In The Beginning
Or at least.....from my beginning. I was born on Wednesday, April 10, 1957, at 11:03 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, at Union Hospital in Terre Haute,Indiana, USA. Immediately after my birth there was a controversy over whether or not I would live. The nasal passages in my skull had not formed before my birth so I was unable to breathe normally and required immediate surgery. The facilities in the hospital where I was born were inadequate at that time so it was arranged for me to be transported by ambulance from Terre Haute to the Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
My father rode in the ambulance with me, the ambulance driver, and a nurse. In addition to the severity of my condition, some events transpired on the 170 mile trip to St. Louis that later shaped my faith in God and conviction that His hand has always been on my life. In the ambulance on the way to the Children's Hospital I was on oxygen. It was difficult to keep me breathing because (as I was later informed) it is not natural for a newborn to breathe through their mouth. In addition to this obstacle, was the fact that the oxygen machine failed to operate correctly and I began turning blue. If that wasn't enough, the passenger door on the ambulance would not shut properly and my father had to keep his arm outside the window holding the door shut for a significant portion of the trip.
When I was two days old, on April 12, surgery was performed on my nose so that I could breathe. The doctors said that at that time my birth defect only occurred to 1 out of 10 million babies. I was in St. Louis for a little while but eventually came back home for recovery. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of riding in the car between Terre Haute and St. Louis for checkups on my "nose job." The doctors told my parents that I would probably have to have surgery all over again by the time I was 16 years old.