“You could take your daughter to the emergency room, but they probably won’t sedate her either and will charge you an arm and a leg.”
Um… come again? Kirby and I stare blankly at this strange doctor that we have never met before. It was a Saturday morning and our regular pediatrician was not on call. We had brought our daughter in under the mistaken assumption that a spider bite had become infected under her arm. Instead, we were being told that this “bite” that had somehow managed to grow into the size of a second head overnight was actually a staph infection that needed to be lanced and drained.
Obviously, this new doctor did not know us or the types of parents that we are. My husband, who is strong and brave on so many fronts, can not stand to see his baby girl hurt. He is literally the type of dad that has never missed one of her doctor’s appointments but has to hide in the corner if she’s due for a shot. It’s no picnic for me, either, but after overcoming my own fear of needles while having to inject myself four times daily during my lovely experience with gestational diabetes, I can at least stomach it. What I do not like is to have to purposefully inflict pain on my daughter, even though I know it’s for her own good.
“I’m sorry,” I say with an apologetic nervous giggle. “Can you tell me again what you are wanting to do? Are you sure this isn’t something that will just go away on it’s own with a good round of antibiotics and maybe a topical ointment? I’ve heard warm compresses can work wonders.” The doctor, a mother herself, finally understands us on a human level instead of on a doctor/ patient level. She very patiently explains to us that the grotesque looking growth under my daughter’s arm is extremely painful. The lancing and draining will be excruciating, but she promises that she will be very quick and that Hadley will be completely back to normal and pain free after about an hour. If she doesn’t lance it, it will be at least three more days of intense pain and pressure and then there is still a possibility that it will not drain on its own but could actually spread into her blood stream. Then, she tells me the words that bring me immediate comfort: “If she was my own child, this is exactly what I would do.” So, yeah, okay. I guess we’re going to lance Mount St. Helens.
Kirby and I strive to always be honest with our daughter. We feel like we are teaching her to tell us the truth by our example. This is not always easy. I bend down to look at my sweet three year old in the eyes and try to explain, as gently as possible, what is about to happen. “Boo, the doctor is going to make you feel much better. In order to do that, she needs to pop a hole in your spider bite. Then, she’s going to squeeze it really hard so that all of the bad stuff inside of it will come out.” Her eyes widen. I take a deep breath and continue. “It’s going to hurt, sweetie. But, it will only hurt for a little bit and then it will be over. Mommy will be right here and so will Daddy. Do you have any questions?” My brave little soldier nods her head “no” and we help her onto the table with the dreaded white paper that immediately crinkles up underneath her weight. The doctor asks her to lie down and she does, without complaint. I am in charge of holding her arms and head, the nurse holds her middle, and my husband takes her feet. Three adults to hold down a 30 pound baby.
The doctor quickly gets to work. Tears fill up in my daughter’s eyes and she quietly starts to whisper, “Ow, ow, ow. MOMMMMMMYYYYY….OWWWWWWWW.” What feels like an eternity really only takes seconds and soon, my daughter is sitting up on the table with a Band-aid under her arm. Not only do my husband and I have tears rolling down our faces, but the doctor and nurse do as well. The doctor explains that never before had a child so trustingly crawled up onto the table, volunteering her most tender, sore spot without objection.
My daughter trusted us to know that the pain she would have to endure would be worth it in the end. She knew that her mommy and her daddy would be there with her the entire time and would be there to hold her when it was all said and done. She trusted us to know what was right for her.
I would love to be able to say that I am as brave and trusting as my daughter. It’s easy to show courage and spew wisdom after the fact. Sure, I learned a lot through my divorce. Yes, my infertility struggles taught me how to let go. I am very aware that I do learn and grow the most after hard trials and tribulations. It’s easy to be grateful for the valleys once you’ve reached the next mountain peek. Yet, how much better would my life be if I could find peace during those times of personal lancing? I believe that a divine power has all of this under control. I believe in the Great I Am. I believe that sometimes it’s necessary for me to be cut opened and squeezed in order for healing to occur. I believe that God, just like Kirby and I were there for our daughter, is right there beside me throughout the whole process, whispering that this too, is for my greater good, that this pain or hardship will hurt for just a little while, and soon everything will be much better than it was before.
Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or heartache. It means that despite the storms that are raging outside my very existence, I can still somehow manage to be calm inside my own heart and soul. It means that I know that everything that happens to me is for my greater good. It means trusting my own Heavenly Father. It means surrendering to a power greater than my own.
I must daily surrender my false sense of control if I truly want to live a life of peace. It’s easy to do this when things are going well. It’s the surrendering during the trials that I find to be the most difficult. As I find myself wanting to kick and scream, may I hear the reminder of the crinkled white paper and remember my daughter’s willingness to lay down and surrender for her own greater good.
As a side note, my daughter was completely fine after about 30 minutes of slight tears and whimpers. The two lollipops given to her by the doctor certainly helped, but the extra large helping of chips and queso at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant really did the trick. If you haven’t already learned this for yourself, queso fixes everything.