It began with a simple surgery. I had had some serious complications the first time this surgery was done, so I was referred to a well-known specialist in Seattle to try it again.
The day of the operation began with a light-hearted conversation with the doctor. She laughingly assured me that the problem could be easily fixed. The surgery seemed to go well, and two days later we made the six-hour drive back home to Lewiston.
The next day I began to have increased pain. By that night I realized I needed help, so we went to the Emergency Room of our hospital in Lewiston. After two hours of waiting for test results, the doctors found that I had been bleeding internally for hours, and had a huge hematoma the size of a full-term baby in my abdomen. I was in a fight for my life.
The Emergency Room personnel worked feverishly to replace my blood, using nineteen transfusions of blood as they tried to outpace the blood-loss I was experiencing. The pain was incredibly intense. All my systems began shutting down as my body filled with fluid.
The ordeal started Thursday night and went on through Saturday afternoon. My husband, Dale, was at my side as I struggled to live. People from our church began to surround us. Our Pastor, and several members from our small group, came to stand with us in prayer and concern.
After many hours of pain and struggle, my blood pressure dropped to 40/20 and several times they fought to get me to breathe. My legs were black to my knees from lack of circulation. The doctors notified the nun of the hospital, and she gave me Last Rites. All the nurses and doctors stood back and waited for the monitors to go flat. They told Dale to hold my hand, because it wouldn’t be long.
I grew weary from the struggle to live, and told Dale, “I’m so tired. I just need to close my eyes for a while.” I thought I did just that, but what he saw were my eyes glazing over and dilating in what he, formerly an EMT and police officer, recognized as a sign of dying.
But our Lord of miracles had other plans for me. The staff watched in amazement as my blood pressure began to slowly rise. They once again sprang into action at my side.
After many consultations with the doctor who had done the surgery, the doctors in Lewiston chose to do an emergency surgical procedure designed to stop the internal flow of blood. When I was stable enough to be moved, they ordered a Life Flight back to Seattle for me. I was in and out of consciousness and was unaware of being to-and-fro locations. The Seattle doctors did another emergency surgery to restore function to the systems that had shut down. I spent time in Intensive Care, and then a week of recovery in the hospital to begin restoring life to my battered body.
As I lay in the hospital in Seattle, I had time to recall the events of the past few days, and Dale filled in many gaps for me. What I remember most vividly was when I closed my eyes to rest. Suddenly, I was in a lush, brilliantly green meadow surrounded by green trees. I was dressed in white, sitting on the grass. That meadow was a place of indescribable peace—a “peace that passeth all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) All the pain and agony I had been experiencing were gone, and I had no recollections of that suffering. I was quiet, peaceful, and full of expectant joy. I knew that I was going Home to be with Jesus, and I was excited. I now know that I was given a quick taste of the joy of going Home to be with the Lord! He reminded me of Psalm 23, which says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures… He restores my soul… Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me”
The next four months were filled with nine trips between Seattle and Lewiston, multiple CAT scans, another week-long stay in the Seattle hospital to deal with an infection, and a variety of exhausting procedures to get things working properly. All of this took place in 2012, and today I am healthy and well, with no lingering side effects. Those who watched me go through it are amazed at the healing the Lord gave to me.
We have shared our story with numerous people over the years: doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, friends, strangers, and family. Through it all we give God the praise and glory for saving my life, but more importantly for giving us His grace and peace to endure the experience.
We are thankful for God’s grace and healing, and for the many people who prayed for God’s help on my behalf. Psalm 94:17-19 says, “Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your love, O LORD, supported me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.”
Published on 10/22/2019 @ 2:50 PM PDT
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