“We’re moving your daughter back to the ICU.”
The call on my cell phone shattered our somewhat peaceful dinner at the Med Center’s cafeteria with dear friends. We ran back to her hospital room as quickly as we could.
We had watched her get sicker all day long, with no idea why. Extreme lethargy, no appetite, and then vomiting. It was less than a week after her traumatic brain injury, and it was imperative to keep her calm and quiet, to reduce the risk of further brain bleeds.
After the bout of vomiting, when she was again calm and resting, we took the opportunity to get something to eat in preparation for yet another long night.
While we were gone, the nephrologist (kidney doctor) made her rounds, took one look at our daughter’s lab results over the course of the day, and ordered an immediate transfer back to ICU. My phone rang at dinner with the news.
Praise God for excellent doctors. That doctor saved her life that night.
It’s common for head injury patients to experience a “sodium crash,” where the body’s sodium (i.e., salt) levels drop to where the body can’t function. Too little sodium, and like my daughter, you get really sick.
Brain seizure-type sick. Had that happened, she likely would have died.
And all because her bloodstream had slightly less salt than normal. Things can start happening even with a small drop out of the normal range.
Now that’s power. Like a single candle illuminates an entire dark room, just a little salt can determine life and death.
As the Creator of the Universe, Jesus knew this. But the science of his day didn’t yet fully understand the role of salt in the human bloodstream, so I’m not surprised that he didn’t use this medical analogy when talking about salt in Luke 14:34. Would’ve gone right over their heads.
But as a 21st Century father whose child has experienced a “sodium crash,” the point is not lost on me.
Just like salt, followers of Jesus Christ can have a big impact everywhere God has placed them. But, if they let the world take away their witness, the impact is lost, and the world is a little sicker for it.
Of course, getting my daughter’s sodium levels back to normal wasn’t as simple as feeding her more salt. After a complex medical procedure and the infusion of more powerful saline solution directly into her bloodstream, in a couple of hours she was much better, alert and calm.
And best of all, hungry.