Pam Pardy-Ghent: Christian By Convenience

I’ve gone through some, at the time anyway, scary things over the past few months. Now that I’m finally on the other side of it all, I’m almost ashamed to admit how scared I actually was.

Truth be told, it’s interesting and embarrassing how quickly one can go from praying to the heavens for good health news to forgetting to even thank the good Lord above for yet another day of feet-on-the-floor, pain free living.

My health problems began shortly after the sudden death of my brother last August. I experienced face/jaw/neck pain that left me in agony every day.

Hearing the ‘C’ Word

Stress. It had to be stress, I figured. Like anyone with a great health plan would do, I was fitted for a mouth guard for bedtimes and went for massages and acupuncture when I could. There was some relief, but the problems never entirely went away.

Then came the sinus pain. I popped over the counter meds like candy looking for relief. None came. Then, a routine eye exam so I could get a new pair of specs after my daughter cracked the ones I had, showed blurred and limited vision in my left eye. A CT scan was ordered.

The sight issues shocked me. How in the world had I not noticed that? Especially in my line of work where seeing is pretty much a prerequisite. I knew it was something to worry about because my doctor seemed very concerned with what he considered ‘sudden loss’ with localized pain, and my mother, a retired nurse, began mumbling the ‘c’ word as she looked me over and quizzed me for signs of a brain tumour.

Then pain, like I’ve never felt before, shooting through the inside of my mouth and up through my face into my eye. I felt like I was being struck by lightning. I stopped eating solids; it hurt. I stopped drinking anything cold or hot and I gave up caffeine looking to control what I felt were the  pain triggers.

And I took meds – not over the counter stuff – the real deal, as needed, which was more often than I’d like to admit. I had one likely prognosis as I awaited my MRI; Trigeminal neuralgia – a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve that causes severe, sudden, shock-like pain in one side of the face. I was also warned that the MRI would possibly reveal the real culprit; Multiple Sclerosis.

Tough Pill To Swallow

While certainly not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, I was devastated. Besides thinking that I would be living – from this day forward – with chronic pain, was a tough pill to swallow. Thinking I had something that I could possibly pass on to my children genetically was a nightmare. Raised in the church, I did the only thing I knew to do; I prayed. Often.

A week before my MRI results were to be in I went to the dentist for a cleaning. Something was off since my last visit three months prior. An x-ray revealed I had a cracked tooth, and that it had been in the process of cracking through end-to-end for some time. The next day the tooth – a top back molar on my ‘bad side’ – was removed. Days later, my pain was gone. It couldn’t be, could it? I prayed a little harder as I awaited my official test results.

The reveal was such a relief. I didn’t have MS. I had been suffering through a tough-to-diagnose condition known as Cracked Tooth Syndrome. I was going to be fine.

I started back living life the way I always had; full speed ahead. And my prayers – which should have increased as I thanked the Lord for my good fortune – stopped being as frequent.

While I recognize the error, it would be a lie to say I’ve totally mended my Christian-when-convenient ways. While I try to remember to say thank you for the gift of health and a new day, I don’t always. But I am committed to being as healthy – and as engaged in life – as possible.

And that’s something, isn’t it?

You miss out on a lot being sick. Work, family and friends all suffer when you don’t feel well. So when you’re healthy, there’s much to be grateful for. While I know I’ll never be perfect, I do promise I’ll try. And I think even the Lord himself will appreciate that effort.

Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]

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