This is not a common practice for me – it’s quite the departure. Those who know me can attest to the fact that I am a private person who only shares intimate details of my life with a close circle of friends. However, I feel this matter needs to addressed and I want to take my time to clearly articulate my points.
Some of you know that my son recently had to undergo an emergency surgery. I want to share this story with you and where we are now. I am not sharing this story to garner sympathy or support. The purpose of this is to hopefully help you to see a situation from a different, relatable perspective.
On September 19th, Charles was making a delivery at Florida Hospital Tampa. As a courier, this is a regular routine for him. As he pulled into the valet drop-off, he has a seizure. He never had a seizure before. He’s in good health (though I think he can eat better) and even as a child he didn’t get sick often. So this was very surprising. He was literally driving when this happened and his body – all 240+ lbs, 6’ 3” of it – was completely tense and pressing on the accelerator. By God’s grace and providence, there was a car parked in the valet drop-off (not allowed by the way) that had a motor-scooter carrier on its rear which braced his car as the hospital staff worked to get him out of the locked vehicle for 10-15 minutes. The scene was unbelievable! They called a code purple (fire) and code red. I am still not clear if the car was on fire or if the spinning wheels caused that much smoke, or if the engine exploded under the pressure. Eventually they got him out and into the emergency room to diagnose exactly what happened and what could have caused it.
Meanwhile, I get a phone call that says my son was in an accident and the car caught on fire. PANIC! But not for long. PRAYER! Calm… focus… When I got to the hospital, I was met by Charles boss, Sarah (she is amazing and genuinely kind!!) and the EMT that was the primary person to get him out of the car. And she explained the whole situation to me.
It wasn’t too long after I arrived that the ER doctor came into the room. He was very quick, blunt and to the point, “your son has a tumor in the left side of brain above his eye. It’s about 2.5 cm, an inch, part cystic and surrounded by a fluid. It needs to be removed.” His delivery as awful. Some say that it’s necessary to be that way so that there is not confusion on the patient’s end, but he should have told me to sit down. That was not the news I was expecting…
That Friday, my son underwent surgery for a craniotomy for a tumor excision. Prayers… more prayers. Even more prayers. Peace… No matter what happens, God will not withhold anything good (Psalm 84:17). His surgery was a success! Charles did well and surgically he could have been discharged from the hospital Sunday if there weren’t some other medical concerns that we were waiting to be cleared. He was eventually discharged on Wednesday, but it was a negotiation to make it happen.
But what was removed from his brain?
Because Charles had a seizure, he will not be able to drive for at least six months. He’s a courier, his job is driving. This is a new thing for him. He’s worked pretty much since he was 16 years old. Now, at 28 years old, he had a lot to deal with. His car was totaled. He has an apartment and bills to pay. As an independent contractor he did not have medical coverage.
Let me pause here to say, my son is amazingly humble and gracious. He constantly thanked and apologized to any of the staff that came into the intensive care room to help him, bring him food, or clean the room. He was overwhelmed by the amount of visitors he received and surprised by whom, as well. His faith was increased exponentially by the way God brought him through this whole ordeal. He’s been staying with me primarily since he came home. Everyday he has something new, funny, or witty to say. It’s been a blessing. He keeps me positive.
Fast forward two weeks, we go to see the radiology doctor to get the results of the biopsy from the 2.5 cm intruder that took residence in my son’s brain. As we sit waiting for the doctor to come in, Charles is his wonderful, humble and charming self, chatting with the nurse, making jokes and smiling from ear to ear.
Back on point… The doctor enters the room, asking Charles how has been doing since the surgery and such. We get to the point of the appointment – what was in his head? Glioblastoma. That was not the answer we were expecting…
This is a rare brain tumor. It usually occurs in men 40 – 60 years old, not a 28-year-old. We are going to start radiation treatment and potentially chemo for quite a few weeks. Do you remember the part when I said he doesn’t have medical coverage? He couldn’t afford it. Unlike many in this country today, those who work to keep a home, food on the table, a working automobile, and maybe a few dollars for meager entertainment, there was nothing left over for medical coverage. Now we are looking for medical insurance that can give him the coverage he needs for this exceptionally expensive treatment that is needed.
Yes, this is the point of this “diatribe” – medical coverage.
There is a wall of no coverage standing in between Charles and life-sustaining treatment. It remains unfathomable to me that this, one of the wealthiest countries on this planet, cannot agree that healthcare is a necessity. I know that there is no easy solution to the healthcare crisis we face in this country, however we should stand on the same starting line: we should provide affordable healthcare to all the citizens in this country.
As you go into the polls this November or review your mail-in ballot, please think of Charles. Consider the politician that will work towards solutions that will benefit all people and not just those that are going to pledge allegiance to a party. We have to stop thinking only about ourselves but how our neighbor is faring. The sayings, “a rising tide lifts all ships”, or “we’re only as strong as our weakest link” come to mind. Clichés? Platitudes? Maybe, but applicable.
We can no longer afford to live as crabs in a barrel, pulling one down when he or she reaches the top, but instead those at the top need to look back and pull others up. There will ALWAYS be new plateaus to climb, new challenges to conquer that will give the climber the space that is needed to excel!
So, this is the story of Charles. Please hold on it on election day.
Thank you for reading…