“How is Jesher gaining all this weight so fast?” My mind was completely boggled by Jesher’s third consecutive day of weight gain. He had never recorded a streak like this in his life! And although this news would be mortifying for the average adult, it is tremendous news for a micro-preemie.
The nurse laughed at the sight of my raised eyebrows and wide grin, “Well, you can thank his mama for that! Tell her to keep pumping that liquid gold!”
As soon as I heard the word “gold,” my mind automatically switched from being happy for Jesher towards being interested in the profit margins we could be squandering.
“That’s interesting,” I quipped. “What do you mean by liquid gold?” For the first time in my life, my heart palpitated with the same vigor of Californian minors during the 1849 ‘gold rush.’ Had I missed something in my reading? Was Lhorraine’s milk actually worth as much as gold? If so, I would need to expedite my timeline on teaching Jesher to share.
The nurse laughed once more, amused by my inquiry, “Oh, it’s just what we say around here. We call it liquid gold because of how valuable it is to our preemies. They improve so much faster when they are fortified by mom’s antibody-rich milk. Breast-milk is a natural miracle worker!” The nurse paused a tad after she finished her statement, probably expecting my cheeks to fill with the same positivity she was exhibiting. But I wasn’t impressed, and it took everything in me not to ask her how rich Lhorraine’s milk was in monetary value (forget the medicinal value!).
In less than five minutes, the thought of wealth had taken me from kind Dr. Jekyll and turned me into sinister Mr. Hyde. I heard the word “gold” and my capitalistic habits flared up like eczema in the winter. Instead of researching the side-effects of Jesher’s most recent prescription, I spent the rest of the evening researching the market-value of breast-milk. From magazines to blogs, I read for hours, synthesizing the information into a concise conclusion. Breast-milk popularity was on the rise! I was correct! I knew we had struck gold! But it wasn’t mineral gold; it was liquid gold.
I immediately ran to Lhorraine, bubbling over with anticipation. “Lhorraine!” I screamed. “I need to taste your breast-milk.” Lhorraine responded with a bewildered look that would have killed me if it had received divine permission. “What for you creep?” She barely cracked a smile. I continued to beg, “I need to do a taste-test so I can write a review.”
I was so convicted at this point that I never recognized her sliding a newly pumped bottle of breast-milk under a red, couch pillow. She retorted, “What in the world are you talking about Michael? You are not going to write a public analysis of my breast-milk. Stop being weird and help me carry this.”
She attempted to change the subject by handing me her backpack. “No Lhorraine,” I pleaded. “I need you to give me the last bottle that you pumped so I can market it.” My inner Ebenezer Scrooge was now on full display, but Lhorraine wasn’t at all moved by my shenanigans. “If you don’t stop being stupid, I’m going to hit you.” And with that, she stormed out of the room, attempting to hide her laughter.
Here is Jesher’s current medical report:
LUNGS–Jesher was successfully transitioned to a different ventilator, one that is considered a step down from his HFOV [High Frequency Oscillating Ventilator]. This is great news! After 12 hours on his new breathing machine, he is still maintaining proper oxygen and carbon levels. Our little man is moving in the right direction, and we are praising God for the progress. PLEASE THANK YAHWEH FOR RESPONDING TO OUR SUPPLICATIONS FOR JESHER’S LUNGS AND ASK HIM TO CONTINUE BLESSING JESHER’S LUNGS WITH “THE BREATH OF LIFE.”
PLATELETS–To date, Jesher has undergone multiple blood-platelet transfusions. Although helpful, platelet transfusions carry a higher risk of complications than regular blood transfusions. Over the past three days, Jesher’s platelet levels have been falling. He is do for another platelet test on tomorrow. If this trend continues, he will receive another platelet transfusion this week. PLEASE ASK THE LORD TO CAUSE JESHER’S PLATELET LEVELS TO GO UP FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.
DOCTORS AND NURSES–The health-care providers have been very kind towards Jesher and towards us. The Lord has given Jesher a special favor in this hospital, and I can tell that God has caused Jesher’s journey to be a point of inspiration for the staff. PLEASE ASK GOD TO ENDOW THE DOCTORS AND NURSES WITH GREATER KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING–NOT ONLY FOR JESHER, BUT ALSO FOR JESHER’S CLASSMATES.
Yes, I know I was being ridiculous; however, I was being foolish on purpose. I needed to be silly to maintain my own sanity, and I hoped my mischief-making would bring a smile to Lhorraine’s face for the sake of her sanity. The seriousness of our situation really weighs heavily upon every moment of every day. The reality of our plight never leaves us alone; it continually hammers on us with unrelenting pressure. Sometimes, the somber weight feels like it might break us. So when I feel us approaching our breaking points, I try to fight back the best way I know how…I act like a clown, hoping that my hooliganism might provide us with a few seconds of relief.
But before I close, I do want to address the elephant in the room. Inquiring minds still want to know: Did Lhorraine ever allow me to try some of her milk? Well, I’ll put it this way: For the right price, I can provide you with a comprehensive review of Lhorraine’s Liquid Gold [coming fall of 2018 to a Whole Foods near you].
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22