Monday, May 4, 2009

It shouldn’t be too complicated getting a tetanus booster. Maybe I just complicate everything. It shouldn’t have been too complicated to pull nails from the old decking boards in our barn.

But I managed to step on the edge of a board and felt the sharp point of a rusty nail slide right through my inch-thick boot soles and through the padded sole of my foot. “Ah…” I took a deep breath. “I just put a nail through my foot.” Tommy looked up quickly from the board he was wrestling with on the dusty floor and said cheerfully, “Well, I hope you’re up to date on your tetanus shots.” Josiah shook his head and sighed. “Um, actually,” I answered, slowly removing my boot and staring at the quickly spreading bloody spot on my striped socks, “I haven’t had one since I was eleven. That’s when I ripped my leg open on a rusty nail in the pond dock.”

So I limped inside and, while the boys finished pulling nails from the pile of lumber, I washed my wound and poured in peroxide. Mom just went about fixing lunch and Papa continued Bible studying. My parents are clearly given to panic. Will having a nail-pierced foot make me more like Christ?

After a year and a half in Arkansas, I still don’t have a doctor. I haven’t needed one. Really, the wound looked pretty good, so all I was concerned about was the tetanus shot. Tetanus is not something to fool with. I lost a baby goat to tetanus—actually, I spent days treating her, getting up with her at night and trying to get her through before Josiah and I finally put her out of her misery. Misery it was, too, stiff-legged and resembling a rocking-horse with spasms shaking her until she bleated in pain. Not something I want to risk getting.

The health department said they’d give me a booster—Thursday. Another doctor we called needed to see me—to the tune of a hundred twenty dollars. The ER, well, that would be expensive. Backi suggested telling the Health Department what had happened, which prompted them to say that I need to see a doctor. Finally the Millard-Henry clinic said I could walk in and get a shot from the shots nurse.

It sounded too good to be true.

It was.

Dathan and Josiah dropped me off before heading over to see Donnie. And then I discovered that I had to be an established patient. The doctor on call couldn’t even see me that day and it would cost several hundred dollars for an appointment.

See, I’m an adult daughter, not a full-time student, so I have no medical coverage. Which makes getting a tetanus shot difficult. Just a shot, that’s all I needed.

I arrived at Choices a little late. The only client on the schedule was an abortion-minded girl who hadn’t shown up the week before. I was limping by the time I showed Becki my foot. “Do you think I can wait for a shot?” She cringed. “I hate to mess around with tetanus.” But she was impressed with how clean the hole was. “It’s deep,” she told me. “I can see into it. It’s at least an inch deep. That must hurt a lot.” I shrugged. Actually, it wasn’t too bad.

And in walked a frightened little couple. “Can I help you?” I asked and they exchanged glances. “I sure hope so,” the young man told me, chewing on a lip ring. “We think she’s pregnant.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: never judge a book by it’s cover. Ponytails and piercings often cover the kinder hearts—beware the people who look like they have it all together. Those are often the most hard-hearted of all.

I’m forced to draw a curtain before much of my visit with them. I spent two hours with this couple and when the girl on the schedule came in, Sherry had to see her instead. At the beginning they wanted an abortion—it seemed like the quick fix. But never did they truly want that abortion. They had some true concerns and some real fears, but as we talked the Lord worked to show them truth, to relieve their fears and also to open the way to show Himself to them—as a very real Creator and sustainer of life. They left clutching an ultrasound picture—the best ultrasound picture I’d seen, though it was only seven weeks—and planning to come back to discuss adoption. In their eyes and words I could see and hear sincere conviction—that child would live!

As Josiah and I crowded into Dathan’s pick-up, I praised the Lord, entirely forgetting the possibility that I might die a miserable death of tetanus since I’d never gotten that all-important shot. The Lord can heal. The Lord is in control. He can move hearts. He is the Creator and sustainer of life and my life is in His hands.

Father, Thou art life and ever living
Thou gives life and in Thy giving
Thou gives all that I might need
To be conformed to Thee indeed.

Every moment death might claim,
But I am claimed by Thy own name
Which is a confidence I have
That I will live beyond the grave.

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