My baby girl is hurting!

This is my beautiful daughter Emma. 

She’s upstairs right now–trying to sleep away a possible migraine and sinus infection that she has had for three weeks.  The doctor has just suggested another ten days of antibiotics, after five days of taking one antibiotic and ten days of another stronger one already.

Emma has had chronic sinusitis for at least four years.  She misses up to thirty days of school a year because of it and the very worst part is that she lives with nearly constant pain or pressure in her face and head.

Right now I feel like screaming.  Punching something (I did not punch the doctor as he is only trying to help.)  I am kicking and yelling internally because my baby girl is hurting!

Some would say that living with chronic pain tests your character, and well, I would agree.  I have watched friends who live with chronic pain and it has revealed even more so the incredible strength and beauty of their souls.  But when you are thirteen you don’t even know yet who you are and this seems a cruel test.

It is wrong to allow a child to live with so much pain.

But there is nothing to do.  Unless we go hardball with pain medications for the headaches in the short-term, which will undoubtedly cause her quality of life to suffer with all the side effects.  And so, she is resting quietly trying to make the headache dissipate so that she can return to a mission camp.  She is involved in a camp at our church, of service in the community.  Some forty teens and a dozen adults together for five days and nights.

She called me the first night, in pain.  “A 9.5.”  What she didn’t tell me is that she sat in the first aid office alone, crying the pain was so bad. When I picked her up today to go to the doctor, it had subsided a bit and the Ibuprofen was helping “a little.”

She wants to go back and I am hoping that she can, that she will choose to go despite the pain.

What do I need to learn from this powerless place of watching my baby suffer? 

As I analyze my response, I am suffering because of my daughter’s pain.  I feel many emotions.    Anger at the doctor for years of suffering without relief for Emma.  Weariness of the situation.  Regret and shame wondering if it has been our mistakes (with her diet, exercise and general health) that may have caused this or at the very least contributed to it.  And fear that we will not find out what is causing it and find a solution!

Do you care for someone who is in constant pain? How do you resolve all those conflicting emotions? How do you offer comfort, even relief? Or, are you in constant pain?  What things have others done that bring you comfort and relief?    What have others done that may not have been helpful?