Today’s story of how God miraculously intervened in the life of a little boy is shared by Dave Fyock, (pictured at right with his wife, Mary Alice) who attends Grace Church in Lititz, Pa. (Tim Boal, interim lead pastor).
As I write this I am basking in the glow of a happy 7-year-old who spent his first week at Camp Conquest day camp this summer. But events in his life have not always been quite this happy.
On May 29, 2010, we had been eagerly awaiting the birth of our fourth grandchild for the last nine months. Now Mary Alice and I were driving to Delaware for a birth celebration. It was somewhat concerning as we changed course since the expectant mother had already been moved from a natural birthing center to a hospital due to some difficulties. At the hospital, Graybill Dean Fyock was born at 2:27 p.m., but the wait for our son to come down from maternity seemed to take forever. Finally, we joined our son and daughter-in-law in her room, but the baby was not there. When the doctor entered the room, his body language spoke of defeat. He said he could only stay a moment, as they had had to resuscitate the baby at birth and he had to watch him to make sure he stabilized. Later the baby boy was brought to the family in an isolette, and we were encouraged to reach in through a little door and touch him. I’ll never forget the big dark eyes staring out at me. The staff told us he could not get enough oxygen on his own, and he was being taken by ambulance to A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital, where there were people skilled at handling his condition.
As we followed the ambulance down the road, we were badly shaken and tried to pray while driving. At Dupont, Graybill was put in intensive care, with his own nurse assigned only to him, and about 20 wires and tubes attached to his little body. We met Dr. McCollough, who explained that Graybill had only three heart chambers, and they were not connected to his lungs and the rest of his body in the proper way. He explained that Graybill would need a series of heart surgeries, maybe 3 in the first year, to correct this. With Graybill in intensive care, his mom and dad were given a room just down the hall, which they occupied for 22 days, certainly a different outcome than the planned birth party.
As we found out more about the pioneering work by Dr. Norwood that was now the accepted procedure for Graybill’s situation, and that had been done at this very hospital, I realized how God’s hand had allowed this birth to occur only a few minutes from there, where a world-class surgeon, Dr. Pissaro, and experienced staff knew how to handle this medical emergency. The procedure was relatively recent, with the oldest surviving patients now only 30 years old.
That was the first of many trips for us to cardiac 2B at A.I.Dupont. Graybill had his first open heart surgery at 9 AM on June 7, 2010; by two weeks old I held him for the first time, and after three weeks in the hospital, he and his parents headed for home. By September 30, 2010, he was back for a heart catheterization, and October 7 was in for his second open-heart surgery. By October 10 he was recovering and smiling at Grandma (or was it gas?). November 15 he went home, trailing an oxygen tube. His visits to DuPont continued with more stints, surgeries, and recoveries up to June 2013. Grandma and Grandpa wrote thank you letters to the hospital administrator and took the staff cookies and candy.
We could go on with stories of nurses who saved the day by repositioning oxygen tubes, surgeons called out of operating rooms to resolve critical issues, and us trying to keep a wireless heart monitor clipped to his diaper, and later an oxygen tube taped to an active toddler. We learned more than we ever wanted to know how to read the monitors to evaluate his condition. There were great victories, like when he could breathe on his own without oxygen, and little setbacks, like a very soft voice from vocal cord damage. And we thank many of you who were involved in prayer chains that prayed for him over that critical period.
It was a scary time for Grandma and Grandpa. When caring for him, how to get all those medications right? How delicate is he? Will we get a call any minute that he is back in the hospital?
As the checkups went from semi-annual to annual, and blood oxygen went up, the medications came down. Graybill, of course, didn’t know that he was any different than anyone else, so he began running around like an ordinary boy. Gradually the medical news became more ordinary, and Graybill attended first grade and traveled out of the country. As we have gone through the growth stages in his life, we find he is an immensely enjoyable little boy, one of God’s treasures. Occasionally when he is staying with us, he attends Sunday School here at Lititz Grace. Of course, we were overjoyed when his parents agreed to let him stay with us for a week and attend Camp Conquest day camp. Now if we could only find that verse he recited in “Second Joe.”
A slightly abridged version of this story appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.