posted on Jul, 6 2012 @ 11:16 AM
My breath caught in my throat as I looked out of the airplane window at the blanket of dark clouds below. “I have to get there before the
surgery,” I thought. “It may be the last time that I see my son alive.”
Only a parent knows the palpable weight that presses on your chest when you ponder the uncertain fate of your child. Mine had epilepsy. For most of
his life, he was plagued by uncontrolled, violent, sudden seizures. They happened at the grocery store, at the mall, on hockey ice. Once, he started
seizing on a plane trip to Alaska. When someone quoted a Bible verse about a boy being “thrown to the ground by a demon” I knew that I had
witnessed it firsthand.
You could say that, after twenty years of doctor visits, therapies, drug trials and trips to the ER, I was accustomed to the unexpected. But, this was
different. They were going to cut his brain in half – sever the corpus callosum – in an attempt to control the seizures. The drugs had failed. The
diets had failed. The prayers, the natural remedies and the Vagal nerve stimulator had failed. The only recourse was this barbaric procedure.
The projected results of the surgery were vague. He might live or he might just as easily die. His personality could be forever altered. He could lose
all coordination. Or, by some miracle, the bright, happy young man that I once knew might suddenly return, well and whole.
The voice on the intercom jolted me into the present, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain. Due to the weather we expect a brief arrival
“No, no, no!” my mind reeled. “This can’t happen. I have to see him before the operation, hold his hand, tell him that I love him…” Like
avid sports fans who paint their faces, wave banners and jump up and down in support of their teams, I believed that my mere presence would somehow
affect the outcome.
At last, the flight touched down, an hour behind schedule. I raced through the rental car lot, drove like a maniac and then clopped my way up the
hospital sidewalk. The words on the hospital directory swam before my eyes. “Where is it? Where is it? Ah, yes, there! Inpatient surgery – G7.”
The sweat dripped down the back of my neck as I counted each floor in the elevator.
The waiting room was huge, full of families, patients, friends, all huddled together and trying to get comfortable on vinyl orange couches. I searched
the sea of faces and suddenly, there he was. He saw me and his eyes lit up. I would never be the same, again.
I don’t know if my being there had an impact on the procedure’s outcome. They said it went well. He suffered no adverse effects except a massive
lingering headache, and the seizures actually abated for a time. But, I do know this: when you’re staring at the end of your life or a loved one’s
life, you realize that love is the only thing that matters – not your plans, your work, your bank account – just the love in your heart. And, the
world is a different color after that.