Our three year-old daughter, Hannah, is currently hospitalized with Flu, Strep and a "serious case of pneumonia" covering most of her lungs. According to her doctor, "Hannah has a 50/50 chance of needing lung surgery to get out the puss."
This trifecta of ills was initially misdiagnosed as a virus because Hannah was inoculated against the Flu a couple of months ago using the FluMist immunization. FluMist is supposedly the most effective against influenza's main strains and so the thought to test didn't enter the doctor's mind. My wife, Lisa, was told instead that we simply needed to administer alternating doses of Tylenol and Motrin to combat the 104 to 104.5 degree temps Hannah was suffering from. In short, she needed to just "sweat it out."
After four days of these brutally-high temps occurring throughout the day and night, Hannah was finally admitted into the hospital. Only then did the reality of the situation become clear.
We also care for Lisa's 84 year-old mother who was checked into the same hospital late on Saturday night with a severe flare up related to her Crohn's Disease. She is currently on the floor above Hannah and, like Hannah, we don't know the ultimate outcome and when she'll be released.
Earlier that same day, Lisa also had to go to Urgent Care for severe dizziness, fever, nausea, and chest pains. She was actually throwing up as the ambulance arrived to pick up her mother at midnight. By the next day our other kiddos, Faith, Caleb, and 11 month-old Naomi, also had fevers.
All these situations started as I returned from China and Southeast Asia on Saturday night. It was an exceptionally successful trip in which tremendous doors of ministry opened up for World Orphans. It's therefore not lost on us that our current situation has a spiritual element to it. After all, the enemy isn't too excited about us saving orphaned and abandoned children in previously-restricted countries like China. And he's not too excited about us rescuing children from the sex trade in Cambodia. In that respect, we actually take these current sufferings as an affirmation that God is up to something good!
Most of the family is slowly recuperating, but our Hannah Banana is still in need of much prayer. She's usually our red-headed spitfire, full of wit and personality. Now, she's just a fatigued little girl who is very frightened. She's also scared and uncomfortable about the "giant needle tube" in her arm.
My first concerns are, of course, for my baby girl. But such things also turn my thoughts to millions of children who suffer in the developing world and the 28,000 children who will die there today from things that are easily treatable in the West. According to the World Health Organization, even influenza still takes perhaps 500,000 lives per year.
And so, as I hold my daughter's hand in a very well-equipped hospital with state-of-the-art equipment and training, I wonder about children fighting 105-degree fevers in squalid huts, or on the flotilla of refugee homes on the polluted Mekong River.
…And I also think about those millions of children who don't have somebody to hold their hand.