Finding myself in our hospital’s emergency department ten days before Christmas week wasn’t one of the things on my “to do” list, but that’s exactly what happened. My asthma had been troubling me for a couple of weeks, and my doctor had upped my medication the previous Friday, yet Monday saw me back at the doctor’s with a severe asthma attack and from there in hospital when my blood oxygen levels dropped to 87%.
“I can’t be here! I still have Christmas presents to buy.” I grumbled (okay, gasped) through the mask supplying both Ventolin and oxygen. The nurse gave me a look that implied I had not only lost my ability to breathe properly, but my mind as well. As they kept adding Ventolin to my mask every ten minutes and checking my blood pressure every half hour, I visualised myself spending Christmas in hospital.
One of the emergency department doctors rocks up (very pleasant on the eyes he was too) to check me out and orders an x-ray (to check for pneumonia), blood tests (to check for secondary infection in my lungs). Mid morning transformed into mid afternoon, and then early evening. X-ray results showed nothing scary – no mutant slime aliens trying to take up residence - just the usual results expected for an asthmatic. Then those words I was waiting to hear…”We’re going to send you home.” Yaaay! I resisted the urge to jump up and down on the bed. “But I want you to go back to your doctor on Wednesday to make sure you’re doing okay.”
That was fine by me. A few days rest and I should be right as rain. But the doctor wasn’t finished with me quite yet. “I’m going to give you a script for some steroids. We need to get that inflammation in your lungs down.” Oh goody, I thought, I can grow a beard and have muscles like Arnie. I knew that wasn’t really going to happen, but I hate being given even more medication than I’m already taking.
Fast forward to Friday. I’ve been good — very good. I’ve rested. I’ve taken my medication. I’ve been using my “puffers” and my nebuliser but my doctor isn’t happy with my progress. She decides do change my medication. “I think you need something stronger.” So, Flixotide replaces Seritide (both are asthma preventers, but one has more cortisone in it). It always seems strange to me to take a “preventer” when you already are having trouble with your asthma. It’s sort of like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.
I decided not to ask her if it was all right to spend the rest of the day shopping — I knew what she’d say. Hey, there are three shopping days left until Christmas and I have eight grandchildren to buy for — nine if you count my youngest daughter’s baby boy due in May. There’s no reason for him to miss out.
To be honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to going to the shopping centre and trying to find a parking spot three days before Christmas. I drove into the underground car park and there were cars, cars and more cars. Lots of them parked where they shouldn’t be. It didn’t bode well for finding a spot, but every place I had to go to, I found a disabled parking spot right outside the level I needed to go to — every single time. There was no coincidence – disabled parking spots are rare with only four or five on each of the five levels. My Heavenly Father was looking after me!
After two hours shopping, I began to droop well and truly and figured some lunch was in order to boost my flagging energy. I still had two presents to buy, but after lunch, decided I’d no more energy left and decided to go home. I’m so glad my son-in-law was there when I arrived home; he helped me carry my parcels inside and made me sit down and put my feet up. It was then I discovered one shopping bag was missing. I started to freak out. “Give me your keys and I’ll go check the car,” said my son-in-law. He was back within minutes and shook his head. “Sorry, nothing in the car.”
If I’d been wearing boots, that’s where my heart would be. The missing shopping bag contained shopping vouchers and babies clothes – over two hundred dollars in all. I was close to tears and my son-in-law suggested I make some calls to the stores I’d been in. I did – nothing. No, no shopping bag had been handed in. Then as I sat feeling completely miserable, I saw myself putting the shopping bag on the shelf above the wash basin in the ladies’ restroom. Time for another phone call; this time to shopping centre management. I told them where I thought I’d left the bag, and then waited while they transferred me to the concierge desk closest to the ladies room. After explaining to the young lady on the phone what had happened, I was overjoyed to hear her say, “Oh yes, we’ve had a Typo bag handed in. A lady and her little girl said they found it in the ladies restroom.” I think I started crying at that point, and thanked her. She was bright and bubbly and continued, “You don’t need to rush down now. We’re open until midnight, so take your time.”
So, in a week that started out badly, and gradually became worse, there were many sprinklings of wonderful blessings. God never ceases to amaze me how much He loves me and cares for me. Is it any wonder they call Him, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.