The Slide that Dada Built

Posted by becky on April 5, 2011 in From the Heart, Inspiration, Tribute to Stacy |

The pain had worsened as one day became the next.  It had all began back in January when he was working diligently to finish the slide for Hampton’s bed.  In shopping for Hampton’s bunk beds we had saw some beds that had a slide off the top bunk. We all thought that was so cool, but rather pricey, as compared to the ones without the slide.

Being the dad and craftsman that he was he said he could transform some regular bunk beds by building a slide for them.  The bunk beds were bought, the building materials for the slide purchased and he set in to complete this project for his pride and joy, his son.

Even though both the know-how and the want-to were present to complete this project, the energy fell short. You see, at this point he had been through chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments and numerous trips back and forth to Washington D.C. for Cyperknife treatments. The fight against the dreaded disease for the past year had taken a toll on the stamina he once had but not on his spirit.

He began about mid-morning each day working on this slide project.  What would have once been a day project had turned into a week-long one, based on his 40 year old body being battered by procedures since the first surgery.  During the time of completing this project he began to complain {something he did very little of}. He complained of a pain in his lower back. But he never missed a lick on the project at hand. He was determined to build and install the slide as promised.

Each board was cut to perfection. Each edge was sanded to be round and smooth. Then the stain, just perfect to match the bunk beds. Through the pain, all precisely done.  The day came, we took the completed slide from the building, carried it upstairs to Hampton’s room and he made all the adjustments necessary to install the slide. “Are you ready to try it out”, he said to Hampton. With a great big smile, Hampton climbed on the top bunk, took a seat right at the top edge of the slide and swish down the slide into the pillows awaiting like fluffy clouds on the floor. The room lit up as his dad smiled, he had kept his promise, he had made his son happy.

As the pain grew worse, he tried to dismiss it as kidney stones {he compared the pain to having kidney stones in the past}. After discussion with the doctors in Washington, D.C. it was suggested that he have a CAT scan performed locally and then we would mail the image disk to them for review {the mailing of the images was something we became quite familiar with}. The scan was done the images were mailed and we waited. The pain continued to worsen, he began to feel some numbness in his legs and still meeting each day with a smile.

The phone rang, I answered, Dr. Henderson {Neuro Surgeon at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C} had received the images that day, reviewed them and indicated that it was not kidney stones. “Dr. Henderson wants him up here no later than tomorrow at 6 p.m., he is within 2 weeks of paralysis, he has a tumor on his spine”, said the voice on the other end of the phone. As I tried to process this, repeating the majority of it back to the lady on the other end of the phone, I almost lost it. We thought we had this monster under control, now it rears its ugly head again.

I immediately make a few phone calls informing family and friends of the phone call and I proceeded to make plans to fly to Washington, D.C. the next day. This is something I became quite good at {if I do say so myself} making arrangements for the flight, hotel and packing the bags for the three of us in a moments notice. It is true, we can do a lot under pressure, God will not put more on us than our shoulders can bare.

With only one flight out of Atlanta on Friday morning, we booked it.  We were fortunate to have his brothers and sisters join us. Some flew with us and the others drove up. This was going to be a major surgery, especially with the condition of his immune system. They wanted to be there by his side.

Arriving at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta to a Friday morning crowd did not make the trip any easier. But, we made it, flying into Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C. around noon on Friday.  We were able to check in the hotel and see Dr. Henderson. The doctor reviewed the scans and explained the surgery that would take place on Sunday, February 14th!  Yes, Valentine’s Day! The previous Valentine’s Day we were at Massachusetts General in Boston seeing doctors.

Saturday was filled with many tests and pre-op. On Sunday morning, February 14th we sat in the waiting room for hour after hour waiting to hear the surgery was over, everything was okay. Each minute seems like an hour in anticipation of the call.  Many hours passed, the call came. Dr. Henderson met us in the hallway and explained he got it {the tumor}, no paralysis, we would just have to wait and see but everything went well!

Another close call, but God had held our hands and gotten us through it.  By nightfall he was in ICU smiling and talking. Five days passed, each day showing great improvement. The doctor said he could return back to Georgia when he felt physically able. Even though not physically able his desire overruled the pain and he was ready. Georgia here we come.

This is one of my tributes to Stacy. Through the pain that would have laid many down and the fatigue his weary body felt, he kept his promise. Because of his persistence through the agony, he made our son smile. Hampton will always remember the Slide that Dada built!



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