“But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.'” (Matthew 9:12)
The smaller challenges started Tuesday of last week when I got sore throat and coughing. My body lost much of its energy for two days, but while the cold mostly recovered, I could not talk much and still felt tired easily. I was wondering why the sickness did not go away even after 5-6 days. At the same time, my car battery died. Also, there’s lots and lots of work piling up at my desk at my job.
But these were only small challenges.
On Sunday night, our 19-month-old son Chase had difficulty sleeping. He woke up 5 or 6 times screaming. My wife Wendy thought he was having nightmares. The next morning, Chase woke up and started walking out of his bedroom. After walking a few steps, he yelled in pain and he was grabbing his penis. But when we carried him, he seemed ok. We made a quick appointment with a substitute pediatrician (Chase’s regular pediatrician was not available on Monday). The substitute did a series of tests on Chase at the clinic and Chase was crying violently through each test. Then he gave us the worst answer: he had no idea what’s wrong with Chase. He said he guessed it was either urine infection or ear infection or something else. And he asked us to collect more urine samples from Chase to send to the lab.
The rest of Monday was tough. It’s easy for a doctor to say, “It could be either A or B or C or anything.” Being a parent it’s hard to hear an unknown diagnosis for a child. Because Chase hurt a lot whenever he walked (and we had no idea why), that day Wendy and I had to carry Chase perhaps 85% of the time. While taking turns to take care of Chase, in between those times I tried to do some work at home for my company, trying to work toward fulfilling my many responsibilities and work deadlines. When we got tired from carrying Chase, Wendy got some kid videos from the library and we made Chase sit and watch the videos (normally we do not turn on the TV at home at all). Being an active toddler, Chase didn’t want to sit still. He actually had a pretty good mood throughout the day, but he also had no idea why his body would hurt so badly whenever he tried to walk. It seemed Chase was confused about his body’s signals.
Throughout that whole day, I had one word on my mind: “worry.” I tried to get rid of that thought, but it was hard not to worry. I remembered Pastor David once preached a sermon about not worrying. I also remembered someone once said that it might even be sinful for a Christian to worry. So whenever the word “worry” came to my mind, I tried to think about Matthew 6:25-34 and how God took care of the birds and the flowers. Still it was a mentally and emotionally tough day, let alone a physically tiring day for Wendy and I.
Another thing I learned is that in such stressful times, it is easy for Wendy and I to say things we don’t mean. It’s normal that all couples have different parenting styles, but when it seems things are urgent, we could lose the ability to be patient with each other. And we did have small arguments during the whole process of trying to force our own ways of doing things on the family. But at the end of the day, we realized we each intended to shoulder the responsibility of making Chase feel better by ourselves while giving the other tired spouse room to rest. We silently cried inside when saw our other half stress and worry and tire over taking care of Chase. And when we talked with each other we realized what had happened.
Anyway, later on we realized that most likely Chase was primarily hurting whenever he peed. Because whenever he walks, his groin area is relaxed and there’s a natural urge to pee, Chase would feel the onset of pain and he would try to hold his pee in. So on Wednesday we finally got to see Chase’s regular pediatrician and we told her about our new observations. This pediatrician happens to be a Christian, and she’s much more caring than the substitute pediatrician we saw on Monday. She examined the lab test results, did some quick exams on Chase, and ruled out several of the substitute pediatrician’s guesses. While not 100% sure yet, her best guess is that Chase is having urethritis, which is not an infection but an inflammation of the penis that causes a stinging and burning sensation inside the penis. She asked us to keep giving Chase more fluids and cranberry juice to drink, and hopefully the symptoms will go away after a couple of days of flushing out any dirt or bacteria.
So right now Chase is still sometimes hurting when he walks, so we still need to carry him fairly often. But he seems to be hurting less frequently. He also continues to have his happy mood, especially when he sees other kids. So Wendy will definitely keep him outgoing and visit the library and the gym and supermarkets so he gets to see things and people he likes. In the meantime, we’re doing the best we can to keep him healthy and hydrated.
Wendy and I also had a talk about this regarding our spiritual health. Usually what a physical sickness does is it exposes weaknesses in your physical immune system. In this case, our son’s physical illness reveals weaknesses in the spiritual immune system of Wendy and me. In other words, the challenges we faced in the last few days reminded us that we’re not as spiritually healthy as we think we are. And that’s a good thing. Because this helped Wendy and I realized we needed to step up in our spiritual growth. We’re motivated to explore more ways to boost our devotional lives and maintain a closer walk with God.
At the same time, this also helped us draw closer in our marriage. We also realized a lot of brothers and sisters really prayed and cared for us. So thank you so much if you’ve been praying for us in the past few days and have asked us about Chase. We really appreciate your care and concern!