Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rock Star

I've often mentioned my sixteen year old son, the runner, who frequently teaches me lessons about life, endurance, willpower, and courage. Just click on any of my posts that compare marathon running to writing. That's my son, Will, in the pics. Funny thing is, the boy has no idea how much I've learned from him.

Tomorrow, Will becomes a Rock Star. That's what White Rock Marathon runners are called as they run a 26 mile race in downtown Dallas that goes around White Rock Lake. Proceeds from the race go to the Scottish Rite Hospital and I cannot begin to adequately express the irony of this whole situation.

When Will was an infant, he had his entire skull reconstructed, was on a heart rate monitor until he was a year old and underwent additional surgeries for a cleft palate and to reconstruct his inner ear. He had the very best doctors. The same doctors who separated the Egyptian twins at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, rebuilt my own son's head.

Today, corrective surgery for craniosynostosis is not as invasive as it was sixteen years ago when they sawed off the back of Will's head, disposed of the curled bone, removed the bone from the top of his head and broke it into little bits to piece the rest of his skull back together. Imagine putting together a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle with only 40 pieces. That was my son's head after surgery.

Since his head was like oatmeal, he had to stay in a walker and wear a helmet. A fall could kill him so we couldn't allow him to walk unless somebody was right there to catch him if he stumbled. He was developmentally behind other children his age because he couldn't run, swing, climb, and explore the way other children did.

Portions of his skull are still as thin as a piece of notebook paper and he has several spaces and pinholes where the bones never connected. No developmental issues at all but even a mild blow to the head could result in a fracture or concussion. He can't participate in many sports and for a competitive high school jock, that seems almost cruel to him at times.

There was a time sixteen years ago when I put Will to bed every night not knowing if he'd be alive when I woke up in the morning. Today, the little boy who wasn't allowed to learn to walk, runs! Oh, how he runs!


Grubber said...

Have two kids myself, so I think I can say, that must have been hell.

Fantastic to see a true happy ending....


oneslackmartian said...

Hey . . . . there’s no crying in screenwriting . . . .

Thanks for sharing this personal story. I have a 6 and 4 year-old. I’m content just watching and staring at them. I marvel at how I could have possibly contributed to their beauty.

Being a former distance runner, I get a special twinkle when I see that it’s running that plays a central part to the story.

Run, Will, Run!