My firstborn son has cystic fibrosis. This genetic disorder is currently incurable and will contribute to a shortened life span for him. The first year of his life he was hospitalized three times to fight respiratory infections. We faced an uncertain future with only a certainty of medical issues ahead.
Medical insurance offered through my employer begins each January. We carefully read the offered plans and make the best choices we can each year. That first year’s insurance was going to change in six weeks. The benefit package for the coming year was less robust and greater out-of-pocket costs loomed.
Hospitalization and prescription coverage were the two primary concerns. My son’s three admissions had drained us emotionally and financially. His maintenance medications were absolutely essential to keeping him healthy and appeared to be where most of our costs would be going.
One of his needs is for digestive enzymes. These prescription capsules are taken with every meal and snack. Without them his ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients is non-existent. At the time, he was one year old. His dosage just to prevent stomach aches, bloating, and diarrhea rivaled that of an adult.
I built a spreadsheet to calculate his prescription needs and our expenses under the new plan. The numbers were so disheartening, I titled the file Medical Bankruptcy. We had no idea how we would pay for it.
At church, at home, with friends, with each other, or alone, we prayed. We prayed for God to intervene. We prayed for strength to go on. We prayed for his healing. We prayed for a miracle.
Our income was borderline poverty level and we had recently been receiving government assistance. One of the social workers referred us to the state-run pharmacy for a consultation. We processed the necessary paperwork and the state pharmacy ordered a three-month supply of his enzymes. Delivery would occur before the end of the calendar year.
The next week, our son got a stomach ache. We had not changed his food or medications, but something was bothering him. His diaper changes showed a day of diarrhea, then nothing. Constipation? Intestinal blockages are common in cystic fibrosis patients and may or may not require surgery sometimes to clear them out. The prospect of our toddler going back into the hospital for surgery scared us.
We planned to take him to the hospital the next morning but he cleared the problem and resumed normal functions. Except for one thing. His need for digestive enzymes drastically reduced. What had been an adult’s loading now tapered down to a level more appropriate for a one year old. The new dosage stabilized there and became his new baseline.
The state pharmacy called a week later. Our order was in. We went and picked up the cartons of enzymes and filled the back seat of our little car. At home we unloaded it all and counted it out. I jumped on a spreadsheet and did the math.
The order had been placed when his needs were high. At his new level, the supply we had just received for free would last us the entire next year. What I feared as certain medical bankruptcy within the next twelve months had vanished entirely from our situation. God had changed our son’s metabolism so dramatically, we had nothing expensive to purchase.
Our son turned 23 this year. He has remained healthy and hospital free since that first year. He played soccer for seven years and his respiratory health remains excellent.
We had prayed for something to change, never knowing what God would do. Change came in a way we never expected it.
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