Divine Fortune (A Necessary Fall)
My 13-year-old nephew, Joey, could have died in his sleep in the next 6 months to a year. He could have.
Last week Joey went ice skating with some friends. As many do on the slippery ice, he took a fall. A big fall. A necessary fall. A fall so big that the ambulance came immediately and delivered him to the hospital where he was treated for a broken clavicle and a shoulder injury.
After being released from the hospital, the doctor called my sister-in-law to say that an MRI they took revealed an "unusually large" tumor on the base of his brain. The panic that my sister-in-law felt when discovering that the ambulance outside the rink was for her son then must have turned to an unthinkable horror.
The doctors ordered emergency surgery immediately to remove the tumor.
After six hours of surgery, the weary doctors came out of the ER happy to have removed what appeared to be a benign tumor the size of an adult fist, resting ever so close to the brain stem. Thank God! The doctors warned Joey's parents that he could very likely need therapy for speech and for the use of his hands and legs. However, the day after surgery, Joey was talking OK and despite being in horrible pain, he got out of bed and was able to use his arms and legs. Thank God!
Now, I'm not a religious man, but I think this is the closest I've ever been to a miracle. I'm mostly a believer in good luck and bad luck and you'll rarely catch me praying. But, there I was asking everyone I know for their prayers, in any shape or form, to any God. This time it's hard for me to just chalk it up to being lucky. How often does a need for an MRI occur in a 13 year old boy? Not too often. He had to fall and he had to fall hard. A bruised knee or elbow wouldn't be good enough. He had to fall at a certain angle and with enough velocity to break something. He had to be admitted to a hospital. If he didn't, the tumor would grow so large that it would cut off Joey's oxygen.
Still, so many others don't find the same fate. So many others receive a much more grim prognosis. Kids. Babies. Brain tumors that are inoperable; cancerous and spreading. For this, I can't dismiss my belief in bad luck. I do think fate or a higher power came into play that afternoon at the ice skating rink, but I also think he was lucky to be spared. For this I'll compromise my beliefs and call it divine fortune and pray for Joey's full recovery while we count our blessings this holiday season.