Living the Impossible

Impossible.

That’s what they told us. Oh, they used different words at different hospitals, but they all said the same thing. After Kevin’s devastating spinal cord injury sustained in a fall, his situation seemed hopeless. He lay paralyzed from the neck down and kept alive by a ventilator.

He was first taken to the local hospital at Lethbridge, Alberta, but was quickly transferred by helicopter to a Calgary hospital. We drove twelve hours through the night to join him after we received the call. When we arrived at the Calgary hospital the next morning, we were ushered into a gray room and joined by a gray doctor. He talked somberly about all the challenges Kevin faced. I don’t remember much of what he said to us. But his face said it all:

Expect the worst.

The second consultation was with a sour doctor who presented us with a bunch of “nevers.” Kevin would never breathe again. He would never move his body below his chin or possibly his shoulders. He might not even survive the complications of the injury. He would never go home to the United States, because no airline would take him on a flight. No medical crew would consent to accompany him, and no doctor in the States would accept him as a patient.

And, the doctor added, they didn’t have vent patients there. Kevin’s only way out was death.

But God is a God of the impossible.

We rejected this push for euthanasia, and God opened the way for Kevin to be flown back to a hospital in the United States in a chartered Lear jet, accompanied by a volunteer medical team and his brother Erik. Through the generosity of the people of Canada and here in the States, everything was paid in full. Kevin’s Canadian surgeon was a wonderful man who gave us our first ray of hope by telling us Kevin would probably survive, although his chances of recovering any function or feeling were one in a hundred. Virtually impossible.

Kevin’s trials increased after transferring to Spokane, when he experienced two respiratory codes and nearly died both times. He struggled with two bouts of pneumonia, finally stabilizing enough to be moved to a rehabilitation hospital. Along the way, he surprised the medical personnel by beginning to regain feeling and some slight movement.

Still, they reminded him that he could never wean off the ventilator. They told us that it would be impossible for us to care for him at home, and he would have to live in a nursing facility.

Our God is a God of the impossible.

Seven weeks after his injury, Kevin went home with us, his family, as his caregivers. Two years after the injury, he weaned off the vent during his waking hours, only going back on it at night to sleep. He gained more feeling and movement back in his body.

Today he can run a computer, walk with help, and do a few things for himself. Recently he began a new, self-imposed exercise regimen and has made new gains. He taught himself computer animation and 3D graphics, ran a studio with his brother, and now is the founder and senior editor of a website devoted to Christian music, http://www.cmaddict.com.

In 2008, he served as honorary groomsman at his brother Erik’s wedding. He was honorary groomsman at his friend Grant’s wedding, as well. Last September, Kevin rolled down the aisle of our church to stand beside his brother Daniel as his best man at his wedding.

Every day for twenty years, we have lived the impossible.

It has been with great joy we have watched God work in our weakness. He has given us miracles without end in this journey. Together, we have watched God bring our family closer through trial and release the fragrance of His grace in our broken lives and dreams. We have stood amazed at the tenderness and love with which our adult children have served their brother and us. We see with joy that God is building new dreams.

Yes, life has been hard. Kevin has suffered much. But he has chosen to serve God in his suffering. We have chosen to serve God in standing beside our son. The beauty we have been privileged to witness far outweighs the sorrow.

Today, on July 11, 2017, we celebrate twenty years of watching an awesome God at work. We rejoice at twenty years of life restored to our son. We look forward to the future, knowing that our Lord is still a God of miracles. Every day, in His power, we live this wonderful, impossible life together.

 

The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.

-Luke 18:27

 

 

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About PamThorson

Pam is a licensed practical nurse, author, and caregiver. Her first book, Song in the Night, recounts her son’s fight for life after a spinal cord injury. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, offers hope and encouragement to those who care for others.

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