What They Didn’t Tell Us

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Until our nineteen-year-old son broke his neck in a fall in the summer of 1997, we knew little about spinal cord injuries. His break was very high, and the chance of his survival was bleak. Since he was injured during a trip to Canada and we live in the United States, it was a difficult journey to join him at the hospital. When we were able to get to his bedside, we found him totally paralyzed from the neck down and attached to life support.

Grim-faced doctors told us the many challenges Kevin faced:

  • He would never breathe or move again below his neck or possibly his shoulders.
  • He would need round-the-clock care.
  • He would certainly suffer from a host of complications such as pneumonia, blood clots, and urinary tract infections.
  • He could never live at home again. He couldn’t even return to the United States because no airline would accept him in his condition, no doctor would sign to receive him, no medical team would accompany him on the flight, and the cost to fly him home would be prohibitive.
  • He could not stay in Canada.

For our son, and for us, the situation seemed hopeless. One doctor was angry when we resisted a push for euthanasia.

What most of the doctors didn’t tell us was that their predictions weren’t written in stone. Yes, Kevin did suffer from pneumonia in the beginning weeks. Urinary tract infections have been a continuing challenge for Kevin. And yes, he needs round-the-clock care.

But none of the rest of it happened.

People, churches, and organizations in Canada soon learned of his injuries and rallied to his cause. Within a week, Kevin was flown back to the United States in a chartered Lear jet, accompanied by a volunteer medical team – the entire cost paid by donations.

He was received into a hospital close to home and later released to a rehabilitation hospital.

As his body came out of spinal shock, he began to regain function and feeling, stunning the doctors and therapists. This healing would continue for several years.

What no one told us was that one day Kevin would breathe again on his own, walk with help, and return home to rebuild his life. Although he remains mostly disabled, he has movement and feeling in most of his body. He only uses the ventilator at night to sleep.

In the years since his injury, he has built a computer 3-D graphics studio with his brother and founded a popular Christian music website. He lives each day with faith and trust and without complaint.

No one told us that caring for him would bring us such joy. No one explained how much his life would enrich us, or how much we would learn about courage in the process. Certainly these years have been hard. But when I see Kevin laughing and chasing his nieces around in his wheelchair, or taking his dog for a walk, or working with press agents and music companies and complicated animation software, I am reminded of all the beauty they never told me to expect.

They never told us to have hope.

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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. Her third book, Arrow: the History and People of an Idaho Community, Volume One, presents the history of the community of Arrow, Idaho.

3 Responses to “What They Didn’t Tell Us”

  1. Verna Soyk October 8, 2013 7:26 pm #

    It was a time of great faith building and miracles! My life was touched deeply and the presence of God was at times palatable. I am blessed to have shared in the early years of the families journey.

  2. Juanita Soyk April 11, 2014 12:14 am #

    Wow, I didn’t think you has so many devotionals on your web site. This is the first time I have been able to log onto your site. We got all of our computers cleaned and are up and running like, as my husband would say, “this white man machine” has worked so good since the first day we bought it. I am so proud of you and I pray you will continue to publish even more of your heart felt devotionals.

    • PamThorson April 15, 2014 4:07 am #

      Thanks, Juanita! I’m so glad you’re finally able to log onto the site. Thanks for your support and prayers for me. I love writing, and I love telling others about my God’s fierce love and loyalty to those He calls His own. Much love to you both!

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