My name is Faith. I am a nurse at Kettering Medical Center. Last summer was quite busy with my family. We went camping, took vacations, and had cook-outs. I had no idea my life was about to change. Sometimes God needs to get your attention, turn you around, and put you on a different path.
On August 17, 2019, I was driving home from Michigan. I had stayed in a cabin with my sister and niece. My husband and daughter were in Wisconsin with the Pathfinders. As I drove home, I started feeling nauseous and upset to my stomach. I remember praying on the way home and listening to Christian music. By Saturday evening, I was achy and feeling like I just wanted to climb in bed. My oldest daughter offered to take our youngest for the night, so I could get some rest.
Sunday was awful. I thought that I had the worst stomach flu ever. I started running a fever. Each time I took my temp, it was higher: 101° by Monday evening; Tuesday morning, almost 103°. I called my husband at work; I said, this flu should be better by now. But I am worse than when it first started. We discussed options. Should I go to the doctor’s office? Urgent Care? Or the ER? I did not want to go; as a nurse, I appreciate that ER visits ought to be truly necessary.
I knelt and prayed, asking God what I should do. When I finished praying, I told my husband that I was going to the ER. Now Tuesday morning, I took my younger daughter with me and headed there. They ran a lot of tests, sending me home with a pill form of antibiotic. One of the tests they drew was called a set of blood cultures (to check for bacteria in your bloodstream); one drawn from the left arm, and one drawn from the right arm. Wednesday morning, I received a call from the ER telling me that I needed to come back right away. My blood cultures were positive, meaning that I had bacteria in my bloodstream.
Admitted to the Hospital
I was scared. Having bacteria in your blood stream is very serious. The infected blood runs through your heart, kidneys, brain, and lungs; and everywhere it goes, it can cause serious problems. I sent a text message to at least two church members requesting prayers. I said, “Please pray for me, and ask everyone you know to pray for me.” I called my husband to tell him that I was headed back to the hospital, and I thought that I would be admitted.
This situation rapidly became a very stressful time for us. We were trying to figure out who was going to care for our active four-year-old girl? Who was going to pick her up from school? Our lives were already so busy! It was hard not to panic.
In the meantime, I did what anyone else would do — I searched the internet for some answers about my illness. I learned that I needed intravenous (IV) antibiotics to fight this infection. If I did not get these IV antibiotics fast, I could go septic, which carried a high risk for death.
Even more than that, I knew that I needed God’s healing. I was admitted to Kettering Medical Center on Wednesday morning. I prayed as much as I could. My husband had to leave me to take care of the girls, and he had work. Thursday night came. Several people came by to visit. Pastor Baldwin came and prayed with me. I was very grateful for all the prayers, visits, and flowers.
The nurses and hospital staff were kind to me. I felt blessed. I tried to be cheerful and pleasant. I wanted to show Jesus as much as I could — and considering that I work at this hospital, I was particularly concerned about my witness to my co-workers. Everyone left and night came. The night nurse came in after and told me in passing that they found salmonella in a stool sample. Then she left. It can be hard to be alone in the hospital, isolated from your family.
I started Googling again on my phone. My anxiety level was already high; my mind was racing. If the infection was in my colon, then it had to be in my bloodstream. Horror set in. I had food poisoning that was now freely-running through my blood. Everything that I read on the internet put me into a frozen state of fear; heart-pounding fear. Blood-borne food poisoning can create pockets of pus around a heart valve, the spine, kidneys, etc. “Death possible,” it said; “septic shock, possible.” I would need six to eight weeks of IV antibiotics.
I called my husband twice, after 10:00 p.m. at night, crying. He asked, “Are you on your phone? Are you Googling?” He then calmly told me to put down my phone and pray. Prayer was the only place to go. The poor guy was stressed out, exhausted, and trying to be me, caring for two girls. When I got off the phone, I felt deep darkness settle over me. Thoughts were coming harsh and fast. You could die here. You could be sick for a very long time. I started to pray. I pleaded with God as I had never done before. I was crying out to Him. I said, “God, please lift this darkness and fear, bring Your peace and healing.” “Let me feel Your presence, for if I know You are here, then everything will be okay.”
Praying & Pressing Hard
I prayed a long time. Maybe an hour. Maybe longer. No peace came. I repeated some Scriptures. Nothing brought relief. All I could feel was total dread and cold fear. I remember saying, “God, why are you ignoring me?” “You love those who love You, and you know that I love you.” I also prayed that, in this time of sickness and fear, He would give me an experience with Him that was beyond anything that I had ever had; that He would use this time in my life to truly draw me into His presence.
While I can not remember everything that I said while praying, I pressed hard. I prayed and prayed, even though I did not hear an answer or feel any relief. I did not give up! I refused to back away. I refused to stop praying. I knew there was only one God, one Healer, and He was the One to whom I needed to press my petition for healing. This ugly dark feeling continued; it was awful. I wanted it gone. It felt like there was a huge wall separating between the Lord and myself. This barrier was a new feeling for me; and I could not understand this separation. I remember thinking that we are told not to trust our feelings. I was claiming Scriptures. I was desperate for God and His peace.
To be continued next Thursday, September 24 with Part 2.