Angels Among Us
by Honey Sherman
It was so very quiet. Except for the humming of the machinery that my son was linked to, there was no human sound in the room. It was as if the real world had suddenly been cut off from both of us and there was nothing but this tomb like silence to engulf us within its terrifying walls.
That night I held my son’s hand in my cold grasp, terrified that his next breath would be his last. I didn’t dare let go. I was afraid that he would slip away from me just as his brother Gary had so many years ago. I silently argued with God that it wasn’t fair that after fighting the medical establishment, my family, even my well-meaning friends into giving my brain-damaged child a chance at fulfilling his potential as a human being , now all that he had achieved was but ashes in the wind. The anger, the grief, and the confusion that raged within me kept me from feeling any warmth or hope or faith in God. In those moments of utter despair and stillness, I felt that God had turned his face from me in that very dark night of my soul.
I raged against the waste of this young life, who had struggled against and overcome so many insurmountable challenges in thirty years of life. Diagnosed as a quadriplegic with no speech, limited vision and mental capacities, he had proven the medical world wrong. By 18, he was a comparatively high functioning, verbal, well-rounded young man who showed the way to others who had been diagnosed and sentenced by a narrow-minded and myopic group of medical authorities. Thanks to Bill’s progress as a neurologically impaired young man, thousands of similarly diagnosed young people were given opportunities for treatment and remediation never before considered by medical pundits. His success in overcoming so many physical and emotional hurdles paved the way for others who were encouraged by his example.
Now he lay dying of complications of an infection that had been misdiagnosed by attending physicians. There was no hope left. His kidneys had failed, there was internal bleeding, his lungs were filled with fluid, and there was barely enough blood pressure to sustain his heart beat. The attending physicians were waiting to pull the plug on him and let him die. “It would be the kindest thing to do”: they kept telling me. Even my oldest son, Jeffrey, told me it was time to let go, but I couldn’t.
In those black hours, I held on with all the power of my will, knowing that when dawn came a decision had to be made.
Then, a very strange thing happened. An oriental man dressed in a doctor’s lab coat entered the silent room. He quietly read my son’s medical chart. He looked up at me. With a questioning frown he asked me why Bill wasn’t on dialysis for his kidney failure. I answered that the doctors agreed it was contra indicated because his blood pressure was so low.
Dr. Wong, who introduced himself at that point, asked me if I would be willing to have my son transferred to a hospital where a dialysis unit would be available. His argument being that unless his kidneys could be purified, he would die within hours. I will never forget the urgency that had my son transferred to an ambulance and whisked through the city at breakneck speed to be greeted at St. Michael’s Hospital by a team of efficient and committed nurses and doctors. Within moments a technician began connecting him to a dialysis unit while the chief of staff, a Dr. Baer, cautioned me against hoping for more than a reprieve of a few hours. “Your son is a very critically ill young man. There is only so much we as doctors can do. If he is a fighter, we’ll help him all we can. But if it is his time to go, we can only stand aside and help him on his way.”
The chapel was only a few steps away from the dialysis unit. I waited there for him, praying to a God that I thought had deserted us. It was there that the voice of my father, who had passed away a short time before, came to whisper in my ear: ”God’s delay is not God’s denial! Have faith… he will not fail you!” I held onto that thought like a beacon in the dark.
Somehow the night passed. The dawn arose. A new day began. My son was still alive. He had responded to the treatment and his kidneys were functioning on their own again.
The weeks that followed were filled with incredible joy and prayers of thanks to a God who had not deserted us! Friends and family were astounded by Bill’s amazing “return from the dead”…but I knew it was the “intervention ” of Dr. Wong who came at that dark hour to provide hope and possibility where none had existed.
However when I tried to contact “Dr Wong” at the hospital where I had first encountered him, there was no record of him on the personnel roster. Then I checked other hospitals hoping to thank him for his intervention on my son’s behalf. But none has been able to identify him on their roster.
Often I have wondered, could he have been an angel sent down from above to answer my desperate and tremulous prayers? Are there really angels among us? If he was, I know that as long as I live I will never doubt God’s mercy ever again.
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