Update on Seth, 5-27-04, Day 284:
On the chest of drawers in Seth’s room at the nursing care center is a flip stand of photos of Seth, his friends, and family. One of my favorites is a picture of Seth sitting in his grandfather’s living room in a characteristic pose with his right leg bent under him, glancing over at his grandfather, who is relaxed in another chair and is conversing with him. Seth was as proud of his grandpa as his grandpa was of him. My dad was born in a two-room log cabin in northeastern Washington, had fought with the navy in the South Pacific during WWII, and had retired 15 years ago after being the president of Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington. He had been struggling with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that gradually reduces the lungs ability to transfer oxygen to the body, and so last June we flew Seth home from California for several days so that he could drive across the state and have some quality time with his grandfather. Originally given only a year or so to live after his diagnosis, dad surprised everyone and lasted two and a half years. He passed away a couple of weeks ago. Our hope and prayers had been that God would restore Seth soon enough to say goodbye to his grandfather, so that he could die without being burdened by the uncertainty of Seth’s outcome, but that was apparently not meant to be. Should the Lord in His grace restore Seth, the fact that he was not around for his grandfather’s last nine months will undoubtedly be a major disappointment. And it seems that I have lost he two most important men in my life, my son and my dad, during that time.
We consulted with Seth’s doctor yesterday about the small piece of broken bone at the base of his skull that evidently has not reattached by itself. It protrudes into the hole at the base of the skull that houses his spinal cord and brain stem, and that is the reason we must use the utmost care when moving him. The doctor thinks it is possible that the piece has become “fixed” in place and may no longer be a threat, but we are planning to have Seth transferred to Harborview hospital in Seattle to have a neurosurgeon give us an expert’s opinion. If the bone piece is not fixed, surgery is an option, but such surgery would be quite delicate and not without risks. One way or other, we want to know, and it would be a relief not to worry about him being moved.
That this bone fragment was discovered at all was (from a human point of view) a fluke, a chance x-ray taken from an unusual camera angle spotted by an alert neurosurgeon in California. We often wonder, in light of Seth’s current condition: Why the chance discovery of this potentially dangerous bone fragment? Or, why the immediate covering of prayer at the accident site by a teacher from Seth’s school, or the persistent prayers of a hospital security guard that night when some of those attending Seth in the emergency room were ready to give up on him? Why the amazing turn-around of his deteriorating lung a week after his injuries, or the restart of his kidneys after having shut down? Why the “mis-communications” that resulted in Seth being inadvertently covered by two major medical insurance companies besides his school insurance? Why these (and other) evidences of God’s involvement if Seth is only to waste away in a semi-vegetative state the rest of his life? Or, is there greater glory of God yet to be seen? Perplexing as all of this is, we are instructed to “trust in the LORD with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). That is not an easy thing, but He has not provided us with other options! “Let the morning bring (us) word of your unfailing love, for (we) have put our trust in you.” (Psm 143:8)
~Craig and family