Wisdom Teeth

“They have to come out,” Dr. Reynolds informed us. “I’ll give you the name of a good oral surgeon.”

Two boys, eight wisdom teeth.

We met with the oral surgeon and scheduled the procedures. They would go to the hospital to have the teeth extracted under anesthesia. I don’t think they do that so much anymore, but that’s how they did it then.

Brave boys, 14 and 17, both over six feet tall, and ready to face whatever it was they had to face.

The first indication we had that this was going to be another adventure was while my daughter and I were observing the anesthetist.

Keep in mind that these were big boys, and not very knockout-able.

“Can you feel it?” the doctor asked. He was from India and had a definite accent.

“Can you feel it? Can you feel it now?”

“Can you feel it? Can you feel it yet?”

He continued to increase the anesthesia after each question. These boys were not giving up.

“Can you feel it now? Can you feel it?”

My older son finally started to drift off, but the younger one persisted.

“Can you feel it yet?”

“Nope.” Then he immediately conked out.

“I guess he felt it,” I remarked to my daughter.

They wheeled them into the Operating Room. In a little while, they wheeled them back out. We waited until they were awake enough to walk, then we put them in the car and headed for home.

I decided to set up their recovery room in the den on a queen-sized sleeper sofa. That way my daughter and I could keep a close eye on them. Oh, they were pitiful as they lay there side by side.

The nurses had wrapped them up in ice bags which wound under their chins, around their swollen jaws and tied neatly on the tops of their heads. They looked like cartoon characters!

We took pictures to capture the moment for posterity. They were not pleased. But you simply could not look at them without laughing.

For the most part things went well, and they healed from their surgeries, but then came the day when I stopped laughing.

I was opening the mail and received two bills (two boys, two bills) from the anesthesiologist. I was visibly aggrieved.

“What’s wrong?” my daughter asked.

“I can feel it. I can feel it now.”

“My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.”  — Psalm 49:3                          




The Foot of an Athlete

“Ew! What is that on your foot? Does it hurt? It must hurt. Is it itchy? I’ll bet it itches like crazy.”

“Mom! It’s fine. Just leave it alone,” my son protested.

“Nope. Can’t do it. We’re going to pray.”

And pray we did — for weeks. I asked him to keep it clean and dry, to wear only white socks, and to use medicated creams and powder. He did all of that, but it persisted. So we continued to pray.

My son, who refused to complain about physical ailments, always downplayed any infirmity. Like the time he had bronchitis.

The doctor prescribed several medications, including a cough syrup. While we were having them filled, he announced to his mother, the pharmacist and anyone else who would listen, “I’ll take the other stuff, but I’m not drinking any of that cough syrup.”

My son was 15, over 6 feet tall, and very opinionated. Why no cough syrup? I have not a clue. Maybe he was asserting his independence. Maybe he thought he was smarter than the doctor. Maybe he just didn’t like the taste. I don’t know, but he was adamant.

Didn’t he realize it was important to take an expectorant to help clear his chest? Didn’t he know bronchitis is serious business? Didn’t he know he was stepping on the very last nerve of his very concerned mother?

The very wise pharmacist, sizing up the situation, looked up at the boy and casually commented, “Big boy like you oughta drink it all down and lick the spoon.”

I was fascinated by the scene which began to play out before me. I watched the wind leave his sails as he acquiesced to the words and wisdom of the older man.

“OK,” he mumbled.

OK? OK? Was that all he had to say for his bluster and swagger, his thunder and bumptiousness? OK?

Well, OK. He took his medicine and recovered.

This foot thing was another matter, though.

This time there wasn’t a wise pharmacist to advise him, but a family praying for Him. And just like before, I was fascinated by the scene which began to play out before me. He chose to acquiesce to the words and wisdom, not of the older man, but of his heavenly Father. He chose to believe God for healing.

Weeks later we heard him shouting from the housetop, “It’s gone! It’s gone! I woke up this morning, and it’s gone!”

Sure enough his foot was completely healed. Healthy skin appeared where the infection had been. His foot was completely healed. It wasn’t a gradual “getting better.” It was a sensational “now you see it, now you don’t.”

He had waited a painful and itchy and long time, but his foot was completely healed. Faith was birthed in his heart, the sure and certain confidence of knowing that God is the Healer and that He had sent His healing virtue forth into the foot of a Tennessee teenager.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart .”  — Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)