In sickness and in health...

News from the Pleasant Hill Sanitarium.
I don’t too often regret not going to medical school, like I had planned while studying chemistry a million years ago, but currently I have found myself wishing I had been, just so I would have better medical diagnostic skills. Right now I need to know how to hear the difference between healthy and infected lungs. Moms wear lots of hats, and my doctor cap has been on too often of late.

Last week we learned the reason Tim had been coughing severely and feeling generally awful for six weeks when he was diagnosed with a severe case of walking pneumonia. Previously I thought that walking pneumonia was caused by viruses, but now I’ve learned the culprit is mycoplasma, which respond to certain strong antibiotics. He has improved some, but still has a long way to go. This morning I thought a storm was blowing in (I’m not kidding) until I realized it was his labored breath.

Kara was home for Thanksgiving break, and as we thought about her condition we realized it was not unlikely that she also had pneumonia. (My suspisions were greatly aroused when on our annual Thanksgiving “Ride around the Block” over 12+ scenic – read hilly – miles, she had serious difficulty breathing, beginning less than a mile from home. Sigh.) Fortunately we were able to get Kara to the doctor on Saturday before she had to return to Purdue on Sunday. Alas, Andrew has now also come down with something – fever, sore throat, etc. Considering the amount of time he has spent with Kara in the past weeks, it would not be surprising if Andrew also has the mycoplasma crud.

Today I took three of the younger boys in to the doctor with ear infections. Yes, Jonathan, Peter, and Benjamin are also miserable. Especially sweet Ben. Peter, who seemed in the best shape of the three, has lungs that are crackly and suspicious. Given all we have going on, the doctor gave the older two an antibiotic that will wipe out both the ear infections and the mycoplasma. Thank you Dr. E!

Having a sick family is no fun, but it has to have been incredibly more difficult in days before antibiotics which could target specific illnesses, not to mention aspirin and more modern analgesics. Here’s a quote from one of my favorite books of all time, Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss. Written over a century ago, this novel in diary form, follows the life of the narrator. Katy, from her 16th birthday through marriage and motherhood, sorrows and joys. Here’s what she had to say concerning times of illness in the home:

I have made prayer too much of a luxury and have often inwardly chafed and fretted when the care of my children, at times, made it utterly impossibly to leave them for private devotion – when they have been sick, for instance, or other like emergencies. I reasoned this way: “Here is a special demand on my patience, and I am naturally impatient. I must have time to go away and entreat the Lord to equip me for this conflict.” But I see now that the simple act of cheerful acceptance of the duty imposed and the solace and support withdrawn would have united me more fully to Christ than the highest enjoyment of His presence in prayer could.


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