As a little girl, I had horrible ear infections. They would usually start with a normal cold and before you knew it, I couldn’t hear, and then debilitating pain. They made me unable to concentrate, barely able to have a conversation, and just praying for relief. As a child of the 70’s, this ear pain would get me straight to the doctor. The doctor’s office was full of children with different ailments, and the large room was divided by an imaginary boundary of “sick children on one side and well children on the other.” I knew that the invisible divider was really there to pacify over protective moms into believing that the sick air of children never entered the clean air space of well children. Even as young as 4 years old, I was never really bound by rules and so regardless of why I was at the doctor, I sat on the well side. I was never really a rule follower on the inside. The well section was closer to the door, and if you got the seat right next to the door, you could watch “As the World Turns”. I found myself diagnosing each child as they came in and would turn to one side or the other to try and prevent breathing in whatever they happened to be coughing up at the time.
We would sit there and wait, and wait. We waited while I could feel the beat of my heart through the pain of my ear, I could feel the nausea rise up and fall from the pain, and I just keep praying every time a nurse in white scrubs opened the door that she would be calling my name. “Kristin”-they would call and I would internally wince. Who names there kid Kristin anyway I thought? I would lean hard into my mom’s shoulder hoping that the outside pressure against my ear would help alleviate the inner agony. Each time the door opened, I was anxiously hopeful and the nurse would say “Ashley”. Again not me. This would go on and on for sometimes hours, with the door opening, some other kids name being called, my leaning against my mom, and listening to my mom try and read me something out of highlights magazine. All I wanted to do was sink down in the chair and cry.
Finally the door swung open and the nurse said, “Michelle.” And I barreled up out of my seat immediately feeling dizzy and throbbing pain almost made me lose my breath, but I held tight onto my ear while we walked back to an exam room. The first comment was almost always, “So you have another ear infection. What are we going to do with you?” And with that one sentence, I knew that being sick was a problem. I knew my mom had to take time off work again to take me to the doctor, that appointments and medicine were expensive and that if I could only be stronger, none of us would have to be here.
After a quick exam, we were sent off with two prescriptions, and antibiotic, and a narcotic for pain. Yes, a narcotic, it was the 70’s, and that’s how they treated ear pain in 4 year olds. After filling my prescription and taking my first dose, I was able to sleep and woke up the next morning feeling so much better.
It was just that easy. Take the medicine they give you, you will feel better, and all will be right as rain.
Today, I am tired. I’m exhausted from bottles and bottles of medication, with side effects, and concerns. I am exhausted from seeing this doctor, then that doctor, then another only to come home with another bottle full of pills and no definitive answers. Today I’m exhausted because my migraines aren’t really getting better and every appointment and conversation seems to be sealed with the words, “Let’s try this.” Today I’m exhausted because I am sitting on the sidelines of life, watching the people I love moving through their day, accomplishing, being in the world. Today I’m exhausted of having to once again send that message to my boss that says, I just can’t be there. Today I’m exhausted from sounding crazy on the phone because of embarrassing side effects from trying so many things, and I’m exhausted because at the end of the day…nothing works. Today I’m exhausted that I have become a burden to my husband. While he delivers sacrificially, today I want to be more for him. Today I’m exhausted that starting tomorrow we will once again be in “let’s try this” mode, and I’m just exhausted. Fighting the urge to just quit.
Today, I look back over the last year and I’m just wondering what lesson I’m missing out on. I know that God’s hand is in this and that no pain is wasted, and I know that this is just a season. As I scan through the pill bottles, and the doctor visits, the missed work, miss time with my kids, asking my husband to pick of my slack and the deafening loneliness that accompanies being sick, I just want to say…enough already. As I lay down tonight in anticipation of tomorrow, I’m praying for the strength to change my mantra. Instead of “Let’s try this.” I’m going to remember that “God’s got this.” He’s in it with me every step of the way, even in this, knowing this is just a season. And God has plans for a new one. So what medicine am I auditioning today??