Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Coughing Without Hope

I am reminded again of the importance of hope because I'm in a situation where I find myself with little of it.

I have a cold. As I've written before, colds are not a minor thing for me. The cough hangs on for weeks and absolutely exhausts me to tears. Last time, the doctor gave me two inhalers and a cough suppressant and said, "NEXT time, hit it with all this from the get-go. Let's try to keep your lungs from ever getting irritated and inflamed from the beginning."

So, when this cold started a week and a half ago, that's what I did. I was optimistic the first few days -- surely with all these meds, it will just run the course of a regular cold. By last Friday, I was telling them at work that if I still felt this lousy through the weekend, I'd call the doctor on Monday.

(Sorry if the picture grosses you out
-- but it was so appropriate.)
I didn't make it to Monday. I got worse and worse on Saturday and was up much of the night coughing that night, so I went to Urgent Care on Sunday. They gave me two shots in the butt and a bottle of codeine. "That should do the trick. Call if it doesn't."

Nope. I nearly lost my voice yesterday trying to teach. I coughed so much through the faculty meeting after school yesterday, I had to leave twice. I'm exhausted. Lord knows, there are so many people in the world with so many worse health problems than this. I feel like a wimp complaining about a cough. But oh, my gosh . . . I'm so tired of coughing.

I made an appointment today at my primary doctor's office; he's not available, so I'm seeing his nurse practitioner. But I'm pessimistic now. I have little hope that they'll find anything to stop this cough.

That's almost the worst part of this: having no hope. I felt that many times when I was seeing doctor after doctor about my sleep problems -- nobody can help me. (My husband thinks, for the record, that my sleep problems may contribute to my long coughs. My sleep study a couple weeks ago said I didn't hardly get any stage 3 sleep, where your body regenerates itself.) Having trials and tribulations in your life is one thing; having trials and tribulations with no hope is quite another. That's the real rub. That's the end of it all.

Paul tells the Ephesians gentiles to remember that they were once "foreigners to the covenant of the promise, without hope and without God in the world." I'm coming to learn that hope is a tricky thing. "Hope" by itself is worthless . . . just like "faith." What makes hope potent is who or what you have hope in. It doesn't matter how much deep and optimistic hope for a solution to my illness I have if I have my hope in a preschooler with a toy doctor kit. It doesn't matter how tenacious my faith is if my faith is in my Self to get myself to heaven.

And thus my problem today. I don't have much faith or hope in this nurse practitioner. But I'm trying to have faith and hope in the Great Physician to give the guy some direction. And I keep praying that this trial won't be wasted. I assume there's a reason God allowed this -- He could easily have stopped it. Please don't let me have suffered through this miserable time without it having accomplished His purpose in my life, whatever that may be.

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