One of the biggest chores for our family right now is getting all of our medical needs taken care of before heading overseas. This consists of dental appointments, physicals, blood tests, prophylaxis medications and immunizations.
Three days ago, David and I got our first round of vaccines for PNG, which included the rabies vaccine. As with all vaccines, we knew there was a list of rare side effects, but since they are rare, we weren’t concerned about them.
We were therefore caught off guard that night when I became ill: vomiting, muscle stiffness (couldn’t use my hands or feet), pins and needles feeling all over my body, and a list of other uncomfortable things. After talking with our friend Jen who is a pharmacist, we agreed that this was connected to the vaccine, and that I needed to go to urgent care. Dave tried to pick me up to carry me downstairs, and my legs cramped up so bad that I ended up laying down at the end of the stairs where I passed out while Dave called an ambulance. This all happened within an hour and was as crazy as it sounds. As soon as the paramedics got to us, they told Dave that they had seen this before with people who get the rabies vaccine and that it’s pretty much poison being shot into your body, which is exactly what it felt like.
At the hospital I was given lots of fluids, pain meds for my seriously cramping limbs, and lots of anti-nausea medicine. From the moment I got sick, I felt like it was not only an attack on my body but on my spirit as well.
I hate getting sick, as most everyone does. I have to quickly remind myself of scripture and be in constant communication with God, because in illness I am an easy target. Aren’t we all? When I was lying in the hospital bed, wanting to complain about how horrible California hospitals are, lies began to creep into my mind. “Emily, you think this hospital is bad? There isn’t even a hospital in PNG! You are taking your kids there? You’re crazy! What if they get sick? What if you get sick?” The list of lies continued. I leaned over to Dave and asked him to pray for me.
Don’t think these aren’t things Dave and I haven’t already talked about and prayed about. We know the risk involved with serving overseas, especially in a remote area like Papua New Guinea. We are also not naive enough to think that living here in the states secures us from harm and death. So what do we do when we are being overwhelmed by the enemy’s lies? We fight them with truth. I reached out to some friends to let them know what happened, and this was some of the truth I received.
“From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge a strong tower against my enemy.”
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“You may not have tangible help at your fingertips while you’re in PNG, but so many people praying protection over you will provide all the help you need.”
Seriously, I love the body of Christ. I love how in times of trouble and chaos, together we can uplift one another with God’s word and encouragement. It would be easy for my friends to say, “ Yeah, that’s crazy to go and you’re crazy! Don’t go!” But for them to give me truth and say, “Em, you have to go; the lost need to hear!” … That’s straight gold.
It’s been a couple days now since this whole shenanigan, and I am feeling a lot better. Dave has been Super Dad by taking care of the babes, putting David Platt podcasts on for me, and nursing me back to health. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be back to 100%, and Rabies will not win!
Ok, side note! Who watches the office? Do you remember the episode when Michael hits Meredith with his car, and then she finds out she has rabies? Then Michael puts on the Dunder Mifflin Fun Run to raise support for rabies? Hilarious episode! Well if you are an Office fan, then you will understand and appreciate this picture. I was reminded of this episode when everything got crazy and made Dave take this picture because sometimes you have to laugh, even in the crumby things, and I have been in the hospital enough to know that laughter is the best medicine!