It is hard to be sick. It is harder to be away from home and be sick.
Madelynn and I have been prime targets for the Puerto Rican mosquito. Maddi’s fingers have swollen like small cherry tomatoes, her skin tender and shiny. She wrestles with discomfort in her sleep, rubbing her fingers up and down the pillow creases to find relief. I try everything I can think of to help—anti-itch cream, baby Benadryl, a cold washcloth, covering her hand with a sock, toothpaste (this was my remedy when I was a little, convinced it works). All my attempts only irritate her more until she cries out, “No, mama!”
I keep praying that we haven’t been exposed to dengue fever, though I have learned these mosquitoes carrying the Caribbean disease are unique in appearance with black and white stripes. The little bugs that are biting us don't have stripes. They are affectionately called "mime" or little mosquitoes. Still I worry.
Besides the bites, there are other symptoms–fever, headaches, coughs. I took both kids to the ER, a process that took over five hours in this US territory, only to end up at “la farmacia” and find out after an hour wait that the computer wasn’t working and I wouldn’t be able to get any medication. I begged with my crying baby waiting in a taxi until the Spanish-speaking pharmacist felt compelled to give me the amoxicillin with a hush, rush push over the counter and no directions.
The next morning I try to chalk this all up as a lesson, but quite frankly I’m tired and not in the mood to learn. I decide to go for a run instead and have a heart to heart with God about why I am where I am, what I’m doing with my life, why people get sick, and the never-ending question how can I keep doing this?
As I’m running, a new friend I have made at the resort, Cindy, drives by waving through her car window. She pulls over and offers a smile. She has a present for my children and tells me that she knows I am here for a reason and that if I came to Puerto Rico only for my life to intersect with hers for a few short weeks, she believes that God had a plan. She tells me she read my website last night and can barely find words in either Spanish or English to explain that in ways my writing has touched her deeper than even her own church. She is finding healing in what I have to share and a paved path for her own life battle of taking care of a husband with cancer.
The conversation is brief and I am startled by its timing. Cindy has to get to work. And I guess I have to continue my jog and chat with God.
This time I am the quiet one. God has something to say.
“I am sufficient," are the words that run through me.
There is more his spirit explains, "I see you. I hear you. I know you can do this. I am sufficient for strep. I am sufficient for doubts. I am sufficient for you.”