Monday, September 28, 2009

What I Was Going To Write Today

This will be a brief post because there really is not much to tell. Nikolina came through the surgery just fine. It turned out that of the prolapsed intestine, the doctors only had to remove 2 cm.

The surprising main difficulty was finding an intensive care unit for her post-surgery. Because OEIS Complex is so rare and so complicated, none of the pediatric intensive care units felt comfortable taking her. That was a bit unnerving -- if nurses are afraid of her being too complicated to care for, what does that mean for us, her parents and grandparents? I suppose that the saying, "ignorance is bliss," is rather pertinent here. If one doesn't know enough to be afraid, then one ends up treating her just like any other baby--and enjoying her, leaving the harder stuff to God.

Nikolina did find a post-operative home. The NICU (newborn intensive care unit) is not supposed to re-admit babies who have been discharged (germs from the outside world and all that), but since no other unit would take her and the nurses in the NICU have two months of experience in taking care of her, there is where she is. God willing, she will be back home with her parents soon.

Thanks to those who have told me that you are praying for her! She is also back on the prayer list at our Old Mission Church.

Good night to all! I am looking forward to a positive update in the morning.


Following up on the post below about answers (and seeming non-answers) to prayer, I would like to share with you three interventions in my life, only one of which came as an answer to prayer. The other two seemed to be gifts given without request, and for those amazing and unexpected gifts I am highly grateful.

While I have read much literature on the topic, unexplained (miraculous?) healings become much more meaningful when they happen to you.

The first incident happened as I was driving to see my gynecologist for a determination of surgical date to remove my 27-year-old IUD, the last 10 years of which it had been so entangled in uterine tissue that no doctor had been willing to remove it because it would have required removing the uterine lining as well. However, now the decision had been made that it simply was time (about 22 years past time) to remove the thing, and the doctor I had found was considered the best of the best and able to handle such things. So, I was not really focused on the medical problem at all but thinking about life and work and children and other things in general as I drove through past open fields enroute to the doctor's office. Suddenly, a streak of blue light appeared out of nowhere, ran through the entire length of my body, and disappeared. I was startled but not enough so to drive off the road. I arrived at the doctor's office on time and had pretty much put the incident out of my mind as perhaps my imagination--except that it was too "real" to be imagination. The doctor did a quick check prior to hooking up a scanner that would help him determine just how complex an operation he was in for. He looked at me, startled, and said, "We don't need an operation. The IUD is exactly where it should be. I can just pull it out in two seconds," which he did. Clearly, the blue light was not my imagination since I have medical records of long discussions with four doctors in two states about the entanglement of the IUD in tissue and now I have a second entry in a record from from a very surprised doctor who found the IUD all of a sudden totally free of tissue.

The next incident I want to relate here was not documented by anyone other than by me, but that is enough for me. I was in a very rural area of Russia, hours from medical care, when I developed a urine infection. It became worse and worse over 4-5 days and on the fifth evening my bladder seemed to shut down. I collected a urine specimen because I knew doctors would need that, and it looked very infected. (Having had a UTI before that sent me to the emergency room, I knew the symptoms.) There was no option for local care, and regional care was not only hours away but would not be available in the middle of the night. I tried to fall asleep, but the pain was too severe for that. After two hours of tossing, turning, running to the bathroom in the hope that my bladder would start working again, and trying hard to ignore pain that kept increasing in intensity, I prayed for the strength to tolerate the pain until morning when I could seek help. Suddenly, I was not alone. A male figure in a brown robe and sandals was with me. He laid his large hands on my abdomen, and I felt warmth spread through my body. Nearly immediately I was asleep. I awoke a few hours later, totally refreshed, and in no pain. Even my bladder was working. I collected another urine sample--perfectly clear. Convinced that I must have been dreaming the infection, I double-checked the urine sample from the day before. It was clearly infected.

The third incident, like the first, is medically documented and occurred very recently. I had fallen and injured the rotator cuff of my right arm, an injury that, I am told, rarely fully heals and often requires surgery. The local clinic sent me to a specialist in the city. The city doctor took two more x-rays, confirmed the diagnosis, and set me up for an MRI the following week. Saturday I attended mass with my youngest son. I often feel God's presence at our mission church; many people do. However, this time, while kneeling, I felt His presence right beside me along with a brief touch on my right shoulder. I leaned over to my son and asked if he had just felt the same presence, and he said he had. When we stood to say the Lord's Prayer, I noticed that for the first time in three weeks I felt no pain in my right arm. Then, during the kiss of peace, I hugged a friend who was in the pew in front of me. "Be careful for your arm," she warned me, knowing that I had not been able to lift it about waist level since the injury. "It doesn't hurt," I told her, "and it is moving now." Once I walked out of the church, I rotated my arm in all directions with ease and no pain. Nonetheless, I followed through with the MRI, the result of which was that no injury showed up on any of the scans. The orthopedic specialist was really spooked. I thought he might want to know what happened, but he did not. He offered no explanation and seemed eager to have me leave his office as soon as possible. Even though I am an extravert, I was unable to engage him in any conversation, and he had difficulty even looking me in the eye. I thought it a very odd reaction, but then, I suppose, he is not used to rotator cuff injuries simply disappearing.

All of these incidents were surprising because I did not ask God to heal me at any of these times. (Of course, who does not want to be healed, whether or not one asks?) Essentially, God answered an unexpressed request. Amazing! Moreover, in all cases, I was given hard evidence or medical documentation of the healing. (God knows I am a skeptic at heart; without evidence, I am not quick to believe.) I guess this is why my Sufi friends tells me that God spoils me. God does. I don't ask why. I just say "thank you!"

I know my experiences are not unique; I have met some other people with such experiences--and we have had such experiences among family and acquaintances in my prayer group, as well as at church and at my work place. However, I never tire of hearing about God's amazing grace. So, I invite you to please share your experiences with me and the readers of this blog!