We as a family are no strangers to Accident & Emergency Departments. A few months ago it was our son who broke his wrist playing rugby. That’s a bit like American Football without the wimpy pads for our friends across the Atlantic.
Then there was my fractured foot and torn ankle ligaments which I blogged about earlier in the week (I’m fine thanks for asking). And this morning it was our eldest daughter, Hannah, who developed a nasty pressure sore on the sole of her foot which unfortunately broke down again necessitating urgent medical attention.
Hannah is thirteen years old and was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. This means she needs a wheelchair to get about at present. She is, her disability aside, a healthy, loving, kind, funny teenage girl. And like all teenage girls she can be equally untidy, ungrateful and disobedient when the notion takes her. She can drive us nuts but we love her unconditionally. Not least for her courage, patience, sense of humour and the biggest heart this side of Heaven.
Because of her disability Hannah has little sensation in her legs. And limited circulation which makes her skin hyper sensitive and vulnerable to the slightest abrasion or cut. My wife does an incredible job monitoring her skin but even she can’t be there 24/7. Hannah has a life to lead and we can’t keep her wrapped in cotton wool. Not that the little madam would let us.
It’s been a very frustrating time for my wife and I. She has outgrown her current wheelchair and bed. She needs good quality upgrades to protect her skin from sores. If they break down badly and/or get infected there can be serious health consequences. We pray constantly for Hannah but it often seems one step forward, two steps back.
Trying to acquire what Hannah requires through our Health Service is a never ending bureaucratic nightmare. My wife does the large majority of this on a daily basis with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, doctors and consultant surgeons. She does everything and more to fight for Hannah’s rights.
But we are now almost halfway through the year and Hannah does not have the bed and wheelchair she so desperately needs. And we find ourselves in A&E again, fretting over another pressure sore. As the tissue viability nurse examined the foot we explained how Hannah’s therapists had done everything they could to minimise the pressure on her feet when she was in her chair. From expensive padding to random bits of sponge you name it they had tried. But to no avail.
When we mentioned this minimising of pressure the nurse frowned and shook her head. ‘No’ she replied. ‘Minimal pressure is no good. What she needs is zero pressure’. At which point I whispered to Hannah that maybe we should send her into space to take a break from gravity. Me and my wonky foot would keep her company. Cue immature giggling all round.
But it got me thinking. Imagine going through life with zero pressure. Always sufficient funds in the bank to pay the bills. Waltzing through work effortlessly every day. A world free from war and sickness. And above all else….kids who didn’t argue about whose turn it was to do the dishes.
Zero pressure. It’s a nice idea. But when God dispatched us to Planet Earth he never said it was going to be easy. Or even slightly difficult for that matter. Being a Christian behind enemy lines requires pressure. Quite a bit of it to be honest. If you aspire to change and improve we have to push forward. And pushing involves resistance from the world. Which manifests itself as pressure.
The good news? If we persevere we WILL break through. Maybe not in the manner we wanted to, or how the world gauges ‘success’, but in the manner that falls within the remit of God’s master plan.
If it meant getting Hannah the equipment she needs I’d run a hundred marathons. And relish the pressure of it. Just like I relish the pressures of running the Christian race in this fallen world.
No pressure. No thanks.
What is the longest time you have spent in an Accident & Emergency Department?
In what areas of your Christian journey do you most experience pressure?
How do you deal with pressure?