The Unnecessary Appendectomy
You can tell from yesterday’s post that Kristin is going though some very difficult family times. Her marriage is in the process of ending, after almost 13 years, and there isn’t anything that she can do about it. I have seen her stand up very well under extremely adverse conditions and watched her exhibit incredible strength in the face of having to make life altering decisions about her future, as well as the future of her children.
I have repeatedly told Kristin that everything will work out okay and she believes me, but like any mother, there are moments when she is overwhelmed and unable to make decisions about what her next steps should be. It is in those moments when she turns to me for advice and counsel; almost begging me to make the difficult calls. Janet and I love her, Jill and Andrew more than we can express in words, and it breaks our hearts to see Kristin or our other children in so much pain.
I admit that each time Kristin looks at me with that question mark in her eyes, I re-live an incident from her college days that still haunts me as a Dad. Back then, Kristin was suffering severe abdominal pain and was taken to Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN on the campus of Ball State University. The doctors ran blood work and a number of other tests to determine the origin of her pain. It was finally decided, although the tests were inconclusive, that she needed an emergency appendectomy and Kristin had the hospital call me to make the decision.
I phoned my brother Doug, a doctor, and spoke with several other people I trust in order to make an informed decision about the surgery. I called the hospital, authorized the surgery, got in the car and drove to the hospital in the middle of the night. I arrived as Kristin was being wheeled into her operation. I waited and when the procedure was completed the surgeon came out and announced that he had taken out a perfectly healthy appendix. He also found a cyst that he dealt with, but I was outraged at the unnecessary procedure that I had allowed to be performed on our daughter.
Kristin never questioned the call, but as a Dad, I have thought many times about what she went through. Kristin will tell you that the surgery saved her from further pain years down the road, but we will never know that for sure. However you look at it, the fact remains that I make a calculated decision that resulted in an unnecessary appendectomy being performed on our daughter. Yes, it was the best call I could make at the time, but I have questioned that decision many times.
Well, during the past several months, Kristin has asked me to make the call more than once. Finally, yesterday, I told her the story about the angst I have suffered as a result of sending her into an unnecessary surgery. Notwithstanding that decision, Kristin still trusts me to make the tough calls in the family and so I have steered this current painful process. Making the best choices I can – knowing that she is the one who will be living with the consequences of my decisons. It is not an easy thing for me, or any parent, to do.
So yesterday, I made the final call on some pretty major stuff. We did the best job we could do, as a family, and I hope that they turn out to be the right choices – in other words, no unnecessary appendectomies this time. Today, thankfully, Kristin is pleased with the outcome. I am still in hyper alert mode – protecting my family, but I can feel the adrenaline wearing off tonight. I think I will finally have a good night’s sleep. God has my back.
Sometimes, in the midst of all this stuff, I wonder what good comes out of it. The Scripture for tonight affirms that God knows what His plans are and how all the pieces fit together – even if we don’t. From Romans 8:28 we are told, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
My encouragement tonight is to let you know that there is a plan greater than you or I know about. And we are on a “need to know” basis. We don’t need the whole plan, just the next step. That keeps us dependent on God. My prayer is that God will reveal the next step of the plan for your life to you. Furthermore, I pray that the next step is enough – and that you will be satisfied living in faith for the rest of it.
Tonight, I am grateful that God has me in that place of peace; along with Janet, Kristin and the rest of our nuclear family. It’s going to be alright. Have a great day in the Lord……