Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Friday, March 11, 2016

God of MIRACLES, He is my Papa!

So the story started with a scene resembling this on a warm day in July…

But unfortunately that blissful scene turned into a traumatic water-balloon fight accident. Immediately after being pelted in the ear and the balloon popping, I knew I had a problem. My hearing went muffled and there was a ringing sound- not to mention a stinging face from the close range attack.

Still with serious muffled hearing when I got home, I suggested to Bobbi that we put swimmer’s ear drops in my ear incase it was just water. BAD IDEA!! Really, the worst idea possible!  Once the liquid hit my eardrum it was an immediate extreme stinging sensation. Duh! We just poured alcohol into a ruptured eardrum.

Great! What do I do for this? How do I make sure it doesn’t get infected? It has been 24 hours and I am still not hearing well- is this normal? Even if I wanted to have it checked out by an ENT I had no idea where, even in Kampala, I would find this type of specialized doctor.

I went to our missionary ladies’ prayer breakfast the next morning and mentioned my dilemma of a doctor. One of the ladies said, “We have a Korean ENT that goes to our church and practices at Main Hospital. He lives just down the street from you.”

What! Oh Lord, you are so good!! (Actually I knew the man by face, but didn’t know what he did here in Mbale. And he even used to be the previous renter of our compound.)

So I made an appointment that afternoon and my suspicion was confirmed.
A ruptured eardrum. (I could hear air passing out of my ear if I yawned, sneezed, or breathed too hard… very weird.)


(As you can see this is very official doctor’s paperwork, 
complete with diagram of a healthy ear and then mine.)

The doctor gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and told me to give it two months and come back. Usually eardrums will heal themselves in that time.

I gave my prayer group an update and we started praying for the Lord’s total healing. Now there are some times that you pray for healing, knowing that the Lord might or might not do it. But this was one time I was totally convinced that the Lord was going to heal my ear.

Meanwhile, I gained a slight head tilt towards my good hear that could hear normally and had to use cotton in my bad ear every time I showered. But praise the Lord that He kept all pain away this whole time. In the evenings I would lay still and could hear a rushing/throbbing noise in my ear, but still no pain. Many times I would say before I drifted off to sleep, “Thank you, Lord, that you are healing my ear.”

Fast forward two months and a week…

I went for my follow-up appointment, confident. And then I got this diagram…

Not only had my ear not healed, I actually had TWO holes. (The red irritated spot from the first exam actually was disguising the second hole.) The doctor explained that based on textbook cases, there should be at least some sign of healing progress after two months. Since he wasn’t seeing any, the next step would be to have a minor operation to put a patch over my eardrum to secure it from infection and hopefully promote full hearing again. Since the equipment in Mbale was not advanced enough, he suggested that I just have the procedure done in the States during my sabbatical.

I left the appointment totally discouraged. I was hugely disappointed. And, if I am honest, I was disappointed in the Lord, though I wasn’t even sure I  was “allowed” to be disappointed in Him. I had to work through these emotions and give my hopes again to Him. Something in me still believed that He could (and would) do the miracle I needed to heal my eardrum and my hearing without any operations. So I asked my prayer group to pray for a miracle, despite what the facts tell me and medicine says. And we/I continued to pray.

About two weeks after this appointment, I headed to the airport to fly out for my sabbatical. Unsure of how my ear would handle the pressure of takeoff and landing, I tried out this trick that a couple people suggested to me.
Yes. The cup worked!

Though praying and believing for a miracle, I left Uganda knowing that the doctor said I would need this surgery. 

A bit anxious about the cost of paying for the surgery out of pocket or meeting my deductible, I shared my concern and some very generous friends/supporters contributed to covering the cost of my deductible. Wow! What a huge blessing, help, and relief.

I made an appointment at the same childhood ENT that I went to and my Dad even came with me so we could decide about the details of the seemingly inevitable procedure. The PA came in and I told her the reason for my visit and showed her my “medical papers” from Uganda. She looked in my ear, readjusted, looked again, and said, “Well, I don’t see anything.”

To my surprise I responded, “You mean you don’t see two holes in my eardrum?!?!” She said no. (Hmm… my heart started beating a bit faster. Did the Lord do it?!?)

They sent me to test my hearing and to my delight it showed that though there were a few tones my “bad” ear scored less on, all the scores were in the normal range of hearing! I then went for a second test where they put an earbud in one ear and something on that corresponding shoulder. At first the lady tried adjusting her machine and then adjusting the device on me. Something wasn’t right. She switched to my good ear and all was normal. She tried the bad ear again and said, “Well, this is showing that actually there must still be a hole in there.”

I went back to the first room and the Doctor came in and had a look. He confirmed that he did see a slight “slice” in the upper part of my eardrum, but that he could see significant healing around the edges. He said this was small and believed that with a bit more time it would completely heal. But I should come back in in two months for a follow-up.

Whaaahooo!! I left the office elated!! The Lord had done it! I went in expected to be setting up a surgery appointment and instead left declaring, “My miracle is almost finished!!”

Two weeks ago my (internal) ear made this weird drumroll/puttering/purring noise that I hadn’t heard before. (In fact, I hadn’t heard any internal sounds in a few months). I asked the Lord what that noise was and He said, “The final healing.”

A few days ago I went in for my follow-up appointment at the ENT in Austin. When he looked in my ear he said, “It looks like a totally healthy eardrum. You would never have known there was a hole in it.”

HEALED! The Lord miraculously healed my eardrum! The Lord graciously provided the funds I needed to pay the doctor bills. Though the facts (of the textbook and doctors) said that I would likely need surgery, the TRUTH of the Lord trumps the facts. This is another miracle in the books!!

A sweet song they sing in Uganda goes like this,
"God of miracles, He is my Papa! God of miracles, He is my Papa!"

Thank you, Father!!