When the call came we rushed to the phone,
eager to hear the report. Our joy of hearing
we had a baby brother quickly dissolved into
shock as Daddy shared that Davy was born
with a severely damaged heart.
The doctor said, “There is no hope. This baby will
not live to be six months old.”
I don’t remember much about the drive to the hospital. There were no words, just a sad quietness that hovered over my 5 siblings and me.
I do remember the words of hope Daddy spoke as we walked down the hospital
corridor. “Doctors don’t know everything – Davy’s going to be all right.”
Davy was released from the hospital within a few days because nothing else could be done for him.
Davy was seldom in his crib for the first two and a half months of his life. When he cried he turned blue, so we kids took turns rocking him during the daytime. Mother and Daddy were up most nights, taking turns holding Davy close to their hearts, praying for a miracle.
Two and a half months later, our family doctor told our parents our baby brother might be a candidate for open-heart surgery.
So on a beautiful spring morning in 1964, Mother and Daddy started their six-hour drive to the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. At one point, Davy almost stopped breathing.
Mother wanted to turn around and go home, but Daddy’s tenacious resolve won out. He would not give up hope! Praying a highway patrolman would appear and escort them to the hospital, he put his foot hard to the pedal. The patrolman never showed up.
Davy was still alive when they arrived at the hospital. Within minutes, the team of heart surgeons took him back to critical care. Mother and Daddy, worn out from their trip, made their way to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. They had barely gotten there, when a caring nurse ran after them. “Please hurry. Your baby needs you.”
Rushing back to the critical care unit, Mother and Daddy found the team of heart surgeons huddled around Davy’s incubator, seemingly helpless as they watched the baby gasping for breath.
A well meaning nurse saw our parents and yelled; “Get those parents out of here”.
“Let those parents come in any time they want.” the head surgeon retorted. “It’s their love that’s kept this baby alive.”
With that, Daddy walked over to the incubator, reached in and held Davy’s head up and began to sing. “Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier. Davy, Davy Crockett, the man who knows no fear.”
A quickened heart beat—a fresh breath of life—a miracle!
Within a short time, the team of doctors performed open-heart exploratory surgery. Once they opened the chest cavity, the surgeons discovered a missing heart chamber. They later told us they would not have attempted surgery had they known this.
Many long hours later the team of amazed surgeons found my anxious parents in the waiting room. With beaming faces, they reported the surgery had been successful.
“This baby will live!”
In the years to come, Davy survived three more open-heart surgeries and lived forty-five bonus years; far beyond the hopeless diagnosis of six months.
Not surprisingly, Davy grew up with a love for gospel music. One of his favorites was “How Great Thou Art“. Oh how our brother loved to sing.
“I would have despaired (lost hope) unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:13,14)