Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The influential

When Emily was born we had a pediatrician in Clovis. He was supposed to be "the best of the best" and we felt fortunate that he would be our pediatrician. However, Emily had horrible spit-up issues. I mean, we packed the diaper bag with three extra outfits, and literally a half dozen burp clothes. No exaggeration. When I brought her for a two week well check up, I suspected she had reflux, and while the doctor complained about her lack of weight gain, he told me that reflux was "a laundry issue, not a medical issue." I will never forget that quote. His answer to the lack of weight gain was for me to immediately stop nursing and start her on a prescription high caloric formula. Thankfully I was able to muster all of the new mommy self-confidence I had (there wasn't much at this point) and tell him that I didn't agree. I think he literally rolled his eyes.

Since we were moving in only a few weeks, we looked forward to finding a new pediatrician here in Irmo. I did lots of research and found a pediatrician in the area that was supposed to be fabulous. Unfortunately, he was not accepting new patients, but would we like to make an appointment with his colleague? Sure. Its not like we had a lot of options.

From the moment Scott and I met our new pediatrician, we liked him. He immediately told us Em had reflux, as suspected by the spit up, but also because her poor little esophagus was worn raw. Stupid Clovis doctor! He wrote us a script for Prilosec, and while the improvement was gradual, it was there. I didn't have to stop nursing (an idea our new pediatrician was absurd) and our confidence as parents grew as Emily did too.

Since then there have been many, many trips to see our doctor. Emily once had an ear infection for weeks were she would literally scream for hours and multiple rounds of antibiotics didn't have any affect. She had tonsils the size of walnuts that caused her to snore louder than a drunk sailor. Those had to go. Surgery it was. Then the twins came along and brought their own share of hernia surgeries, potential blood autoimmune issues (this was Elsie, and while it took three weeks for the results to show "normal" levels, in the end it turned out just fine) and multiple seasonal allergy issues. With our climate and humidity Emily can get a staff infection from a bug bite, and Eli breaks out in an eczema rash if he merely looks at a tomato. They're not unhealthy kids by any means, but we've made lots of trips to see the doctor. Many times I was in tears and feared that I could be leaving with a prescription for drugs or even a referral to a mental health specialist. But our pediatrician never fails to offer comfort and assurance to Scott and I as well. He never makes me feel ignorant, or like a hypochondriac. He has young kids himself, and I believe him when he tells me that Scott and I are doing a great job.

But most importantly, he knows and loves our kids. Emily thinks he hung the moon and can fix anything. After the earthquake in Haiti, our doc went there to help offer his services for anybody who needed them. I brought Emily in for a well check up shortly after his return, and when she told him, "I prayed for you every day while
you were in Haiti" he got teary and hugged her so tight. After the "big wave" hit Japan, Emily wrote a letter telling him to go to "where the big wave was" to help all the people. She just knew he could help all those people in Joplin, MO.

When I brought Eli in yesterday for potential pink eye and allergy issues, our doc told us that he had been back to Haiti several times, and he actually partnered with a few others to open an orphanage in Haiti. He gave me the website to share with Emily so she would see their faces, and pray for them by name. He and I talked about how important it was to help our children know about the world that exists outside of Irmo/Lexington. We talked about a missional perspective of the world. I left so thankful that Emily has this wonderful person as her doctor. To not only help her with her ailments, but also to share how he's using his gifts to bless those near and far. What an amazing example.

Then I started thinking about Em's Kindergarten teacher. She just returned from Honduras with her church. I've showed Emily several of the pictures from FB of her beloved teacher on this mission trip. Emily beamed. She was proud to know her very own teacher was a missionary! Emily's class had learned all about water last year, and took action to raise money to construct a well in a school in Nicaragua. This left Emily with a beginning understanding of how life was different for children in other countries.

And then there's our own church. Several students and leaders are taking a team back to Belize. There have already been teams there to help construct a church building and to build a bridge where the only way across the gorge was the old bridge that had been destroyed in a storm. All these things have been shared with Emily in her class at church.

All of these people and experiences in her life have helped develop a missional understanding in Emily. This morning she was talking to me about how we had given up cable for the year that I was a stay at home mom. We'd been clear with Emily as to why we made this choice, and she understood that cable was a bill that we had to pay monthly. We went an entire year with no T.V. but now not only do we have cable but we also have Netflix. Emily asked me how much the cable bill cost. I told her and she walked away. Later this morning she asked me if we could donate to the orphanage if we turned off the cable. I was blown away. I think this will be a decision that she will eventually change her mind about. I told her we needed to talk with Daddy about this decision, and that we would probably need to wait until we got back from our trip to California. But that if she wanted to give up cable, that would be an excellent way to help support the Haiti orphanage. Emily beamed.

This morning my heart is swollen. Our Emily is so precious. I'm so thankful for the people in her life that show her what it means to serve God by serving others.


Chris Hass said...

What an amazing story! I can only compare this to our two oldest who are attending VBS this week and coming home talking about the "girls versus boys competition to see who can donate the most to Haiti this week. Can I get my allowance today so we can win!" I almost threw up.

I remember once, while teaching in St. Louis, a first grader stood up during our weekly school assembly to be recognized for choosing to give up his birthday presents so that the money could be donated to a cause he was really worried about. This was before I had any kids of my own at home but I remember thinking to myself "How do you make that happen? How do you raise a kid who is so selfless and caring?" Congratulations, it looks like both you and Scott found the answer!

Scott and Malisa Johnson said...

A few months after Katrina hit, there was a girl in my class who had a birthday party. But instead of bringing gifts for her, the invitation asked that the guest consider bringing a gift for a girl their age who was living in a shelter in Columbia after loosing their home. And she included clothing and shoe sizes. Sure enough, when I went to her party there was cake and all the rest. But she had the girl there, and the girl opened all the presents and was more grateful than any child i've ever seen on a birthday. It was amazing.

Some of the most meaningful experiences in my life are a result of wonderful young people.

Jennifer Barnes said...

Who's surprised here? No one! I know what a precious girl you have! I remember Emily telling all of us about her amazing doctor and how he helps so many people. She could have helped you write your blog - or at least drawn an illustration to go along with it. Thanks so much for sharing - and give her a huge hug from me. I so miss that girl...