The skin on my arm felt pinched and the hospital bracelet on my left wrist plunked a few arm hairs. I bit my tongue hard, resisting the urge to curse under my breath and instead glanced around the waiting room. Dustin and I were the only one’s there and I could tell the Pain Management Office’s attempts at hospitality had failed when noticing a single carafe that hadn’t been filled since open. I imagined the coffee cold and watered down before investing energy to get up and pour myself an uninviting cup.
It had been four months since I had injured my neck while participating in a Zumba class and the pain hadn’t waivered, growing increasingly worse while adding tingling, numbing sensations, nausea, and blurred vision to my symptoms. When and if I could get up off the couch I had trouble walking because my muscles felt weak and I hadn’t been able to wash my foot long hair in over a month by myself. We were beginning to wonder if something else was seriously wrong with me as we sat in the ER for the second time and Dustin begged the doctor to rush the MRI.
We were expected to be going to India in less than two months.
We felt God’s call early this year and had begun selling a ton of our stuff, moved back to Ohio to save money for the trip and had already purchased our plane tickets.
What the heck, God?
Why had we felt the call so strongly to dedicate our lives to sharing your hope to have the door closed in our face? Why was I suffering so much when you promised peace?
I yelled, cried, and fought with God about my purpose. If I wasn’t getting better (but sicker) what was I living for? Where were the plans God had promised?
Life became harder. Our lease was up and even though our landlords loved us, someone else was preparing to move in; we couldn’t extend our stay. Dustin had also already quit and we didn’t have insurance so we applied for COBRA, which allowed us to keep our old insurance plan but at almost $600 a month for me. God provided our amazing parents to house us and my mum, sister, and grandma packed us up. At the end of June everyone helped us move.
Once traveling in-between our parents I was stressed and overwhelmed. Our lives were supposed to mean more than moving back to our childhood homes…hadn’t they? Could God use us where we were at, even though we were so vulnerable?
If I had known that in the next few weeks I would go through narcotic withdrawal, see a neurologist, have a spinal tap, and visit the ER three times in 48 hours with the worst pain in my life, I may have given up hope of getting better. As the 16th of July came closer, our departure date for India, I seemed to get sicker. The neurologist ordered a spinal tap on the 19th of July while diagnosing me with a Pseudo Tumor Cerebri, elevated pressure of spinal fluid in the brain (after the spinal tap we found my pressure to be normal).
After months of hospitals, specialists, and emergency rooms and no findings we looked to other alternatives that could be causing me pain. Perhaps anxiety and my psychological health were being jeopardized? After a long night of insomnia I sobbed and admitted to Dustin that I wasn’t well…emotionally. The time in the hospitals and the strain financially hadn’t defeated me but were haunting my mind. I needed help.
My parents became involved and after a week transitioning in hotels to avoid the stress of being at other’s homes, Dustin made an emergency appointment with a psychiatrist. I started back on medication I had used previously to manage my anxiety and depression. As my dad sat in the hotel room and talked me out of an anxiety attack (as he always has), he explained in a calm voice that 600 million Indians were out of power and that some would inevitably die. I was in shock. Life was uneasy at home without power, what if I had been in a hospital in India? Perhaps God was protecting us here in Mansfield.
I’m currently on the path of recovery. After losing about fifteen pounds and memorizing the order of events in each hospital’s emergency room, I’m on my way to being myself again. Dustin and I both have trusted that God doesn’t want us in India currently but are preparing once again to leave in six months (you didn’t think we would learn how to extract venom from a snake bite for no reason). While I recover we have found a place in Mansfield near family and my doctors and have plans to work on another project about frugal urban living in a rural environment.
This isn’t what we wanted. This isn’t what I felt called to…but I know God has a plan for the here-and-now and we have a purpose in our hometown. God called, and put our dreams of India on hold but hasn’t and won’t hang up, even if he is silent.