This is Day #3 of a 31 Day series about my brother Brian, if you are new (welcome!) you can go the the “31 Days with My Brother” tab at the top of the blog and click on the links you haven’t read yet.
The following information is almost a word-for-word account of what my mom so graciously sent me. I was a toddler at the time this happened and couldn’t possibly know all this.
As mentioned my brother was born in May of 1979, in February of 1980 he got very sick. My mom took him to the pediatrician and he said to take him to the hospital. They diagnosed Brian with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. This was the first my parents had heard that he might have a heart defect. Had my brother been born now, my mom is pretty sure that they
would have found the defect more quickly (probably at birth) with all the advancements in prenatal care/ultrasounds, etc.
Before Brian had
pneumonia, he always breathed with a heaving chest. His breath did not sound labored but it looked like it took a lot for him to breathe. He
did not gain much weight and was quite flaccid and not very strong. In
the hospital he was put in an oxygen tent and stayed for about 5 days or
so before he was able to come home. My parents were told to go to a pediatric
cardiologist at a major university. The
cardiologist thought Brian had a valve problem and a hole between the
upper chambers of the heart. He told my parents that they did not have to have surgery
done on Brian, but my Dad’s response was “full steam ahead.”
In the meantime, my parents
were very concerned, of course. They attended a healing service and took
Brian. They are not of the charismatic persuasion, but definitely felt
that God could heal Brian. The healer gave a message and then began the
healing portion of the service. He said he sensed that someone had heart
issues, so they looked at each other and carried Brian forward for
When my parents went in for a catherization for Brian, the doctor shared the
surprising results…Brian’s hole was between the lower chambers and
there was no problem with his valve (which would have been much more
complicated to repair). I think it is interesting how God healed the more complicated issue but allowed the hole to be repaired by doctors.
Brian underwent an extensive surgery at the Children’s Hospital on July 1, 1980. He weighed only 14 lbs at 14 months of age. When the doctor
came out after the surgery he told my parents that their hearts are the same size
as their fists and that Brian’s little heart had a one inch hole between
the ventricles that he patched with a piece of dacron. The tissue would
grow over this patch to create a new wall. When my parents told him what the pediatric cardiologist had said about not doing the surgery, the heart doctor
said, “You wouldn’t want to watch your child suffer a painful death if
you could do something to prevent it.” He understood where they were
While the three year olds that were recovering from this same surgery
seem to bounce out of it quickly in the ICU, Brian took 5 days to be weaned
off the respirator. Brian has a bald spot on the back of his head from all the time
he was on the respirator and it was pushing his head down. He was attached
to so many tubes that all my mom could do was pat his forehead. It was only
spot without hookups. It was a scary, stressful time.
“God has always been
with me and I could definitely feel his strength and presence. As so
many times since, God shows us one step at a time and we walk down the
road just seeing a little bit of light in front of us. Then when we look
back, we realize He was leading us all the way and all the time.”
After his surgery, Brian began gaining weight
and became much more sturdy. He started developing…sitting up, army
crawling, etc. He got a little shirt at the hospital that said
“Keep on Tickin’ ” He was a member of the Ticker Club for all the
children who had had heart surgery.
When my brother was a teenager, he would sometimes make a zipping noise while he pretended to zip up his chest, reminding us that he had a vertical scar under his shirt- from his heart surgery. What can I say…our family is prone to dramatics!:)
The time of Brian’s surgery really was a dramatic time in our family’s history. We are so thankful for for God’s sufficiency and help through this time, from wonderful medical staff to the support of family and friends.
|I have to give my Darling Daughter the credit for capturing her Uncle B in this photo.|
2 Corinthians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort.”
Deep Breaths: How has God comforted you? Recall a hard, dramatic, or trying time in your life and think about how God came through for you. Take a moment to thank Him for His help with your whole heart.