Faith as the Bedrock of Hope When Dealing With Hemophilia

A son's terrifying reaction to medicine when hospitalized inspires a sermon

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by Joe MacDonald |

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Last Sunday, I preached about the idea of faith and how it informs our lives as we look toward the future. I drew from scripture to define my terms when speaking about the meaning of faith. According to the text, “Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see” (Hebrews 11:1 CEB). The simple definition in this verse is the foundation of my belief system.

As I continued my sermon, I shared a story concerning my youngest son, Caeleb, and an extra horrible night in the hospital because of his hemophilia. My boy lay in his bed screaming in pain. He’d received the highest level of morphine he could receive, but he still found no relief from a horrible joint bleed in his right knee. As a last resort, the doctor on call ordered a dose of Ativan (lorazepam) to help relieve stress. We hoped that Caeleb might find a respite from the overwhelming discomfort.

Unfortunately, the Ativan proved too much for my son’s body, and he began to experience respiratory distress. To the hospital staff’s credit, the minute he showed signs of struggling, a medical team entered the room to start treatment for overdosing with a fast-acting medicine called Narcan (naloxone). We witnessed the immediate effects of the drug, as all the medications used to help with relief suddenly stopped working. Caeleb shot straight up and started screaming at the top of his lungs as he experienced the total weight of his pain. The scene felt surreal as we tried everything to help my son find some relief.

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I’m pleased to report that Caeleb regained his composure and recovered from what I call the worst incident we experienced treating bleeding disorders. When all seemed calm, I turned to Cazandra, my wife, and watched my son’s chest rise and fall. With each breath, I thanked God for another moment with my boy.

I thought of the Bible verse from Hebrews, looked at Cazandra, and said to her, “This is what I know; next year, we will look back on this event and wonder how in the world we survived it. We will remember that in our darkest hour, hope propelled us forward. I claimed the promise of a new day as the ‘reality that I hope for and the proof of what I can’t see.’” The depth of faith brightly shone as I hung on to the promise of a new day.

Last Sunday, I could hear a pin drop as the congregation listened to my story of faith and the promise of hope. I encouraged everyone to think of the moments they considered their darkest hour. I asked, “What still, small voice did you hear to raise you out of the pit?” That is faith in action, as it refuses to allow us to remain in a place without promise. The reality of hope can only find the light of day when faith offers a bridge to move us from the depths of despair and into the light of a new day.

I recently sat with Caeleb and talked about the night he overdosed in the hospital. Fortunately, he has very little memory of the event. I’m thankful that he doesn’t remember the trauma he felt as his medical team worked closely with him to overcome the effects of both the Ativan and the Narcan. He continues moving forward as he begins his junior year in high school, not sustaining a joint bleed in over eight years.

Many years have come and gone since the horrible night in the hospital. My son is growing older, and his health is much better. I’ve yet to see another experience as terrifying as the one night in the hospital. I continue to realize that in my darkest moments, faith calls me to move and make my way out of a pit of despair and into a life filled with promise. The message of hope is what I pass to my congregation as I discuss the definition of faith.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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