Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Prayer for Daniel

When I was first diagnosed, within a window of four weeks I had between identifying the infection and being incapacitated by it, I attended a public health hearing devoted solely to the discussion of Lyme disease.  Patients were invited to speak before a panel convened by the county health commissioner about their cases and experiences.  I was there mainly to listen, and to support a friend who was going to give testimony.

After listening to a woman offer yards of data obtained from the coroner’s office on Lyme-related death and further data on the number of Lyme-related suicides, my friend approached the podium to tell his story.  The man who had at that time been struggling for some 25 years with humiliation, debilitation, pain and increasing poverty, who groped for words in our own conversations due to the cognitive impairment or ‘brain fog’ that often follows from infection, stood before the panel and spoke coherently, temperately and compellingly of his case.  As I watched and listened, knowing him otherwise, it was clear to me that God in His mercy had rested His hand upon this man, conferring at this time the grace to speak. 

As if that was not enough, He then proceeded to steal the show in the following speaker’s presentation. 

A young man of 21 approached the rostrum, leaned forward a bit and asked, “Can my mother come up here with me?”  Then, with his mother there beside him, he told his story.  Infected at age 11, given one month of oral antibiotic.  Infected again at age 13, given one month of oral antibiotic.  At age 15 he began hallucinating.  Subsequently he was diagnosed with psychiatric illness and admitted to hospital where he remained for several years, not improving but getting worse.  Eventually, someone thought to test him for Lyme disease and he tested positive.  With antibiotic therapy the hallucinations ceased. 

He told this story slowly and carefully as his cognitive ability was still significantly compromised by the infection.  His meekness reminded me of Jesus, yet the God-like thing about his testimony was not only that, nor simply that he wanted his mother there, but that with her there, as she stood listening to him tell the story, her face taut with grief, he said to the panel and emphasized, “It’s not the doctors’ fault.  They didn’t know.”  As Christ nailed to the cross before His mother stood and said, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.”   

Today, once more, I would like to offer a prayer for Daniel who revealed the presence of Christ in this disease before me and all who were there that day.  The following from Psalm 123 comes to mind:

“To you have I lifted up my eyes, you who dwell in the heavens: my eyes, like the eyes of slaves on the hand of their lords.  Like the eyes of a servant on the hand of her mistress, so our eyes are on the Lord our God till he show us his mercy.  Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.”          

No comments:

Post a Comment