Never Alone (June 8, 2014)

I have had a rough few weeks. My husband and I have learned that it is nearly impossible to find a good primary care physician in Eureka. As someone with chronic health problems, that is a problem. Coupled with the “great” new health plan that one of my husband’s co-workers convinced him to switch to, we are up the proverbial creek. Contrary to what the brochure promised, everything requires a pre-authorization. I have to go to San Francisco or Stanford to see a rheumatologist.

But the worst of it was that it took over a month to get the medication that I take to prevent migraines renewed. When it was finally sent to me, they sent the wrong amount. During the time I was off the medication, I was having four or five migraines a week. And because I was off the medication for so long, it is taking time to build the levels back up in my system, so I am still having the occasional breakthrough headache.

My doctor discontinued my anti-inflammatory, used to treat arthritis, and declined to renew my daily pain medication. By last week I was in agony. I sat in my shower and wept, begging God for a new doctor. When I saw the pain specialist to whom I was referred, just touching me was agonizing. The pain doctor does spinal injections, but he made an exception and wrote a prescription for my pain medication.

When I went to pick it up, however, the insurance company had declined payment, requiring a prior authorization. At that point I decided to pay for the medication out of pocket and handle the details later. My doctor will have to submit a form, the insurance company will consider it and (I hope) approve it, and I will be reimbursed and future refills will be covered.

The point of this story isn’t that I want you to feel sorry for me, but that I did something wrong, I tried to handle all this on my own. I’m that way. I fix things for other people, so I figure I can do it for myself. “Let go and let a God” is a lovely concept and a difficult reality for me. But it’s something I should have done. I lifted my concerns to God in prayer, and thanked God for my blessings, which are many, but I neglected to avail myself of the human support God provides.

Many of us, particularly pastors and dedicated lay servants, tend to take very bad care of ourselves. We are so busy taking care of people and situations that need our attention that we forget about ourselves. And by last week I was at the breaking point. A friend came by to help me with a scanning project, and when I opened the door to him, I lost it. But it was okay. He’s a man of strong faith who listens well and gives advice only when needed. I was free to express my pain and frustration and even weep. I needed that. We all need that.

I’m happy to report that after just two doses of my pain medication I am feeling well. I am actually able to get out of bed without pain. And as it builds up in my system I will feel even better. More importantly, I have a support system in place. When the pressure builds, I have a friend I can talk to. God doesn’t want us to go through these trials alone.

Dear Mother God, Thank you for the many brothers and sisters with whom you have blessed us. Remind us that we are not supposed to make this difficult journey all alone; that you give us so many people to help us. Let us know that it is okay to share our troubles with people besides our parents, siblings and spouses. Remind us that we are all family in your eyes. You have given us this precious gift of life: help us honor you by learning to share our weaknesses as well as our strengths. In the name of your Holy Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


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