Some of us can go our whole lives without being saved. I on the other hand can say my life has been saved three separate times. My faith is strong and my zest for life is even stronger. I have a life because one man believed in me and wanted to make my life better.
That man was Dr. John Delahunty. A man I am forever in debt to. This afternoon my father gave me the news that John had passed. I did my best to hold back the tears as I walked through the skyway. Holding it in until I got to the Prius and then it hit me; it hit me that he was really gone. If it weren’t for Dr. Delahunty you would never have met me and my light would have been extinguished at 3.
My Mom was sick of the answers she was getting from our normal doctor. He would tell her “Oh AJ has the flu. Maybe you fed her bad food. Oh its allergies.” Remedies were tried but nothing worked and I just kept getting worse. I remember the day my Mom took me into see Delahunty. I hadn’t drunk anything in days, I was too weak to stand on my own, and I would scream if you touched me. I at 3 was one hell of a hot mess. She scooped my screaming 3 year old self up, grabbed radar, and put me in the truck. He was her last hope. A Mother knows when her child is dying.
Dying was not an option. Dr. Delahunty took one look at me and instantly knew something wasn’t right. The secret lied with in the X-Rays, CT Scans, and Ultra Sounds. The secret was that I was born with an upside down bladder and a messed up kidney system. He didn’t know how to fix me. John promised my mom that he would make me better and that he was going to do his best to give me a life. A few phone calls later and we were headed to Minneapolis for surgery. The plan was to reconstruct my bladder and kidney system. What I wasn’t born with the surgeons built and I was put back together just like humpty dumpty.
Dr. Delahuanty wasn’t just a doctor. He was a healer and he believed in the power of healing. John really listened to his patients and dug until he got an answer. He would call me squirrel, always the Squirrel. Never AmandaJean, AJ, or Mannie, it was always Squirrel. John promised me that I would live a normal life and that I would grow old. He made good on his promise. Its 25 years later and I am still standing. In return I promised him that I would change the world and I am doing my best to do so.
I got the chance to tell him thank you. Thank you for taking the time to figure me out but mostly thank you for saving my life. On the day of his retirement he fought back tears at our last appointment, he couldn’t put pen to paper to write out my prescriptions. He just looked at me and said “Squirrel you and me we have been through the mill together. Yes we have. Promise me that you will stay in touch and let me know when you change the world.” I made good on that promise sending emails, letters, and cards letting him know that I was doing all right. Letting him know that I was forever in debt to him.
John Delahuanty believed in me and because of him I have enjoyed one hell of a life. He taught me to reach for the stars and gave me the strength to dream. He gave me life. The greatest gift of all……Life. I will miss getting letters and emails from John, yet he will always be with me. For as long as I share our story, our life saving story. His memory will live on through me, his family, and the hundreds of lives he touched.