Do you ever wonder what your visceral reaction might be in an emergency—fight, flight, or faint? We hear tale of frail mothers lifting cars to rescue their trapped children as adrenal kicks in, or a regular Joe sprinting at the speed of light to find safety when chased by some predatory being. I always pictured myself as “The Fainter”—the useless, squeamish, deer-in-headlights individual who would resort to an instant blissful sleep in order to avoid traumatic confrontation. So last week proved me wrong…
Jacob, my 17-year-old (the youngest of the clan), was scheduled for gum surgery. For anyone who has experienced this, you will already be cringing. In a nutshell, it’s where a gum tissue graft is extracted from the roof of the mouth to the receding areas along the tooth line… no, I absolutely did not Google it before the procedure and yes, Jacob totally did. :/
For two hours they worked on his gums while I read in the waiting room, trying desperately not to imagine what was going on in the dental chair. Thankfully, the surgery went well and we were sent on our merry way with an ice pack, gauze, and instructions to lie very low for the next day or so. I set Jacob up with painkillers and Netflix, truly grateful the worst was over. Two hours passed quietly and then…
*Apologies for the grossness that follows* Jacob coughed, ran to the kitchen and proceeded to haemorrhage into the sink before my very eyes. They said there may be “seeping” but this was definitely not seeping. Ordinarily, my husband would step up to the plate in a “bodily fluid situation” (I empathy-gag with vomiters, don’t do blood, and even snot makes me wretch) but as he was at work, it was clearly down to me. I briefly considered the consequences of fainting at this juncture, but quickly realized this was not an option—my boy needed me. “Fight Laura” emerged and I grabbed a giant roll of Bounty paper towels, phoned the dental surgery, rubbed Jacob’s back while he bled profusely, and was told to drive him straight to the surgery. Immediately. And calmly.
Looking back, it was a surreal experience—me smoothly giving square-breathing directions to my boy (and myself), driving like a careful maniac, watching him go into shock as the roll of Bounty pressed against his mouth turned red. My first thought? “God, I’m going to need you here!” Swiftly followed by, “Please don’t let me faint. I’m driving.” And then, “Please don’t let him faint—he’s nearly 6 foot of teenager-ness and I don’t like my chances of throwing him over my wee 5 foot 2” frame.”
For the record, prayer is not always my initial reaction, even in an emergency. It should be, but sometimes I think I’ve got it all under control—when of course, I would be so much better remembering that GOD has it all under control. He’s right there— listening, watching, waiting…
“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” Oswald Chambers
As we stopped for a minute, which seemed like an hour (road works—today of all days) Jacob opened the window and spewed out a flow of blood, together with what looked like a small liver. Sorry. It was a massive blot clot. Apologies to the cyclists who rode past at that very moment. My prayers turned more urgent as my son and my car resembled evidence of a massacre, I zoomed my way to that surgery, and led my bloodied boy past the waiting room full of unfortunate pre-surgery patients straight down to the private room.
And breathe. Jacob looked like he had been badly beaten up and I must have looked like death as they made me sit and drink juice as the adrenalin levels finally dropped and I was a weepy rag doll. Another hour and he was stitched up and ready for home. I’d like to say that was the end of the drama, but the next morning found us heading back down to the dental surgeon as another blood clot developed and continued for three hours—slower and less climactic than the previous one thankfully, but I have to say I felt better knowing that I’m not necessarily going to be The Fainter. And praying to my Rescuer again was a no-brainer.
Sometimes it takes a crisis situation to remind us of our vulnerability and how much we need to rely on God, doesn’t it? I love that He gives us the strength to fight when needed, to take flight if that’s the route He would have us go, and if we do happen to faint along the way… He’s our loving, gracious Heavenly Father and He carries us through.
I may have a few more grey hairs after last week (buried beneath the blondeness) but I take delight in the fact that there is One who carries me, sustains me, and is my Rescuer.
Are you Fight, Flight, or Faint? Do you turn to the ultimate Rescuer first? The good news—He’s always there, even when we are slow to remember…
Stay safe out there, my friend, and be kind to your gums—
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