We drove up to the Sunshine Coast this morning to stay with friends for a couple days, and I took the girls to visit D in hospital. We last saw Allison and her daughters in January, and early this week D was admitted to hospital with two partially collapsed lungs.

Although the circumstances of our visit weren’t great, it was wonderful to catch up with Allison and hear the full extent of D’s condition and treatment. (Basically, the doctors don’t know what causes D’s breathing problems and can only treat it when it gets bad.)

Alison + Delaney, 12 weeks old, Aisha, 5yo, + Brioni, 3yo, March 2010
Because D was sleeping when we arrived, we moved to the parents' room. A volunteer gave Aisha and Brioni some pages to colour in and a little packet of crayons.

D + Allison, March 2010
D was very lethargic for the first hour of our visit.

While D is in hospital, Allison has been caring for her without a break, even sharing her bed at night and monitoring D’s oxygen levels by opening an eye now and again to read the screen. The hospital doesn’t provide meals (except for breastfeeding mothers), so Al has been living off leftovers and the food that her husband brings in each day.

Brioni, 3yo, + Aish, 5yo, March 2010
The girls were interested in the entertainment console provided by the Starlight Foundation. The moveable console allows patients to watch videos from a huge selection, play games and even access the internet.

Brioni, 3yo, + Aish, 5yo + D, March 2010
The girls were interested in all D's tubes and sensors. After she received some medication during our visit, D started to perk up.

D in hospital, March 2010
This was the first time in days that D felt good enough to sit up for an extended length of time.

The timing of the whole hospital visit was one of those events in which we could see the hand of God clearly orchestrating everything. When we had arrived at Nigel and Melinda’s house in the morning, we had discovered that Nigel was nursing a broken arm.

Nigel was due to return to the hospital this afternoon for a check-up and to have a full cast set over his broken arm. (A partial cast is used for the first ten days to allow for a little bit of movement while the swelling goes down.) Nigel and Melinda had been praying for healing, but a broken arm is a broken arm, and it takes about six weeks to heal.

Melinda had initially been apprehensive about the timing of Nigel’s hospital appointment because it coincided with the time in which she needed to pick the kids up from school. However, we soon worked out that Nigel’s appointment was at the same hospital where Allison and D were admitted.

I was delighted to drive Nigel to the hospital and use the time to visit our friends. This freed up Melinda to pick her kids up from school at the right time.

At the hospital, the x-rays revealed that Nigel’s arm was already healed — after just ten days! This meant that Nigel didn’t need a cast on his arm. The doctors were astonished with the healing and had to consult among themselves to make certain that 1) Nigel’s arm had truly been broken in the first place and 2) his arm was now healed.

Coming home from the hospital, Nigel and I were rejoicing and praising God. At the same time, we were trying to fathom the depths of the circumstances that led to Nigel’s broken arm and now his sudden healing. What does it all mean, and how is God using Nigel in this? We’re not sure, but with God in charge, we certainly want to come along for the ride!

Brioni, 3yo, David, Calista, 23 months old, Z, Aisha, 5yo, T + A, March 2010
Children — count 'em all. With a neighbour's child joining in the fun, we've maxxed out on seven children plus one baby.

Mel, March 2010
Melinda in her kitchen. I made pizza loaf (again) for dinner.

After dinner, the men headed off for Nigel’s Bible study, and Melinda and I shared what God has been teaching us. When the men got back, our conversation broadened slightly, and we discussed verses, the state of the global church and our journeys with God, staying up until midnight!

David + Lauren, March 2010
Good times with friends.