DAVID PAUL MYERS
OUR ELDEST SON
The Thoughts of a Father, Lonely For His Son
~ ~ ~ INTRODUCTION ~ ~ ~
Bitterroot River Valley and Mountain Ranges,
Thanks for visiting David's Webpage. Here, you will find some pictures and a few words of reflection about our eldest son, David Myers (36 at the time of this writing). First, I must emphasize that none of us (parents, siblings, or friends) presently know of David's whereabouts. Not that we don't care, but because of struggles with the "misfortune" that life has dealt him, Dave has chosen to live his life at a distance. Although we tried to understand David's feelings and emotions, we found it difficult because his sense of reasoning was obviously affected by the severe Bipolar condition and PTSD (Post Tramatic Stress Disorder) that overtook him after the accident. Notwithstanding, we love our David deeply, sorely miss him, and wish him God's very best, wherever and however he may be.
What happened?... you may be asking. Dave is presently struggling with the challenges and the after-effects of a very unfortunate and totally unnecessary construction mishap, where, through no fault of his own, he was the hapless victim. The mishap occurred on November 11th, 1999 at a log home company fabrication plant, near Hamilton, Montana where David was employed. Hamilton is nestled in the beautiful Bitterroot River Valley region of Western Montana—made famous by the classic book by Norman Maclean, "A River Runs Through It." In the end, it left David partially physically disabled (for life). Worse than that, it left him emotionally and psychologically scarred... all of which broke our hearts as we witnessed both his physical suffering and his struggles to accept the limitations and disappointments of his new reality.
The irony of this needless calamity was, the job Dave was doing when it occurred was merely temporary employment, and he had less than one week left, having already turned in his resignation. I had a great phone conversation with Dave only a month or so before the accident. He called me sayig he was getting his financial things in order, with plans to return to school to complete his Bible training. Having grown up on the mission field, his goal was to enter the ministry as a missionary, following in his parents footsteps.
Fortunately, to give credit where credit is due, the company that David worked for had great insurance coverage, which took care of all David's hospital and rehab expenses, job retraining estimates, as well as a modest personal settlement. It even paid for my out-of-pocket living expenses during my four-month stay in Seattle, WA—caring for David while he was a patient there in UW's Harborview Medical Center. All told, medical costs must have approached half a million, or more. Also, the company where David was employed graciously responded by picking up my apartment rental expenses for the full four months I was in Seattle. I suppose one could say that's the least they could do, and I tend to agree.
Unfortunately, according to David's highly-qualified, Montana-based attorney, there is no easy way to hold the company liable, which they definitely were. Although David's employers were entirely and even knowingly negligible, Montana's current "no-fault" labor/employment laws pose some almost insurmountable challenges in holding the company's feet to the fire legally, so as to successfully pursue and obtain a just and rightful settlement for David. Not to belabor details, but the company was entirely at fault in more ways than one, starting with failure to enforce any kind of comprehensive drug-testing and alcohol abuse policy, combined with lax employee safety regulations and supervisory practices—all of which contributed directly to the situation that precipitated David's injuries. Of those who were employed there, and who willingly and voluntarily came forth in David's defense to attest to these facts, all later backed out, not wanting to be "marked" or lose their own jobs in this economically strapped region. Of course, this all left David in the lurch and out in the cold, as it were, with no one willing to stand up and be counted, not even his close friends there.
Dave has a very likable personality, and is about as gifted and intelligent an individual as they come—which many have recognized. One of Dave's first loves was flying, for which he began pursuing a degree in missionary aviation straight out of highschool. Also, as an individual who loved God's Creation, Dave had an affinity for the out-of-doors: snow-sports, cycling, hiking, mountain climbing, and hunting—the primary reason that he had initially moved to Montana's Bitterroot River Valley region. He also enjoyed a wide variety of other likes, and had discerning tastes, and values. In short, Dave appreciated simplicity and eschewed complexity, and enjoyed the finer things of life, including art (Dave painted and especially liked Bierstadt's Yosemite scenes), classical music, as well as high-quality goods and products. I was pleasantly surprised (not to mention amazed) to see him sit down at a piano one time when he was still in the hospital in Seattle and play (every note of) Claude Debussy's Piano Sonata, FÜR ELISE.
Besides being highly gifted and intelligent, David was a sensitive, quiet type who loved life and all it had to offer. That being said, I sometimes discerned a touch of sadness to his demeanor, maybe partially because Dave found himself to be an imperfect person, or because he was hoping to find Miss Right, and raise a family, but it never really worked out.
Bottom line, in a brief moment in time, Dave's whole life was abruptly altered, and his life-goals and desires were shattered. It certainly was not of David's or our choosing (or making for that matter), but a direct result of the easily-preventable construction mishap. This sent us all into burnout mode, as it took a huge chunk out of all our lives (but mostly David's, of course). Since then, Dave has become very unstable, with no real purpose and a dismal outlook on life in general. He salves his hurts by a wanderlust spirit, traveling around the country in a homeless condition, and avoiding anything that reminds him of the past like the plague. (Those who have met him along the way, that I have talked with, are impressed with his work-ethic and outgoing personality.)
This is all due to the Bipolar condition that he contracted. As a result, he has been stressed out and stresses others out, exhibiting confusion, disorientation, misplaced anger, deep depression, both doing and saying things very atypical for his normal self as he tries to work through things and search for answers. And, it's not getting any better at this point, since he thinks of himself as being OK (and others off), which I understand is a typical Bipolar response. As such, he won't allow himself to be properly diagnosed and treated.
Besides the mental, emotional, and psychological consequences, Dave is a thin shell of what he used to be physically, with constant stomach and digestion problems—who can tell what else might develop down the line. Physical healing occurs much easier and quicker than emotional healing. We deeply love and appreciate our oldest son and were all profoundly sorrowed and devastated as we witnessed his healthy body, personal self-worth, emotional and psychological state of mind, hopes, dreams and aspirations all crumble around him.
(I notice myself writing this in past-tense. Dave is still alive, to the best of our knowledge; however, I understand that at least 10% to 15% of those with his condition manage to take their own lives during times of deep depression—God forbid. I pray for our David daily, that God will keep and protect him, meet his deepest needs, heal his wounded heart, restore his self esteem and sense of purpose, and bring him home safely again some day. As mentioned previously, Dave presently wanders the countryside as a homeless person in a quest for answers, and avoids contact with any of us—another attribute of the Bipolar condition, I am told. Therefore, we do not know of his present whereabouts, situation, condition, or even if he is dead or alive. Death or life, we have lost our beloved son as we knew him. But don't take me wrong; we'll take him anyway we can get him, as soon as he decides to come back into our lives. We are praying to that end.)
Meanwhile, we commit David's well-being and safety to God's all-sufficient watchcare... Be well, Dave, and God bless you wherever and however you are. Come home when you want, son; you are always welcome here. We will never forget you or forsake you. We will always love you; more than you know son. Nothing can ever change that... R.M. (David's Dad)
Complicated Engineering Project Underway
David, tediously concentrating on a building project on the living room floor of our home in the village in rural Northeast Thailand where we lived. Note the alignment of the blocks. Dave was still essentially a toddler here.
Man's Best Friends, Spot and Brownie
Dave with his two pet "Heinz" brand dogs (village muts). Photo was taken under our house (note square house-posts in background) in the rural Northeastern Thailand village where we lived for 8-9 years, learning the Nyaw language and culture, and ministering among the Nyaw people. circa 1975.
Ship Ahoy, Ye Landlubbers!
Dave enjoying a boat cruise, 45 minutes out to a distant Island in Pattaya Bay, Thailand (during our annual conference). There, we (older kids and grownups) would anchor in about 30 feet of water, then snorkel out and dive over the beautiful tropical fish and coral. The boat was a medium-sized wooden fishing vessel, modified for passengers. Often, three-to-five families would get together and hire the boat, at a total cost of less than $50 for the whole day, at the time (mid-1970s). The tropical sun was intense, so sunshade was required. All the boats had deck canopies. The waters there were shark-free, or so we were told).
Quite often, I would snap pictures of the kids as they grew up--many photos were in a trunk that got stolen. This photo was taken circa 1977, shortly before our furlough (Sabbatical leave) in 1978, when Danny was born. The kids were sitting on our rattan settee in the living room of our cozy but quaint home in the remote village of Ban Naa Nai, where the kids spent their early years.
Angela is seated to the left, Michelle is in the middle, and David is seated to the right. As usual, he didn't miss a chance to make a funny face. Cheryl (mom) made the matching outfits.
Say, "Cheese" ... Update:
<=== Angie (left, with daughter Danielle)
Michelle (right) ===>
The Way We Were
Dave (near my side), photo taken circa 1981 in the provincial capital city of Nakhon Phanom (nah-kawn pah-nome), where we lived after spending 8 years the primitive village experience. Dan (Dave's younger brother), a baby at that time, is now 27 (time of this writing) Dan presently has a Bus Admin degree and holds a salaried position in Kaiser-Permanente Hospital's national admin offices in San Diego. David's two sisters are Angie (32), a schoolteacher, now married with two daughters, and Michelle (30)... later married with one young daughter. Michelle holds a BSN degree from Biola, and is a school nurse here in the San Diego vicinity.
Highschool Graduation Portrait
Dave's highschool graduation picture (age 19), Midway Baptist Schools. San Diego, CA. I see a note of sadness in David's eyes here, but I'm not sure why, or if it's really true... maybe he was just having a bad day.
From there, Dave enrolled in Flight School, and was hoping to become a missionary bush pilot. All of his profs and instructors gave him high marks, saying that he was a natural. However, for whatever reason, he quit school and did not follow through with his aviation plans.
With Sis at Black Angus Steak House
David, approx 26-27 years old in this pic, taken in San Diego a couple of years before the accident—he turned 29 in the hospital. Here, Dave was enjoying dinner at Black Angus with his youngest sister, Michelle. Michelle worked there summers as hostess, during her college years at BIOLA, where she received her BS in Nursing. Looks like they are consuming a giant icecream dessert together.
Ja, der Volkswagen mit der Katze!
(Ah, Yes... The Volkswagen with the cat!)
Dave (the mechanic), beginning restoration work on an old VW Camper Van he bought, which had a Porsche 914 engine. Picture was taken in our garage. When the job was completed, Dave drove the van to Montana, a year or so before the construction accident occurred.
(Note our gray & white family cat, Sparkles, perched upon the back seat of the van.)
Cheryl (Dave's Mom), stroking his forehead the first day he was in Harborview Medical Center's Multi-Trauma ICU (two days after the accident in Montana). There, Dave received 24-hour individual watch-care by specially-trained nurses. Harborview Medical Center, Seattle WA, is a top medical research center, connected with the University of Washington. Dave spent 6-weeks in Harborview's Trauma Center ICU under 24-hour watchcare by Trauma Center nurses... 4 months to the day in Harborview's Trauma Center ICU ward before his release.
Previous to being life-flighted to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Dave had been life-flighted to two major hospitals in Montana within his first day after the construction accident. By God's Providential care, the surgeon there had done his training at Harborview, and realized Dave was in critically serious condition... whereupon he immediatly ordered that Dave be life-flighted to Harborview. I had arrived by that time aand so rode in the twin turboprop ambulance plane, seated alongside the pilot, who just happened to be an elder in a local Bible Church in Missoula. Meanwhile, Dave was being cared for by two male trauma EMT nurses in the back of the plane--which looked like a mini-hospital on wings.
Minutes after arriving a Harborview's Emergency Room, they had Dave intubated and hooked up to ever type of computer montoring system. This to was according to God's gracious watchcare, because almost immeditely Dave's stomach, which (as it turned out) the impact of the falling logs had driven his stomach partially up through his ripped esophagus into his left lung cavity WHERE IT BURST OPEN, spilling its contents in alongside his left lung! This was realized by all od Dave's computer monitors and graphs going wild, reflecting what was happpening! He was immediately wheeled into emergency surgery under a trauma surgery team for exploratory surgery. Meanwhile, I waited in the lunch room, praying and wondering it he would make it through. I was made aware after the successful surgery what they had discovered.
Attending surgeon, Dr. Hugh Foy, oversaw the surgery, and was the main reason that Dave is alive today. A petite Chinese woman was the actual surgeon who later descrobed to me how she opened up Dave's whole midsection as she palpatated all of his internal organs, searching for abnormalities. She said that when she touched his stomach, she discovered that it was hard and immovable, and then saw how the upper half was pushed up into his lung cavity. Making a small incision, she described how his stomach contents came gushing out of his chest/lung cavity, where the upper part of his stomach had been pushed by the log impact, and had burst open a few minutes after reaching Harborview's Emergency Room area, causing the monitors to go wild.
Hurtin' In A Big Way!
David's complicated back surgery was put on hold until he was fully stabilized after receiving multiple life-saving surgeries on his upper torso. In the interim, Dave was placed in a Rocker-bed (my term). This held David firmly in place as it tilted slowly a few degrees from side to side. The purpose was to maintain circulation in and around his fractured back, sacrum, and pelvis—as well as help prevent further nerve damage, and bed-sores.
Meanwhile, Dave was placed under a drug-induced coma, along with intubation-assisted breathing. He was also plugged into every imaginable monitoring device available (or so it seemed). After thet felt he was suffiiciently, his back surgery was performed by a "crack" surgical team (no pun intended) consisting of highly-respected, world-class specialists.
The back surgery was a complete success, and restored David's mobility with no motor paralysis. However, a weakened artery ruptured and began hemorrhaging a few days later, having been damaged from the initial injury. Dave lost 10 pints of blood internally before they were able to locate the problem area. Finally, Dr. Hugh Foy, David's attending physician, was called in. He found and repaired the hemorrhaged artery in short order, saving David's life one more time. (See Dr. Foy's picture at David's bedside below.)
Not A Very Happy Thanksgiving Weekend
LEFT-TO-RIGHT: Dan, Michelle, Cheryl (mom), David (in bed), Jeff Birney and wife Angie, Me (Ron)
I look quite solemn here, because I honestly thought that this might verywell be the last family photo we would take together with David... he seemed that close to losing the battle. But, Thank the Lord, Dave was in such great physical condition previous to the accident; otherwise, he would likely have never made it, the doctors said.
Thanks Doc; You're The Greatest!
Dr. Hugh Foy, a wonderful man and the attending physician who was in charge of, and responsible for saving David's life. Here, Dr. Foy is checking and adjusting some of David's paraphernalia, including the "PICC" line, a connection device where intravenous injections are given. Note the shininess on David's face, a result of medication residue seeping from his pores.
Look Ma, No Stitches!
After many surgeries, internal fixes and refixes to save his life, Dave's stomach sutures gave way as the tissue became too deteriorated to hold, due to infection. As a result, stomach acids and contents spilled out into his chest cavity for the second time, where they flowed down into his intestinal cavity through the unhealed tears in his esophagus and diaphragm. This became evident through observing stomach bile flowing out the drain tubes inserted into David's body cavity. Thus, the surgeons were forced to apply extreme measures to hold Dave together temporarily with stainless steel retention wires and retention buttons as seen here by the row of dots on both side of the incision. Dr. Foy said the gap allows for "breathing room" helping bacterial and viral infection to dissipate. It worked! They're the experts at this sort of extreme, last-ditch procedure.
Why the extreme measures? As mentioned, Dave's stomach had been forced up into his left chest cavity by the log's exploding impact as it crushed Dave to the ground... where it later burst open, spilling raw stomach contents into the left lung area. Dave's stomach was partially destroyed by the impact (only 40%-50% could be saved). We had to wait till the stomach wounds eventually closed. Meanwhile, he could not eat or drink, only intravenous feeding for over 3 months till the broken stitches in his stomach eventually closed, and all the draining tubes were then withdrawn. This horrible-looking gaping wound eventually closed up (as promised by Dr. Foy, David's attending physician). Then, upon closing, the stainless steel retention wires were withdrawn. Note also the small dark spots on David's sides, evidence of the many drainage tubes that once sprouted from his torso. Also note the scars, left from the various minor surgeries that helped in stabilizing David after his torn stomach had been partially removed and initially stitched closed—which tore open again later due to infection.
OUT OF RESPECT FOR DAVID, PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR PROPAGATE THIS PHOTO)
David and Dad (me) towards the end of his hospital stay.
Note stomach (G.I.) drainage tube is still in place here, meaning the tears in Dave's stomach weren't fully healed shut at this juncture. On a side note, I gladly put my own life on hold and spent the whole four months with Dave while he was there at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle—showing him that I loved and cared for him. I stayed in a nearby apartment facility, set up especially for relatives of long-term patients. This pic shows Dave's greasy-looking face... due to residue secretion of the many meds that he was being given, the doctors and nurses said.
Amazingly, Dave does not experience any residual pain in his back and lower torso, of which he suffered a separated pelvis, broken L4 and L5 vertebraes, a shattered sacrum, replete with some severed nerves to his lower torso and legs, cut by sacrum bone shards. Miraculously, Dave had no motor-nerve damage, only severe numbness due to sensory (feeling) nerves being severed, which are slowly regenerating.
Other injuries Dave suffered were: seven broken main ribs on the left side (folded over close to his backbone), punctured left lung, ruptured stomach (its contents spilling out into his chest cavity), ripped/torn diaphragm and esophagus, and inter-related issues. All of these injuries were due to the impact of two heavy 14" diameter logs, tumbling from height—destabilized by a worker wrongfully cutting a stabilizing brace—striking and crushing Dave to the ground. He was looking in the other direction, and never saw or heard the falling logs coming. Upon being questioned later, the drugged-up man who cut the brace said of David: "He was in the way." In actuality, David was standing at least ten-to-fifteen feet away, and the logs arched towards him on their downward path, slamming him to the ground. Amazingly, Dave did not lose consciousness through it all. Realizing that he was badly injured, he kept his cool, instructing his excited and panicked fellow-workers what to do and not do, as they lifted the logs off of his broken body, Dave related to me later.
Dave was airlifted to two local hospitals (Hamilton and Missoula, MT), before finally being life-flighted in a turbo-prop air-ambulance to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA—central trauma center for all of the Northwestern States, and Alaska. I was there by that time, and rode to Seattle with him in the air-ambulance. No sooner did he arrive than his condition greatly worsened. That was the place to be—those people are used to performing medical miracles on a daily basis... Dave wouldn't have made it in most other hospitals, I am convinced.
David seemed to be taking things in stride. Then, shortly before he was released from Harborview, Bipolar and post-traumatic stress conditions (PTSD) began to appear—March 2000—and further developed while he was living with us here in San Diego, where he completed his rehab. Those were very trying times for everyone, especially for David. No one could figure out what was happening to him, or why he was acting as he was. It wasn't until later, when we began to realize a definite recurring pattern, that we knew something was amiss in David's thinking processes.
It was his sister Angela who first recognized it, and brought it to everyone's attention during a family discussion. Since most of his bitter feelings and harsh accusations were directed at me (as the authority figure), I was preoccupied beating up on myself, trying to figure out what I might have done wrong to mess his whole life up so badly. It was consoling to realize that it was really David's Bipolar-affected mind speaking and acting this way towards me, all typical Bipolar behavior, I later learned. In short, it was not really the David we knew and loved that was talking and acting this way, but symptomatic of the contorted mental condition that had taken over in his life. Then, as time passed, Dave would cycle from a Bipolar high to a Bipolar low in his mental state where he would be very loving and apologetic towards me, writing me well-thought-out notes blaming himself for his ills, and not me.
David (right), with younger brother, Dan, after initial recovery and rehab process in San Diego.
David with his younger brother, Dan, enjoying a Thai meal together (the food they both grew up on) at San Diego's Sala Thai Restaurant, where we often frequent.
Note David's frail and haggard appearance (at 118 pounds), a few months after the accident, as compared to his robust looks in the picture at the top of this page (at 160 pounds). This is one of the last pictures we have of David, taken not too long before he sold all his possessions (including a pristine 1995 BMWci at pennies on the dollar) and literally disappeared... forsaking friends, family, and all responsibilities.
Then, one morning, two years later, right out of the blue, I got a very beautifully-written, conciliatory email from Dave. I was elated and praising the Lord. Then, the next day, Dave called us from... ready? Northern Scotland, where he had been working in a Salmon cannery on the Shetland Islands. He needed to return to the States because his UK visa was running out. The problem was, he couldn't get his money exchanged in time to get an air ticket home before his visa expired. I bought him a ticket to New York, then a bus ticket to Upstate, NY, where a close friend had a job waiting for him. You might wonder, was Dave just playing me, because he needed help, and had nowhere else to turn? I wondered the same thing, but he was our long-lost son, and asked for our help, which we freely and ungrudgingly gave. Dave later paid me back for the bus and plane fare (that I had borrowed from minstry funds) so that puts it in perspective.
David arrived in Upstate, worked for a family friend, got an apartment in Auburn, NY, and attended church regularly. Things were really going great. This went on for many months. It was like the Prodigal Son story. We rejoiced in that our lost and wandering son had returned home. However, soon he began to exhibit more and more strange behavior, imagining things that weren't true, getting upset at the friend who had hired him, acting irresponsibly, etc. In short, Dave began to exhibit the same Bipolar symptoms, just as before. Soon, the symptoms became more severe... sleeping for hours on end, then staying up all night, eating a lot, then starving himself, acting sanely, then acting weirdly, talking sensibly, then talking gibberish. Next, he was evicted from his apartment for lack of paying the rent, and slept in his car. He soon began to talk about staying in his camping tent out in the deep woods—keep in mind that it was now wintertime in Upstate NY. Then he quit his job and took off for parts unknown. Then, he returned, acting somewhat normal, then acting quirky again. This all occurred in recurring cyclical patterns as the untreated Bipolar condition influenced and controlled Dave's thought processes and actions.
Through all of this, one positive thing was, David respected and would listen to his cousin (my sister's daughter), who convinced Dave to get professional help and evaluation in the County Mental Health facility in Ithaca, NY. This, he agreed to do, but then disappeared the day of his appointment. That was the last we heard of him for quite a while, then he called us from Massachusetts, saying that he wanted to travel back to Upstate NY, but lacked bus fare. The destination was near the clinic were he was supposed to have visited the day he took off. Right or wrong, we decided to wire him the bus fare, and a little extra for food and expenses, along with a short note asking him to get the help he needed. He returned to Upstate NY, hung out around Auburn for a while, then disappeared again. Because of the silly, illconceived HIPPA laws, neither we, nor David's Attorney in Missoula, could do anything to intervene. Only the police could, if they considered Dave to be a threat to himself or others, I later found out. They were willing to help, once I explained the situation, but by that time, Dave had left the area again.
David was always very straight-forward and honest during his growing-up years, as well as a very hard worker, and responsible person. The problem is, when David is like this (as with any Bipolar sufferer), you can't always believe or trust him. He'll acquiesce and promise to anything, then break any and all promises without a second thought. We know this isn't the real David, and so we see and accept it for what it is—a severe untreated Bipolar condition.
It's presently been a few years since we have seen or heard from David directly, yet we continue to pray daily for God's watchcare and protection over him. If you are a person of faith, please help hold David up before the Lord in your thoughts and prayers. As someone once wisely remarked, "We serve a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering, wonder-working God. Nothing is too hard for Him."
UPDATE—NOVEMBER 2006: Interestingly, David stopped by our home in San Diego unannounced in November 2006, just after I had flown back to Thailand. We had moved since the last he was here, but he managed to locate us. (Dave had been careful to avoid me, wrongly believing—due to his confused condition—that I was against him. I am definitely not against him and never was. I deeply love and care for him.) While here, he spoke with his mother (Cheryl) and his two younger siblings (Dan and Michelle), who had stopped by. They all tried to convince Dave that it would be good if he would get professional help, so that he could get prescription medication to stabilize his Bipolar condition. Of course, in his altered state of mind, Dave was not the least bit interested, thinking rather that he was just fine and everyone else wasn't. This mentality is quite common among those suffering from the Bipolar condition. After that, he went to our favorite Thai restaurant, where the Thai owner recognized him, graciously fed him, and even gave him some money. Lastly, Dave stopped by the church, where we are active members, on Sunday, December 24. There, he had a friendly conversation with a missionary whom he knew, who later related this to me. That same evening, Christmas Eve., I returned home from Thailand. I understand that David had remained in the general vicinity for a while, but I was not able to locate him. I went by the Thai restaurant regularly, hoping they might have seen him. They did see him again once or twice, where he mentioned that he was convinced no one loved him. I am hoping and praying for a chance to see him personally, perchance to tell him we all love him and miss him very much, especially me (his dad ). I have no further knowledge of his present whereabouts. Dave could still be in the San Deigo vicinity, or may have traveled anywhere at a whim.
UPDATE—SUMMER 2007: After more months of silence, David called home again, from New Mexico this time, where he was staying, and chatted with his mother. Upon hanging up, Cheryl related to me how disconnected and discombobulated his thoughts and speech seemed, not the typical David we knew. A few days later, I was in my office working when the phone rang again. The "voice" on the other end asked to speak with Cheryl. It wasn't uncommon for her students to call and ask for her,and I normally asked callers to identify themselves before handing the phone over. "It's me, David," was the reply. I hadn't spoken with him for months, even years... so what do I say now? I acted pleasantly surprised, asked how he was, and made small talk. David excitedly took off on a disconnected rant about all the great things he was doing, whereupon I merely listened and assented. At a proper time, I told him we loved and thought of him often. I asked if I could pray for him before I handed the phone over, to which he readily acquiesced. After asking God to bless and watch over him, I then told David that I loved him deeply, and that that would never change. In response, David, sounding very sincere, said that he loved me as well. This really meant a lot to me, seeing that I knew he had been struggling with negative thoughts, brought on by his Bipolar. We talked a couple of other times, and then he was gone again.
UPDATE—DECEMBER 2007... Important News Update On Our Injured Son David's Situation:
WE PRAISE GOD FOR THIS GOOD NEWS... David's Attorney called from Missoula, Montana, this morning (Sunday, December 16, '07), and left a phone message while we were in church. He related that he's quite encouraged because Dave is now living in Missoula, has stabilized, and appears to be doing really well. Also that David has exhibited no recent signs of Bipolar (Manic Depression) for quite some time. His Attorney went on to say that Dave had now settled down, had a painting job, and had gotten some of his ID papers in order again. This, after years of wandering and drifting in a homeless condition, even in trouble with the police at times, but never thinking anything was wrong with him as he shunned medical and/or psychological evaluation and corrective medication. This, as well as avoiding his family and former friends, typical of someone with the Bipolar condition, I am told.
Praise the Lord... please continue to pray for Dave's healing and well being. This recent development is in direct answer to our long-standing prayers for Dave's wellbeing, I'm sure. Pray now, please, that he will now be open to receive professional counsel, evaluation, and medication for his severe Bipolar and Post Traumatic Stress conditions that have plagued him since their initial onset, following his injury and four-month hospital stay in Seattle.
It's been quite a journey since then, for all of us, and especially for Dave, who is now nearing 37. At the time of the mishap, Dave, then 28, had already turned in his resignation, and had less than one week left on the job. His intentions were to return to Bible school to become a missionary—these were his plans as he had related them to me a month arlier over the phone. We had some really good fellowship during that conversation—best we've ever had, in fact. Then, everything came crashing down, literally. (Two large log-home logs fell on David, literally crushing his upper and lower torso.)
Dave's Attorney said also that Dave had been staying at a homeless center in Missoula for a few months. However, it wasn't clear whether Dave is still there, or now has his own place. This was welcome news as well, however Steve Carey also said things could reverse back again for the worse if David's Bipolar condition arose again. So, please pray that it will remain dormant, and that Dave will return to his normal self, and be able to get on with his life's plans.
UPDATE: CHRISTMAS 2007... THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT:
We experienced a very special Christmas gift this year--I'll explain. We planned to spend Christmas and New Years with our oldest daughter, Angela and husband Jeff Birney (and two darling daughters) at their home in Kalispell, Montana. We (Cheryl, Michelle, and I) landed in Missoula, Montana on Christmas Day, and hooked up with the rental car we had booked earlier. One extra, unforeseen blessing was the medium-sized rental car we had booked was not available, so we were automatically upgraded to a brand-new 2008 Infinity all-wheel-drive luxury SUV with all the "whistles and bells" at the same price, with insurance included. No complaints here.
We first spent a while with our eldest son David's terrific attorney, Steve Carey, finally meeting him face-to-face for the very first time. There, we conferred with Steve as he caught us up on recent details concerning David's situation. Then, we signed some release papers for David's long-awaited settlement from the construction accident that nearly claimed his life eight years before. Steve then asked if we would like to see David, adding that he lived a few short blocks away. Why of course, if Dave wants to see us, I quickly replied, knowing that he often liked to keep a low profile around us, exacerbated by his Bipolar condition. Before making the trip, I had prayed that we would get a chance to see our oldest son and reestablish our relationship with him, especially now that he was doing better. I had sent him a Christmas card, and brought a gift along, for the occasion, if it was to be... and it was, by God's grace and your prayers.
Soon, Steve returned with David, who looked amazingly robust and healthy, all things considered. He greeted us wearing a big smile, at a gaunt 120 pounds due to his partially-missing stomach, surgically removed after bursting open from the severe impact of the construction accident, spilling its contents into Dave's left lung cavity.
He certainly seemed pretty-much himself again, Praise God! Steve (Dave's attorney) had related to us earlier that Dave's transformation was likely due to his having spent some time in the local Missoula Hospital's mental facility for psychological evaluation, as well as put on medication, a couple of months earlier--something he had always refused to do, thinking that he was fine and everyone else was imagining things. Due to the over-bearing HIPPA laws, we could do nothing to intervene, even as his parents. However, this had been initiated and paid for by the Missoula city authorities, seeing (we were told) how Dave had become the town nuisance, performing weird antics on street corners, etc. Whatever the case, and however it had come about, this miracle was certainly in direct answer to everyone's long-standing prayers for Dave's wellbeing.
That's why this was one of the best, most blessed Christmas presents ever... to see and talk with our son David in his right mind again--and to be able to hug him and reassure him of our love. This, after years of his wandering who-knows-where in an unkempt homeless condition, with his untreated Bipolar condition leading him around by the nose, so to speak, causing him to act and think incoherently. Incidentally, before heading north towards Kalispell, we drove Dave back to where he was staying, parked and chatted a bit longer. Dave asked what we thought of his long hair, to which I replied that it wasn't important... and that what was important was that we got to see and spend time with him. He got out, we hugged again, reassured him of our love and prayers, said our goodbyes, and left.
In closing, thank you for your faithful love and prayers on behalf of David as a fellow-member of the Body of Christ. He is not totally out of the woods yet, but this is a huge step. Your continued prayers for him are highly coveted... God is able. Remember, Dave was headed back to Bible school and a career in missions when this all happened, eight years ago. God knows, and we praise Him for His undying Love and Watchcare. .
Thanks for taking time to read this, and for your thoughts and prayers on Dave's behalf.
UPDATE, CHRISTMAS 2008:
UPDATE, SPRING 2013: