Stencil battles near death experience to return to baseball team

by: Sarah Stencil, Trysten Stencil spent 11 days in the intensive care unit at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, eight of which he was in a medically induced coma.

Sandy junior Trysten Stencil wasn't sure he would step on the baseball field six months ago after six major surgeries in which he was close to death, but now he's glad to be a normal teenager.

'I have been playing baseball for 11 years and I just love the competitive part of the sport,' Trysten said. 'I love being with my teammates and just getting to be a normal kid again.'

Trysten pitches and also plays center field but he was worried he wouldn't be able to play again so soon after his ordeal. He had his appendix out on Saturday Oct. 6, 2007 but that was the beiginning of his ordeal as he would have five more surgeries before leaving the hospital 32 days later and he wondered when he could return to the field.

'I asked my doctor when I left the hospital (Nov. 11) if I could play baseball and if he said no I told him I was going to punch him,' Stencil said laughing. 'He quickly said yes and here I am. I'm still not 100%, but I am close and I keep getting better everyday.'

Injuries are a part of sports and baseball players have to overcome injuries every day. Stencil overcame more in the past six months that most people will overcome in a lifetime.


On Saturday October 6, 2007 Trysten complained to his father that he had a stomachache. His stepmother, Sarah Stencil asked him the typical questions of what he last ate and when he last went to the restroom.

'Trysten said it wasn't too bad, but I told him to let me know if it got worse,' Sarah said.

He went out and spent the day playing X-Box with his friends and hanging out at home. Later that night, the pain got worse.

'Trysten told me he was constipated, but wanted to go to urgent care, which is weird because Trysten doesn't ask to go to the doctor,' Scott Stencil, Trysten's father, said recently in his home. 'We went to urgent care and I really expected them to say (Trysten) had caught the flu.'

While at urgent care on Sunday, the on-call doctor decided that Trysten needed to be moved to a facility where a CAT Scan could be taken of his abdomen. When the scan was taken, it was revealed that he had appendicitis. Trysten was rushed to Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center and went in for surgery at 10 p.m. Sunday.

'We were told that surgery went well and that there shouldn't be any complications or issues,' Sara said. 'They said his appendix was close to bursting so it was good they got it out.'

Trysten went home on Tuesday and everything seemed to be progressing well.

'He had two friends come over for lunch and they sat on the couch talking and he seemed fine,' Trysten father Scott Stencil said. 'Then about two or three o'clock, everything changed.'

Trysten's fever shot up to 101-102 around three and Sarah called the on-call nurse to ask what they should do. She informed them to bring Trysten back to the hospital.

On the way, Trysten started to get sick and when they arrived at the hospital, he started vomiting. The nurses gave him anti-nausea medicine, hoping that would help, but it wasn't making a difference. They decided to try and get Trysten to take a oral contrast (a medicine that makes your organs glow so medical staff can see what is wrong) and he continued to vomit that up for about nine hours.

'He just kept throwing it up and every time he got a little bit down, it would come back up,' Sara said while holding pictures of Trysten in the hospital. 'Everyone was getting frustrated at this point and I was probably the most frustrated of them all.'

Trysten said the contrast was the worst part of everything.

'It tasted like burnt chalk and every time it came back up, the taste got worse.'

Finally on Thursday morning, another CAT Scan was done and it showed that Trysten had an abscess next to his bladder. Normally, doctors would have used a needle to drain it but it was too close to his bladder so they treated him with antibiotics all day on Thursday.

Friday morning they did surgery to remove the abscess and wash out the pus that had escaped into Trysten's system.

'After the surgery, they said he should start to get extremely better and he would be fine in a day or two,' Scott said.

Saturday morning, Sarah went to visit Trysten and she was shocked at what she saw.

'That was not my Trysten,' she said with a shocked look on her face. 'He was disoriented and didn't really have any idea as to what was going on. '

Scott said it was the worst thing to see his son on Saturday.

'It was disheartening to watch him, he was playing an imaginary football game and running plays, even though he had no game in the hospital. It was hard because 12 hours before that, he was doing okay.'

As the antibiotic continued into his system, the nurses said he should be in intensive care unit so he was moved into ICU around 10 p.m.


On Sunday Oct. 13, when Scott and Sarah returned to the hospital, Trysten seemed fine to his parents as they spent the morning laughing and talking.

'There was a definite change in him,' Sarah said. 'He was awake and vibrant and we thought he might be out of the woods.'

The doctor's were concerned about a red spot on his belly, so they marked the spot. The spot slowly got bigger and the doctor's were worried about why this was happening. The doctor's had no idea why this was happening.

Earlier they had taken a culture of the pus removed from Trysten's abscess and it returned that he had strep and the antibiotics had not taken care of it.

A few hours later when the doctor came into the room, he said hello then told the family that Trysten needed to return to surgery.

'It was literally hello, we need to go and we were off to surgery,' Sarah said. 'As we were being wheeled down the hall to surgery, he was explaining that they needed to open him back up and physically see what was going on inside Trysten's body.'

The doctor's told the Stencil's that they were going to have to place Trysten in a medically induced coma and leave his wound open to heal so they didn't do more trauma to his body by continuing to open his wound.

'I don't remember that at all, I was saying all this stuff about getting it over, but I just do not remember any of that because I was so out of it,' Trysten said.

The doctors said they were afraid the trauma from continually opening him up could cause his intestines to stop working properly or shut down completely.

'The doctor's told us to say our good-byes because he was going to be out for a while and may not survive,' Sarah said as her eyes teared up. 'You really have no idea the feelings that were going through us at that time. Trysten was saying that is was something we need to do but I don't think he totally understood.'

Trysten was in surgery for five to six hours and the doctors said he would be in intensive care for three to four weeks and could be in the hospital for two to three months depending on recovery.

'They put him in a coma and put him on amnesia medicine to keep him from coming out of his coma,' Sarah said.

'Doctor's said that kids who are placed in comas when they hear a parents voice they fight through the medicines and can come out of their coma's, so they give them this medicine so they don't know what's going on,' Scott said.

Trysten was in a coma for eight days and spent 11 days in intensive care. He was taken back in for a precautionary surgery on Oct. 16 to clean him out and make sure they had gotten all the pus out of his abdomen.

'I went in to see Trysten before I went to work (on Oct. 22 or 23) while he was in the coma and I was just asking him how he was doing,' Scott Stencil said. 'All of a sudden, he opened his eyes and it freaked me out because I wasn't expecting it.'

Trysten said he remembers nothing about that day.

'I didn't wake up that time, they had started to take me off the paralyzing medicine so I could have sporadic movement, so I don't remember the first time I saw my dad,' Trysten said.

He still had a feeding tube, so he couldn't talk and he was on a ventilator but he had finally come out of his coma after eight days. He remained in the ICU for three more days before being moved to a regular room where he would stay for a few more weeks. When he finally came out of the ICU, one of his eyes became lazy and he started to get double vision so he was forced to wear an eye patch for weeks after that.


Trysten spent 32 days in the hospital and was finally discharged on Nov. 11. During his time there, Trysten had six surgeries and his wound was left open for seven days to allow it to fully heal and he didn't eat or drink normal food for 26 days.

'We had gotten to the point of wondering what was going to happen next,' Scott said as his voice cracked. 'Every time they had said he was getting better, something else went wrong so we kept expecting more in the end.'

To be able to leave the hospital, Trysten was to have no fever and walk around the hospital but he was reluctant to do any of them. After his fever had gone down his father finally told him how going through this would change his life and make him a stronger person.

'I got a call from his aunt about a half hour after that talk and she told me what ever I said had changed his attitude because Trysten was up walking around and wants to go home,' Scott said with a smile on his face.

Trysten said the toughest thing about everything was coming home after all his surgeries.

'The doctors said I was good to go but I was realizing that what I had gone through and where I was it was probably the lowest time of my life,' Trysten said. 'Then it hurt to know that my little brother and sister were not going to see me as the big strong brother and realizing that I wasn't going to have all the doctors around in case anything went wrong.'

When Trysten returned home, doctors gave him vicodin and oxycotin for pain, but he chose to not take any pain pills during his recovery.

'After they took me off morphine (before he returned home) and when I got home I never took my pain pills,' Trysten said with a grin on his face. 'I just decided I didn't want to take them and I figured no pain, no gain. I still have all my pain pills at home because I never took one.'

Trysten said his body is approximately 90-95% back and he continues to get stronger every day. He looks forward to playing baseball and enjoys being around his teammates even more than before.

'I love being part of this team, they are great to be around and now I think they take me a little less for granted,' Trysten said while smiling. 'Overall it is great to be back on the field with all the guys again. I just want people to know that they can overcome anything.'