Thursday, April 14, 2016

"itis"

I like rhyming. It’s fun, right? I have this former coworker that wrote poems anytime someone would leave our division. Well, a few weeks ago, he left. (I was a little bummed because I was hoping to get a poem written about me - he did promise to come back if/when I leave.) I thought I'd pick up the reins and write a poem for his departure. Surprisingly, it went over pretty well.


You are probably wondering where I’m going with this. Back when I was typing my second blog post (I am a List), I started seeing a trend aside from “hypofunctioning”: the suffix “-itis”. I grouped all of the “-itis” words together because, frankly, it sounded cool. The suffix “-itis” means inflammation, and let me tell you I’ve had my fair share of that and then some. You’ve already heard about my throat swelling shut and vestibular neuritis; today I share a story from 2013. Yet another ER trip for the books.


A few key pieces of information for this post:

1.      My husband Aaron and I dated for seven months before we were engaged. Six of those months were long distance (thank you United States Navy). My husband is an officer. GO NAVY! He just happened to be in town the weekend this happened!
2.      I previously wore CRT lenses in place of normal contacts or glasses. They are special hard lenses that reshape your corneas while you sleep. They are put in at night right before bed and taken out once you wake up.

In 2013, I almost lost the vision in my left eye. That’s important because my left eye, strangely enough, is my dominate eye, despite the fact that I am right handed. A few years ago, I woke up at 0530 on a Saturday morning with intense eye pain. I popped out my CRT nightly contact lenses and sat on the edge of my bed for two hours, kicking it, trying to distract myself from the pain. I had no idea where to go… the ER? For an eye problem? So I did what any girl at the age of 26 would do: I called my mom. When it came down to it, there really was only one option because optometrists – let alone ophthalmologists – don’t have weekend hours. I couldn’t drive myself, so I called Aaron. At that point in time we had only been dating for two and a half months. I was still a little nervous about needing him to drive me to the ER. I didn’t want to seem complicated and needy so early in the relationship. Pride moment… moving on.

Aaron can probably tell you this part of the story better than I can, but these are the facts: we were called back to a room almost immediately. I had to answer some embarrassing questions in front of Aaron, but I was honestly in so much pain, I didn’t care. A nurse brought in several eye medications, sat them on the table, and left the room for FORTY-FIVE minutes. Little did I know that one of those little bottles of eye drops contained my sanity. Numbing drops. Why they waited 45 minutes while I was clearly in agony is beyond me. I can definitely say both Aaron and I were overtly upset that day. Alas, the numbing drops were administered, and it was almost instant relief. Medicine is amazing, isn't it?

The ER doctors had no idea what they were looking at, so much so that they thought their machine must be broken. Instead of trying to figure it out for hours, they did the right thing and called the on call ophthalmologist to find out why my eye was the color of a clown's nose.

It was pretty quick from there. The ophthalmologist diagnosed me with two things:
1. Uveitis - inflammation of the middle layer of the eye
2.  Iritis - inflammation of the iris or the colored ring surrounding the pupil

Laryngitis, vestibular neuritis, uveitis, iritis… rhyming… ehh?

Both cause pain, redness, fuzzy vision, and if not treated quickly, permanent vision loss. And let me tell you what a sight I was. My eye was one giant red blob, no eye color distinguishable. It was gross.
Former Roommates, Always friends :)
Thankful for these girls and their
support the past (almost!) 4 years!

Can I now tell you about my church community? Can I brag a little about my friends? What it feels like to be surrounded by loving followers of Christ who would do anything for you? I remember that weekend specifically not for the traumatic events of the morning, but for the evening that followed. My housemate Kristy had her family in town. I remember everyone in the family room hanging out that night: my boyfriend, my housemates, their family, and few friends from community group. It was so nice to be surrounded by people I call my D.C. family in a time of pain and anxiety. What fullness that brings to my heart!

The Husband. Praise the Lord for a man
willing and able to care for me
the way he does.


Community is such a vital part of Christianity and should not be taken for granted. Aaron and I have been reading through
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and learning about what it is to be blessed in community. Many times in my life I have struggled in a community that wasn’t vested or interested in their brothers and sisters in Christ. Many times I have asked God why my community is lacking when others seem to be flourishing. Then you read Bonhoeffer and are pulled from your simple naïve bubble and reminded that there are lonely believers, followers of Christ in countries where Christianity is illegal, clinging to their Father better than we do in our comfy community-rich lives. Without my community, I would be left to dwell and believe untrue thoughts about the Lord. But because I had community speaking into me and being with me in a time of need, I got to be reminded by others that God is good! It showed a great deal about God’s people and the support they provide to one another. That evening, in a small Capitol Hill row house, surrounded by people who could love me and care for me, I was shown the true meaning of community-filled lives. Bonhoeffer says it well: “The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.”


How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
Psalm 133:1

-R

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