I felt like my jaw was about to snap in half. In a split second I went from feeling very weird (my tongue was swelling, lips and jaw felt unsteady, and super bad blurry vision) to the worst pain of my life (and I have had pain likened to hard labor pains which went on for days on end). My jaw had locked to the side and cramped so severely that the only thing I could think was to yell to my sweet husband to push it back into place. He tried and that hurt incredibly so as he called for the nurses I thought "there's no way I can get through this pain". In those moments, I hate to admit, but I prayed that God would let me die and go to heaven. The nurse couldn't figure out what was going on, and while my husband held hot compresses on both sides of my jaw, with tears pouring down my face I begged God to make it stop. Finally a doctor came in, took one look at me and pronounced that I was having a severe allergic reaction to the nausea medication (Compazine) they had given me that morning. She looked right in my eyes and said that it would go away when they gave me benedryl. Then she was gone. Relieved as I was - I was still in emence pain and getting the order for benadryl took another hour. Why am I telling this story? Well, because I think it is important in our discussion about pain for me to be honest and say that sometimes in the most extreme cases of pain it is all I can do to just get through it - and I think it is very normal to long deeply for heaven in those times. I wasn't sitting there softly singing and thinking of Jesus. I was writhing in agony, screaming for God to make it stop or to take me to heaven. Yes, I would have loved to be calm and to be saying profound truths about God in those moments - but that level of pain sometimes the only thing I can think about is just to call on God - I don't even know what to ask but just to call out of my agony to the One who is bigger. I would have loved to not be begging God to let me go to heaven, but the truth is: I was. In that moment, in my weakness, I couldn't see past the pain and my only hope was God and heaven.
And I'm so grateful that I have that hope!
Why am I sharing this now? Well, I've been thinking a lot lately about those who are in severe physical pain ... I know that in this blog I have talked about dealing with physical pain - while not sharing very specific examples from my own experience. While I deal with significant physical pain on a daily basis - severe pain isn't all the time. I just want any of you who are reading this to know that I'm very human and have weaknesses just like all of us - and that I'm very thankful for the hope I have - that in the very worst pain I can only think to call on the God I love.
I made it through. My jaw is still damaged 3 weeks later from the spasms (which I found out can actually dislocate or break the jaw), but I'm so much better. In the end I am just so happy that it's over - and so happy that through it at least my most natural instinct was to call on God. I'm happy that I made it through and sometimes that alone is a huge success.