Monday, June 19, 2006

A Bit of a Miracle

On June 2, 2006, I watched my fourth child vow to love, honor, cherish, and be faithful for as long as he lives. William, my baby, married Kristin Krug.

As my big, strapping boy held the hands of his beautiful bride, I began to cry. Not just mother of the groom tears, but a tsunami. One would have thought I was unhappy about this union. Oh, quite the opposite. You see, he almost didn’t live to see this day.

We humans are funny creatures. Most of the time we are fighting life. Resisting the twists and turns we encounter on the road. There are times that we are literally fighting for life. And, on occasion, we allow ourselves to flow with life.

I like those times.

While raising five children, my husband, Neal, and I often found ourselves fighting life. Pressures at work, difficult relationships, money problems, made even a small thing like William’s honkin’ size 13 shoes lying in the middle of the living room floor an issue, especially when I tripped over them at night. But, on Christmas Day 1997 all of that changed. That day cleared away all the distorted views of life. That day we quit fighting life because we were fighting for William’s life.

The week before Christmas he came home from school with a headache. The doctor said he had a sinus infection. Each day he felt worse. After a second visit to the doctor he was diagnosed with the flu and was given more medicine.

He just got worse. Shortly after waking on Christmas morning he had a grand mal seizure and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors at the emergency room saw something on his brain and recommended that he be immediately flown to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. There he was diagnosed as having a subdural empyema—an infection that had developed between his brain and the layers of tissue covering it, caused by his sinus infection.

Dr. Charles Teo advised us of the procedure he wanted to do which involved removing part of William’s scull and essentially “washing” his brain. He warned us that our son had about a 50/50 chance of survival. After signing papers we went to our son and ran along side the gurney as far as we could until he disappeared behind the large double doors leading to the surgery.

It’s funny how our life view changed in less than twenty-four hours. I would have given all I had to have the living room filled with William’s shoes as long as he lived to fill them.

Friends and family joined us in the waiting room. We prayed together, cried, and prayed some more. The surgery was supposed to take four hours. But in two hours the doctors called for us. Our hearts beat wildly. Did that mean William had died?

Dr. Teo found us and said the surgery went well. I finally breathed. But not for long. He told we were not off the "tenter-hooks" yet and for us not to get our hopes up because William could still suffer a stroke and the infection could reoccur anytime. If that happened, we would go through the whole procedure again, increasing the chance of a stroke. He told us that William was in recovery but would be in a coma for several days and most likely be in intensive care for as long as six weeks.

When William came out of recovery, to our amazement, he was awake. The nurse saw our surprise and said he was conscious before going into recovery. I put my hand on his cheek and he turned to me and asked for orange juice.

The wonders didn’t stop there. He was in Intensive Care less than twenty-four hours and in ten days we took him home.

Dr. Teo pronounced him as a “bit of a miracle.”

That was ten years ago. Today he is healthy, happy, and still messy. And I don’t mind a bit. But, I’m sure that Kristin has something to say about that. Even so, when I mentioned that he was my baby boy, she corrected me by saying, "He's my boy now."

And that’s the way it should be. The whole "leave and cleave" thing.

I can’t begin to express my joy and gratitude for God’s mercy on our family.

Congratulations William and Kristin. You both are a blessing to us. I love you. Mom