In mid-February, between working at Staples, applying for jobs, and investigating ministry opportunities, a seemingly small bump formed at the top of my back near my neck line.
I was checking out a friend's church plant here in Helena on that Sunday, visiting my physician on Wednesday, and landing in the emergency room and finally the hospital by that Saturday. That small bump had grown to become a painful 6-inch oval area threatening to unleash infection into my bloodstream. It had become a staph infection.
I was admitted to the local hospital here in Helena and immediately treated on heavy duty intravenous antibiotics. By Monday, MIRSA was thankfully ruled out and it was decided that the best course of action (although not my favorite) was to physically remove the infected tissue by surgery.
Within days, the infection was better and I was discharged by Thursday with large wound in my back/neck that was 7-inch-wide by 1-inch-deep. For three weeks at home, I received daily nurse visits to pack and treat my wound.
During my home hospice, I was unable to return to work and our family began to face a number of financial challenges for medication and insurance, as well as our daily needs.
We had immediate prescription costs of $600, our furnace stopped working needing $300 of repairs, one of Andrea's teeth had become infected and she required a $1000 root canal.
It was all too much. Both Andrea and I broke emotionally. As God often does through our brokenness, He was gracious to us through our friends, ministry connections, and a couple local congregations.
We were humbled and brought to tears by gifts we can never repay. And while we are still struggling, God continued to provided for us through some means we could never have anticipated.
After being out of work for nearly four weeks, my wound was beginning to heal. I was strong enough to return to the Copy & Print Center at Staples and begin paying back what may be about $12K in medical bills. At this point, we are still not sure what we will owe when all is done, but we are grateful that my Aetna insurance through Staples became effective just the Sunday before I was admitted into the hospital.
Now in mid-April, I am coming up on nine weeks since I first visited my family physician regarding the bump. Last Saturday was the first day that we did not pack and dress the wound and the gaping hole in my back that seemed like it could never heal has amazingly grown closed and is beginning to scar over. It feels like a miracle.
But perhaps the miracle is this — that God loves us, you an me both, to care for and sustain us regardless of our failures. He does this not only in times of hardship, but in every moment, through every heartbeat, and every breath.