Monthly Archives: January 2009

antibiotics ain’t all bad

So I caved. I took my babies to the doctor yesterday. Usually I wait a week or ten days or sometimes more, but this time I went after 6 days from Ruth’s start of sickness; Hannah and Isaac were two and three days behind her.

The fever. The endless fever. That’s what did it. And Isaac’s cough and my concern for how to deal with his horrid cough in the face of his recent asthma diagnosis. So off to the doctor we went. All five of us.  Ry came because he could and, well, frankly it’s much easier to have two parents taking care of three sick kids.

So there we were, in this teeny tiny exam room that was about 300 degrees fahrenheit, with three kids coughing and sniffling all over the place.  Hannah had finally begun to return from the dead–hey, her fever had dropped as low as 101, she must have felt like a brand new girl–so she was hopping all over the teeny tiny room, hiding behind the curtain that creates a microscopic changing space.  Ruth was whiney and wanting to nurse and nurse because it was her nap time.  Isaac simply sat draped across Ry’s lap, head back on Ry’s chest, arms hanging limply at his sides, whooped.  His fever was nearly 103 and his cough had wracked his body for a day and a half.  He had nothing left to give. So, got the picture?  Boiling hot room/closet.  Hannah hop hop hopping.  Ruth cry/whine/*gasp*ing for milk.  *cough* *cough* *cough* *sniffle* *snuffle* *snuff*  When the PA finally arrived I felt like offering her a gas mask.

Patient, wonderfully nice PA.  Checked on each one of my babies, asking all the questions, taking good looks, swabbing two throats–she refrained from doing a strep culture on Ruth, declaring it torture for poor Ruth to have the swab stuck in her throat–admiring Hannah Artiste’s masterpieces (Ry had the good sense to pull out some paper and crayons for crazy girl).  PA’s advice:  antibiotics all around.  I didn’t argue.  I didn’t ask why.  I didn’t say, “Shouldn’t we wait for the strep culture?”  Nope.  I said.  YES.  Thank you.  We’ll take three bottles please.  And make it snappy.  Oh, and by the way, how long after I start to get sick should I wait before I call you for my bottle?

This morning’s positive results to Hannah’s strep culture confirmed the wisdom of that decision.  I admit I did heave a sigh of relief.  The antibiotics really were necessary.  Doing my part to squelch the super-bug population.  Well.  Trying to, anyway.

The best part about our trip to the doctor?  Well, any trip to our doctor, really.  A mile-and-a-half straight shot to a Krispy Kreme donut shop.  And yesterday?  The Hot Donut beacon was blazing! Jackpot!!!  Is it wrong that we bought two dozen donuts for a family of five people?  Can anyone say, Comfort Food?  We all needed them.  We needed the donuts, really.  For our sanity.  For our health.

Of course, now I’m going to think about how the bacterial environment of my children’s guts is all out of whack due to the antibiotics and now I’m filling them up with sugar to feed the bad yeasties and beasties and whatever else is in there ready to wreak havoc in the absense of all the good bacteria.  Nice.  Really nice.  Kill the good, feed the bad.  Now I have to go read about probiotics in small kids.  Kill the good, feed the bad, make them eat some more good.  I’m dizzy.

What happened to the days of my youth when I just had to cough funny and my mom would call the doctor and he would–sight unseen–call in a prescription for an antibiotic (anteebeeotic as my mom pronounces it) for me and I would take it until I felt better, saving the rest for later?  Um.  Yeah.  The super-bugs.  They’re all my fault.

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I’m not sick yet . . .

but my poor, poor babies are still sick.  Hannah’s fever started Sunday morning, this afternoon she had a fever of 103.8.  Isaac’s fever started Monday, his hit 102+ this afternoon.  Ruth’s fever started Friday afternoon.  She was a slightly elevated 99.9 today.  Misery all around, these poor kids.  Actually, Ruthie is not too miserable anymore, which is somewhat unfortunate.  Well, let me put that another way before you lock me up.  Since Ruth was the first to get sick, she’s the first to get better.  So, now she’s mostly better and raring to go and the other two are pitiful couch lumps that Ruth keeps torturing.  Climbing on them, trying to steal their water bottles, trying to bite their toes.  Nice.  That last one, particularly.  So these poor pitiful creatures, moaning and whining out, “Noooo, Ruthie!”  *cough* *cough* *sniff*  And Ruthie screaming at the top of her lungs.  A battle cry?  Perhaps.

Poor, poor babies.  They’re going to the doctor tomorrow morning.  Normally I wait a week or more, but my sister had a fever for a week, was totally flattened, and our best guess is she has strep throat.  That and Ry called the doc today about asthmatic Isaac’s coughing and, after describing the whole thing, the guy there said “You need to bring them in.”  So.  We are.

Do you know one of the things I’ve learned through all this?  A mommy home with three small sick kids has no desire whatsoever to read or think intelligibly.  I’ve done my Calvin.  I have.  But mainly skimming and mostly failing to think about a single thing.  I’m playing facebook games and reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Many Waters from her “Time Quintet” that includes A Wrinkle in Time.  I’m reading through the series with my niece.  Enjoyable.  Nothing too taxing.  And that’s about where my brain is at this point.  That and a stimulating Dear Abby in today’s paper.  That’s what I’ve got going on here.  bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz  That’s the flatline of brain activity.  Well thought activity, anyway.

Do you know a second thing I’ve learned through all this?  There is a positive side to this sick kid thing–not that I would wish my kids sick, just trying to be a bit of an optimist here.  Sick kids?  Two of them were fast asleep by 6:45 PM.  Nice.  Ry is still up with Hannah who likes company while she falls asleep, but at this point he’s just sitting on her floor reading a book.  Nothing too taxing.  Of course, this would be remarkably good stuff if it weren’t for the fact that sick kids also means lots of waking up in the night due to fevers and pains and aches and coughs and lonesomeness.  So, early to bed, early to rise and rise and rise and rise some more before finally negotiating with spouse over who must drag himself out of bed first and who gets to catch a few extra z’s before starting all over again.  *yawn*

Here’s to better days:

A Halloween Snowman

A Halloween Snowman

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Waiting for my turn . . .

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, are sick, sick, sick kids.  Count ’em.  Three.  Three sick kids.  How sick?  104+ fevers, sore throats, pale faces, dark circled eyes.  Whining.  Wow, lots of whining.  And pitiful whimpering.  And sniffling.  And whimpering and sniffling and whining simultaneously.  And it breaks your heart.  It breaks my heart, anyway.  Oh, so sad.  I think Ruth started it Friday evening.  Then Hannah on Sunday morning.  Isaac today.  Sick, sick, each and all.

PBSKids is our friend.  A comfy couch and blankets and sippy cups with water/juice cocktails.  As soon as Ruthie hears the word fever she pokes her finger in her ear, asking to have her temperature taken.  Motrin all around.  A cup here, a cup there, a dropper-full over there.  Sad.  Very sad.

And now . . . now I wait.  I know it’s coming.  I can feel it, sense it, nearly hear it.  Creeping up behind me.  I turn to look and it quick! slithers under the ottoman.  It’s there.  Out there.  Stalking me.  My turn.  My turn for the fever and the sore throat and the exhaustion and the aches and pains and whines and whimpers and Motrin.  It’s not a matter of if.  No.  Ruth’s spitty coughs in my face and drool on my shoulder and runny nose drip-drip-dripping all over the place guarantee it.  My turn.  It’s coming.  When will it arrive? . . . Ohhh, please don’t let it be over the weekend.  Definitely not Sunday.

Oh.  Did I say the whining was on its way?  Never mind.  The whining has already begun.  Now I’ll just kick back and wait for the rest of the fun to start.

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Calvin Thoughts, Institutes 1.10.1-3

My Calvin reading schedule has no readings for the Lord’s Day, but I didn’t read yesterday’s, so I’m reading on the Lord’s Day. I’m not sure what was the intention of taking the Lord’s Day off, although I suppose it’s a sort of Sabbath keeping. And now that I think of it, it really functions as a gift of Sabbath. Even if I am reading other days’ passages today, the absence of a new passage, a new task, does give me rest. It gives me opportunity to catch up, not scramble to catch up, as I would if the flow of new passages were relentless. No. I can pause, because the flow is paused, and in my leisure and rest, relax and read.

It’s hard to explain. I was all set to say What’s the point of having a day without a new reading, especially when, so far anyway, I’ve had a reading to do on that day? But it has a whole different feel to it and now it’s left me thinking about the Sabbath in general. The gift of a pause in our days. The Sabbath made for man, not simply a day about getting everything “just right” for God, dedicating it solely to his worship and glory, not engaging in any other activities, holding firm to the letter of the law in refraining from work.  Rather the gift of Sabbath, a pause in the days, a rest from the relentless flow of our daily tasks, a day to catch up, catch our breath, recover, regroup.  Then tomorrow we can get back to business as usual, refreshed and ready to face the day.  Or something like that, anyway.

I started writing this simply to post today’s (well, yesterday’s) grab-me thought from Calvin.  Here it is.

Indeed, the knowledge of God set forth for us in Scripture is destined for the very same goal as the knowledge whose imprint shines in his creatures, in that it invites us first to fear God, then to trust in him. By this we can learn to worship him both with perfect innocence of life and with unfeigned obedience, then to depend wholly upon his goodness.

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Another one of those days in the life of a SAHM

Blech. That kind of day. Blech blech blech. One of those days when I feel completely overwhelmed by the task at hand: guiding three people into healthy, productive, Godly adulthood all while making sure we’re not buried in an avalanche of toys and papers-from-who-knows-where and other miscellaneous junk nor dying from some dread disease due to the microorganisms having a field day on my floors and in my bathroom and kitchen, not to mention ensuring that we’re all eating healthy food, and in the meantime maintaining a marriage I’ll still be happy to be a part of when these three other people move out and I’m left staring at this guy, and this guy alone.  *sigh*

The thing is, I feel like I’m doing this in a vacuum.  I’ve said it before, I think.  I feel like I’m just taking shots in the dark, hoping and praying for the best, unable to see how successful (or not) I am for at least another twenty years.  AAAHH!!  Long range planning, you’re not kidding.  And the thing is, if I’m failing, it’s not just a building crumbling down or the end of a corporation–not that these are good things, mind you–it’s three people.  Three human beings living those healthy, Godly, productive lives, or sitting on Death Row with a trail of death and mayhem in their wake.  Ok, so there’s a whole lot in between, but I told you.  It’s one of those days.  And these are the things that fly through my hyper-active brain on days like these.

There’s no immediate feedback.  Sure, my kids love me.  But I’ve seen kids love some monsters of parents.  Toddlers and young elementary school kids are programmed to love their parents.  The tragedy is when they’re knocking themselves out trying to perform well enough for their twisted parents to love them back.  I often worry I’m one of those twisted parents.  That’s when the Death Row image appears.

So.  No immediate feedback.  My husband tells me I’m doing a good job with the whole Mommy business, but he gets paid to tell people nice, encouraging things.  Although he doesn’t lie to his parishioners.  Really.  But he’s an optimist.  And I find those people suspect.

I need to find something to do that has immediate feedback (well, relative to the 20-year plan I’m on now, anyway).  Immediate feedback that I’m doing something well.  I need a hobby.  With instant gratification.  I have a cross-stitch project I started the summer before Isaac was born (um.  so that would be 7 1/2 years ago now, but who’s counting?).  It’s probably an hour from finished.  Maybe if I take that out tonight.  Then I’ll have nice neat little X’s and a complete picture to show me I’m not a complete failure of a person today.

Wow.  This is a whine of epic proportions.  Ok.  Ok.  Think.  Think.  Think.  Get yourself out of this!  If you’ve been reading my stuff since I started in the summer, remember those summer days when I locked myself in my bedroom with the air conditioner set at 67 and, lulled into relaxation by the AC’s white noise, I wrote here, reflected on the good in my life, and came to the end feeling much better for it?  Yeah.  It’s one of those days, but I’m not getting there.  Sure, now my heat is set at 67, so the temperature is the same, but the white noise is Clifford in the background and the buzzing knowledge that Hannah is turning into a vegetable while zoning out on PBSKids.  And my thoughts are just not taking me to that magic land of refreshment.

Ok, little Calvinist.  Here’s your first clue.  When you declare:  “Get yourself out of this!”  That’s when all the sirens and bells and whistles are supposed to go off in your thought-soaked, self-defeating brain.  Ahh.  Yes.  I can’t get myself out of this.  And that’s OK.  Because praise be to God, it’s not all up to me to get myself out of this.  “One of those days” is one of those days to fall prostrate (literally or figuratively) before the One who made me, the One who called me so clearly to this mission, this ministry, the One who promised to be with me always, the One who provides refreshment from a living water to a weary, thirsty soul.

It’s one of those days.  A day for prayer.  A day for Psalms.  A day of surrender.  Tears in my eyes, shoulders heavy and drooping, I proclaim “I cannot do this!!”  Lord, please do it for me.  Lift me up.  Carry me through.  Renew my trust that these three little people are your people, that you’ve placed them in just the home they need to be in order to grow into the people you’d have them be, to do the work you’d have them do.  Your people.  Not my people.  Remind me that you are more than big enough to heal them from my failures.  Remind me that my greatest responsibility is to demonstrate and witness to your love for them.  Return my focus to you; may I seek your approval and affirmation only.  Let that be sufficient.  Let you be sufficient.  Because you are sufficient.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Amen.

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Calvin Thoughts, Institutes 1.8.5-13

Calvin goes into great depth and detail arguing for Scripture’s authenticity and authority using the witness of Scripture itself.  It’s interesting to me how the whole historical-critical method of interpreting Scripture  has rendered many of Calvin’s arguments moot even within segments of the church.  I don’t consider this to be progress.  For Calvin, a whole lot rides on Moses’ being the writer of the Law, Isaiah–really all of the prophets–writing when he says he’s writing it, the miracles described in Scripture having happened as Scripture says they did.  I know a whole lot of people who have thrown out a whole lot of that stuff.  A whole lot of Scripture.

Of all his arguments and specific commentary on Scripture in this little chunk of the Institutes, I am particularly fond of what he has to say about the Gospel according to John.  Maybe because I just love John.  I just love it.  First he describes the other Evangelists this way, “Three Evangelists recount their history in a humble and lowly style.”  He doesn’t mean that in a bad way, really.  He soon addresses John the Evangelist:

But John, thundering from the heights, lays low more mightily than any thunderbolt the obstinacy of those whom he does not impel to the obedience of faith. Let all those sharp-nosed faultfinders-whose highest desire is to drive the reverence for Scripture from their own and others’ hearts-come into the open. Let them read John’s Gospel: whether they want to or not, there they shall find a thousand sayings to arouse, at least, their dull minds-nay, I should rather say, to burn a dreadful brand upon their consciences for the restraint of their mockery.

Sharp-nosed faultfinders, lays low, thunderbolt, obstinacy, dull minds . . . Why aren’t we allowed to write like this anymore?  Maybe the free-for-all blogosphere will bring it back.  Carnal stupidity, sharp-nosed.  I like it.  Though I was reading the discussion forum at PTS and somebody there was offended at Calvin’s willingness to call people stupid.  Meh.  Stupid is as stupid does.  Calvin just calls ’em like he sees ’em.  I admire that in a theologian.

Anywhoooo . . .

This was my real point.  To include the following passage from Calvin himself, his far more eloquent words addressing what I was talking about yesterday.

“There are other reasons, neither few nor weak, for which the dignity and majesty of Scripture are not only affirmed in godly hearts, but brilliantly vindicated against the wiles of its disparagers; yet of themselves these are not strong enough to provide a firm faith, until our Heavenly Father, revealing his majesty there, lifts reverence for Scripture beyond the realm of controversy. Therefore Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, these human testimonies which exist to confirm it will not be vain if, as secondary aids to our feebleness, they follow that chief and highest testimony. But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known. Augustine therefore justly warns that godliness and peace of mind ought to come first if a man is to understand anything of such great matters.

Feebleness.  Foolishness.  Academic writing is simply too polite these days.  At least the stuff I’ve been reading.

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Calvin Thoughts, Institutes 1.7.4-5

We ought to remember what I said a bit ago: credibility of doctrine is not established until we are persuaded beyond doubt that God is its Author. Thus, the highest proof of Scripture derives in general from the fact that God in person speaks in it. The prophets and apostles do not boast either of their keenness or of anything that obtains credit for them as they speak; nor do they dwell upon rational proofs. Rather, they bring forward God’s holy name, that by it the whole world may be brought into obedience to him.

The testimony of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason. For as God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what had been divinely commanded.

It is God’s Holy Spirit that makes the words of Scripture the Word of God. Without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is words on a page. The conviction that these words are indeed God’s Word is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Can I tell you this is why I question the wisdom of those within the church who appeal to Scripture to call the secular world into obedience to God? A non-believer, one who has not been called by God and gifted with his Holy Spirit does not give a whit what it says in the Bible. They will not be persuaded by our argument, reason, or logic simply because it is rooted in Scripture.

Calvin says earlier in this same paragraph, “Yet they who strive to build up firm faith in Scripture through disputation are doing things backwards.” When I first read it, I was hearing it speak to those who are trying, for themselves, to build up their own faith in Scripture through debate intended to reveal the truth (disputations). But now I’m hearing it speak to those who try to convince non-believers that they need to do what the Bible says, arguing in the context of an informal debate over morality they wield the Bible as the source of Truth. And Scripture is the source of Truth. But these folk are, in the words of Calvin, doing things backwards. The truth of Scripture does not lie in its words, nor in our ability to convince someone of its truth. Rather the truth of Scripture lies in the gift of God’s Holy Spirit bestowed upon his believers (I would say, his elect, but I don’t want to get into that just yet). And it is the Holy Spirit who inwardly convicts a person of the truth of Scripture, illuminating his mind and heart, quickening his will to obedience. That’s God’s work. Not ours. And, I think, as long as believers keep appealing to Scripture in their debates, they’re going to keep coming up empty. Because the non-believers are empty. Of God’s Spirit. First one must be convinced of the Gospel, convicted by the Truth of God in Jesus Christ, before they will be convinced or convicted by that same God into a life of obedience.

Let us first pray for those whose hearts are not illumined by the Holy Spirit, who live apart from the truth of Scripture and the obedience thereof because they live apart from God. They wallow in misery that goes far beyond their lifestyle choices or the visible consequences of their grave sins. They languish unknowing, unbelieving of the grace of God in our Lord Jesus Christ who provides the way out of their misery. Let us first witness to that truth. May we pray “Lord, illumine their hearts, draw them to you, give them the gift of faith in you. Use me. Use me as a witness to your saving grace. A witness to your grace, that by your power they would come to know you, and by knowing you be released from the bonds of their sins.”

Something like that, anyway. Because until a person is enlivened by the Holy Spirit, all our appeals to the Bible are merely Bible thumpin’. Banging our hands 0n a book.

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