A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Son's Story

My son was born five and a half weeks premature in 1984 with VATER syndrome. He had an imperforate anus, a tracheal/esophageal fistula and spinal bifida occulta. He had multiple painful surgeries as an infant to correct his deformities, including the deflation of a lung to reach and repair the T/E fistula. He wore a colostomy as a preschooler. He was a stoic little child who endured more in his first weeks of life than some people ever endure.

The true extent of his surgery was an unknown to us. We were simply grateful he lived. He grew to become a fine young man who spent his boyhood climbing fences rather than going through gates. He always had trouble swallowing, and he had problems with continence which he conquered in his teens. He never complained, he just adapted and overcame the obstacles before him. When he developed an odd discharge from his rectum this fall, we feared for him. Abdominal surgeries often cause adhesions over time, constricting the bowel and the blood vessels that keep it alive.

My son decided he needed to find out, he needed to know exactly what he had as a colon, and the extent of the scarring of his esophagus from his surgery as an infant. He elected to have an EGD and a colonoscopy performed. The problem was, these were uncharted areas on him, nobody knew exactly what to expect, whether he had a normal bowel or not, which way it would turn, and whether it was ulcerated, constricted, twisted, or redundant.

On the day of the scoping, we had his blood typed and matched, and had a surgical team on standby in case he was perforated. At the least, we felt he would require adhesion removal. I was present for his endoscopy, handling his sedation, and I was prepared to scrub into surgery if necessary. We joked that I had forgotten his birthday a few days previously, but I paid his insurance deductible. Thus I was getting him a colonoscopy for his birthday. Some kids detest the black socks they get for their birthday, mine wished for them.

The EGD was performed first. He did have minimal scar tissue in the form of a ring in the midpoint of his esophagus. Not bad......We turned him and switched scopes for the colonoscopy. As the scope was advanced towards his cecum, everyone in the endo suite was shocked to find that his colon was not only totally formed and normal, but was one of the healthiest colons they had ever seen. The high fiber diet he devised for himself to assist with continence had resulted in a strong, normal bowel. There were no adhesions. The discharge was diagnosed as a case of nerves, something that occurs in most people, but which goes unnoticed as they do not closely monitor such things. Other than the ring of scar tissue in my son's throat, he awakened in Recovery to find he was............normal.

A young boy who was frequently ostracized on the schoolyard because of his lack of continence, and later because of the terrible surgical scars across his torso learned he was for all intents and purposes.......normal. There was no need for the surgical team. No need for surgery. He was......normal. What a birthday present after all!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does my heart good to hear of the wonderful good fortune of you and your son.

What an amazing story.

God bless.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That has got to be one of the most wonderful things that I have ever read.

You are all truely blessed.


11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So very awesome and a great birthday present indeed! Thank you for all you do.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your son is a fine, brave man. I'm glad the results were so "positive". Hat tip to him, you and your wife.


4:35 AM  
Blogger Matt G said...

May your son's journey through manhood continue to be blessed.

A man who has learned as a child to overcome and adapt, and who has been taught honor by his parents, will find his way, and will be admired in the process. I admire and envy your opportunity to affect and witness that self-actualization of a man.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

Praise God! That is great news!

8:08 AM  
Blogger Sterno said...

Wow...What a tough kid!

Glad everything worked out well.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I can tell you from experience that the "terrible surgical scars" will become a point of interest by the fairer sex later in his life.

Mine get "checked out" quite often…smiles

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Cepik said...


I am very happy for your son and glad it turned out so well. He sounds to be a well adjusted, self confident young man. Matt G said it best earlier and I don't think I can add to that.

Thanks for sharing the story,


11:01 AM  
Anonymous WR Olsen said...

A good father deserves a great son...You have done well. I don't think I could have scrubbed in for my kids, but then again you are a special dad.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

Praise the Lord!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Ride Fast said...

Fantastic news and about the best birthday surprise ever! Congratulations and God bless.

Tough hombre you got there.

6:55 PM  
Blogger JR said...

Thank you for sharing that.

God Bless you and yours.

8:10 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

I'm relieved and delighted to hear this news. He may be normal, but I'll bet like his folks, he's exceptional in all the best ways. Congrats to your whole clan - birthday present, indeed!

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

X: May God bless you and your son,and your family.A Chinese saying "Good Heart always has good returns." I have a 14 years old son,I know how you feel,happy ending.
Happy shooting.


11:33 PM  
Blogger Firehand said...

I once told a lady who'd just found out she was pregnant that kids were both the most wonderful and most terrifying thing imaginable.

At times I think the 'terrifying' was understatement.

Damn glad he checked out ok.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet! I am possesed of a semicolon as the result of a ruptured diverticula. I had a Hartmann and a resection in 1983. I get 'scoped about every 2 - 3 years. Please extend a "high-five" to your young man and a deep breath and an adult beverage to his old man.


8:34 PM  
Blogger SpeakerTweaker said...

I've kinda been out of pocket lately, so I'm just now getting around to this stuff.

I am so very glad for you and your family that your son is okay. Sometimes, the best news in the world is to find out that you are just like everyone else.


9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday and congratulations

5:19 AM  
Anonymous 1894C said...


What excellent news!

Family is the most important thing in life.

God bless you and yours.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Phil White said...

That's wonderful news! You are very blessed by a very courageous son. God was certainly looking out for him. I pray all continues to go well.

1:07 AM  

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