Our Son –
by Martin Quijas
second son Isaac was born with VACTERL. He has various physical anomalies or
birth defects. I’m not sure which of those words I like better, anomalies
or birth defects, because both of them hurt. It hurts because we know Isaac has
a ways to go with doctor visits and future operations. It hurts so much because
we simply don’t know his future. We don’t know if he’ll be
with us after the next operation. His condition has been a hard thing I’ve
had to come to grips with. I feel at times if I just don’t talk about it,
that it will make it less serious. Not that it will go away, but it just won’t
be as bad if I don’t talk about it. Maybe that’s just the way men
deal with some things, which is opposite of my wife. She wants to talk about
these things. So, I’ve been little support for her in this respect.
learned to lean on family members for comfort. I have told my sister, who is
a nurse, all his problems. She handles it well.
My other sisters take it to heart and are overwhelmed. My in-laws have
given us much support as well. My parents know something is wrong. I avoid telling them any details about Isaac’s condition. I
know that my parents could not handle all the things I would tell them about my son.
my wife and I have been through much stress. Those of you who have children with
VACTERL or any other serious illness for that matter know what I am talking about. It
was a shock at first to know that my child had VACTERL. It’s something
that I’ve never heard before. We all wish for a healthy child. It just didn’t happen for my son, my precious innocent son Isaac.
If you were to look at him you would not notice any outwardly differences in him.
But he has several serious internal problems. When I think about it too
much my heart fills with anguish.
day my son was born he had to be transferred to another hospital that could handle his conditions better. His first surgery was one day after his birth. Now what an
awful way to start out life. Fortunately my wife was transferred to the same
hospital so she could be with him. She stayed there as a patient for several
days as she recovered from the c-section. As she began to heal she was able to
see him daily. I would come to the hospital to visit her and Isaac. I would leave my 2 year old son at home with my mother-in-law, thank God for her. My first son felt the stress. He didn’t see his mother
at home for a while. While Isaac was at the hospital for most of the first 1
½ months after his birth, my wife and I would take turns staying at the hospital for a week at a time with him and the other
would be with our first son.
2 weeks from birth Isaac was released from the hospital. He was doing well for
a few days and then we had to readmit him into the hospital. Two more surgeries
would come. I’ll never forget the second surgery. I was there when he came into recovery, just out of surgery. That
day I saw the pain in his eyes. He wasn’t just crying, he was in extreme
pain. It’s an overwhelming experience for me. I cry now just thinking about it. To see someone you love
go through pain and there was nothing you can really do, outside of seemingly futile efforts to comfort him. Fortunately the morphine did work fast and it calmed his body and his cries.
nurses and doctors did their part. They tried to answer all our questions. They tried to make us feel that everything would be OK. I can say that we have had a very good experience with the surgeons at Presbyterian Saint Luke. I believe our son has been lucky to have the doctors he has had.
What would we have done if we didn’t have insurance?
this second surgery in the very early morning he had problems breathing. I was
there with him that day. Commotion sprung in the children’s ward as code
40 was announced on the floor. Doctors and nurses ran to the room. That day my son almost died. But he is with us now. And I have to be happy about that. I have to be happy for
today that we are together.
my wife that life seems so difficult now. This experience has put so many questions
in my mind about the world and about life. Why did this happen to my son? Why does he have to suffer like this? What
is life really about? Why does GOD let this happen? These questions never get answered but it tells you where my mindset is.
had another surgery the end of September. I was not looking forward to this one. We’re told it would be painful for him, but I knew it would be painful for us
to see him go through it. Thankfully everything went well and to our surprise
he was not in much pain. A week later you would not know that he had just had
major surgery. He was rolling over and trying to sit up.
tell us to we have to accept some things in life. They say “what was meant
to happen will happen” or “you can’t change some things, because GOD is in control”. In a way this does help. At times I use this to accept his
condition. At other times it makes me feel so helpless knowing that I can’t
do anything for him. None of us know the future of our children regardless of
existing ailments they may have, but his condition puts even more questions in my mind.
And although I want to know the worst case scenario, I do wish the best for him.
That is what drives me. I know my blood flows in him. No one can change that fact. He is a Quijas. He is my beloved second son. I love him unconditionally and
I want him to reach his potential. I want him to be strong. I want him to be a great man. I will always hope for
my son. I will play with him like there is nothing wrong with him.
If I am lucky I
will see him grow up and leave our household to start his own life. Until then
I will pray for mercy on his tiny body and peace for him.