Sunday, October 31, 2010

Faith Self Check Test

Is there a way we can measure our faith? Don’t you just wish that there’s a yardstick-of some kind like a Faith Self Check Test gadget similar to home pregnancy test that you can buy over the counter that can give you signals where your faith stands?

Wouldn’t it be more interesting to see numerical indicators such as 5- most stable; 4- very strong and stable; 3- average; 2 -below average and wavering and 1- lack of faith on a Faith Self Check Scale?
Imagine this, if you want to know your latest faith score, it’s simple, just put your thumb onto it, then it will outright tell you “Congratulations, your faith today is 5- most stable”. On the other hand, it may be dreading to see a blinking red light with a high pitch beeping tone that complements a screen message saying “Warning, your faith today is 2- below average,sorry.”

Unfortunately, no matter how high tech it may sound, the truth is, it doesn’t work that way. The real measurement of our faith can not be quantified in any form even if assumingly there’s an existing faith self check test gadget. Our faith is put to a test NOT when life is smooth sailing and devoid of any problems. But, when things go wrong in our lives, that’s when we usually cling to our faith.
If you come to think of it, truthfully, how often do we knock on heaven’s door pushing our prayers in when our marriage is at its best or our careers at its peak or during moments when we enjoy living in luxury.
Realistically, what usually happens is that we only come to Him during times when we need Him.

Recently, God shook my faith up in a very special way. Three weeks ago, a horrifying news about mom’s serious condition reached me. My mother had a massive right brain attack. She got operated and stayed at the Neuro Critical Care Unit.
I hurriedly packed my bags and flew more than six thousand miles away while being on pins and needles. The thought of what I was going to see at the hospital petrified me.

My imagination ran wild of the worse case scenario during my 20 hour flight. As soon as I entered the room, my blood ran cold when I saw my mom’s shaved head with dark black stitches on the left side of the head, tubes plugged in her nose and mouth (NGT and respirator.) Her eyes barely opened, left side of the body is paralyzed and worse, her voice was hardly audible with common stroke patient’s slur.
I broke out in cold sweat as I uttered my first greetings “Mom it’s me. I’m home now.” I knew she was listening to my voice even if her eyes were closed. I saw an indescribable peace on her face.

Spending two weeks watching mom attending to her personal needs at the Neuro Critical Care Unit was like struggling in a boot camp. No chance to relax or to doze off since her machines kept on beeping one after another. And once it set off (on an average three times a day), I always got jolted from deep slumber-woke up disoriented, nervous and terrified that I might suddenly witness a Grey’s Anatomy's patient resuscitating scenes.

In other words, aside from deep dark eye circles, a spaced- out - blank stares of a sleep deprived person did not only make me looked like a living zombie but a certified boot camp survivor. Well at least, it’s never too late to discover something new about oneself.

At the end of the 2nd week at the Neuro Critical Care Unit, we were anxiously anticipating for the extubation, the removal of the endotracheal tube from the larynx. My siblings and I prayed as hard as we could for the success of the process since doctors forewarned us that in the event that extubation won’t work, they’d be forced to perform a tracheostomy a procedure that involves opening a hole into the trachea with a tube. Blessedly, mom successfully got away sans tracheostomy. Thank God!
As soon as docs were sure that she was out of the woods, she was transferred straight away in a regular room. That was when my heart was put in place. While in the room, mom slowly showed eye opening, started uttering phrases and sentences (still with a slur though) but sounding a little bit clearer than before.
Aggressive therapies especially with Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy pushed her to put a little effort to move the right part of her body since therapists are still working on the left- the paralyzed side.

It’s amazing how God puts His hand to heal the damaged part of her body slowly but surely. He led us to take mom to the right hospital where He wanted us to be. He anointed the hands of the medical doctors and nursing staff who not only displayed professionalism par excellence but genuinely showed tender loving care on top of everything.

Though mom’s still needs a complete therapy work out and a great deal of time to heal. For sure, she’ll be sitting on a wheelchair for quite some time, but certainly not forever. My mom’s spirit was not crashed but renewed. Her faith soars like an eagle reaching sky high inspite of her condition.

I was humbled and blessed by her unwavering faith. Tomorrow, November 1st, is her 75th birthday. Finally, doctors scheduled her to be discharged from the hospital- a precious gift as the beginning of a new life.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Promise of a Rainbow

Something good happened in my life these past few days. My mom was able to grip doctor’s hand during a post-operation test and was able to write words on a piece of paper in her attempt to communicate- a break though that instead of making me jump off my seat made me cry a bucket of tears.

Last Sunday, I was awaken up with a text message from my sister that my mom was being rushed to a hospital due to a suspected stroke. I blinked several times to re-read the message wishing it was a part of my dream. But as I immediately picked up the phone and spoke to my sister, I could hear a cacophony of ambulance’s high pitch siren and panic stricken human voices on the background. I struggled to hear my sister’s voice to confirm that it wasn’t a dream. And yes, I was awake. It was for real.

Mom had a massive brain stroke. As I was told, the blood clot on her right brain left her left side of the body paralyzed and unable to control drooling which makes swallowing a tedious task for her. Few days ago, she had a brain surgery to drain the blood clot and was sedated for three days to give her worn out 74 year old body to rest while attached to a respirator.

This week was just like a whirlpool-everything span so swiftly and I didn’t even have the time to sigh and rethink what went along the way. In a matter of days, I was able to file a leave of absence from work, coordinate with boss and co-teachers about work that I’ll be leaving behind for 3 weeks; went to the bank and book a flight back home.

I can vividly remember that two Sundays ago, we were on the phone talking about her forthcoming trip to Singapore with my siblings. Boy, she was so excited. I could feel her beaming on the other side of the line. She sounded like a child going to a field trip for the first time. And it made me feel so content to hear her ecstatic towards a trip that she has been dreaming about. Though it’s not her first time in Singapore, but the thought of flying gives her a sudden adrenalin rush. Hearing her laughter on the phone while I’m six thousand miles away from home is indescribable. It still reverberates in mind as I think about her.

Now with my mom’s unimaginable situation, and where she is at the moment, it makes me ponder how we’re dependent on God’s grace holding on to see a glimmer of hope and a promise of a rainbow as signs of assurance that everything is going to be all right. True enough, God is at work all the time. He makes miracles in small mysterious ways. We only have to direct our eyes and look for God’s clues that say “Hey, go and look. I sent these from heaven for you.”

Blessedly, I spotted off hand that good wishes and strong prayer support from online and personal friends, encouragements from colleagues at work and solid family members taking care of mom in earnest are angels sent from heaven.

In a book, The Alchemist, it says “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” Today, I got a news from my sister that mom was able to write “I love my children very very much” using her right hand. If that isn’t good enough for a news, I don’t know what else is. How about you? Did you look closer enough for God’s blessing in your life today?