3: The Most Perfect Timing

3: The Most Perfect Timing

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

The Most Perfect Timing

Impossible situations can become possible miracles.

~Robert H. Schuller

Things were not going well at all. I was laid off from my job and the next day my teenage daughter broke her foot. Then, when I took my children to the playground, my two-year-old ran in front of my daughter on the swing and got hit by the heavy boot on her foot.

He was laid out flat, but he finally got up and wanted to play again, so I thought at least that was going to be okay!

Unfortunately, when we got home, he asked if he could go lie down. That was weird.

He went to bed and tossed and turned and moaned. He finally got back up and said he couldn’t sleep. Then he threw up. It was pink.

I called his doctor, and he advised me to go to the closest pediatric trauma center. Three doctors converged on my daughter to grill her on what happened. She was terrified. I knew why they were doing it. If there was a chance we were beating up this kid, they didn’t want to give me a chance to coach her on what to say. But I watched a piece of her childhood float away, knowing this moment would be one of the most traumatic moments of her life.

They did some scans and told us my son had massive internal bleeding. I started to feel faint.

“But it was just a playground accident. How can this have happened?” I said.

They looked at me with pity and could only offer this: “These things sometimes happen.”

They decided we needed to go downtown to the medical district where there was a pediatric hospital better equipped to deal with internal bleeding. They were going to take him by ambulance right away. I would have to take my other three kids home, find someone to watch them, and then race downtown to the hospital.

For two days, my son fought a fever and did not so much as sit up. I thought he was dying. My father, whom I had not spoken to in years, showed up for comfort. I needed him.

Finally, on the third day, my boy sat up. His fever had broken. Relief all around! They sent us home, telling us to come back in a month to make sure the bleeding had stopped.

The next month, we were all smiles when we came back. My son was happy, awake, alert, energetic and back to his old self. He was fine.

We did the scans and were told we’d get the results in two days. A friend of mine advised, “Good news comes slowly.” So I comforted myself that waiting would be a good thing.

The next morning, however, the doctor called. “Are you sitting down?” he asked. What they had thought was massive internal bleeding was actually a cancerous tumor on his kidney. It was about the size of a small melon. They’d have to remove it and what remained of the kidney. “There’s a ninety percent survival rate, so that should be a relief,” he told me. They would be expecting us at the hospital and we should go right away.

My whole world disintegrated. My ears started ringing. I fell to my knees and sobbed.

We got to the ER, and my son, feeling fine, was happily running up and down the hall through the chairs. Parents holding feverish, rash-covered children scowled at me for being there with a well child when their kids were obviously sick.

My kid was about to leave with one less organ. But all those parents saw was a family cutting the line for no apparent reason.

We stayed overnight, as they were going to do the surgery bright and early in the morning. I recited a prayer I always say when I’m worried about my kids. “Dear God, please send your very best guardian angels to watch over and protect my child.” I’ve said it before first days of school, plane flights, slumber parties, and any time I’m feeling anxious about my kids facing something without me. But this was the biggest thing we’d ever faced.

The next morning, as we prepared for surgery, a man sat down in front of me. He was French. He said, “Listen. Your surgeon is the very best surgeon you could have possibly hoped for. He specializes in this rare tumor, and he’s here. In Houston. At this hospital. You’re very lucky. But he’s worried about this one. So he called me. Because I’m the very best anesthesiologist. I’ll be watching over your son through the entire surgery. So think of me as . . .” he looked up for the right word, “his guardian angel.”

I felt a blast of endorphins as I turned to look at this man.

“What did you just say?”

He laughed. “His guardian angel.”

At that moment, I knew my baby was going to be okay. God had sent two of his very best guardian angels to look after him. Then I thought back. If my daughter hadn’t broken her foot, she wouldn’t have hit my son with her boot. We wouldn’t have found his tumor for a few more years, and by then it might have metastasized all over his body. Because I was laid off the day before my daughter broke her foot, I could get unemployment and take time off to care for my son after his surgery.

The good luck continued. I got a new job shortly thereafter, and a year later my son was declared cancer free.

Everything happened with the most perfect timing. Ever since, I’ve made sure to list every single thing I’m grateful for when I pray.

~Heather McMichael

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