I dislike the phrase “every parent’s nightmare.” It’s been so overused that it has become a watered-down cliché. Truth is, there’s probably only one nightmare that every parent shares…and that is the fear of losing your child.
Last week, that nightmare became a reality for the family members, friends and loved ones of 20 precious little boys and girls and six adults (who were also someone’s children) in Connecticut.
I can’t imagine what those parents are going through right now. It’s horrific. And you find yourself wondering how the world continues around you when yours has stopped.
I thought I was going to lose my 5-year-old son, Morgan. Friday night, around 9:00 p.m., he woke up from his sleep and said he was sick. He went to the bathroom and tried to throw up.
Then, without warning, his face changed. His eyes rolled back into his head, his body went limp, and he was unresponsive. My wife and I tried to get him to snap out of it, shouting his name, tapping his face, trying to make eye contact.
We started to drive him to the hospital. On the way, he threw up. I’m not sure he even knew it.
His beautiful blue eyes stared off into space as the fluid poured out of his mouth. We called 911 while we were en route, and an ambulance met us halfway and took him to the ER from there.
He stayed in this “catatonic” state during the entire ambulance ride. Within seconds of arriving at the hospital, doctors had him lying on a bed, with wires and tubes connected everywhere.
“He’s barely breathing,” one doctor said. So they immediately shoved a tube down his throat, another up his nose. They turned on the respirator to get him breathing normally.
And I lost it.
I was helpless. Watching my baby boy’s limp body on that hospital bed, struggling to breathe, and not knowing what to do or how to do it.
I was…weak. Impotent. And absolutely horrified. I sobbed. I felt nauseous.
Images of life without my son popped into my head. My world was being torn apart right in front of me. My wife and I prayed. We started contacting friends asking them to pray as well. I have not cried so hard in years.
Then, after nearly two gut-wrenching hours, he sat up. He looked around the room. Fear covered his face. The horror in his eyes.
He looked at me and screamed — as best as he could scream with a tube down his throat. As awful as that scream was, it was progress.
Five days and several tests later, Morgan is back to being a normal, rambunctious little boy. Doctors discovered he had suffered an occipital lobe epileptic seizure. The good news is, he’ll likely outgrow it.
And in the meantime, anti-seizure medication will help prevent future episodes. I praise God for protecting my baby boy.
The right doctors, the right equipment, his decision to get up and alert us that he was sick just moments before he went into the seizure, the call to 911 at the right moment…God’s fingerprints were everywhere.
Then I think about the parents around the world who don’t have access to ambulances, emergency rooms, EEGs, MRIs, CT scans and the like.
As helpless as I felt watching my son surrounded by doctors and medics with machines hooked up to him, I can’t imagine how helpless a mother or father must feel in the developing world where this type of technology and help is too far out of reach.
What does a family do, when living in extreme poverty, if their child experiences what my Morgan did? The answer all too often is, sadly, nothing. And many children are lost every single day. Thousands of parents who live the nightmare that I prayed so desperately to avoid last Friday night.
That’s why I’m proud to be part of the Compassion family. We have a fund designed just for this purpose — to meet the emergency medical needs of our sponsored children. This holiday season, my family is making a donation to this fund.
If, God forbid, a child in one of the poorest parts of the world has a dire medical need, this fund makes sure that mommy and daddy can get their child the help he or she needs. Just this past year, the fund helped a little boy in Africa get a life-saving heart surgery.
If you sponsor a child, thank you. You could very well be saving a life. Please consider adding an extra donation this holiday season to the medical needs fund.
If you don’t currently sponsor a child, here’s your chance. Get involved.
Because no parent should have to face the nightmare of losing a child simply because they can’t afford help.