One of the advantages of living on a mission hospital compound is easy access to doctors, who also happen to be our friends. I’ve never categorized myself as one of those paranoid moms, but since our arrival three months ago, we have consulted Alyssa Pfister (med-peds physician) no less than 5 times. I’m ashamed to say that one of those even included a midnight phone call! I guess it’s just a little too easy to get medical advice around here, for which we are very thankful.
About a week ago, our 1-year-old son Micah developed a fairly high fever (103.7 at one point) which lasted for 4 days. On the morning of the fourth day, a group of docs decided (while watching the National Championship Game at 4:00 AM) that he should start malaria medication. I was somewhat distraught at the prospect that my poor little baby might have malaria!! I have never seen a mosquito bite on him and we are very vigilant about him sleeping under a mosquito net. We started him on the meds, and later that day his fever broke. Unfortunately, his clingy behavior continued and the following night was the worst yet. He was screaming in pain (very uncharacteristic of the chill “moo-man”), but we couldn’t see anything wrong. The next morning, we noticed a rash on his torso and his neck. Now, I was actually relieved because I had seen this before….roseola (sixth’s disease). I’m happy to say that he is on the mend and will hopefully be cleared up in a few days.
When his fever first started, it occurred to me that now I was dealing with a much wider and more dangerous range of diseases than this medically ignorant mom is accustomed to. I’m sure this has contributed to my abundant consults, but it also forced me to truly surrender my children to the Lord. As a parent, there’s a delicate balance between protecting them from perceived harm and letting them experience the world around them. I often cringe inside when someone (especially someone at the hospital) shakes my kids’ hands, knowing that their hands will soon be in their mouths before I have a chance to wash them. I have to entrust their health to the Lord in those small situations and in bigger situations too. It’s very easy to be consumed by fear, especially for my children and especially in Africa, but I have to trust that God loves my children even more than I do. He will not allow anything to happen to them that is not for His praise and glory. That leads me to pray for the strengthening of my own faith (“He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7) and for the protection of my family (“Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.” Psalm 91:9-10). I’m grateful for physicians like Alyssa who are willing to wake up in the middle of the night for my peace of mind, but I’m even more grateful for the Great Physician who has proved Himself faithful and good to generations.