We spent the last several days in Mexico City, seeing a couple specialists who could give us some direction on our baby’s hip dysplasia after being told she’d likely need to be in a cast for three months.
I could easily dissect each phrase of that sentence and probably write an entire blog post on each one. But, because I love my readers, I’ll spare you and do my best to make this as non tedious as possible.
We made two appointments and booked a little apartment across the street from the office of the doctor (pediatric orthopedist specializing in hip dysplasia) that we most wanted to see. Polanco, Mexico City. Founded by Jews and Lebanese. Wide, tree lined avenues, the streets littered with the purple blooms of the jacaranda. Mansions and apartment buildings, corporate offices and fancy malls. Tesla dealership. Jewish boy schools, Kosher deli, Hebrew bookshop. Cafes and parks beyond imagination.
That evening, David prayed with us then I walked to the appointment, juggling baby, diaper bag and X-rays. You know. Coronavirus. The now inevitable sign outside any medical establishment: ONE PERSON PER PATIENT PLEASE.
We walked down the sidewalk with the words “Country Mouse” painted in neon orange across my forehead. Polanco faded from my vision and I just remembered I was in Mexico City. Dangerous, scary Mexico City. I walked as fast as I could, literally heaving for oxygen in the high altitude by the time we arrived to the front door of the hospital.
The appointment went well. Lots of new information. The doctor was impressed with the baby’s strength and stability, emphasized she did not need surgery or a cast. Me: cautiously elated.
The sun had gone down so we took an Uber back the few blocks to the apartment.
We Ubered it the next afternoon to the other appointment. Weird area of the city. Different perspective. Abrupt. Probably needs surgery. Both legs. Yup. New X-rays and an appointment the next day. Uber home.
We drove the next day so we could leave the city from the appointment. Xray first. Technician taaaking hiis tiiiime. I reach for my phone to see the time. Can’t be late. My phone? Oh my goodness. WHERE is my PHONE?!!! Gone. Baby crying. Technician floating around. No phone. Baby crying. Pickpocket? I played Oliver Twist in 4th grade. The victim feels nothing.
Finally, xray. Fly back to van.
Rosy rectangle under blankets and baby toys.
Thank God. Tears. So many tears. Is it just the phone? Of course not. It´s fear and stress and exhaustion. It´s darkness.
Fly up three flights of stairs. Gasping for breath. In. Xray out. Tense silence.
She needs surgery in both legs. A cast for 2 months in frog position. Two more casts after that for two months each. You have one month to decide. The moment she starts walking, her hip will dislocate. She needs surgery. She needs casts.
I am thankful for the bandit face mask and hope my eyes betray nothing.
Good-bye, good-bye. You just ripped my heart out. You just probably ruined my baby’s life and she doesn’t even know it. I’m falling into a deep, deep darkness.
I give the news to the family. We’re all a little shell-shocked. Information and decision overload.
Then David began to tell me a little story.
The parking lot attendant had seen the verse on the back window of our van and came to ask about it. They started talking and David gave him a John 3:16 magnet. He read it slowly. “That’s all God asks of you,” David finally said. “He just wants you to believe. Just trust Christ as your Savior.” The man began to weep. “I can’t believe that is all God wants from me. Thank you so much for these words.”
Did God send us back to some rough area, to some questionable doctor, to get X-rays and bad news, to be there at the same time as that man, for a long enough time for him to get the courage to come over….were we there only so that a man could hear the gospel?
We called the first specialist again as we drove across the country, sent him the new X-ray and he reiterated what he had said in the appointment. NO surgery, NO cast. It would be unethical, he said, to not tell you she does NOT need surgery.
We had gotten off the rollercoaster but were still dizzy. Peace returned very slowly.
Out the window, the volcano Popocatéptl was puffing away contentedly in the distance, towering over the mountain range and brilliant red in the setting sun.
Strength and beauty.
Darkness enveloping the lower lands.
And somehow, out of my own darkness, I could finally look up and see what had been obscured from my sight. His strength. His beauty. Constant and faithful.
He was there when I couldn’t understand.
He was there when I was too weak and exhausted to look to Him.
He was faithful when I was unfaithful.
He was, again, simply using my grief and pain to bring blessing to someone else.
So, I guess those tears were a privilege.