Monday, January 20, 2014

Thank God for Ear-Aches

It was a cool October day in 1994, when my sister and I decided to play "The air-plane game" where I sat on her feet and she catapulted me flying through the air. It was a forbidden game, but luckily with mom being at work and dad being entrenched by the Saints football game, we found an opportunity to play. Our playground for our shenanigans was the pale yellow tiled kitchen floor, with its intricate designs of green and orange flowers, just steps from the living room. "Thank God daddy listened to the television so loud"... we giggled, as our game commenced. After all, a second grader and a seventh grader needed to have a little fun, without ALWAYS being told what to do. "I want to go really, really, REALLLLLLY high" I bellowed to my sister, Jennifer. "Oh so super-duper high?" She replied, while lying on her back and positioning her feet to be my "launching pad". I sat on her feet, and said "Remember, super-duper high" and with one quick bend of the knees and push I went flying through the air. I was pretty much an expert; I had landed the jump just as beautifully as Olympic skater soaring through the air a dozen times before. However, that day, I did not land on my feet, like the expert I was. That day, I landed on my head. I woke up in my brother’s lap, screaming and crying, who knew if I cried while I was blacked out? Tears poured down my face fast and steady as I grabbed the left side of my skull. It was the worse pain I had ever been in and all I wanted was my mother. The blur of hospitals being called, my mother arriving, and the trip to the hospital all mixes together. I remember sitting in my mother’s lap with my head buried into her chest and her arms around me. The light blue Ford Aero-star minivan went flying around the curves of Finx-Hideaway. "Mack, go faster! Oh God, she's bleeding from her ear, it's a lot. Lord be with us, she cried". We arrived at North Monroe Hospital and mother ran as she carried me in. I was immediately taken back to see a doctor. After looking me over, Dr. Borden, a doctor with fiery red hair told my mother that "I was fine". I simply needed to clean my ear out with Q-tips and be put in bed for my "bump" on my head. My mother told him that was not a good enough answer because I was not a whiny child who let out blood curdling screams for no reason. My mother followed him to her office, where he had his feet kicked up drinking coffee. She yelled, "You will run tests on my baby, because if God forbid we lose her, I will sue you for every dime you are worth". He reluctantly ordered a CAT scan on my head. I was immediately wheeled to a room where they made me lie in weird machines. It looked like something from an alien movie to me. The rooms were white as snow, and as a seven year old I was terrified. I was also hurting. The nice man would comfort me saying, "Doing great, sweetie. Try not to move, darlin'". The truth is I did not want to move, I wanted to sleep. As I got back to the curtain-made E.R. I tried to sleep, but my mom kept making me talk to her. I begged for sleep, but she said she did not feel safe with me doing so. The Dr. then ripped open the curtain to tell my mother we had to get me transferred to Glenwood Hospital immediately. I had bleeding on my brain, and my skull was fractured. People ran. I cried as I was loaded onto an ambulance. Mom held my hand, and rubbed my forehead, saying, "Oh sweetie, my sweetie, hang on". The paramedic yelled, "We are losing her, hit the lights". I understood, even at that young age, that I was on the verge of dying. My mom prayed out loud. As I arrived to Glenwood, a team of doctors evaluated me. Several people asked me questions like, "Is it day time or night time? Do you know your name?" and my ear-nose-and throat doctor, Dr. Danna put a tube in my ear to suck up all of the blood. He explained to my mother, that my tubes that he had placed in my ear two years ago, that should have already came out on their own, were the only thing keeping me alive. The tubes treated the blood on my brain as fluid, and forced it to drain out my ear. My ear infections as a child eventually became my life-line. The days at the hospital were long and I spent most of it lying in bed, watching the Wal-Mart in West Monroe being built with my mother. There were whispers in the hallway, and a lot of tears, and the family was called in to say their goodbyes to me. My mother refused. She and my family hit surrounded my metal hospital bed and prayed out loud, "Lord, please heal her, they cried”. My mother even offered God to take her instead, anything but her baby. The next day, as brain surgery was scheduled, I was beginning to heal. The swelling had miraculously gone down and they did not have to perform the surgery and did not have to shave my luxurious long brown locks of hair. The doctors said they had never seen anything like it. Three days later, after a two week stay, I was allowed to return home. My mother was told that I likely damaged a part of my brain, and I may not make it past a fourth grade level. My mother refused to believe that, and I did too. I did make it past fourth grade, and in fact made it through most of high school and college with a 4.0 GPA. I survived. To close my horrific narrative, I have often used this as a lesson in life into God's reasoning. I am sure the ear-aches and the surgery for tubes did not seem ideal at the time for my parents or me, but in fact they were a vital part to my survival in the future. Those two thousand dollar tubes saved me. God may make some things in life uncomfortable to prepare you for something bigger in the future. I am so thankful for His grace on me, and I have often found the strength I received from Him and my family at that time has been my rock to salvation. I learned at the age of seven that there truly was a higher force watching over me. I learned that even the smartest men like doctors, could not predict my destiny. I am thankful for the beautiful life that I have lived. I can only hope that God is proud of what I have made of myself in my second-shot-in-life. Thank God for ear-aches.