Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: I SURRENDER ALL (to God) (don’t write about the song) (05/07/15)
- TITLE: I never imagined
By Linda Goergen
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I never imagined, as I traveled to the Children’s hospital, that I’d be spending the next month and a half there. Never imagined my weary mind having to absorb so much information concerning “Transposition of the Great Vessels”, the heart defect my son had.
It was Nineteen Seventy-Five and they didn’t have the heart and micro-surgery advances they do now. I was told my son’s heart was far too tiny to operate on then, but that hopefully it would grow enough by age two—if he lived.
During that time; as they poked and pricked my son around the clock, and he’d cry while struggling to breath; I began to think up bargains to offer God. When I’d try to sleep, I’d even dream of bargains to offer God! I made countless bargains to God—any I’d think I could keep. Over and over I’d beg and bargain with God to heal my son—or to at least let him live.
When my son was six weeks old they deemed him stable enough to take home, to basically be isolated in a sterilized nursery. They hoped he would survive long enough, his heart grow enough, to receive the recently developed surgery by Dr Mustard. Before that there was no surgery for these children, they were taken home to wait until their heart gave out.
Oh, the hours I spent in that nursery railing at God! Questioning God. Why wasn’t my son born healthy like his two sisters, who were then ten and twelve? I would fluctuate between pleading for God’s help and bombarding Him with anger!
My son was so weak; he could only tolerate eating two ounces at a time, so he had to be fed every hour. I was both physically and emotionally worn out and when someone gave me a bible with specific scriptures marked, I wanted to throw it more than read it! I knew God was our creator, and had the power to heal—but I didn’t know God. The church we attended was all ritual, and I didn’t understand “personally” knowing God. But more and more, I felt a longing to.
The strain of the situation sent an already unhealthy marriage to its grave. The more I sought to know and seek solace in God, the more my husband sought his in alcohol. When his anger, combined with his drinking turned to violence, I was left with my daughters and sick baby boy to care for alone.
When my son was eighteen months old, after countless close calls, they decided his surgery could wait no longer. He was given a ten percent chance to survive. I begged and bargained more than ever for God to let him live.
My son came through the surgery, but the agony I saw on his little face afterward will forever be etched in my mind. So when third day post-op, his heart went into arrhythmia and I watched as they shocked him back and his little body was convulsing, I could take no more.
I fled to the chapel, fell on my face—and surrendered it all to God. I told God I could not bear to see my baby suffer any more. I had no bargains left. I told God if He wanted my son back, I would surrender my hold. And with tears pouring, I emotionally and symbolically handed him to God. I surrendered all to God there—my will, myself, my children, and our lives.
And the miracle is, from that moment on, my son improved! He wasn’t expected to live past his twenty’s, but he turns forty this year! And he’s served God his whole life.
I never imagined facing that again—yet after my son was married; his firstborn arrived with the same exact heart defect! I was shocked and grief-stricken, but this time I didn’t bargain with God. Instead, in prayer, our family surrendered my grandson’s fate to God. And by God’s mercy and today’s technology, my grandson had corrective surgery at two days old and is now a healthy eight year old!
Author’s Footnote: This story is non-fiction and about my family.
*With no treatment the heart defect of “Transposition of the Great Vessels” had a 50% mortality rate in the first month of life and a 95% mortality rate within the first year of life.
*The procedure done on my son, the Mustard procedure, (named after Dr William Mustard who developed it) gave an 80% life expectancy into the 20’s or older. My son almost 40, is living proof that it could go well beyond the 20's”.
*But, I am so happy to report that the Mustard procedure has been replaced with the Arterial Switch operation and since the Arterial Switch reconstructs the heart to a normal situation both anatomically and functionally, long-term normal cardiac function should be excellent.
The Arterial Switch is what my grandson had. So he is expected to have a normal life span.
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