This I Believe

Heather - Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Entered on November 27, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: illness
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This I Believe…. Life’s Events Are Random

July 8, 2004 I woke up with what I thought was a mild case of food poisoning. Being a stay at home mom, I told myself I did not have time to get sick, I took some Imodium and went on with my day. As the day went on, I found myself getting sicker. By 11:00 pm what had started out as food poisoning, had my husband taking me to the ER.

That evening was filled with tests, MRI’s and interviews that asked the question what I had eaten to cause such a bad case of food poisoning. By 6:00 am, 24 hours after the onset, I was admitted to the hospital, not because of the stomach distress, because my heart was racing so fast, the doctor on call feared I could have a heart problems. My mild case of food poisoning was not what I thought it was.

The next day, my youngest daughter’s 2nd birthday, my doctor came into my room to tell me I would be fine. I had somehow picked up a very bad case of cryptosporidium. Crypto is a parasite that most healthy adults can nurse at home without a lot of medical intervention. I asked the doctor, “Why me?”, I am a healthy adult. He told me that the concentration of it was more than 2X higher then what they would normally see. The important thing was that I was going to be fine. He left the room, and I overheard him tell the other Gastroenterologist on my case that I was “lucky to be alive!” Lucky to be alive! It was crypto! Half of Milwaukee had it 10 years earlier, and most of them were not required to spend days in the hospital. Again, I asked “why me?”

Three days after being admitted, I was sent home to a strict diet of eggs, bananas and rice. I watched my daughter’s birthday on videotape and slowly regained my strength. Several weeks after my illness, the Waukesha County Health Department called to interview me, a requirement when an illness like crypto is reported. After 30 minutes of questions and answers, I was given the news that I was the only reported case of crypto in the metro area in months, a source would not be found, and it was just random.

I spent weeks, maybe months trying to figure out what had caused my “waterborne” illness. No one else in my family had gotten it, meaning our well water was fine. The local swimming hole was free of it and as time went on, there were no more reported cases. So, after months of mulling it over, I agreed that yes, it was a random event.

An illness like this could turn non-believers, like myself, into believers in God. Or cause believers to tell everyone who would listen that “God was with them!” It was prayer and belief that made them better. Not me, I say, “Life’s events are random!” There is not a higher power that is making these things happen, God is not watching over us or testing us. These events are all random. They make us stronger, better and happier people. But, they are random.