The last few days, I have not felt myself, physically. After almost 50 years on the planet, I can diagnose myself almost better than a doctor. You know what I mean. At first stuffiness, can’t you sense a sinus infection coming on, or experience has taught you that the think-I’m-Gonna-Die-Flu will pass in a few hours? If my heart gets to racing, it’s apparent I’ve OD-ed on caffeine, and my mitral valve gets rather cranky about it.
But this is different. I’m puzzled as the twinges and symptoms new to me. Of course, I Google and WebMD with the thought that if I diagnose it before the doctor does, I win the prize of a smidgen of control in the situation. Of course, every website reads, ‘In severe cases, the hangnail on your pinky may cause death.’ Great.
The thing I dread most is I’m a month and a half from the half century mark, and we all know what that means. If I so much as go in for a nosebleed, the minute the doctor sees my chart they will want to throw me down for the privacy invasion test of all times. The run of the scope into places I shudder to think about.
Surely, whatever this is will go away. I can wait it out.
Cliff finally caved and is watering our very thirsty half-dead tree in the front yard, he swore he wouldn’t due to our crazy water bill. I decide to hobble from my deathbed to fix some soup. The low-grade fever has me going from muggy to chilly like a thermal ping-pong ball, so I wrap an afghan around my shoulders. It isn’t long until the soup is bubbling, and comfort is a bowl away.
Suddenly, a poof of flame shoots around my arm! The blanket’s fringe is on fire! I slap to put it out, but it flares again. I flop it to the sink, but since I have had enough energy to do internet medical research the sink is full of pots and pans.
A flash of fire flys beside my cheek and I smell the stench of cattle being branded. Instead of a panicked gut reaction of “Oh my goodness, my hair is on fire and I could end up maimed for life!” it calmly said, “Really? I’m feeling terrible and now this?”
I swat the poof of burnt hair away, oddly feeling no heat.
The afghan flares, a trail quickly running up the side. I run it outside and holler at Cliff, who has not a clue I’m going to add firefighter to his resume’ in mere seconds. Immediately, he douses the flames. And me.
He has a look of fear from a too-close call mixed with ‘she may need a babysitter from now on.”
Of course, like the pain in my side, I pooh-pooh it off. Nothing is damaged, but the blackened afghan. I’m fine. All is well.
Until I sit down. Singed hair stench overtakes me, and I run my hand through my hair. No scorched spots. I shuffle to the bathroom and look in the mirror, expecting curled, crunchy, shorter strands and an immediate hair appointment in my future. None.
That leads me to think about the flaming afghan wrapped around a sluggish thinking me. No burns on me. And the yellow tinder box of dead grass in the front yard I stood over with Cape Inferno would have sent the whole town up in seconds. What about the timing of Cliff watering a tree he hasn’t watered all summer long? It’s the one time all day he’d taken a break from his TV Olympic career.
There’s no explanation but grace. A wonderful fountain of grace dousing the fiery darts of carelessness.
He protected me in my own home, why not trust him in the doctor’s office?
So I went. I was sick, but nothing that can’t be taken care of with a few shots in the rear and me getting more serious about taking care of myself. And yes, I will be having that test. How bad can it be? After all God held my had on a stroll wearing a Blanket O’ Fire.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers ,they will not sweep over you .When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2