Friday, May 27, 2011

Faith, part 2

~That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:7~

We were at a Missions Conference at Blythewood Baptist Church, in Blythewood, SC, where the accident took place.

On Tuesday, November 3, 2009, in Elgin, SC, Tony & the boys got up & went deer hunting early that morning. They got back to the house at around 8:30 to eat breakfast & then go walking out in the woods again with the pastor before heading to the church for lunch, then later going to shoot some skeets.

As they were heading back to the house, they somehow realized that Seth's gun had a bullet in it. They stopped & had a short lesson on gun safety. Never walk with a loaded gun. Climb the tree, load the gun, shoot the deer. As they turn around to head back to the house, which they weren't that far from thank the Lord, Tony & the pastor heard the gun go off. Seth, after the safety talk, was trying to unload the gun. As he was unloading it, it went off. 


I was in the house at the time & just had got through telling the pastor's wife that "In the morning I will have me a 14 year old young man!" Then BAM! the gun went off. That is a sound that will be with me the rest of my life. Along with that will be the ride in the van to meet the ambulance & hearing my son talking to God, asking him to spare his life because he hadn't lived it to the fullest at serving the Lord. I have to say that that was a heart touching moment. Then to have a friend of the boys in the van sitting in the back praying with Seth as he is trying to deal with the fact that he had accidentally shot his brother, and then he was praying for Ethan that God would spare his life. Then another memory that will live with me forever, is when the 911 caller told the pastor to have someone apply pressure to the wound. Since I was the one closest to Ethan, I put my hand down to apply pressure, only to find, there wasn't anything there.

We got Ethan in the ambulance & Tony with him, & me following behind them in a deputy sheriff truck to Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital, in Columbia, SC.  I sent Seth back to the house with the pastor to be questioned by the sheriff/police & game warden. That is a lot for a young man to go through right after an event like that, but he did well & all the officers were very understanding with him & what he was going through. Once I got to the hospital, Mark Coffey met me & we went back to where Ethan was, Tony had gone to a consultation room with a chaplain, that is where I saw his leg for the first time. The only way to describe it was it looked like a fish that had been filleted.

Everything after that seems like a whirlwind. Dr. Tribble the cardiovascular surgeon looked at his arteries & found out that Ethan had one good one. Then from there he went to surgery to put on an external fixation device, that is where he lost a lot more blood from bleeders & had to have 6 units of blood. The next time we saw him he is in the sticu (surgical trauma icu). We walked in & he was doped up and on a ventilator. It is very hard to see your child lying there & there is nothing that you can do. I would have done anything to have crawled up there & have taken his place, but that couldn't be done. 

On Wednesday, we had to decide where to take him, Charlotte, NC or to Atlanta. Decision made, home here we come. So, before he leaves he has to get awake to get the tube (ventilator) out. Well, me & Tony couldn't get him awake, so I was sent out to the waiting area to get 2 active people to help wake him up. I send back Mark Coffey & Philip Bassham. Well, they needed a little help, so Tony enlisted the help of about 15 student nurses that were in the trauma icu to help sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ethan! SUCCESS!! So we took the tube out & then around 2 pm or so we were on our way home!! We have to say, even though we didn't like the circumstances of why we were at Palmetto Richland Memorial, I would highly recommend that hospital. They have EXCELLENT staff & we were really sad we had to leave.

Once we got to Atlanta Medical Center at 5:45 pm, we had to wait until about 7 pm when Ethan arrived. We finally got to go back to his room, where his nurse asked us what we were doing here. We were sort of taken a back. We were like, why are we here? Where are we suppose to be? The nurse said, "Why isn't he at the children's hospital?" Then he saw the trauma done to his leg. We were exhausted & getting frustrated because we thought that everything had been transfered & they knew what was going on. So to have to go through the story again, and have paper work to fill out again, seemed like an eternity. But now, we have been very pleased here at AMC. The nurses, doctors, and rest of the staff have been nothing but very pleasant, and taking good care of Ethan.


We made the decision for reconstructive surgery, & that was done on Monday, November 9. We prayed for the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Schlatterer & his plastic surgeon, Dr. Crispin.  That the Lord would guide their hands in this surgery & that everything goes smoothly & see everything clearly. This was going to be a long procedure that would take up to 6-8 hours.  Well, surgery day came and it wasn't as long as they thought.  Which as if any of you know, when a surgeon comes out in 5 hours instead of the 6-8, you think the worst.  Dr. Crispin could see it on our faces that we thought the worst, however, it was good. 
They had to remove about 3-4 inches of bone, not to mention what bone wasn't there because of the accident.  They also didn't have to use the lat muscle from his shoulders, because when they removed the 3-4 inches of bone it shrunk the wound so that they were able to wrap the calf muscle around and then they did a skin graft. What we thought the surgery was going to entail was totally opposite & was for the best!  Thank you Lord for your blessings!  

So after the surgery Ethan was at AMC for about a week, then they moved him to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston for some therapy before he went home, 2 days before Thanksgiving!  It was challenging therapy, especially walking the halls, but Ethan was bound and determine to do.  First reason was because he didn't want a shot that was given to him for his blood if he didn't get up and walk much, and second he was ready to get home!

So we got home 2 days before Thanksgiving.  I had truly a lot to be thankful for!  It was a blessing to be home and sitting around the kitchen table with the WHOLE family.  We could have easily have had one less family member.  

The next six months were a little challenging to say the least.  I had to learn how to clean his wound and dress it.  It was a blessing though in December that Ethan was able to make his first out of town trip to Pigeon Forge, TN for the Our Generation Summit that we attend every year.  In January of 2010, he had the ilizarov, or halo as we called it ( put on.  This helped lengthen his leg back out.  He had several other surgeries after that along with therapy.  

Everything seemed to be going well, thought we were out of the woods.  So we took a trip with Tony in May to TN to a youth meeting.  As we were getting out of the van, Ethan slipped and fell.  He kept telling me, "Mom it is broke, it is broke!"  I replied back to him, "No honey it isn't broken because Dr. Devito said that your leg isn't going anywhere."  I was thinking he was talking about the halo part of his leg.  This happened on Friday, May 28th.   He couldn't walk on it at all or hardly even move his leg.  So Saturday he & I stayed at the hotel while the rest of the family went to the meeting. Of course when we got back on that Saturday I couldn't take him to the doctor because they were closed.  Monday was the 31st and Memorial day so the offices were closed again.  I called on Tuesday & explained the situation and the earliest they could see him was on Thursday.  So Camryn & I took Ethan to the doctor.  Tony had a youth camp to preach at so he, Seth & Lauryn were there.  We got to the doctor's office, and Dr. Devito wasn't there.  Of course, isn't that how it always works out?  So they did x-rays and sure enough, he had broken his femur.  Oh did I mention it was on the same leg as the one that got shot?  So, what next?  Another surgery to set the bone and put in pins.  So I called Tony to tell him, and he and Lauryn left and came home. And you want to know what else?  Six weeks in the bed.  No getting up to do ANYTHING!   He had to stay stable, no moving at all.  The only reason for leaving the house was to go to the doctor.  It wasn't an easy task getting him in and out of a car not being able to bend his leg.

So we do the six weeks in the bed.  Go in to have the pins removed and Dr. Devito was going to clean the wound while he was in there.  Surgery was only to take 30 minutes.  Guess what?  It took almost an hour and a half.  I told Tony that something wasn't right, that he should have been out by now.  Dr. Devito came in with a concern look.  As he was cleaning the scabbing area on and around the wound he found infection setting in under one of the scab sites.  Not good at all because this is where the skin grafting was at.  So, once again we thought we were in the clear, only to have to run back two times a week for two weeks to cleanse the wound.  Now everything is taken care of, leg is growing well, but needs another surgery for bone graft because where the bullet hit the bones weren't end to end, but at an angle.  Everything with that surgery went well.  January of 2011 the halo came off praise the Lord!! 

Now it is May 2011 and the Lord has truly blessed our family in and through this situation.  Ethan is up and around and doing well.  Still not up to speed to what he used to be and there are limitations to what he is able to do.

God brings us trials & challenges into our lives to mold us & to make us.  It can make us better or it can make us is all in how we handle it. I go back to a message Tony has preached on Faith out of Hebrews 11, with Moses. He mentions about how Moses' mother made the basket and placed Moses in the basket.  Like he said that doesn't impress him as much as what she did next, and that was to let that basket go.  She had to have faith in the Lord that He would protect Moses and do what was best.  I had to let go of my "basket" with Ethan in it. 
I stood in a room with Tony and Ethan after we meet with Dr. Schlatterer, his orthopedic surgeon, and heard a father speak some of the hardest words for a parent to say to a child, but oh so true of words.  These are the words that were spoken:  "Son, if you keep your leg, God is good, but if you lose your leg God is still good.  And Ethan, if God lets you live He is good, and Ethan if he chooses to take you home, He is still good."  That was not only for Ethan, that was for me as well.  We always say we want healing for whomever is sick, not realizing that the ultimate healing is death and in that the Lord is good.  In that message Tony goes back Exodus 14:11-15, to where Moses & the children of Israel are facing the Red Sea & they turn around & see the Egyptians coming up behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. Some of us would just sit down & say Lord, I have no idea what to do or where to go....I have a sea great & wide in front of me & the Egyptians behind I am just not going to do nothing but sit down. I chose not to sit and let the Egyptians over take me, I had faith in my God that He WOULD get us through this, so I went forward through the Red Sea!

This song spoke true to me.  We find it easy to thank the Lord for all the good and blessings in our lives, but how often do we thank Him for the trials & challenges that is brought our way?

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)


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