We just got back from our annual trip to Duke Medical Center to see Dr. Berks. This is for my third son, Asher’s, severe food allergies. It is a testimony to how far we have come- that I am now comfortable typing severe- rather than life-threatening! We have been walking this path for over 6 and  a half years now. Last year’s trip was very hard- as I once again- smacked straight into that culture wall that has now become very familiar to me! Adjusting to southeast allergy care has been a challenge- but I think I might be finally getting there!

 

Sometimes it is very hard to live with chronic illness. Sometimes the life choices you have to make hurt. Sometimes you have to travel (figuratively and realistically) to places- you would really- rather not.  And so- sometimes- a little hardness creeps in to cover the heart, to steel the soul against the pain, to place that strong wall up in place, to learn to just “walk on” that path… that feels like yours alone.

Sometimes… the wall cracks. It is in the small things. Then you feel the pain… then the tears come. Then the heart responds and the souls cries. It’s in the small things.

We had two “small things” yesterday during our trip.  The first one came through the very kind pediatrician who worked with us- who is new to food allergy and is at Duke training.  Asher received his first flu shot ever. This is a testimony to his improved egg allergy! He passed the skin test to the vaccine and then was ready for the shot. Last year- Asher contracted influenza. After that experience and the consequent fear and worry: I was ready and willing to risk the flu shot this year.

Anyway–

after Asher had already been through two separate rounds of skin pricks to different things… it was time for the shot. He took one look at the vaccine needle and shouted, “Bring a smaller one! Get a smaller needle!” and then burst into hysterical tears. After attempting to give the injection- the pediatrician looked me in the eye and said,”I’ll be back. I’m going to get a smaller needle.” And then he left. And when he came back- he came with a smaller needle. Visibly smaller. He went to get a smaller needle for my frightened son. It’s the small things.

The second incident occurred during the yearly blood draw. Back in PA- we worked really hard to find a person who could draw a young child’s (one year old, two year old, three year old) blood well. It was still hard even though the gentleman was great. It took a little while here- where we live- to find our comfort zone- we finally did… but now– that blood draw occurs at Duke.

Last year was–   horrible.

I was dreading it.

I wanted Todd to be there for this year. I thought Asher would do better.

However, that wasn’t meant to be. I steeled myself against the pain. The wall was up. The hardness was there. We went in for the blood draw. The lady cheerfully greeted us. Within one second- she had Asher seated in the chair- of his own accord- totally, perfectly, completely at ease. It was the best blood draw he has EVER had. She was awesome. I cried. She showed us her little girl- pictured on a tag around her neck. She said,” This is my little girl. She comes here once a month to have this done- just like you are. She had a liver transplant last year. She is doing awesome. They just check her levels.”  Asher picked his bandage. And off we went- with me, in tears, thanking her. She just smiled- a knowing smile, nodding her head- and saying “Thank you” in a sweet, confident way in response to my amazed praise. 

The pain seeped in.

And  I realized… that it is in the small things… the little acts of extra kindness- that can make the path a little easier- even a little gentler- and crack that hard wall in just the right places. It felt like mercy.

Thank You, God.

Some day- maybe–  

I’ll share about the pain I felt there- for the other children. But not today.

For today- we are waiting on those results. Trusting the Lord with Asher, our family and eggs.  Will it be this year?? Only the Lord knows- but if  not- it is okay- and we will just “walk on” that path He has laid in front of us- hopefully with grace, hopefully with strength, hopefully with dignity.

Thankful for mercy