12 years old. Kinda young for brain surgery, really. One of my best friend’s daughters is having brain surgery tomorrow, December 4th. Here she is – with her surgeon Dr. Ben Carson at Johns Hopkins today as they get ready for tomorrow… (Rare case of pediatric trigimenal neuralgia, if you must know.)
It’s exhausting to think about. Overwhelming. Actually, for them, I think it’s been all that and a whole lot more for the last 4-5 months of trying to figure out what is wrong with KT Rose and how to go about fixing it. I really cannot relate. It’s hard to have empathy for a situation that is so far from what most of us ever have to endure.
As I thought about KT Rose and her brave-by-necessity parents… I am not sure what to say.
Yet I do have one story to tell. This incident was one of the biggest dramas I have faced as a Mom, though it pales in comparison to brain surgery.
Yet the truths remain.
My son Mark had his tonsils out when he was 6 years old. We were living in Germany and the German hospital sent us home on the 7th day. In the middle of that night, our first night home, he ruptured something deep in his throat. There was blood was everywhere – it was like a scene from a horror movie that I couldn’t make stop. The doctor had warned us that serious bleeding was life threatening. I had to call a German ambulance and send him back to the hospital, the one we’d left only 12 hours ago, with my husband for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding.
The adrenalin rush of the crisis was absolutely exhausting, and we’d already had a week in the hospital. I didn’t know at the time that it would be two more weeks until we would finally be free, sent home to rest and heal and make new blood on our own time.
The ambulance left our house with Mark and my husband around 2 AM and then suddenly it was just eerie and silent.
I paced the hallways.
There was no way I could sleep, so I cleaned up all the blood in the house. I prayed. And prayed. And prayed.
Ross called around 5 AM to say the surgery was over and Mark had been moved into the recovery room.
I watched the sunrise around 6 AM and drifted off to sleep finally.
I had a dream, but really it was more like a vision as the details were so clear and it was just a picture… not moving pieces. I saw myself, curled up in the fetal position, in the palm of God’s hand. Of course. The meaning was so clear. I was in His hand, just curled up, exhausted. Resting. He had it all under control. I could relax. Sleep. Let go. So I slept finally.
(It was another two years before something odd occurred to me. Why was it me in His hand, and not Mark? Shouldn’t He have been confirming that Mark was in His hand? But no, what God really wanted to say was that I was in His hand. Apparently that’s what I needed most, was to know that He was cradling me. Comforting. Protecting. Controlling.)
I slept the sleep of the dead, the exhausted.
For one hour.
At 7 AM my phone rang. It was one of my closest friends in Stuttgart. She was the one had been picking up my daughter from school all week, feeding her dinner, and keeping her busy until my husband and I changed shifts at the hospital every night.
“What in the world is going on?!” she asked. “I have been awake since 2 AM – praying for you. Now tell me what’s happening.”
God woke her up to pray for Mark and our family.
When I most needed help, I couldn’t do anything about it, but God could.
I still don’t understand how prayer works in the economy of God but I do know this – He is in control. Of everything. Including waking up your friends to pray for you.
How awesome it is to serve a God like that!
Love, hugs, and prayers to KT Rose. Mom and Dad, rest in peace. You are in the palm of His hand.
Sleep as best you can. Some of us may be up praying for you.