A few hours ago a nurse from the pediatric ward called me to see a baby that was having a hard time breathing. As I make my way down there, my head is running trying to think of all that could be going on with the baby and what it is I might be able to do to help. When I get to the ward, I find a nurse carefully assessing the baby, mom sitting on the bed, looking lovingly at her child, and dad with a worried look on his face, standing near the bed looking down at his child.
When I approach, mom gently lifts this 6-month-old child to her lap, and I notice that the child, despite oxygen is struggling to breathe. Every muscle the kid has in his chest is being used to breathe; even his nose is flaring in an attempt to get oxygen throughout his body. I find out from mom, that he had been doing ok since he was admitted just 2 days previously, but all of a sudden tonight, he got worse and seemed to have a fever.
I examined the child and heard a very loud heart murmur, but nothing worrisome in his lungs. As reassuring as this may seem, it wasn’t. Our limitations in children with congenital heart disease are significant, and this little guy probably had something that we can’t fix with just medicines. I looked through his chart and saw that we were already treating him with medicines for a congenital heart disease that we found on cardiac echo.
All the thoughts that were running through my head as I headed down to see the pt, were now changing. I went down there thinking I could just give him oxygen, or put him on an antibiotic to fight his pneumonia, but now I was thinking there isn’t a lot I can do for this little kiddo. I did give him antibiotics in case it was a pneumonia, and gave him a little bit of IV fluid since he was unable to breastfeed because he was breathing so hard, but other than that I couldn’t think of anything that would fix him. So now I was faced with a small child who has the real possibility of dying, maybe not tonight, but sometime soon.
Having a conversation like that with parents isn’t easy no matter what language or culture you are in. Tonight was no different. I told them the best I could, in a way that they would understand, that despite trying to do everything, there is a chance the medicines aren’t going to be enough and that he could die. Then we prayed and I asked God to heal this child and to comfort them.
Then I went to a Good Friday service, where I was reminded that despite the darkness, despite the death of Jesus on the cross, despite the seemingly hopelessness of the situation – SUNDAY IS A COMING. Sunday – the day Jesus rose from the dead, the day hope returned, the day the curtain was torn and we no longer needed a mediator between us and God, the day the hope of eternal life for all who believed came, the day of joy and happiness, and the day of forgiveness, mercy, grace and love for one and all.
For this family too, Sunday is a coming. Even though it seems like this child is against all odds in surviving in our limited resource coming – Sunday is a coming. Sunday a day of new life for this kiddo, a day where he doesn’t have a heart condition, where his parents shed no more tears, and where he sees his Savior face to face is a coming. This was a great reminder of why I am here, to serve this kid and others like him, who seemingly have no hope, except one – Jesus – and need reminded that Sunday is a coming.