Well, it’s the end of another day and not a great one for Annie. Yesterday evening wretched nausea picked up pace and hijacked Annie’s body and well-being; just before she went to bed I had dealt with three refuse sacks of its effects. I am beginning to wonder if the City Council can give us a special trash cart just to dispose this kind of waste!
It’s been a while since she was this sick with nausea and while we have enjoyed the hiatus, past experience doesn’t make it any easier. It’s a sorry and horrible sight and all I can do is ask the Lord to help Annie endure it while I hold back her hair. It leaves her weak and clammy and before I do any of my disposal and re-lining duties, I just hold her in my arms as she flops back, breathless (almost lifeless) and disoriented. And it’s always much worse at night. Just before bed she faced a few waves while dealing with an agonizing head-pain. It’s hard to know whether it is headache from dehydration or from the bone cancer that was shown up a little bit on her skull in previous scans. Either way, I can almost feel her pain as I watch on; I squint and frown because I can just see how unbearable headache, exhaustion and vomiting are when your body tries to handle all three at once.
Bedtime on nausea days is such a delicate and dreaded process. I tread eggshells just because I don’t want anything to potentially unsettle Annie. By the time she made it to the top of the stairs, even just that small journey had enough motion and altitude in it to trigger the avalanche we were dreading. When she finally laid down on the bed I just put my hands on her and prayed. I think I’ve probably said it before, but during nausea nights, it’s difficult to articulate prayers. In fact, it’s a whole lot easier to say nothing and begin a process of doubting. Sometimes you just feel like it’s hardly worth praying because you look at the circumstances and you think things like “She’s going to be sick again…I can just tell…she’s going to have a sleepless night and any minute now it’s going to start and probably continue through the night.” Well, I say you; perhaps you don’t. But I do sometimes and I was feeling that way last night.
But I knew I needed to pray.
Before I said anything I just went back to basics. I reminded myself of what I believe. I believe that Jesus really walked on this earth. I believe He really is God’s Son and demonstrated that while He was on this earth. I believe the eyewitness accounts of the gospel writers. In my mind I pictured Jesus standing on that boat during a storm and telling the wind and the ocean to be still. I believe it really did stop even though the experienced fisherman, on the boat with Him, believe it would continue until it drowned them all. I believe it stopped because Jesus is God and all things in this universe are subject to His authority.
And so I turned that into my prayer and just pleaded with my Lord to tell whatever rogue cells were causing Annie to throw up, to be still and let her sleep. And that’s exactly what He did and I am so thankful. She slept almost right through the night, disturbed only by Milo who had his own wave of sickness of 3:30am which I had to get up and deal with!
It’s said that the tough and troublesome Mary Queen of Scots who was also a fierce opponent of the Protestant Pastor, John Knox, once said of him:
“I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”
As I grow in my Christian faith and experience I realize that I have so much to learn (and re-learn) about prayer. But no matter how much I learn, one thing I am already certain of is that my prayer life is often going to face conflict; it might be doubt, distraction, sin, lack of faith or even the feeling that some matters are already foregone conclusions. My prayer as I write this is that God would help me to always pray, whatever the circumstances and in spite of the conflict. Getting to prayer last night wasn’t easy, and when I prayed, it wasn’t complex; but God heard and answered.
As for the rest of the day, as I said, it has not been easy. For most of the day Annie has gone from pillow to bucket. Although she hasn’t had an appetite she has been thirsty and I’ve made it my duty to keep her hydrated. I made another visit to the pharmacy for some more anti-sickness pills (ondansetron) for Annie; seems like I’m there so often that soon I will only have to say to the pharmacist “The usual!”
The pills seem to be working. At around 8:30pm Annie started to feel a little bit less queasy. She was still feeling too delicate to eat but instead just wanted for us to have some time in God’s Word which is exactly what we did as we read and reflected on 1 John 1. Maybe I can share a little bit about that reflection another time.