This past week has been a difficult one. I find myself hesitant to be real, maybe it’s the nature of social media and the silent pressure to paint only rosy pictures. Deb and I have both simultaneously sick, which doesn’t haven’t often thankfully. The timing of the sickness co-inciding with our Widows outreach, Youth Christmas Party (at our house), and Broderic’s arrival.
The night before Broderic left Canada to visit us over Christmas break, he noticed his chin was red, and beginning to form a boil. He messaged me just before he departed, telling me about it – we figured it wasn’t a big deal, and to proceed to travel the +20hrs by train and plain to Ukraine.
It was so cool to see my son after a full year, his first on his own at College. Yet, the moment we greeted the anticipated joy turned to stress. His chin had literally ballooned to at least 3x the normal size. My ‘dad’ mode kicked in and we started considering options, which are both many and different than the west. In America or Canada, you can simply go to emergency and get some council, recommended course of action. Here in Ukraine, not so simple. First you need to decide if you want to pay for private vs public. The public hospital system is incredibly antiquated, unhygienic, and honestly scary (though to most Ukrainians, it’s the only affordable option).
I took him immediately to one of the largest private hospitals. They were unhelpful, simply telling me I’d need to make an appointment, and asking me what type of doctor I need. We decided, which I regret doing now, to take him to our home (90 min away from Kiev), get him some painkillers and use doctor Google.
During the two days in Rzhyschiv, it got worse. We called and booked an appointment back in Kiev. We hosted our Widows outreach, which was really a wonderful time and many dear ladies touched, and prayed with. The next night we also hosted a Club 180 Skating party at our house. Both events, Deb and I feeling terrible physically and emotionally conscious of our poor son’s plight.
Yesterday, Deb went into Kiev with Broderic and our appointment turned into a waste of time. They said they couldn’t help him, and actually sent them to a dentist. A dentist! His chin at this point was not only 3x the normal size, but darkened and incredibly infected. The antibiotics we purchased locally were kicking in but he needed immediate surgery to remove dead tissue and the spread to other parts of his sinus and face.
Thanks to our dear friend Andrei Murzin, who also was our hero during Noah’s fractured skull ordeal, we lined up another appointment across town at another private hospital. Upon seeing Broderic, the doctor quickly took him into his office and after local anesthetic, cut him open and removed part of his chin! I know this is disgusting, and I’m sorry if this grosses you out, but my blog is for posterity and raw history, not just the spiritual victories. They wanted to keep him for a few days, but being 2hrs from our house, they allowed us to gather needed supplies and care for him at our house.
He’s now feeling much better today. I’m dressing his wounds regularly, and he’s chalked full of antibiotics and potions. The greatest joy of my week came this morning when I heard him laugh with his brothers. It’s been 4 days since I picked him up at the airport, but today was the first time we’ve ‘seen’ Broderic – he’s been in pain and greatly discouraged as have we.
The next few days are important to keep the operated area clean. He’s going to need some constructive surgery when this is over, but if that’s all, we will be extremely thankful. It was spreading fast and could have been much worse had we waited even one more day. The hole is literally the size of quarter and quite deep. However, I’m already seeing improvement as the swelling goes down.
Thanking Jesus for mercy, for a doctor that cut to the chase and for the hope that in a week or so, he could take off bandages and move to normal. Thank you as well for your prayers. Every parent knows that feeling of helplessness, whether it’s a fever in a newborn or a broken bone – I can’t believe that after a full year of not seeing Broderic, he gets this infection the very day he returns to us. We think the combination of no sleep during exam week, not eating well, and plenty of stress caused his immune system to go haywire with a common boil.
Whatever the reason, we are glad he’s here, and we can enjoy some peace ahead!
Bruce & Deb