Limitation, fear, rushing into the unknown that’s coming next… I could go on with the thoughts that have come up in everyone’s mind in the past months because of the Coronavirus. For those people who deal with some sort of health problem, the quarantine didn’t start just now. You could say, but ‘I saw you, you have been flying all over the planet for the many treatments, where is the limitation’? I’ll tell you: in our souls!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
We spent two months in the hospital with Vince after he was born. Three weeks went by, and I could only see him for 1.5 hours, twice a day. If there was an emergency surgery in the ICU, then one of these visits was out, and the door only opened up a crack, so I could hand in my pumped breast milk. 23 days passed by without me being able to touch him because of all kinds of infections. Masks and medical gowns for 23 days. I remember, I tried to make up the fact that he couldn’t feel the touch of my hand by singing him a children’s song from a famous Hungarian singer, close to his head. (For years I didn’t have the courage to walk by the hospital where he was born, because the memories were too difficult to handle.) We researched, we asked around, we made phone calls, we looked for opportunities with my husband as a reaction to every challenge. Vince was still in my belly, and we were already at the Dévény Institution for physiotherapy, where they treat children with a similar diagnosis that Vince had at an ultrasound. We tried to prepare for the unknown… We tried to adapt to our personalized quarantine…
When we finally came home from the hospital, I thought it was going to be easier. There weren’t going to be so many regulations we had to follow. I would set the daily routine, and I would, of course, do everything when I wanted to. And that’s when I was first faced with what a quarantine really means. I had to keep non-stop watch because of the tracheostomy tube. During the day I had to suction the secretion from it every five minutes. That was followed by a great amount of disinfecting. For a long time, we couldn’t go anywhere, because the list of state-sponsored devices included only a suction machine that didn’t include a battery. Later of course we got all the machines that were necessary, and we researched every development opportunity. Years went by. And the family celebrations transformed. Outings were cancelled. There wasn’t even a chance for a get-together with friends. No matter where we went, we were the main attraction. I remember the feeling, when at a children’s concert I was worried not to have to suction during the silence, but I was hoping for Vince to manage it somehow until the applause.
God says not to remember what has passed. He wants us not to be bitter, because bitterness takes away today’s hope. It hardens our hearts and we can’t hear His Word. Yet God continually gives healing to every soul simply by being here with us and speaking to us!
Does God lift us out of our life situation? No! Does He speak to us in every moment? Yes! Do we always hear it? No! Then why am I remembering now the events of the past, if, instead, I should be listening to His Word? I am doing all this now, because something unbelievable happened the other day. God showed us a miracle again.
Where shall I begin? One thing is sure! Life is very different with a tracheostomy tube. I remember the day when I first changed the string that hold his trach in place, because it got dirty from the food that had spilled on it. They told me in the hospital to go back once a week to get it changed, and not to try it at home, because it was dangerous. After three days it was so smelly from the sweat and the spilled food that I said to myself, ‘I don’t care. I am not waiting for a week.’ I decided to change it every other day. (Of course, at that point I didn’t know that in a short while I was going to be able to chance the trach itself.) So, amongst limitations such as these, I figured out that Vince could be very free in the water. I knew I should move his little body around, so he could feel what it is like to really loosen up. Of course, I didn’t have the courage to tell my plans to the doctors. But in the summers, I always took Vince to the pool. I held his tiny body the whole time. My hand was in a spasm after the half-hour exercise in the water. I tried all sorts of aids to keep the trach safely above the water. A drop of water in the wrong place, at the wrong time… let’s not even continue.
And yesterday evening the miracle arrived! God truly created something new! Years had gone by. Vince’s trach was removed last August. We went through some difficult days, because he couldn’t cough, and he got an infection after the surgery. The doctors suggested putting the trach back, because that would be the safest. But that’s not the path we chose.
Vince has changed a lot, thanks to the numerous health developments and surgeries. We were in the water a lot this summer, and I kept trying to show him what it is like to go under water. Nine years had passed. And yesterday he succeeded! He took a deep breath! I didn’t pinch his nose! He, he alone took a deep breath and stayed under water for a full 10 seconds, watching his toys floating under the water.
Peaceful feeling. Tranquility. A quiet smile. An inner cry of joy. Well, indescribable…
Now I know God is about not remembering things that have passed if we can only feel bitterness about them. But if there is joy over the things that are in the past, and I have peace in His present today, then I have reached the part of my journey where He is truly calling me.
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts!”
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:7, 12