Thursday, April 23, 2015


A while back in a post I mentioned that sometimes the cases I see at work move me.

If people in need come to my attention, often they will not get better. I know this is the experience of others as well, and all terminal illness in children is heart breaking, but here's a selection that I've seen recently. Just turn your mind to them when you think things are not going so well for you.

Juvenile Batten disease: parents watch their children slowly regress physically and mentally, typically loosing their sight at about 5-7 years of age, then after years of deterioration, die.

x-linked chronic pseudo intestinal obstruction disease: your child is sick and maybe in pain all the time, tube fed, weak and facing serious and life-threatening complications, organ failure, then death. Little, if anything, can be done.

Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva: your child's connective tissue becomes bony. They cease to be able to move. People with this affliction can live quite a long time as they gradually turn to bone.

I also see a lot of Huntington's disease. When you see the info on the internet, just bear in mind that juvenile onset is worse. Also bad is watching other family members succumb to it over years then find that you are developing its symptoms. It won't stop, and will kill you just like it did them and you know that you will be physically and mentally crippled. Your behaviour will change, you will loose your engagement with friends and the world about you...

Recently there was film on TV about a person with short term memory loss who had 50 dates, all just like first dates...cute in a movie, but real life with severe short term memory loss is not like that. Your life disappears. The result can be confusion, anger, sadness, isolation. Zero fun and unrelieved.

Another class of cases is acquired brain injury. I really feel for those who acquired it through a cerebral accident (stroke or aneurysm, for example, or HERNS syndrome). It can take years to gradually bring back the basic skills that you've lost: walking, eating, bathing, but sometimes they don't come back. Maybe you'll never read again; maybe you'll never remember who you were...but also maybe it came about because of a drug overdose or an accident while drunk. Sometimes partial drowning.

How do I as a Christian think about such things? Do I rail at God? Do I wonder why he didn't make the world better? Do I think, like Leibnitz that this is the best of all possible worlds anyway?

I think this is a broken world, its back turned on God and resolutely. We reap that day in and day out because he made the creation for his glory, but our care. So its all marred. But I go on to think that he has acted to rejoin fellowship with us in his kingdom and we look to a new creation.

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