I’ve shared before now what went on inside that hospital when it was discovered I had brain damage from what’s called encephalitis. Twenty-eight years ago is when the hospital had become my new home, since I was not remembering much of anything before the illness hit me. But what about my family and friends?Something about having their own friend, daughter, sister, mom, or wife in the hospital, with brain damage, put a big dent in their Christmas joy. A few even told me it was the toughest Christmas season they had ever had.
Cassie, our three-year-old daughter, however, was actually having a ball. A few families from church who had children her age graciously let her stay at their homes. That sure helped to keep her mind off of what wasn’t making sense to her: me.My mother, mother-in-law, and a dear family from church helped immensely with watching our six-month-old baby. All this comfort and support took a load off of Chris, as his heaviest problem was taking in all the information he was obtaining from the doctors. Everything he was finding out about me was shadowing him with fear and tears, since he didn’t know if I would remember what being married even meant.
I, however, had no idea what was going on outside that room. I just stayed in my bed, listening to the doctors as they tried to get my body and brain functioning as close to normal as possible.
Happy to say, there was noticeable improvement as each day went by, showing them more and more what I could remember. For example, my dearest friend, whom I had a small inclination of who she was, came by to visit one of my last days there. She came holding one thing that made my day: a Diet Coke. I was excited when I saw that because I recognized it! I gazed up and down the can as I read everything on it. Not sure what diet meant, or what pop even was, but man, oh, man, was I glad I remembered something about that can.
Were those days difficult? Yes. Sad? Yes. Worrisome for many? Yes. But thankfully, the doctors could tell that physically I was getting back to normal, so they allowed me to begin jogging on a treadmill a few times each day. I loved it! They then added one thing to that.
“As you’re jogging, look at this screen. Tell us what these things called numbers make you think.”
Up on a screen I saw . . .
I was a little confused at first, but it was only a few minutes until it clicked.
“4; 8; 7; 12.”
“Good job!” I then did more with longer lists. “Wow! You answer those fast.” I’ll never forget how overjoyed I felt. Giving the correct answers gave them more proof that my brain was holding memory from my past.There was hope!
This illness could have caused many physical problems. One main factor of what effects would show was where in the brain the illness hit. Thankfully, the area it hit me did not cause any permanent physical damage. To this day, God hears me thank Him for keeping me from most of the physical problems it could have caused.
I can’t help but think how, in the Bible, Paul, himself, had a physical ailment. It shows how he was at the same time “sorrowful” yet still “rejoicing.” And that’s how I am to this day about what hit me. My brain suffered much, yes, but I do find thankfulness wrapped up in it all with the fact I stayed physically intact. But more so because God has used it to confirm I am one of His. Even though it wasn’t understandable to me at the start, I knew there was something special between me and this man named Jesus.
We all need to recognize, like Paul, that peace can exist somehow, somewhere, during a trial. It may take a while to find, but it’s there. We just need to keep our focus on Christ and what’s right in order to have joy in our ‘Why, God?’ trials.
Can you share any story of your own about how a speck of peace was felt during a tough time? We all need to be reminded that peace and trial can go hand-in-hand.
YoMarianne Petersen’s book God and My Pillow is now available in book or PDF form from the Author herself using Paypal, or purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.