Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about how amazing the human body can be.  Season after season we see physical transformations of the human body on The Biggest Loser by manipulating muscle mass and energy use.  We hear stories of human bodies surviving accidents that they shouldn't survive.  Sure, some bodies can't survive certain tragedies and trauma - or are irreparably damaged - but every day we hear stories of broken bodies healing themselves back to "almost" as good as new.

This phenomena has been on my mind because of Jacob.  Jacob is a cub scout in my son's pack, though he is not in his den because he is younger.  Jacob is 6 years old and has a mother who is the classic "den mother" - she runs two dens - who makes sure each of her boys has an opportunity to earn every pin, belt loop and patch available during the cub scout year.  They do crafts, skits, everything under the sun.  She's an amazingly busy mother and her two kids are with her every step of the way. 

A few weeks ago, Jacob and his family went on a vacation to Southern California.  They went to amusement parks, including Universal Studios.  To hear his mother tell it, one minute they were sitting eating lunch, and the next Jacob was at the bottom of a set of concrete steps, laying still on the ground and totally nonresponsive.  The next few minutes are all a blur for her as she watched emergency medical teams try to get Jacob to respond.  He was taken to a local hospital but eventually airlifted to a children's hospital about an hour away so he could be treated by the best of the best.  Jacob was unconscious for a couple of days, and for awhile there, his mother had no idea whether he would ever speak to her again.  I cannot imagine what it must have been like for her.  I'm good in a crisis, but I've never had a crisis involving my children.  All bets are off when it comes to our children.

The pack mobilized as best we could from 500 miles away.  We contacted people we knew in the area to help the family while they stayed in a Ronald McDonald House near the hospital.  We set up prayer circles at our churches.  The scouts made cards and pictures to put in Jacob's room.  For the first week or so everything was touch and go and doctors were hesitant to make any predictions about Jacob's recovery.

Fast forward about two weeks.  Jacob showed up at our pack meeting a couple of nights ago.  If I didn't know better, I would never know he'd been in a hospital with everyone worried about him.  He looks like the same normal, healthy, typical 6 year old boy.  His mom says she is so thankful that kids don't know how to feel sorry for themselves; Jacob is resisting mom's efforts to make him take it easy for awhile and he's complaining that he's bored and he wants to run, jump and play.  I was so happy to see Jacob back to normal - at least externally - that I wept when I got home and said a prayer of thanks.  And he's not even my kid ....

I have broken many bones in my day.  I slid down the stairs in a box and broke my arm.  (And then lied to my mother about how I fell!)  I got my foot caught in the spokes of a bike that was too big for me and broke two bones in the middle of my foot.  I fell off the monkey bars and broke my foot.  I did an aerial cartwheel in the sand and landed on a rock buried beneath the sand, breaking an ankle.  Even more painful, I stepped in a hole and pulled ligaments in my foot.  But here I am, all these years later, not suffering any ill effects from these multiple bone fractures.

We are so lucky to have bodies that are often unbreakable.  Disease is a different issue, but when we're talking about bones and muscles, these bodies are amazing pieces of machinery.  I'm grateful.

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