The Other Side of Suffering

Since last Thursday, I've experienced severe hives from neck to toe; severe dehydration due to 24 hours of Benadryl with not enough food or drink; trouble walking from that dehydration (I fell twice and surprisingly a nurse was like, "Oh, Benadryl can do that to some people. You need to drink something."); digestive woes; chills and shivering; and a few minor allergy annoyances. As of today, the hives are gone, praise be to GOD, and my mental clarity is sharper. The medications from the doctor are a bit strong for my system, but since the hives are gone, I'll keep taking my meds like a good girl. And now that the hideous-looking hives have disappeared, I can see a glimpse of the other side of suffering. That is, the blessings dangling there even during major discomfort, and the blessings that continue to pour during recovery:

* Walgreen's drugstores open at odd hours providing Eucerin itch-relief lotion with oatmeal and menthol - one of my saving graces when one big hive covered each of the tops of my feet, a large region of each leg, large islands on my arms, back, stomach, and waist, and tiny rivulets on my neck.

* My husband willing to touch those ugly welts to apply lotion where I couldn't reach.

* He also covered me with a body-hug for hours when I couldn't stop shivering.

* And he drove me to the doctor who by a miracle was available on a Saturday. Basically, Johnny is a superhero. He's done laundry, dishes, run to the grocery store numerous times, and helped me walk laps around the house and up the stairs to show me yes, your legs are improving. He's made me laugh a lot, too.

* Our sweet cats, Harley and Milo. Milo slept at my feet for several hours yesterday.

* SmartWater. I'm not a huge fan of Gatorade, so I'm loving SmartWater.

* Plain yogurt mixed with honey and organic cinnamon applesauce.

* Smoothie King chocolate whey-protein smoothies.

* Organic bananas.

* Late July saltines.

* Wolfgang Puck organic chicken soup.

* Crystallized ginger for my tummy.

* Orange blossom lip balm (from the farmers' market).

* Cedarwood, sage, & basil bar soap for hand-washing.

* Similasan allergy eye relief.

* Tylenol and Pepto-Bismol. I can't be natural all the time.

* My Mom's medical advice - she really does possess a wealth of knowledge.

* E-mails, iChats, and phone calls from good friends bringing cheer when my view looked dark.

* A cornucopia of books and magazines to keep my brain alert and fed and off my illness. Among those books, Annie Dillard's newest, The Maytrees. God, what a writer. Oh, and The New York Times from yesterday. In the book review, there was a fabulous review for Little Heathens which I added to my wish list.

* Podcasts and music, easily available on my laptop.

* Rediscovering prayer. I remember one night when I could not sleep because I itched so damn bad. I was miserable. Job came to mind and I felt like we'd met. I literally (and dramatically) lifted one hive-covered arm to God and prayed for relief. The next morning most of the hives were gone, but off to the doctor we went.

* The book of Job. I'm not claiming to have suffered like he did, but his friend Elihu's words and the Lord's beautiful response (read towards the end) were more hydrating than SmartWater.

* The Psalms, my best prayers during this time.

* Ample time to pray for others.

* Watching the light change in the house from morning 'til dusk.

* The view from our chocolate-brown platform bed: antique prayer bench topped with a cast-iron Cross, a sweet photograph of me and Johnny; and a huge window, blinds open, to see our roses, pine tree, and our neighbor's gorgeous lawn across the street. She has a green thumb - we need to talk to her.

* Soft, cool organic sheets (in Clear Blue).

* Good sleep the past two nights.

* Olba's inhaler and pastilles.

* Dr. Bronner's baby-mild unscented liquid soap for showering (tepid water).

* Receiving my box from Ten Thousand Villages: a new tablecloth for the breakfast nook table and a candleholder.

* My husband's shorts, roomy on me, good for my skin to breathe.

* Understanding Psalm 119:71 a little more.

* The great mercy of God. How could I not open my lips to praise Him when He is obviously greater than doctors or medicine? There is something mysterious in the way of suffering. I listen. I pray I don't have to suffer again anytime soon to collect more wisdom (please), but thankfully, weeping does only endure for a few nights, and joy is waiting just mornings later.


Beckye said...

SO glad to hear that you're feeling better!!

Christine said...

You poor thing. So it was allergies that gave you the hives? I'm so sorry! I'm glad you have a Johnny to take care of you.

allison said...

Wow, do you have any idea what caused them? Glad you recovered (and that Job was there along the way.)