Monday, November 2, 2009

Purple Spots and Resilience

About three weeks ago our 5-year-old daughter started to complain about a red “bug bite” on the bottom of her foot. We didn’t give it too much attention because we thought it was just a simple mosquito bite that usually goes away. Until a few hours later she was in excruciating pain and her leg was swollen and almost covered with purple spots.

A rush to the ER revealed that Isabelle has Henoch-Schonlein purpura, or HSP. It’s a rare condition where the blood vessels get inflamed, usually after a viral infection, causing bruise-like spots to appear on the body and joints to swell. HSP could last for a few weeks or a few months, it usually attacks children, and there’s no known cause or cure for it. It’s not seriously life-threatening but it’s painful and could affect the internal organs -- children who had it showed signs of kidney problems later in life. So far, lab and blood results of my daughter showed everything is still within normal range. No medication was prescribed except lots of liquid, rest, and Ibuprofen for the daily pain.

This is what my family has been learning these past few weeks: As we care for Isabelle and watch her condition, we are also learning an important lesson on resilience. It’s true what many say, that children are resilient: They easily bounce back from pain. My daughter would cry every night because of the throbbing pain in her legs, but once the pain was gone, she was back to her fun, spirited self as if nothing had happened -- no “woe is me” nor dwelling on the past. There are many children who are in a worse or more painful condition than my daughter. My heart goes out to them and their families, but it’s comforting to know that these children possess the same resilience I saw in my daughter. I think God created all children this way . . . which means that all of us adults are capable of being resilient as well. For me or anyone else who tends to forget this innate human quality, Christ offers a word of advice: “. . . be like children” (Matthew 18:3)

(Originally posted on The Point blog)

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