Although I was born incredibly healthy, things have happened in my life that have given me brushes with death. I don’t feel particularly lucky or unlucky because of these instances. I figure it’s just life happened, my life of courser, but that’s the same for everyone.
My mom was just starting to feel like herself again after her own brush with death when I was born. It was at this time that I started having some serious problems. I was a whole big 3 months old.
At first, it appeared that I had colic. I got so upset and sick from it that my mom took me to the pediatrician. Apparently my symptoms were too severe to be a case of colic. He referred me to a specialist at Children’s Hospital.
My mom has never told me how long all of this took, or how anyone, including me, was reacting to all the activity. Still, I wonder what the general tension was like during all of this hullabaloo about me. Did the colicky symptoms get worse? Did my mom find that she was able to handle things better, including my colic, because she knew help was on the way? I may never know, but sometimes I ponder on it.
I ended up having a biopsy on my liver. According to the test results, I had an infection that was similar to Hodgkin’s disease. The chances of me living past the age of four years old were slim to none.
The doctor, though satisfied with the results of her findings, ordered a second biopsy. I don’t think my parents even asked why she decided on the second procedure. It was 1954 and people at that time didn’t ask a doctor very many questions, taking for granted that he or she knew it all. My parents just accepted her conclusions. A second biopsy was done.
This second biopsy came back benign. This was a little odd, to say the least. Was I going to live or die?
The next few months were hard on everyone. I continued to have the colicky behavior, not wanting much nourishment, not sleeping well, and giving my parents hell as often as I could. It wasn’t until I could walk that things started turning around. I was coddled, of course. Everyone in the family was indulging me, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. After all, no one knew if I was going to pull completely out of this slump of poor health.
By the time I was two years old, the family had pretty much decided that I was going to live and be healthy, at least for more than the four years the doctor at Children’s Hospital predicted. I’m told that I was a well-behaved toddled. Everyone liked me being around at the family gatherings anyway.
There are two theories about my first brush with death, if you can call it that. The first theory is that the first biopsy was wrong. I don’t see how this could be though. From what my parents told me, the doctor was convinced by the results of the first procedure despite the fact that she ordered a second one. The second theory is that I did have the infection but somehow all of it was removed with the first biopsy. This would mean that the infection had just started because the tissue sample for a biopsy is tiny.
My maternal grandma used to tell me that God just didn’t want me yet.