“Do you have dry eyes?”
The question, from a lung specialist, was altogether unexpected.
After a momentary hesitation Flora replied, “I don’t think so. Why?”
The Professor waved a paper held in his hand. “Blood test results are not really my forte. I asked a colleague to have a look at yours. He says there is an indication of Sjogren’s Syndrome. Diagnosis is usually made from dry eyes and dry mouth. Perhaps you should follow it up.”
The consultation reverted to the revelations of the lung scans and need of medication or intervention.
The General Practitioner quirked an eyebrow. “I would not have diagnosed Sjogren’s Syndrome from a cough!”
“Neither did the Professor.” Flora explained. “He discussed the blood test results with a colleague. What is Sjogren’s Syndrome?”
“It is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks your body – usually affecting the eyes and the salivary system, leading to dry eyes and dry mouth which are the usual indicators of the disorder.”
“But I don’t have dry eyes, do I? There is no lack of tears – in fact my eyes water very easily.”
“Dry eyes don’t mean that you won’t have tears. Rather it is a lack of lubricating oil in the eyelids so that your eyes feel gritty and may become quite sore and reddened. Make an appointment with the optician. I will arrange a television interview with a Rheumatologist in the city who specialises in autoimmune disorders.”
Flora walked slowly home wondering what else there was to know about this new threat to her security. Who could she talk to? She really didn’t want to talk to anyone, but she needed more information. It was some time before it occurred to her that the information might be found via the internet. How many times had she heard friends talk of having “googled” the information, and she knew where to find “Google” on her laptop. So she googled, “What is Sjogren’s Syndrome?”
There was too much information available. After an hour spent visiting several sites offering information she closed the computer, pushed her notes aside, and retreated to the kitchen for a much needed cup of coffee.
Too much information: ‘Sjogren’s is a systemic disease, and its symptoms are felt throughout the entire body.’ Although none of her symptoms were severe she related to a number of the listed effects. Fortified by the coffee she was ready to take the next step. Returning to the computer she googled the Rheumatologist. Perhaps there would be an indication of the treatment offered.
In this case there was very little information available. Except in cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lymphoma or Lupus, treatment seemed to be restricted to eye drops, drinks and moisturisers. There is no cure for Sjogren’s Syndrome. It is simply a matter of dealing with the discomforts as they arise and living with them as they progress.
The frog song of the evening echoed her thought of the afternoon: no hope; no hope; no hope. After a restless night Flora woke heavy and depressed in the pre-dawn. With a mug of coffee at her side she settled down with her Bible. Always there is comfort in the Word of the Lord; guidance when decisions must be made, and strength when the way forward is too hard.
Four chapters: history, the Psalms, the Prophets, and lastly the New Testament. There are reminders of people, the need of prayer, times of thanksgiving; and sometimes a special blessing when a verse or a passage lights up and glows. This morning it was the last two verses of her reading that brought her back in line and dispersed the hopelessness and depression of the Sjogren’s Syndrome.
“What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)
The timely reminder brought floods of tears: tears of thankfulness; tears of relief. Flora thought, “It’s not my problem. I am only the tenant, God is the owner – He is my Landlord: He is responsible for the property, and I can put all that aside and leave it in His hands.”
Jesus said: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter ...... I will not leave you comfortless:” John 14:16 to 18.
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