Written by my sister Tamara Marina Summerhays
One day when my son Bryce was eight years old, he came home sick from school. This wasn’t particularly alarming as many of the kids in his class had recently been sick with the flu. Bryce’s symptoms were very similar to the flu so I assumed that he had the same illness. One particular night Bryce complained that his stomach hurt really badly. He had been throwing up all day so I thought that was the reason for the stomach pain. The next day his fever was down, he had stopped throwing up and we even contemplated sending him back to school but then decided to give him one more day to recover. That night his temperature spiked and he was feeling ill again. His face appeared very ashen and he just didn’t look right to me. I was confused by his symptoms and apparently worsening condition. At this point I felt that I needed additional guidance and inspiration so I decided to pray. I knelt by myself and asked Heavenly Father for much needed wisdom to know how to help Bryce. I paused during my prayer and the answer came to me very clearly that Bryce had appendicitis. The prompting was so immediate and unmistakable that I knew exactly what I needed to do. I took Bryce to the Emergency Room and was eventually seen by the Emergency Room doctor. After a thorough exam the doctor determined that Bryce indeed had appendicitis and asked for a surgeon to come and examine Bryce. After another thorough examination the surgeon declared that Bryce did not have appendicitis and that we could go home. At this point I was feeling very confused and conflicted. I knew in my soul that he had appendicitis yet was being told by a trained specialist that he did not. The ER doctor was just as confused as I was and returned to examine Bryce again. She felt that her initial diagnosis was correct and ordered a CAT scan. I was so relieved when we made the decision to run further tests. The results came back and not only did Bryce have appendicitis but his appendix had ruptured. My Bryce was a seriously ill little boy and required immediate surgery. We had just enough time for my husband and brother to arrive to give Bryce a Priesthood blessing before he was taken to the operating room. After they took him to surgery it finally came to me how truly blessed we had been. Had I or the ER doctor listened to the opinion of the surgeon only, Bryce would have been sent home, his conditioned would have surely worsened and I hate to even consider the possible outcome. My heart was immediately filled with overwhelming gratitude for the divine prompting that I had received and for the ER doctor that had saved my son’s life. Had she backed down at any point to the surgeon or been too busy on that particular day Bryce would have suffered an uncertain fate. Many times since that day I have pondered this event and been brought to tears. I was so incredibly grateful to the ER doctor who stood up and fought for my son. I felt indebted to her and wanted to thank her but didn’t know how one thanks another for saving a life. I decided to write a heartfelt note and brought it to her with some other small gift of appreciation. I remember feeling at the time how inadequate was my offering of thanks but didn’t know of any other way to express my deep and eternal gratitude. Later, this caused me to ponder more deeply the life our Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave everything for all of us so that we might be saved. The atonement was given freely to all. How I can I ever repay such a debt? My expressions of gratitude also seem completely inadequate yet I give my small offering in comparison by giving thanks and by trying to give love and charity to those around me. I know it is nothing in comparison to the gift of life but the Savior knows my heart and my deep and abiding love for all that He has done for me. And I hope that the ER doctor knows of my deep appreciation despite my insufficient offering. All I know is that my Bryce is with me because of the answer to sincere prayer, Priesthood blessings and because someone else was willing to stand up in his behalf. For these blessings I am eternally grateful.