For the first part of this story, go to Be Careful What You Pray For.
* * *
I hovered over Tarica as she continued to seize, despising my inability to help her. She was stiff and motionless, but for her grimacing mouth. Her eyes were wide and fixed and unfocused.
Any second she would stop, any second now, but seconds turned into minutes.
I don’t know how long the whole seizure lasted. At least twenty minutes. It felt like an eternity before her body relaxed and she moved her head, eyes and mouth finally closing.
When I cleaned up her face, she was as limp and unresponsive as a rag doll. To reassure myself, I took her hand and said, “Squeeze my hand, Tari.”
She squeezed. So did my heart, a giant throb of relief.
She was back.
Thank You, God.
I called my mom with the details, wanting her prayers, and while I was on the phone, Tarica began to cry. She clutched at me, and I sat down beside her and lifted her onto my lap. Which is why I felt the first heave. I stood up in time for her to throw up on the floor instead of both of us.
She sagged against me when it was over. I lowered her to the floor beside the sofa since her socks were wet. She slid sideways into a heap and fell asleep.
It was then that I finally realized why her seizure had been so awful: She was sick. Her medication had run right through her during her many trips to the bathroom.
Tarica had not been sick for ten months, other than brief colds. This was unusual for her. If anyone in our family was going to be sick, it had been her. Until last March. You can’t tell me God wasn’t involved with this change.
And if God was involved with the absence of illness, then He was involved in its return. The timing was inescapable. I had asked Him for confirmation, and this was my answer.
This is what we risked, every time she got sick. Epilepsy turns normal childhood illnesses into brain-threatening conditions, especially for a child without good seizure control.
I had yet a huge hurtle to cross, and I needed help to get over it. I let a message for the on-call neurologist at Children’s. When she called me back, I told her what had happened, faltering in the telling of my fumbling efforts with the rescue medication. When I stopped mid-sentence, she laughed and said, “Go ahead. I’ve heard it all.”
That may be, but it wasn’t me telling the story. Hurriedly, I confessed all, and then said, “I have to give her her evening dose soon. What if she throws it up?”
The doctor laid it all out. If Tarica threw up her medication within an hour of taking it, I could safely give her a second dose. If she threw the second dose up, she had to be taken to the ER, where she could be given the medication by IV.
Also, if she had another seizure that lasted longer than two minutes, she had to get to the ER as soon as possible. The longer the seizure, the less likely it would stop on its own, and if two such seizures occurred in a short time, the more likely they would cause brain damage.
When I thought about the night ahead, I felt like I had to throw up.
Tarica slept on the sofa while I collected prayers through phone calls and texts. During this time, Linford and I studied the rescue drug components that had baffled me. He managed to get a syringe full, and I, with steadier hands and clearer head, figured out how to put it together properly. Next time—would there be a next time?—I would be ready. I would know what to do. Never, never again would I take that risk.
When she awoke, I took her to the kitchen and knelt beside her. “Tarica, I need to give you your medication, but I think we should pray before you take it.”
She looked at me uncomprehendingly, eyes heavy with post-seizure exhaustion. When I bowed my head, she leaned into me.
“God, Tarica needs to take her medication, but her tummy is all mixed up. Help the medication to stay in her tummy so she doesn’t have more big seizures. Help us both to sleep tonight and keep us safe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
I gave her the medication, got her ready for bed, and tucked her in.
We couldn’t leave her alone, so Linford stayed with her while I prepared for bed. When he left and I climbed in beside her, I was as fearful as a child.
She tossed and turned and finally slept, but it was a restless sleep that kept me awake. That is, it would have, if my fear hadn’t been doing a good job of that already. She kept making a strange gulping sound with her mouth that sounded like…well, you know.
But the medication stayed down. When an hour had passed, I relaxed slightly. Not that I slept. Shortly before 1:30, when her breathing quickened and her body arched, I was up in a flash, hovering over her, counting seconds as she seized.
“One and two and three and…twenty-four and twenty-five and Dear God make it stop and twenty-eight and twenty-nine….” I had reached the upper thirties and a new level of fear when the seizure weakened. And then it was over and she slept, deeper and quieter than before, and I slept, too, lightly but somewhat reassured.
And that’s the end.
Tarica was fine the next day, her illness behind her. I didn’t recover so quickly, but I was grateful for God’s care. We were at home and she was fine. Nothing else was as vital as that.
* * *
So many prayers, so many answers—but I was growing weary of trying to sort through them. Once more, a story from my own life pulled aside the trappings I try to hide behind.
In this story, I see the truth of my search for God’s will, and it is this: I try so hard to make the right choices because I struggle to trust that God will work out the details on His own.
It’s as if I believe I need to do most of the work.
Yes, I should desire to follow God’s will, but I should stop trying to nail God down and simply trust Him to make my path straight.
As if there’s anything simple about trust.