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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

When Things Go Wrong

It’s 3 a.m., and I wake to an insistent, “MOMMY!” Upstairs, I find Colin stretched out on the floor of his bedroom, breathing shallowly and coughing. I scoop him up and start a breathing treatment.  These are rituals we know well – four of our five children have asthma. My own childhood was pocked by sleepless nights of struggling breath. “Juice? Can I have some juice?” He wheezes the words, his breathing tight and constricted.

It’s not ten minutes later that we decide to head to the ER. The breathing treatment has made no noticeable impact, and Colin’s already vomited the juice he’d drunk so greedily.

So it is that we speed to the hospital and spend our early hours of Thanksgiving morning in the stark curtained space of the ER. And those early morning hours give way to daylight, and Colin is admitted. Doctors and nurses come and go, and I lose track of time. The curtains are drawn, keeping secret the hour. I just pray that my little boy can rest. There are antibiotics, breathing treatments, and thermometers under his arm, and each of the endless interruptions he meets bravely, crying only when we’d sat waiting for his chest x-ray. (I’d forgotten lambie.)

After our restless night of sleep, Colin’s feverish body all tangled up in mine, the doctor delivers the unwelcome news that we’ll be staying another day or two.

“One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.” – Saint John of Avila

And I keep counting, even here.

God’s kind providence - an aunt and uncle in town, lending extra hands and Ryan’s work calendar cleared for Thanksgiving celebrations

Hospitals, medicine, emergency care

Kind doctors and nurses

A nurse who learns Andrew’s name and gives him Tylenol for his fever (and he’s no patient of hers)

Friends praying

A little boy who wants me close

A friend who’ll roast our turkey

Movies on the iPad

Books to keep company with

Starbucks in the hospital lobby

Words of Scripture whispered in the dark

Each new occasion to follow Him and receive what He has planned