I arrived at the airport four hours before my flight to Saigon, Vietnam. Two days there and we will head to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I was supposed to look cool in a white-collared cotton long sleeves, faded pink shorts and flip flops but my face just could not hide the worry as I struggled walking with my backpack. There has been a stabbing back pain and slight fever all day, which I tried to ignore, but got worse with anxiety attack.
In two weeks, prior to my trip, I visited five doctors for consultations and lab tests. At first, I had chest pain and difficulty breathing because of GERD. I took meds but just before I finished the one-week prescription, I began to have low fever and back pain plus occasional difficulty of breathing. It persisted for two days when I decided to consult another doctor who recommended me to have a chest x-ray. There was a linear opacity in my right mid-lung; I have an infection. I was referred to a pulmonologist who gave me another set of prescription for one week. My condition improved after two days. The day before my trip I went back to the pulmonologist for follow up and to ask if there are any meds I need to bring with me. Noting of my improved condition and informing me that it’s acute bronchitis, she just told me to finish off my meds and then I will be just fine.
At the airport on March 19, I was experiencing chest spasms and my hands were trembling. Two hours before my flight, I decided to cancel my trip.
The following morning, on my 31st birthday, I rushed myself to the hospital and was confined for six days. As my family is in the province, my friends from church took turns in looking after me day in and day out for the first four days and four nights. I underwent several tests and it was also discovered that my potassium was low, most probably because of the medications I was previously taking said the doctor. My muscles and lungs were weak as revealed by my pulmonary function test. I was on intravenous and constant infusion of antibiotics and steroids aside from the daily dose of various meds and being nebulized thrice a day. This was the first time I have ever been hospitalized.
I was on my own for two nights and three days until I was finally discharged. It was a defining moment for me. I had to drag my IV stand to the restroom whenever I have to relieve myself. I struggled changing clothes every day when I have to slip the IV container and tubes into the sleeves of my shirt and hospital gown, carefully, so I would not bleed. I had to wash my utensils before and after meals. I ate alone. I read my Bible. I walked around my room when boredom strikes and I had to console myself once in a while. But I would go on to realize I made it through those days because I was alone with God. He was my comfort and he was my peace. It was during those days that the LORD impressed on me that I have been very self-sufficient recently I thought I can do everything I wish and on my own. Living independently away from family made heart extremely proud. So proud I lost sight of the important things in life that God has called me to prioritize which is my relationship with him and with my family and with the people he has placed in my life. God humbled me by allowing my sickness so that I would have a time to reflect that my life is not all about my own agenda but His, because I am His. In his unfailing love he disciplined me like a father would to his child. And he is my Father, and I am his child.
During my confinement, I also had the privilege to intercede for the sick in that hospital especially for the four-month old baby across my room who is suffering from pneumonia. I experienced how people can be so kind and gentle when most of the nurses and doctors went extra mile in taking care of me and making sure I was ok during those days and nights I was alone.
I praise God for my affliction. I praise him for my pain because I had the privilege to experience an outpour of love from the people around me. I praise Him because in my affliction I experienced his grace in a very special way. He sustained me. I experienced how he provided extraordinary strength and courage and how he provided financially. I praise him because my faith was renewed and my perspective and priorities were redefined. I learned to depend on him more and to thank him for the daily miracles in life. To wake up each day is indeed a miracle.
I am still in the process of recovering fully, depending on God’s grace daily. Yet I am certain that “He who began a good work within me will continue his work until it is finished on the day Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6)”
One hundred forty five hours in the hospital was a very difficult time. But Jesus was there and I have every reason to be joyful in my circumstances. He carried me through. He will continue to carry me through.
It’s not a good feeling to have spent my birthday in the hospital. It really sucked. But I rested in the promise of God in Isaiah 46:3-4. He said, “I have cared for you since you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.”
To Him be all the glory. —