I wanted to share the story of Ty’s recent surgery but wasn’t sure where to start. Ty’s problem was one of a very personal nature and I have chosen not to share the details with many people as a way of protecting his privacy. So, I felt stuck between wanting to share the incredible things that happened and protect my son’s feelings. But I feel that stories like this are so important because they give glory to God and show the skill of talented doctors and nurses. So, I am going to share what happened without giving the specifics.
One morning Ty told me he was hurting. I took a look and knew something was wrong immediately. I called his doctor and got him in right away. My brother, Tommy, picked us up for the appointment and I assured him it should be a quick appointment and apologized for the last-minute inconvenience. When I can out an hour later he knew it was more serious than we thought. Our incredible pediatrician gave us a referral to a specialist in Corvallis. Once I got home I received a call from that specialist’s office and was informed that after looking at the chart it was beyond his expertise. They referred us up to a specialist at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. We had an appointment for the very next day. Anyone who spends time in the health care field knows that when things move this quickly it is generally not a good thing.
My mom drove us up to Portland the next morning. At this point you can see how frustrating it can be to only have one car and constantly need to depend on other people for rides. Don’t get me wrong my family is wonderful and always so willing to help but I hate putting them out. Thankfully that will soon end thanks to the incredible generosity of my in-laws! Anyway, the specialist said he would need surgery but that historically the insurance company does not like to pay for the procedure he would need. To start with we would have to try a medication, that she gave a zero percent chance of working, for a few weeks before they would even entertain the idea. We went home with a prescription and started the most frustrating six weeks of my life.
Over the next few weeks Ty had infection after infection and was almost continually on antibiotics. He spent most of his time in pain and sick. My irritation grew. Our first authorization request was denied. The second request was denied. Finally the third request, which included additional letters of recommendation from other specialists, was approved! Surgery was scheduled and I could breathe again.
Monday afternoon Mike, Ty and I set out to Portland. Ty was a little grumpy from not eating all day and Mike and I were nervous. The nurses got us all set up in a little room and we met with the resident anesthesiologist, attending anesthesiologist, resident surgeon and attending surgeon. I can’t say enough good things about every person we met. They had such a wonderful way of connecting with Ty and making him feel comfortable. I was impressed with how much time they took making sure we understood everything and making sure Ty was entertained by choosing a root beer scented mask and picking out the popsicle he wanted waiting for him. When it was time to go back they didn’t even have to give him the anti-anxiety meds they planned to. They just rolled his bed back while he laid there with his hands behind his head and his knees up like he was watching a movie, I kid you not. I could hear him laughing as he went down the hall.
Mike and I settled into the waiting room and watched the screen that showed what patients were where in the process (in surgery, finishing up, in recovery). We were told the surgery would take about 45 minutes. We sat nervously as that time came and went. We watched surgeon after surgeon come out and tell parents that everything went well and they could see their child soon. Still we waited, every half hour felt like torture.
Finally a nurse from the front desk came and asked us to follow her. She showed us to a private room and said the surgeon needed to speak with us alone, no one else was shown to a private room. Then she left us in that little room for about 20 minutes while we waited for the surgeon. I don’t know how to describe what that felt like. Every worst case scenario ran through our heads. By the time he walked in I felt like throwing up.
What happened in that operating room was a miracle and a testament to incredible doctors and God’s hand. Because Ty’s problem had gone on so long and he had so many infections they had to open him up much further than they would have otherwise. In doing so they found a condition/problem that if left untreated would have been extremely difficult to diagnose and caused a life time of medical issues while seriously affecting his quality of life. They reason his surgery took so long was that they had to complete a second operation while in there. The surgeon told us that we were very lucky that he had to have this exact surgery at this exact time in his life; he only had about another year before issues from this problem would have started. What he called luck we call God!
If one thing went differently this problem would never have been discovered. If my prayers for the surgery to be instantly approved had been answered my poor boy would have had a lifetime of problems. How many other times in my life has this happened? How many times have I wanted something so badly only to be met with wall after wall? How many times have I pounded my head against those walls, trying to get them to bend to my will? Is it possible that many of those walls were put up by a God who saw the whole situation when I could only see a tiny piece of it? The word says that a man’s heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9). I am so thankful that I serve a God who is faithful when I am faithless. That despite my lack of trust he still leads and guides me. Many people want to see God as dead religion but I serve a Lord who alive and moving and actively guides and speaks to me through his word! Thank you Lord for saying no to my incessant prayers that Ty’s surgery be approved right away.
Ty is home and recovering now. His first week home was pretty tough. Managing his pain and the nausea that came from those pain meds was very difficult. But he is feeling a little better every day and in a several weeks will be back to his old self. Thank you to everyone who thought of him and prayed for him!