Thursday, November 10, 2011

Prayer and cramps

I have never been one of those people who has miraculously been healed of an illness; not really. I’ve prayed when I’ve been sick, and I’ve had relief either through medication or sleep, but I’ve never had the illness leave my body instantaneously. Don’t get me wrong! I have been healed in other ways—I’ve been strengthened beyond my capacity to endure emotional and mental burdens that would otherwise have crippled me, and I am profoundly grateful for that divine intervention. There are times I’m sure I wouldn’t be alive today had my prayers not been answered, but this little post isn’t about that kind of burden.

This post is about cramps.

I’m sure we’ve all had them at one time or another. I’m pretty lucky because mine are rarely very bad; mostly just uncomfortable and annoying. I can count on one hand the times when cramps literally had me down for the count, very suddenly and out of nowhere, over the last 20-odd years. Two of those instances, I had the luxury of finding out I couldn’t go to work before I got to work. This last one, I was already at work when it hit. Now listen, I rarely take sick days. The last time I took more than one sick day was last year when I had bronchitis and was coughing my guts out for three days. I might leave work early occasionally when I haven’t had enough sleep or need to see my doctor for something, but I usually tough it out pretty well. One day last week, I couldn’t. I could hardly move. By the time I’d been at work for half an hour, I was suddenly (it's never gradual in this case) in so much pain that I was nauseated, dizzy, shaky, and very pale when I gave up on Advil and looking up pressure points online and limped down the hall to throw up in the bathroom.

I’d been chatting online with my sister and had told her I was shaking and light-headed. She’d responded by reminding me I could take more painkillers and that she’d bring me some if I didn’t have any. I thanked her and told my coworkers I’d be back in a few minutes. I don’t know how long I was gone, but it was more than a few minutes. I remember facing the toilet in that public bathroom, praying that the pain would go away somehow so that I could stay at work and function normally. I kept praying as my body decided to keep my breakfast inside. I kept praying as I washed my hands and saw how pale and shaky I really was. I prayed more as I limped back to my office. I prayed as I saw that my sister had signed off. I kept praying that the pain would recede enough that I could think.

About 20 minutes after I got back to my desk, my sister came into my office with some painkillers and one of those ThermaCare patches for cramps (a GODSEND). She asked how many Advil I’d taken and how long it had been (3, an hour earlier, which should have kicked in but hadn’t made a dent) and suggested I take a fourth immediately and another one if the 4 didn’t take in the next 45 minutes. She told me to put the heat pack on as soon as possible and to keep her posted if it didn’t work, and then she was off to her own job.

I followed her instructions, choking down another pill before limping to the bathroom to put on the heat pack. I huddled over my desk, praying still, and felt that if I could, I should find a place to sleep for even 20 minutes. I talked to my coworker and told her I wasn’t feeling well (she wasn’t surprised, based on how I looked) and needed to lie down for a while but would be back before her meeting in 45 minutes. One of the bathrooms in the building has one of those anterooms with a padded bench, a shelf, a mirror, and a light you can turn off. I made my way there, set my phone to wake me up in 40 minutes, curled up on the bench, and tried to sleep. I never went into a full-blown sleep, but I dozed enough that my body was able to calm down and restore itself so I felt much better by the time my alarm went off. I checked my color in the bathroom mirror, realizing I was much less shaky and that the pain, although still in the background, no longer made me nauseated and dizzy.

I was able to get through the rest of my work day with only a little illness, and thanked my sister again when we met for lunch, which was cottage cheese (lots of protein, which I needed) and French fries we split (carbs, which I also needed). She said it was funny because at the time I told her I was shaking and dizzy from the pain, she had gotten distracted by something and was still online. Normally she wouldn’t have been in her office on the computer just then, but something made her stay. I had prayed for relief, and she had been able to see my need and provide help. If she hadn’t been there when she was, I don’t know if I’d have been able to drive myself home—I’m not a wimp, but I really don’t know if I would have made it all the way home, let alone out of the parking lot—and I know that I wouldn’t have been able to stay at work.

She was in the right place at the right time; angels didn’t come down from Heaven to take away that awful pain (I really feel for those of you with endometriosis!), but the pain was taken away because my sister was paying attention. Was my prayer heard? You bet it was! Was it answered? Definitely. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who takes care of me and for a sister who follows promptings.


erinannie said...

Sounds miserable!
Also, fyi, it sounds like you weren't having just cramps. When it comes on that suddenly and rarely, it is more likely you were experiencing an ovarian cyst burst. They are horribly painful and it isn't uncommon for women to go to the ER for help with them. A doctor can diagnose them quickly and get you the real meds you need for the next time. They truly are horrible! And Advil or anything over the counter isn't going to do squat!

Trixie said...

Definitely something to think about next time I see my gynocologist! Thanks!