I placed my hands on him and committed his healing to the hands of the Great Physician. As I worshipped, the atmosphere changed. Peace and faith were ushered into that hospital room.
It was at this moment I realized I had a greater mission while I was going to be visiting the emergency room. I was reminded of a little girl I witnessed brought in by ambulance when we were waiting to be admitted.
She was rolled in on a stretcher, and couldn’t have been more than six years old. Both her parents arrived with her. Mom was talking to the paramedics. I overheard them commenting about her improved symptoms that she was more awake than when they had arrived. Another part of the conversation and visible tests made me think this was a girl who had some kind of ongoing heart condition. Both parents were visibly weary but appeared to know the hospital routine.
The Lord was so merciful to me to show me that while I was concerned for the welfare of my own child there were others who were facing a potentially far more serious situation. They were in need of a miracle. I imagined all the parents who found themselves in the emergency room that day. One thing we all had in common was an anxious desire to see our children well.
This revelation helped me level up my worship. I might as well pray for us all. I beseeched the Holy Spirit to fill the children’s emergency room that day. The things I prayed for were healing, the diminishing of doubt, the rising of faith, and the overwhelming joy of seeing our children healed and whole. I prayed against doubt, fear, anxiety, and other emotions that extinguish faith. I prayed louder and I worshipped more. I got on my knees and stayed there until I heard the door open.
I’m pretty sure the nurse thought my son must have woken up. She caught me on my knees praying. She took his vitals as I remained anchored to the floor. All the rustling around caused my boy to open his eyes for a moment. He mentioned he felt much better after a little nap. I was still anxious to get out of there as quickly as possible and so I asked the nurse for a popsicle. Truman took one bite and then said he felt nauseated again. I tossed the treat and told him to rest.
Back to my knees. Back to the mission.
Pacing. Praying. Praising.
I was on an assignment from God. This filled me with peace even though I had no assurances that my son would not spend the night or longer at the hospital. The thoughts about how much this little adventure was going to cost tried to assault my thinking. As if the ideas of lasting complications to my son’s health weren’t enough. I realized that the enemy to our souls didn’t like the fact that I was there and instead of bowing to my fear I was battling in faith. He wanted to derail my mind and cause me to spiral down into despair. NOT TODAY!
I reminded him that God was well aware of where I was and what the costs would be. My Lord and my God will provide a way. (BTW – We did have health insurance…but still it’s $$$)
Again this was a chance to pray for provision for the other families who found themselves in the same situation as I was in that day. After a while, I settled into the chair next to my son and sat quietly. I entrusted my son and the other kiddos to the care of Jesus.
My son woke up about four hours later. I asked if he wanted anything to eat or drink? He requested a blue Gatorade. I hadn’t realized that I was hungry until I started walking toward the cafeteria. I perused the options and grabbed the Gatorade, a snack tray that included apples, cheese, and some candied pecans, and large water for myself. I headed back to Truman’s room and as soon as I arrived he proceeded to eat my entire snack.
He sipped through a straw and asked if I knew that the esophagus is one of the strongest muscles in the human body? I responded I didn’t know that. Then he proceeded to explain the process of peristalsis. For those of you who are like me and don’t have a clue what that is, it is the process of how the esophagus contracts and relaxes to move food down to the stomach. Evidently, this is such a strong thing that we can digest food even hanging upside down. You can imagine my relief, even amusement at this little dialogue. It was confirmation that my son’s brain was intact and working well. God has a beautiful way of telling us good news even when a scientific test doesn’t confirm!
He was still hungry and asked if there was anymore? I told him I would go and get him another treat once the nurse was able to see him.
The doctor came back in and did another evaluation of him. He said he was confident Truman was going to be ok. He did recommend seeing a concussion specialist within a week or so and to make sure he got plenty of rest. I knew Truman was going to be a-OK when he asked his last question.
“We are going to Hershey Park in a few days. I know I cannot ride any roller coasters, but can I still go to the chocolate world and make my own candy bar?” He pleaded.
“Yes of course buddy. Just don’t do anything that would jostle your head ok?” The doctor replied.
Truman nodded dutifully.
“Ok, well I’ll go get your discharge paperwork ready and you should be able to get out of here in a little bit.”
We were walking out to the car in the next hour. Truman slept most of the next 24 hours. I made him use a wheelchair when we visited Hershey Park. However, by the end of the day, he was begging us to race in it. He is a 100% fearless boy. I am positive about his full recovery.
This event reminded me of a few things about fear and how we can respond as believers in Christ.
Fear is a liar. It stirs our imaginations to accept the worst possible scenarios. Fear says we have no hope and no power. It tells us we are at the mercy of fate. Fear says give up.
Faith says there is hope even in helplessness. Faith says no matter the outcome God is still good. Faith says I can have peace in every situation. Faith says I’m on a mission. Faith says my way is not God’s way. The faith choice doesn’t make the circumstances easy, they make them purposeful. The human spirit can endure almost anything when there is a purpose behind the occasion.
Faith has the final say. According to the word of God we have the same authority to heal as Jesus himself.
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14 NIV
I didn’t heal my son, Jesus did. I may never know if any of the other children received healing that day. I do know God is faithful. I believe with my whole being that God’s word is true and when I asked for healing to be released in the name of Jesus it was done.
I realize that my momentary visit to the hospital pales in comparison to the marathon of those who face a more serious condition. I hope it will encourage you to face fear with faith. I pray that you will have the same sense of peace wherever you are today. I wonder if we couldn’t change the outcomes of our hospital’s recovery reports if we pray, praise, and petition Jesus every time we visit?
When we face fear we always have a choice. We can worry or worship. It’s not an easy choice to fight fear with faith but it is worth it. Worry adds little value to your life (Luke 12:25-26). Choosing to pray and worship when you face terrible circumstances shifts the atmosphere. It brings purpose to the pain. The next time fear grips you, try worship and prayer as a response to that liar. See if God won’t show up and bring you peace, hope, and purpose.
If you are facing a fear-filled situation and need prayer please reach out! I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment below or DM on my social channels.