Like we are boarding a plane for a great trip, Emily and I are all checked into our seats, she buckled up with All the Wires and we are off, but for a hospital travel trip of an 18 hour EEG to see if her seizures are responding to medicine. We know that her seizures are gone--or decreased greatly--but we will find out if her brain is operating in healthy patterns.
Hospital stays feel like international travel. When you travel internationally, you have to manage your food and your child in a confined space, you experience anxiety at not being in control of the plane or the travel itinerary or the pilot. Your flight may be bumpy or stormy or uneventful, but nevertheless, it's out of your comfort zone. Likewise, you don't manage the hospital schedule and nor do you control when the doctor or technician will see you. Being in a hospital or plane is a bit anxious because you are not in the pilot's seat. Despite the calming colors and the semi-peaceful surroundings, you are aware at any time something bad could happen and has happened before. Time outside of the plane or the hospital does not exist. Your identity and your "real life" melts away as you take on the identity of "traveler" or "patient". You follow lights and sounds on screens. You follow instructions from people you don't know and really have no reason to trust except that they are licensed by some authoritative board. The food isn't good, but you eat what you have to eat. You sleep in uncomfortable places and you drink less than great coffee. You leave with jet lag due to overnight wakings at random hours by the staff.
When I parked today, the sign said: "Take any elevator for all destinations". Is there an elevator that will take Emily to the "Whole & Healthy" Destination? Is there a path that moves us to the promised land minus the wilderness? International travel takes us places and we are different when we return home because of what we experienced. I am learning that suffering and hardship takes us places we didn't know were out there and we are different when we return home. It's a lesson that we are not the pilot of our own lives as much as we plan and organize. We make decisions and respond and grow, but none of us can control the road ahead of us. But the rugged beauty, the transformation of soul, the growth of relationship, the depth of God, all of this is the promised land.