The Flu — Unwanted Thanksgiving Guest Brings Unexpected Blessing

An unwanted Thanksgiving holiday guest made its presence known the afternoon my daughter Michelle called to tell me she and my 11-year-old granddaughter Montana were down with a particularly debilitating strain of flu. Alabama shows as one of the earliest, and hardest hit states this year and my daughter and granddaughter were 45 minutes away, in another county, with no one they could call on to take care of them.

I tossed some throw blankets and sweat shirts in the car and headed out, trying to get someone back on the phone to let them know I was coming and to be prepared. When I couldn’t get anyone for a few minutes I almost went into panic mode. Montana finally answered the phone, but could barely talk. She had just had to drag herself out of bed. “Try to help your mother to get up,” I told her. “I’m on my way.”

It was very late afternoon when I got there, and evening comes early now. Another concern was that I don’t see well to drive at night. Michelle and Montana were too out of it to do anything more than be assisted to the car and fall in. I helped them drag the sweat shirts over their heads and covered them with the blankets for the trip to our house. Since Mike has to work, I suggested he might want to bed down in our old camper for a few days and stay away from any contaminants.

That plan lasted till about 5 a.m. the next morning when Michelle began coughing so hard she couldn’t get a good breath. When she turned blue I called 911. Mike watched for the ambulance, while I did what I could to relieve her, which was nothing much but holding her head up and rubbing her back.

When the paramedics arrived I told them she had already turned blue three times. They checked her oxygen level and pronounced it 100% and that her problem was that she was coughing too hard (?). She has the flu, I told them. They hemmed and hawed for a few minutes and said if she wanted to go to the hospital, they would take her, or I could drive her, but they made it clear they didn’t think it was necessary.

Well, I’ve been a mama for 44 years, and I trust a mama’s instincts better than I do a bunch of strangers who were probably not happy about getting out of bed for what they considered a false alarm. In response I made it clear that when my daughter can’t breathe for any reason, it’s time for a hospital – immediately.

I told Michelle I would get dressed, pack a few things for her, and follow. They were taking her to St. Vincent’s in the small town of Oneonta. We didn’t know anything much about the hospital in Oneonta and knew none of the doctors. But it was the closest. In my distress I think I left out half the stuff I was supposed to bring, but we managed.

At the emergency room they hooked up all the machinery and – guess what. Her oxygen level was about 20 points low and she was dehydrated. But praise the Lord those ER doctors took nothing for granted. They wanted to do tests and did a very thorough job. Michelle was admitted and was hospitalized for a week, during which time they diagnosed several severe health problems that had gone undiagnosed even though she has a regular doctor.

At St. Vincents someone reads a Bible passage over the sound system periodically every day, and many of the doctors pray for their patients. Oneonta St. Vincents Hospital may be small, but it has a big heart. And it has doctors who know that there is a God, and He’s not them.

Yes. I caught the flu, also, but not as badly as Michelle and Montana. And Mike finally got what is nominally called “the crud”. But all of us are counting our blessings. It was time for a change for Michelle and the Lord provided.

No. No one is happy about the health problems Michelle has, and will continue to have. But now they are known and are being addressed.

Give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).

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