497:My Daughter’s Fever

Praise be unto His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas. I am Lao Yinming of Group Two and my husband is Zheng Jisheng of Group Seven. I would like to share an account of how the guru has helped me and my family.

On May 10th, 2011, my daughter began to have a fever. When I took her to get checked out at a clinic near our home, the doctor said that lately there had been two possible reasons for children getting a fever: One was a stomach virus, and the other was a respiratory tract infection. Given that my daughter did not have any blisters or redness around her mouth, it was possible that she had contracted the latter, and that after having a fever for six to eight days or so it would go away by itself. The doctor therefore prescribed some medicine to reduce her fever and told me to take her home and keep an eye on her.

On May 12th, she had another high fever, this time of 40.2⁰C, and her whole body was trembling, so in the middle of the night we took her to the children’s hospital’s emergency room. Fearing a lung infection, the doctor took blood samples and ordered an X-ray. After confirming that her lungs were not inflamed, and all indices were normal, the doctor told us to give her more medicine to bring her fever down, and to make sure she drank lots of water and got plenty of rest, and that we could come back for a check-up on the 15th of May, a Sunday morning. When Sunday came around, my daughter was in pretty good spirits, but she still had a bit of a fever. However, the doctor had another X-ray taken, and yet again it did not reveal any problems. Before we left, I asked the doctor, “If her fever doesn’t go away, won’t it turn into pneumonia?” The doctor answered, “Your child is in very good spirits,” and then asked my daughter, “Can you point to where you feel uncomfortable?” She was able to answer all of his questions, thereby avoiding the necessity of undergoing a lot more tests. Her ears and throat were not inflamed, either, and the doctor said that her autoimmune system should be problem-free either that day or the next. If we were still worried, he said, we could have her hooked up to an IV and admitted to the hospital for observation, but we told him there was no need. So we left and went to the Buddhist Center to participate in the regular Sunday puja.

My daughter had taken her medicine before the puja, but prior to the Dharma Protector Achi Ritual, she began to feel unwell. She shivered non-stop, and her temperature rose to 41.5⁰C. I immediately took her to the restroom and gave her another dose of medicine to reduce her fever. Upon seeing the panic on my face, a Dharma brother asked what had happened, and I told her how high my little girl’s temperature was. She told me to hurry up and feed her a nectar pill. I answered that I did not have any, but she said she had some on her, and gave me one. I quickly had my daughter swallow it down. By the time the puja was finished, her fever had receded somewhat, so I took her home and kept watch over her.

When we got home, her temperature hovered between 37.6⁰ and 37.8⁰C. This lasted until just after noon on Monday, when my daughter began to cough. She said she wanted to make prostrations, so when my husband came home he took her to do so in front of the mandala in our house and told her, “Grandpa Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will protect you; you’ll be well again, very soon.” About ten minutes after eating dinner, she vomited it all up and felt extremely sick, but she still felt hungry. This process repeated four or five times, and her temperature rose to 39.6-39.8⁰C, but she kept coughing and having shortness of breath. We therefore took her to the emergency room for a night of observation, and after taking her blood and discovering that her white blood cell count was as high as 18,000 and she was 160 on the contagion scale, the doctor told us that our daughter should be admitted to the hospital.

At around 8:00 the following morning, she was transferred to a regular ward. X-rays revealed a white mass between her lungs and heart. Seeing this, the Sunday attending physician’s face went white. Stammering, he told us that our daughter’s condition had changed to a much greater degree than he had imagined possible, and that she could not remain in the regular ward. Instead he wished to give her the best medical environment possible, so that she could be cared for and monitored twenty-four hours a day. He therefore arranged for us to transfer over to the pediatric intensive care unit. The doctor stressed that the X-rays taken on May 12th and May 15th had both been completely clear, showing no problems at all, but that this one taken on the 17th had taken him by surprise. He insisted that my husband go and look at the X-ray with him, for it was a special case.

After we got to the intensive care unit, two or three more attending physicians came to explain that they would do everything in their power to cure our little girl. At the time her pulse was between 150 and 170, and her blood oxygen levels were okay, but she was suffering from respiratory distress—about 70 to 80 bpm (whereas under 40 is normal)—and she had a temperature of around 39.5⁰C and was still coughing. The doctors still had no idea about what sort of infection she had, and it would be another two days at the earliest before they knew, so they put her on antibiotics for the time being. After observing her for twenty-four hours, if she continued to have difficulty breathing, they would need to intubate her. My daughter had to suffer all of this because I had not done a good job of looking after her. I suddenly wondered what could be done, and thought about making a phone call to implore for help. My husband said His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche held audience with believers for six long hours every Saturday, and was busy on Sundays presiding over the general pujas; it was his advice that we not bother the guru.

After thinking it over for more than ten minutes, I went ahead and selfishly dialed the Glorious Jewel Antique Shop’s number to report about my daughter’s being in the intensive care unit. About half an hour or so later, a Dharma brother called back to relay the question asked by H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche: “Have you taken your daughter to see any elderly relatives in the past couple of weeks?” I reported that we have very few elderly members in our family, but that every week we take our daughter to visit my father-in-law in his nursing home. H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that a sentient being had followed us from the nursing home, and he agreed to liberate this being during the next Chod Puja. The guru also bestowed blessings upon my daughter, and told us to have her take a nectar pill and some nectar water.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was so conscientious and mindful that, worried the medical personnel in the intensive care unit might not allow us to feed our child the nectar pill and nectar water, he instructed us to contact Dharma Brother Cai, a doctor at that hospital, and ask for her assistance. Being in Taoyuan at the time, we were told it could be 5:00 before she could get there, so we immediately went into the intensive care unit to ask the doctor to allow us to feed our daughter the nectar pill and nectar water. The doctor said that without knowing the pill’s ingredients, he could not allow her to take it, because doing so could hinder her medical treatment. We then told the doctor that we wished to sign a waiver, and only then did he agree to allow it. My husband went in and told our daughter, “This nectar pill and nectar water are from Grandpa Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; you need to drink them down.” She answered, “Okay.” Our compassionate guru also wanted a detailed report of our daughter’s condition after every visit we made to the intensive care unit. After each visit, therefore, we immediately reported how she was doing to the Dharma brother on the phone. H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed my husband and me to go together to the Buddhist Center during morning and evening prayers to make grand prostrations dedicated to sentient beings from then until the Chod Puja. By then it was already after 1:00 in the afternoon.

When we went into the intensive care unit at 2:00 that afternoon, my daughter’s pulse was between 145 and 160, her blood oxygen levels were okay, and she was breathing at around 50 or 60 breaths per minute. Moreover, her cough had let up and she was doing a bit better than she had been an hour before. A thick yellow substance was flowing from her nose, and she was sleeping a bit. After our visit we immediately reported our daughter’s status to the Dharma brother, who then told us that H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was continuously blessing our daughter and cared deeply about her condition. As a disciple I am grateful to the guru for the blessings and help he has given our little girl. Later that afternoon, Dharma Brother Cai hurried over to find out how she was doing, and by the time we visited her at 8:00 that evening, she was awake. She asked softly, “Where is Grandpa Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche?” I asked her, “He has constantly been blessing and protecting you, hasn’t he?” She nodded her head and said, “Yes.” She was hungry, so she then whispered, “Milk.” However, since she still had shortness of breath, the nurse told her milk would cause her to choke and that she’d have to wait until the next day before she could drink any. My daughter then whispered to me, “Tomorrow I want to drink milk and eat rice and some of Grandpa Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s cookies.”

At 11:00 the next day, as we were entering the intensive care unit to visit our daughter, from the doorway we could hear her shouting, “I want milk! I’m hungry! And I want Grandpa Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s cookies.” The nurse could be heard trying to console her, saying that the milk was being heated up and would be ready soon, but that she was not allowed to eat cookies just yet. I could see that she was not having as much trouble breathing as she had the day before, and she was in pretty good spirits. Her temperature was between 38⁰ and 38.5⁰C, her blood oxygen levels were okay, and she was breathing at around fifty bpm. By the time we visited her at 8:00 that evening, she was able to sit up and watch SpongeBob SquarePants. All of this was the result of H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great, auspicious, and compassionate blessings.

As a disciple I stand ashamed before sentient beings, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas. I did not take good care of my daughter, and even troubled H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with my negligence, thus wasting the guru’s fortune and energy. After all, there are so many more sentient beings in need of his help.

That evening, I was chatting with a woman outside the intensive care unit who said, “The expressions on your faces yesterday morning were dreadful! But now you look much better. Is your child okay?” I nodded and said, “Yes, she is. Thanks to H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings, she will soon recover and be transferred from the intensive care unit to a regular ward.” To this she replied, “Oh, that’s great.” I asked her, “How many days have you been here? You look exhausted.” She answered, “We came here in mid-April, so it’s been more than twenty days now.” She told me that even though she was resting in the lobby, being a spirit medium herself, she was actually in the intensive care unit fighting with ghosts to protect her child, so she was very tired and weak. Stunned for a moment, I then told her, “Our guru, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, once taught us that Taoism is very powerful, and that his own father was a Taoist practitioner. After experiencing his father’s death, however, our guru discovered that no Taoist method could resolve the great issues of life and death.” I then opened up the copy of Happiness and Suffering I had in my handbag, showed it to her, and asked whether or not she would like to ask the guru for guidance and implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for help. “After all, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche uses the power of compassion to help sentient beings, and the result is different; you don’t need to fight with ghosts.”

She looked at me and said that in Kaohsiung, she and her husband were both considered to be rather reputable spirit mediums, so she would have to think about it. When I bumped into her two days later, she told me that her child had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in the right side of his brain, that the doctors were using ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), and that his GCS was 3. They had already conducted a ritual for him. What would happen in the next seven days depended on the child, because even if he recuperated, he would still have to undergo amputation. I encouraged her to come and seek an audience with H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, saying that he could certainly alleviate her child’s suffering, but in the end she declined. This was just a minor episode that happened outside of the intensive care unit, but it made me realize how safe and secure all of the guru’s disciples are under the strong wings of his protection, and that he treasures each and every one of us. We have a guru on whom to depend now, whereas in the past, before we took refuge, we would have zipped around like headless flies asking questions, paying for divinations, and waiting in chaos for answers from the doctor. As a disciple, I must make a firm resolution to amend my ways, and that I absolutely could not approach my Buddhist practice with the attitude of one who just seeks protection, blessings, and good luck.

My child was very healthy when she was born.

While my daughter was in the intensive care unit, I saw many young children suffering there. Some were only seven or eight months old, and on oxygen. I heard a doctor explaining to the family members of one of them that when the child’s condition worsened, he would need to have a tracheostomy. Hearing this made me feel very sad. How could a baby with such a small, frail body face so much suffering, while still having such a long way to go? After hearing the doctor’s explanation, the child’s parents both cried. When we came out of the intensive care unit after our visit was over, we wanted to find that couple, but were unable to.

A quick three days later, my daughter was transferred to a regular ward. I thought to myself that the following Saturday, I would be able to take my daughter to the Buddhist Center to thank H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for saving her life. I self-righteously assumed that I was being very respectful in doing so, but I took her there without changing her into a tidy set of clothes first. This was both very rude and disrespectful. The guru asked why my daughter was not wearing any underwear, and I replied defiantly, “That’s how hospital patients dress.” I was completely disrespectful toward the guru, and even caused him to worry that such a careless mother as myself might let her get sick again before she had recuperated. H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche even held my daughter while blessing her, and said, “Your daughter has not completely recovered. When she gets released from the hospital, have her take some traditional Chinese medicine to nurse her back to health.”

I thank all my Dharma brothers for their help and concern for my daughter’s situation while she was in the intensive care unit. Despite the fact that we don’t have many relatives, you all made me feel like we were part of a great big family—a family called “the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.” From the time my daughter was admitted to the hospital to the time she was discharged, the doctors never figured out what sort of virus or infection she had. First they said it was the flu, and then that it was an adenovirus causing a respiratory infection. In the end the only answer they gave was that she’d had pneumonia caused by hemophagic influenza virus. Actually, it wasn’t important anymore, because the guru had already told us the reason for her illness.

When my child was almost three years old, she had such a high fever that she had to be put in the intensive care unit.

Throughout this entire process, I made many mistakes. Here I would like to repent for them, before H. E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas:

1. I did not follow the guru’s teachings to constantly contemplate death and impermanence—the impermanence that can turn good times to bad at any time. I was attached to the good life I was enjoying, and it had not occurred to me that death could rear its ugly head at any time. For this reason, I must repent, and refrain from committing even the slightest transgression.

2. Thinking I was being a good daughter-in-law, I took my own daughter to the nursing home to visit my father-in-law. I thought that in doing so I had fulfilled my filial obligations, but I was in fact taking my child for granted. Given my frequent tendency to miscarry, it was only due to H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings that I was able to give birth to my daughter without mishap. However, I had not done my best to take care of her, thus wasting the guru’s good fortune.

3. Thinking myself respectful, I took my daughter from the hospital to an audience with H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche without even making sure she was dressed properly. This behavior was extremely irreverent, and even caused the guru to worry that my daughter might catch a cold.

4. I thought I respected the guru, yet when His Eminence spoke to me, I talked back. This was the most unworthy and unforgivable way I could have acted.

5. Self-righteously, I assumed that I was being very good and obedient, but I was unaware of my own faults. I had not acted in accordance with the guru’s teachings or taken the time each night before bed to reflect on the mistakes I’d made that day or the fact that I should repent immediately for them.

Thanks to the guru’s saving blessings, my child is now eight years old and my entire family has taken refuge.

Here I would like to repent deeply, and vow never to make these mistakes again. I urge you all to use my example as a warning, and practice diligently in our vajra guru’s footsteps. I also would like to express my deepest gratitude to him for helping me and my family. Finally, I sincerely pray that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will have good health, have eternal presence in the world, and keep turning the Dharma wheel so that countless sentient beings may benefit.

Respectfully written by Disciple Lao Yinming, on July 9th, 2011

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Updated on January 8, 2017