And Where it Can Be Found
Nathan’s neurosurgeon died on Sunday.
When I received the news it felt like a little flame of hope went out in me.
Dr. George performed Nathan’s tethered cord release. Tethered spinal cord is a condition in which the fatty tissue along the spinal cord ties down the nerves and muscles, restricting physical movement and neurological function. When Nathan was eight months old, Dr. George released his tethered cord. Though Nathan’s case was not severe, we did suspect that in order for him to be able to crawl, and maybe walk one day, it would be a good choice to do the surgery.
We also were dealing with episodes of crying and pain that lasted for hours on end and was likely related to bladder dysfunction. Did you know that the nerves along your spine control bladder function? God made the human body so complex, things we take for granted, like peeing, are intricately performed through nerve function in the spinal cord. And only a small percentage of surgeons know how to operate on those nerves and the spinal column itself.
Though I struggled with the decision of whether or not to perform Nathan’s surgery, I did not struggle with the surgeon. My husband revered him as an excellent surgeon. He was recruited to work at our local children’s hospital and completely transformed the outcomes of many children. Three of my medical momma friends also allowed Dr. George to operate on their children. I remember one mom saying that Dr. George had more genius in her pinky finger than she had in her whole body. And mine too.
I don’t know much about how he died except that he went into distress doing something he loved and could not be revived.
Death can leave you feeling vulnerable
It’s just weird to think of someone I respect, for having the knowledge and ability to do something for my child that I could never do myself, as being gone. It leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable, even though we have no surgeries on the docket. We do have an appointment on the calendar to see Dr. George in January. It’s an appointment that will never be.
Every time we visited Dr. George, we discussed Nathan’s neurogenic bladder and the round the clock cathing required for his care. Dr. George was the only doctor who told me that he may outgrow his bladder spasms and ineffective voiding. He always gave me a bit of hope that things could change, that they just might get better.
Now we are more than five years out from surgery and I don’t think that Nathan’s neurogenic bladder is going away. If anything, it’s getting worse. But I loved that Dr. George gave me post-op hope, even if it turned out not to be true. Because as humans we cling to hope, even if it’s false hope.
This has made me realize how I put people, sometimes doctors, on a pedestal where they should never be.
Dr. George, though he helped my son tremendously, can’t save my son from everything that ails him. He can’t completely heal. Only the great Physician can do that. And I don’t need false hope to keep going. I need true and lasting hope.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5
In Christ alone, my hope is found
For if humans thrive on hope, they can only survive on lasting hope. Living hope. A hope that doesn’t die with the person.
There is only One who does not give false hope, but full hope. And that is in Christ alone.
I don’t know the answer to all of the questions I have about brokenness and disability but I do know where my hope comes from–Jesus.
I am ever so grateful for Dr. George and what he did for my son. I mean, Nathan is almost walking! But ultimately, my hope is a living hope that does not die with a person but points me to the One who will ultimately heal everything, including my son’s broken body, one day.
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!