“Hurry, we must take Craig to the doctor”
This was the news that greeted me on an August afternoon as I arrived
home from a hard day of work in the orchard. I certainly wasn’t
expecting to have to jump in the car and take my four-month old son
to a doctor that we didn’t even know.
It had been a challenging three months for us. I had graduated from
Susquehanna University in May and had four teaching interviews and four
job offers. This created a nice but a very hard decision. One offer
was at Donegal in Mt. Joy, a second at Elizabethtown, a third at Hershey,
and a fourth, the one, which I had accepted, was at Penn Manor in Millersville.
Since my new contract and job wouldn’t begin until September,
I spent the summer working in an orchard in Lancaster County. My summer
days were filled with picking cherries and apples in anticipation of
beginning a new teaching career. We had no other income or insurance
during this time, so we were guarding our finances very carefully.
Finding a place for the three of us to live had been very difficult.
We looked for months and were unable to find anything satisfactory.
We took turns living with my parents in Lititz and Dianne’s parents
in Sunbury. All of us prayed for a nice place to rent.
In July we had received a call about an apartment in a farmhouse in
Silver Springs. We almost didn’t even follow up on the call because
of the location. But, since we were praying, we thought that we better
at least check it out. And, sure enough, it was what we needed and in
August we moved in. For almost two years we enjoyed this apartment in
the country – two bedrooms, a bath, kichen, living room, front
porch, and a bug-filled dirt basement.
Shortly after we moved, Craig began to have stomach and bowel problems.
We didn’t know any of the doctors in the Silver Springs area so
we asked my former doctor in Lititz if he had a recommendation. He suggested
a Dr. Richard Bryson in Landisville.
That day while I was at work Craig had become worse. His crying indicated
that he was in discomfort. He kept pulling up his legs because of apparent
stomach pain. He had also become constipated and then Dianne was really
alarmed when she found blood in his diaper. At that point she decided
to call this Dr. Bryson.
The doctor’s response was to ask us to bring him to his office
as soon as I got home. At about 6 p.m. we met Dr. Bryson who was to
become out special family doctor for many years. This was to be the
first of many emergency calls and visits to Dr. Bryson over the years
When we arrived at his office he quickly examined Craig and then left
us to make some telephone calls.
Within minutes we were headed to the hospital where we met surgeon Dr.
Peter Pranken. After a quick examination we were stunned to learn that
Craig was being prepared for emergency surgery. It tore our hearts apart
to watch our baby wheeled off to the operating with all sorts of iv’s
and tubes attached to his small body. By 8:30 he was on the operating
I’m not sure what all went through our minds during this time
of waiting but I do recall vividly the realization that I might lose
my only son. As I pondered this possibility my heart was drawn to the
knowledge that God sent His Only Begotten Son to die for my sins. Even
though He was the Almighty Creator it must have been so painful to see
His son abused and crucified for sinners such as I. The impact of the
price of my salvation pierced my emotions that night unlike any other
time in my life. It is painful for anyone, even God, to see one’s
only son die. Yet He endured that for me.
Sometime later the surgeon came out to tell us that all had gone well
and that they had been able to correct his intestinal problem without
having to cut the intestine. He said there were indications that if
surgery had been delayed it would have required much more serious surgery.
Because of the timing, he predicted a full and complete recovery.
Craig had a condition called intrasuception. In this condition the intestine
telescopes into itself and begins to eat itself. If not caught in time
it can lead to death. This condition is very rare and almost nonexistent
in children less than two years old.
We later learned that most doctors never see such a case and most would
not even recognize the symptoms in time to avoid a life-threatening
situation. Dr. Bryson recognized the symptoms because he had one previous
patient with this condition – his own two-year old daughter.
Is it coincidence that we would move to a place that we didn’
t want to move to, and that we would then contact a doctor that we didn’t
know, and. in turn, he would recognize this unusual condition because
he had seen it in his own daughter? We have no doubt that it wasn’t
coincidence but the leading of an omnipotent, omniscient Heavenly Father
who was directing our paths.
One of my many “life verses” is Jeremiah 33:3, “Call
unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which
thou knowest not”.
Oh how I have found this true. When we trust the Lord and seek His guidance
He not only answers but He does abundantly more than we expect or even
And, that includes walking with us as we experience the unknown.