Friday, September 24, 2010

Mad Max

Our very first weeks in the hospital were a blur. I was in overdrive, calling doctors around the world, while signing paper after paper acknowledging we had been told about the risks. Countless visits, calls, and emails from family, friends, doctors, and pastors. They all run together. However there were a few standout moments, events that I still recall with vivid memory.

One of those "standout" moments was after one especially difficult treatment. Tyler was in a lot of pain, and morphine was no longer doing its job. Kathy was home with the other boys, I had asked all the visitors to leave. Tyler was struggling to get some rest.

The two of us were alone in the room. Tyler lay there, struggling with the pain and unable to sleep. I also had very little sleep, as I researched and called doctors around the world. Those actions were necessary in saving my son. But I made the mistake of having some very heated arguments with doctors in Tyler's presence. It was a difficult time, and tensions were high.

We sat in silence in the room, and there was a knock on the door. Tyler said, "Make them go away." I opened the door, and saw a guy in a cowboy hat and cowboy boots. He said he was there to pray for Tyler's healing. Before I could stop him, he walked past me and up to Tyler.

He sat down in a chair, took off his hat, and pulled out a small bottle. He said he was there to anoint Tyler with oil. Tyler shot a look at me, and I walked over to tell him to leave. Neither of us was in the mood for this.

As I stepped toward him, he looked at me and said, "My son passed away." The statement stopped me in my tracks. He spoke briefly about his son, and then about his passion of helping other families facing serious illnesses with their children.

He then bowed his head and began to pray. Many people had been by to pray. Friends, ministers, and even a Rabbi. But this was different. I can't explain it. A feeling of total calm filled the room. I actually recall getting nervous, because I did not understand the feeling. I knew Tyler would win, just as long as I fought aggressively for every available treatment. But at that moment, for the first time since we got there, it seemed okay to relax...even if just for a little while.

I looked over at Tyler, and he too was relaxed. His body was still, and the labored breathing has stopped. His face was completely calm. It was very weird, because I usually don't buy into this stuff. I remember thinking to myself: there is either a new presence in this room, or I am losing my mind (and possibly both).

The guy finished the prayer, looked at Tyler, and asked if he could place the oil on him. Tyler smiled and said yes. He place a drop of oil on Tyler's forehead, and began to pray again. He then walk out of the room. Tyler looked a me and just said, "That was good". He then closed his eyes, and slept more sound than he had since we had arrived.

Later I learned his name was Eric Niemeyer. I learned more about his son Max, who passed away after several years of treatments at Children's Hospital. I still run into him in various places, and am always impressed with what he is doing. He is one the few people I've meet that maintains a confidence that God is in control, while still understanding the need to work aggressively to help save the lives of children.

Eric and his wife Stephanie started MadMax Farms, named after Max and their daughter Maxine. The farm is completely run with their personal funds, and all proceeds go to Children's Hospital. Right now it is a great place to get pumpkins. Everything they have is free to everyone. Any donations go directly to Children's Hospital.

They are up in Powell. You can get directions, and more information about them at

It's worth checking out. And if you ever need someone to pray for you, give Eric a call. It's worth the effort.

1 comment:

Ali said...

I am in tears. Thanks so much for sharing.