This is part two of an inspirational story Allen’s Gift, written by Sophia’s Dad Brett, a Physician’s Assistant.
Intractable vomiting. In the medical world the word “intractable” is used when nothing given as treatment or therapy relieves the given symptom. In this case vomiting. I mean think about it, remember the last time you had “the stomach flu”? Or how about the last time you went out and drank way too much only to spend the next 2 hours in front of the toilet? For me, vomiting represents one of those bodily functions that causes the afflicted to be so miserable, so “please God I’ll do anything if you make it stop” type of agony. But in the back of our minds we KNOW the vomiting will end soon and life will once again return to normal for us.
I spoke with Allen today on my cell.
“Hey buddy, you hanging in there?,” I asked.
“Doing the best (long pause) I can with (long pause) what God has given ( long pause) me to handle today,” whispers Allen with obvious great effort.
“I wanna (long pause) go home so bad, so (another long pause) tired of this”.
This time the long pause came from me.
“Hello? Brett? (long pause) Hello?”
“I’m here Allen,” I say as I again clear my throat. I feel a humungous lump in my throat followed by what seems to be a flood of emotion like a once peaceful lake escaping it’s boundaries due to a broken dam.
“I’m here man,” barely escapes my lips. The lump now a painful cacophony of past emotional pains that I thought had been purged with time.
“Thanks for calling (long pause), no one else has,” he mumbles.
“Lisa’s here,” he says referring to his one love and fiancé.
“Are you able to move your arms and legs?,” I asked.
“Has the vomiting stopped?,” Dam, what else can I say? What else should I say?
“Arms a little bit, legs too,” he trails off.
“No barfing yet,” he says with an ounce of hope.
“What day izzzz it?,” he barely gets out an obviously dry mouth.
“It’s Saturday bud. 4th of July is next week!” Why in the world did I say that? Eggshells beneath my feet.
“Only, on,,,,,,,,,only today matters (long pause) and it’s (long pause) a rough one,” Allen reply’s softly.
Two weeks prior, Allen had been playing one of his favorite video games and experienced a sudden episode of explosive vomiting. No warning, none at all. This was followed by an excruciating headache and vertigo (sensation of spinning). This went on for some two weeks before Allen’s denial broke and he sought out medical attention. He was brought from Lisa’s car via wheelchair into the clinic where my worst fears for Allen seemed a reality. He couldn’t stand let alone support himself without assistance. Stat electrolytes were ordered as well as IV fluids. A call was made over to radiology in preparation for an emergent cat scan of Allen’s brain.
Shortly thereafter, a call came in from the radiologist. “Multiple metastases to the brain with one large tumor causing the pressure to rise in Allen’s brain,” stated the radiologist.
After he was stabilized he was flown to the nearest major medical center, Lisa by his side the whole way. He underwent brain surgery a few hours later, debulking but not eradicating all the cancer. It would be impossible to survive any attempt to remove more of the black enemy. Hence the slow, slurred speech, the dry mouth, the amnesia, the inability to fully move his limbs post operatively while his invaded nervous system recovers from a very traumatic event…brain surgery.
“Get some rest bro,” I stated as my old nemesis in the throat returns.
“Ok, will you call (long pause, this time I can hear the familiar beeps and alarms of the ICU in the background) meeee tomorrow?,” Allen fades off, succumbing to the pain medication and sedatives the nurse just obviously gave him.
“Hi Brett,” its Lisa. Allen just fell asleep, the nurse just gave him some meds in his IV,” she says while holding back that oh so familiar ‘water behind the broken dam feeling.’
“Lisa,” I manage, “I’m praying for you both, just know that”.
“Me too,” she says, “Me too.”
I write this not only to keep you up to date on a remarkable young man’s condition but to point out the courage under fire he employs. If a man’s true character comes in times or peril then this man has more than any other I’ve had the pleasure to know. Grace under fire, integrity, honor, selflessness. These are the true aspects of one’s character that define who he is, what he’s made of, what he’s afraid of, and for that I take my hat off to you young Allen, as you continue to teach me life lessons and values. Goodnight bro, dream of better times and better places you haven’t been to yet…but will shortly.
Brett Davis, Physician Assistant.