Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Hospitals, Doctors and Surgeries

Itty-bitty Sharon helping
with the vacuuming
(click here to read previous story: Family of Four)

In 1962, Dinon's three-year-old daughter Sharon developed a urinary tract infection.  The infection was successfully treated with antibiotics - but then it came back.  And came back again.  And again. 

"You could cure it temporarily with antibiotics, but it wouldn't stay cured," Dinon said.

He and Liz were worried about the persistence of the infection, so they began a long string of hospital visits with Sharon.

"She was not only at the hospital here [in town], we took her to the hospital in Dayton, Columbus, and New York City Presbyterian," Dinon said.  "And, well, we just couldn't seem to find anybody that knew how to cure it."

Finally, Liz ended up in the Boston area and stayed at her mother's house while they consulted a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Grandma Boyer with her
two granddaughters
"Unbeknownst to us, Sharon had some reflux action between the bladder and the kidney," Dinon said, "and a physician there said that he could reimplant whatever-they-called-that tube so that the reflux action would not be a problem."

They agreed to proceed with the five-hour operation.  It went well, and aside from a restless desire to get out of her hospital crib (which the staff foiled by putting a net over the top to contain her), Sharon handled it well.  She was eventually dismissed and headed back home to Ohio with her mother.

"However, the physician in Boston did not provide adequate follow-up instructions," Dinon said.  "So the kidney over-healed, and the scar tissue shut off the tube."

Sharon, now four, was dealing with the same physical problems all over again.  And when the family returned to Massachusetts to confront the physician, he became defensive.

"The doctor in Boston, he blamed Liz for the over-healing, he told her it was her fault!  And she bought it.  It was NOT Liz's fault," Dinon insisted.

Family of five with new baby boy, Todd
But the damage was done: the doctor had shifted his blame and guilt onto Liz, a vulnerable young mother trying so hard to care for her sick young daughter.  And now, as a result of the doctor's mistake, the operation would have to be repeated: a consequence that Liz felt responsible for.

"Then, about a year after the second operation, when Sharon was about five, why, we found out that the over-healing had killed the kidney.  So, at five years old, she had the kidney removed," Dinon said.  "Once again, it was a long operation.  So, one year apart, three and four and five, she had major surgeries in Boston."

And finally, finally, after her kidney was removed in 1964, Sharon was back to full health.

It was a stressful time for the young Boyer family, but it was finally behind them.  And in July of 1964, they became a not-so-small family of five when the first son, Todd Marshall, was born.

(Next story: The First Son)


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