On the morning of April 27th, 2003 my wife got up to go to work at about 5:00 am. She turned to look over at me because she thought I was “breathing funny.” Upon closer inspection I was what the doctors call aspirating; I was unconscious, sweating profusely and unresponsive. My wife called 911 and three emergency vehicles and two police cars were at our house in a matter of minutes.
Now remember, I had my boys 4, 11, and 14 sound asleep until the sirens and lights woke them. That was pretty traumatic and something they will NEVER forget! My wife hustled the youngest one into our oldest sons bedroom.
The firefighters/medics had a hard time negotiating my 6’5″ 240 lb. body out of the house on the gurney. It must have been quite a spectacle for the neighbors, as they had to carry me out the sliding glass door and around the house!
I was taken to our local hospital where the doctors stabilized me and their initial diagnoses was that I had suffered a heart attack. Because I was still unconscious I was then transferred to another hospital that was more suited to this type of trauma, and after about 4 hours at St Joseph’s in Tacoma, my wife was told that I had suffered a “septic shock and multi-system organ failure with acute renal and respiratory failure.”
I had something like 139,000 red blood count. My pulse was 173/130 and so on; I was on complete life support and in a coma! It was REALLY ugly! I was “intubated” (tubes in my nose and throat down in to my lungs) and lay comatose in the hospital bed for four straight days without any type of response or encouraging sign. Doctors were asking every question you could imagine; they even had considered it being a case of SARS, and asked if I had been out of the country.
The worst part was when the police started questioning my wife! They were asking her, and some of our friends and family members “if we were having marriage problems?” They asked about any “problems with our relationship?” The kinds of questions that police ask when they suspect foul play, but definitely something that a grieving wife does not need to hear. I’m sure you know what I mean!
Anyway my parents flew back from Mexico, where they spend seven months out of the year, to be at my bedside. That evening the doctors took them and my wife outside my hospital room and said that the situation was “very bleak” and they had no idea was caused this episode. All my vital organs were full of infection and the doctors finally asked the inevitable–if I had any kind of a living will. They also asked if I was an organ donor. Since I was “clinically dead,” they asked if I had ever left any instructions about how long I would want to continue to be kept alive artificially on life support, or anything of that sort.
Needless to say that totally freaked out my wife and parents!!! Not to mention my boys, who were continually asking how their daddy was doing. My little four year old, Jady, was leading his preschool class in prayer because “he needed his daddy more than God did right now.”
During that week my family, fellow church members, and friends came to my bedside. My skin was yellow from jaundice because my liver was not functioning. My eyes were rolled back so that all you could see was the “whites,” or should I say “yellows” of my eyes.
That evening my Senior Pastor and Youth Pastor, with whom I had worked with for five years, prayed over me until visiting hours were over. The consensus was that everyone felt like they were saying their good-byes. After everyone had left, my second cousin came in, for the first time, right at the end of visiting hours, around 10:00 PM. I remember waking up, not having any idea where I was, or why I was there strapped to a bed with tubes and hospital machinery everywhere. There was my cousin and he was sitting next to my bed praying.
Now remember, I had tubes in EVERY orifice of my body, so I could not communicate at all. I had also been restrained to the bed because, according to the staff, I kept trying to pull the IV and other tubes out of my body during muscle spasms, and to top it off I had no idea why or where I was! So my cousin lifts up his head and I’m staring at him.
I will never, in a million years forget the look on his face…it was like he had seen a ghost! His eyes welled up with tears and he said “Jeff…Do you know who I am?” I tried nodding my head and tried SO hard to talk, but couldn’t. He asked me if I knew what happened…I shook my head no. He called the nurses in and proceeded to tell me this awesome story about how I was in a coma for almost five days.
Within hours almost my whole family was at my bedside and even though I couldn’t talk, everyone was weeping and hugging me. Before I knew it I was surrounded by most of the special people in my life. The most precious thing I remember was my four year old saying…”I told everybody God wasn’t going to let my daddy die!” His little hand grabbed my finger and I looked into that little face…It’s a feeling that can’t be put into words, but it’s an experience that has changed the whole focus of my life.
The doctors still can’t explain my sudden illness nor do they know what caused it. By the doctors admission it was nothing less than a miracle! The next day the tubes were removed from my nose and throat and five days later I was released from the hospital.
So…. believe it or not…that is still the short version. Even now I’m still recuperating…I had a lot of degenerative muscle damage and a subsequent stroke on top on that, so though I’ve got plenty of healing still to do…I’m just glad that God gave me a second chance.
I’m still waiting for some sort of “epiphany” or “sign” as to why my life was spared, but that has yet to come. I still get extremely emotional when I’m lying down and my little four year old Jady” comes over and puts his ear to my chest to “make sure Daddy’s heart is working good.”
I think this is just a glimpse of my story…there was obviously so much more going on behind the scenes. Because I was comatose I have most of my information from my wife and family. I remember when I was coherent enough to realize what had happened, I read my medical report and couldn’t believe all that had happened to me.
There is one thing that I distinctly remember while I was in my coma: I remember hearing prayers, continuous prayers in my subconscious (I later learned that my story had literally been emailed worldwide and I was being prayed for fervently). I believe this is why I’m alive.
Never underestimate the power of prayer!
Believe in miracles, and hold your children and loved ones a little closer.
Hug more often and remember that you can NEVER say, “I love you” too much.
I’m grateful to be alive to tell this story and I give all the glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
This miracle story was submitted by “J.A.” from WA.