Confession #55: Lobe’s Fall, God’s Protection, and the Road to Brain Surgery
On July 4th I posted the following message on the Emmaus House Facebook Page: SPECIAL PRAYER REQUEST: Lobe had an accident today. While playing this evening he fell 25 ft. from a tree and hit the back of his head and back. He is now in Milot hospital overnight and will undergo tests tomorrow morning. He is alert, speaking, and the doctors have found no fractures thus far. He is in a lot of pain and is pretty shaken up with what has happened. Please pray first and foremost for Lobe and his healing. Pray for the doctors who are overseeing his care. Pray for Ang. Marie who is staying with him tonight and taking care of him. Pray for us as we look after him. And pray for all the kids as they are missing their friend tonight. Thanks and we will keep all of you updated as we know more tomorrow!
That day, Jean Wilson (also known as Lobe), fell straight out of a tree and on to his back. I didn’t see him fall, but I can still hear all the kids screaming. I can still see Ramo (one of the orphanage staff members) carrying him frantically over to the wash area. I can still remember Nanot (the old cook) running and screaming, “No, No, No.” I can still remember Dalencia crying in my arms as she tried hard not to look at Lobe- her favorite among the teenagers-lifeless on the ground. I can still remember wondering how I would ever survive if he didn’t. And then I remember him taking his first breath….
I know who goes before me. I know stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side. I sang Chris Tomlin’s words to myself as I tried to gather the anxious children together- attempting to give Lobe the breathing space he needed. He has an angel army by his side. I kept reassuring myself.
We had an American nurse visiting at the time- an ER nurse might I add. She quickly stepped in, examined him, took his vitals, and helped us transition him to the hospital (lying on a door and in the pouring rain). Without her assistance in advocating for Lobe that evening, I am not sure if he would have received half the care he did. God sent her our way “for such a time as this”, for that I am certain.
Milot Hospital did their best to care for him with what resources they had accessible, and the following day Lobe was sent home, without even a prescription for a pain reliever! He was sore from head to toe, as to be expected, but according to the local doctors he would be fine.
Believing the doctors, on July 5th I posted the following message on the Emmaus House Facebook Page: UPDATE ON LOBE: He is back home and doing well. He is in some pain, as to be expected, but God has protected him for sure! With no broken bones and just a few scratches here and there he is walking and talking and glad to be home with his friends and family. Thank you for all your prayers! Please continue to pray for healing over the next few days.
Weeks went by and then months and we were for sure this fall was all behind us. Until the headaches began…
Lobe’s headaches began around the end of August. At first we thought they were tension headaches and we gave him Tylenol and suggested he get more rest. But then the headaches became more frequent and then at one point they wouldn’t go away for weeks at a time.
As a migraine sufferer myself, I knew the red flags. I knew this was something not to take lightly and so I sought the help of a good friend Amy Duncan. Or should I say Dr. Amy Duncan? My friend from college is now in her 2nd year of surgical residency. Her family is adopting from the orphanage where Lobe is from and her and Lobe have been close for quite some time. And not to mention she is one of the nicest/sweetest/ most gracious/red-headed people you will ever meet. In other words- she was exactly the person I needed to speak with!
Amy advised us to get a CT scan on Lobe’s head. In her medical opinion, there was a good chance his headaches were correlated with the fall, but until she could see his brain with her own eyes, there was really no way to know for sure.
A few weeks later Gerome was able to take Lobe to Port-au-Prince to get a CT scan. The results and scans were sent to me and then I was able to send them to Amy in the states by late September.
Multiple physicians viewed the scans: a surgeon, a radiologist, and neurosurgeons. And the general consensus was that Lobe needed surgery and fast. According to the doctors, Lobe should have had brain surgery the night of the fall (July 4). And the fact that he has survived with minimal repercussions for the past three months is nothing short of a miracle.
I know who goes before me. I know stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side. In other words, God has been protecting Lobe since July 4th– completely and fully.
So what exactly is wrong with Lobe?
According to Amy, “Lobe has a collection of blood (chronic subdural hematoma) over the right side of his brain (frontal to temporo-parietal) that has continued to slowly enlarge since his fall. The skull creates a closed space such that only so much stuff can fit inside. Since this extra blood is now taking up more room, the blood is putting pressure on his brain and is causing it to shift (approx 1.5 cm… which is a lot in terms of brain shift), and is trying to squish his brain out of the way. This is causing him to have headaches and other symptoms, and can be fatal if it continues/is allowed to progress. A small blood collection can resolve on its own, much like a bruise getting better. But since his is so large, this collection needs to be removed in order to allow room for his brain to occupy its normal space once again. Even if the collection does not continue to enlarge, with it being as big as it is, there is a very tiny likelihood of it resolving on its own.”
So what are we going to do about it?
Without any neurosurgeons in either Haiti or the Dominican Republic, we knew we would have to find an American surgeon to help us out. This was one of the partial reasons why I came home last week. Acquiring a medical visa could be a difficult and lengthy process, and the neurosurgeons both felt like this surgery was rather urgent.
What in the world were we going to do?
God has had a plan all along.
This week two doctors from Johnson City, TN (my hometown) have volunteered their time to come and perform Lobe’s surgery free of charge IN HAITI. And the equipment, medications, and operating room have all been donated. The surgery will be a simple operation- but extremely necessary nonetheless.
In other words: PRAISE GOD!
Praise Him for protecting Lobe when he fell out of the tree.
Praise Him for protecting Lobe’s brain the night of the fall as it bled and couldn’t be treating.
Praise God for blessing Lobe with continued protection for the past three months.
Praise God for Lobe’s headaches- a subtle, yet not major way to let us know something was wrong.
Praise God there was a CT scan in Port-au-Prince.
Praise God for Dr. Amy Duncan who loves Lobe and helped advocate for his case.
Praise God for the doctors in Johnson City who took the time to review the scans even though they didn’t have to.
Praise God for the doctors who have volunteered their time, money, and talents to come and help Lobe.
Praise God for medicine and the ability to perform surgery.
Praise God for Haiti Hospital Appeal for allowing us to use their facilities for Lobe’s surgery.
And Praise God for just being God!
Just the other day I spoke with Lobe on Facetime. Trying not to cry I said, “Lobe, God must have such BIG plans for you. All these doctors think you should be dead, but He has kept you safe!” Laughing he said, “I know, right?” All of us at Emmaus House can’t wait to see what God has in store for Lobe. Apparently it must be HUGE or He would not have seen him through in such miraculous ways these past few months.
Lobe will undergo surgery this Saturday and I ask that you all share Lobe’s story with all your friends and family and join us at Emmaus House in prayer! There are three specific things I ask you to prayer about:
- Pray for safety, wisdom, and blessings over Dr. Amy Duncan and Dr. Rebekah Crump Austin as they travel to Haiti and perform the surgery on Lobe.
- Pray for the surgery on Saturday afternoon. Pray that it will be a success and that there will be no complications.
- Pray for Lobe. Pray that he will feel safe and confident going into the surgery. Pray that the surgery will bring healing to his pain. And pray that Lobe’s story will be used as a testimony to God’s great power wherever He takes Lobe in life.
I still remember Lobe’s fall like it was yesterday. For a few minutes, I honestly thought I was going to lose him. But I know who goes before me. I know stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side. If there is anything I have learned to be true in Haiti, it is these words. God is forever present by my side and by the side of my kids. To Him be the glory!
Please share Lobe’s story with your friends! Let’s get the prayers going!