We had some very stressful days around here this week. Robbie had to have a forty-eight hour ambulatory EEG from Monday to Wednesday and it turned out to be quite the ordeal. We have sworn “Never again!”
In the first place, it wasn’t really all that necessary. Robbie started a new anti-seizure medicine about four months ago that, from the very start, has worked a miracle, not only in helping to control his seizures, but also in his quality of life. As we discussed this with his neurologist a few weeks ago, the doctor suggested we do an EEG to compare his brain waves now as opposed to them a few years ago. We were curious, too, but knowing Robbie, doubtful that he would cooperate. He would have to wear the electrodes and the “turban” covering them for forty-eight hours at home.
“What do you want to bet he has them off before we even get home?” I warned the doctor.
“Well, let’s just give it a try,” he said with that laid-back smile of his. If we’d know then what we know now…
The day finally came after three postponements. Robbie tolerated having the thirty or so electrodes pasted to his head and face fairly well, and did alright as the technician wrapped gauze around and around to keep them and the small electrical box perched on top of his head in place. He looked like something out of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab when she was done. We left the office, got him into the car and headed for home.
Surprise! He actually got all the way home without lifting a finger to undo anything. I went inside ahead of them to prepare Robbie’s food and medicine while Bob got him out of the car and into his wheelchair, took him up on the wheelchair lift and into the house. He lifted Robbie out of the wheelchair and put him in the recliner. Suddenly from the kitchen I heard Bob bellow, “ROBBIE!!” The moment he’d turned his back to put the wheelchair away, Robbie had pulled the turban off. We’d made it home, but hadn’t been in the house sixty seconds when the conflict began.
We wrapped another turban around. That lasted less than an hour. There were no more materials for a third turban so we got out a ski cap and put that on Robbie. It was the only thing keeping the little black box perched on his head and, so far, all the leads attached. And every hour or two, off it would come. The moment we took our eyes off of him, Robbie would snatch that cap off and wait for us to notice with a guilty look on his face. “ROBBIE!!” Bob would thunder, or I would shriek. Then we would scold—and scold. We knew he understood, but he just did not want that cap on his head.
We felt terrible. We were stressing over it, and Robbie was stressed, too, and becoming more and more depressed. We knew it had to itch; that his head was too hot with that cap; that some of the leads had to be pokey. We were sympathetic to what he was going through, but trying to be responsible in getting that EEG. We finally told ourselves that if we could get twenty-four hours in, we would call it good and just relax and if stuff fell off, so what? By that time, though, we were in freak-out mode and couldn’t help ourselves when he reached for his head. “ROBBIE!!”
We tried to distract Robbie with his toys and music. That most likely hurt more than it helped. I caught him banging his tambourine on his head over and over. Probably not a good thing for the EEG. He turned into a head-banger as he listened to his music, too, bobbing his head violently with “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “Jesus Loves Me.” No heavy-metal or punk rock for him! He shrieked with joy as Daddy played with him. Also not good for the EEG. I am sure whoever reads that EEG is going to wonder what on earth was going on!
When the forty-eight hours were up we went back to the doctor’s office and the technician took it all off. There were ugly red welts on Robbie’s face and head that lasted for days afterwards. It looked like he had had an allergic reaction to the paste they used. Poor boy! He must have been miserable, and there Mommy and Daddy were scolding him. I’d say, under the circumstances, Robbie did remarkably well. When we took him out to the car, he let out a shriek of sheer exhilaration! Free at last!
So that is why we say never again. If he has to have another EEG sometime in the future it will be when he is in the hospital and really needs it. Modern medicine is wonderful and it is amazing what they can do and see within the human body these days. We’ve come a long way, by God’s grace, and yet what we don’t know about the body and mind and how to treat them so far outweighs what we know that it is ridiculous.
Our Creator knows, though. It was He who made every molecule and organ and system and put it all together in a fascinating miracle of creation. It was and is He who breathes the breath of life into every living soul. Psalm 139:13-16 says:
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Modern medicine does not hold a candle to what God knows about each one of our individual bodies—billions of individual bodies! Not only did He create them, but he also sustains them and holds them together. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16-17) Hebrews 1:3 says He “…upholds all things by the word of his power…”
God knows Robbie’s brain (and yours and mine) better than any machine could ever determine. He knows not only the brain waves and what causes the seizures, but also every thought and dream and emotion. He knows every brain wave in Robbie’s head, and every hair on it. “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7) He knows us inside and out.
I love the verses surrounding Psalm 139:13-16 for they tell me of God’s knowledge of all of me, not just my body and how He made it, but also my actions, my speech, my thoughts, my whereabouts. They speak of His presence and His protection.
O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
We cannot understand how God can know all that about every single one of us. It boggles the mind. As the Psalmist said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it!” Even more mind-boggling is His love for each one of us despite His knowledge of how far we fall short of His holiness. Two of my favorite verses follow Psalm 139:13-16. Verses 17 and 18 remind me that I am precious to Him and that He never stops thinking of me.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
We are grateful to the doctors and surgeons who help us in our time of need, but it is God who, through grace, gives them the knowledge, the technology and skill to do so. He deserves our worship, praise and thanksgiving. Let us be ever grateful to Him.