From Dentist Appointments to Surgery

Circle “yes” or “no.” Three long columns of health issues were listed below: allergies, asthma, birth defects, cancer, cerebral palsy, cleft lip, diabetes, down syndrome, heart murmur, kidney disease, seizures, and on and on. You know the drill. It’s routine, but for some reason that form gets me every flippin’ time. The answers are all “no.”

No. No. No.

He’s fine. He doesn’t have a single “yes” to any of them.

Sometimes it brings me to tears of thankfulness. Mac is your classic healthy kid. Sometimes it forces me to fight back tears of grief. Nathan is not your classic kid in any way, shape, or form.

Every time the tears come, I ask that great big question I’m not supposed to ask. The question so big and so demanding, yet equally weak and unyielding. The question with no answers, at least not the ones I want. And it never ever leads to a solution.

I ask the question, Why?

Why does Nathan have so many medical complications?

It’s not necessarily helpful, but it’s instinctual.

As soon as I realized what I was thinking – right there in the waiting room – I dismissed the big giant question and went on with my norm of tube feeding Nathan while we waited for the hygienist.

My big question did not go unnoticed by God however, because later that night when we were doing Mac’s Bible homework, this is what his assigned Scripture read:

But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” – Exodus 4: 10-11 (NLT)

Well okay then. God decides whether people speak or not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see. He decides the yeses and nos on health history forms. Who am I to question these things with my weak questions like Why? when all along His answer, His promise truly, is, I will be with you. I will instruct you. 

Nathan is having surgery one week from today. It hasn’t been in the foreground of my mind because the day-to-day demands of my life take up most of my energy. But I have noticed this week my mind wandering to something similar to Moses’ plea to God.

O Lord, I’m not very good at mothering a special needs child. I don’t understand all of his medical complications. I’m not patient with my non-verbal child who can’t tell me what’s going on. I lack empathy for his hurting body. 

Basically I’m saying to God you hired the wrong person for the job. I’ll just go work at Starbucks thank you very much.

Nathan is having a surgery called a Nissen Fundoplication on September 23rd. The surgery involves wrapping the top of his stomach around his esophagus to prevent any food from refluxing back up into his food pipe, and his airway. This surgery has the potential to help him tremendously. It also has the potential to make some of his other medical issues worse. I had a productive conversation with the surgeon about the risk/benefits and am so thankful for the team who is walking alongside us as we go to the hospital yet again. His surgeon is confident and willing to work within the constrains of Nathan’s unique genetic make-up. Please pray for Nathan. This little boy has lots of yeses checked on his health history form. Of course I can’t predict the outcome of this surgery, the way I can guess how well Mac’s routine dental cleaning will go, but I do know that we will not be alone.

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” – Exodus 14: 13-28 (NLT)

And for those of you wondering whether or not Mac’s bottom two teeth need to be pulled the answer was, “No. This is very normal. We see this all the time. Just keep wiggling.” It may as well been another circle “no” to pulling his teeth on the form. He’s right on track.

My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!

Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!

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