[This is a guest post by, family friend, Chuck DeMent]
By all rights my funeral should have been yesterday, but here I am. As many of you know I had a major heart attack five days ago. After experiencing a round of chest pain that we were convinced was heart burn, it came back with a vengeance a few hours later. We called 911 and the saga began. The EMS crew arrived at our house around 1:30 AM and began evaluating me. They quickly and correctly diagnosed a heart attack in progress and attended to my immediate needs. They loaded me into the ambulance to head to our local hospital emergency room. Our friends Steve and Lisa came over and gathered up Linda to take care of her and follow us. Shortly after the ambulance left the house I began to feel lightheaded and everything started going fuzzy and gray….that’s when I died (flat lined) the first time. I proceeded to flat line two more times before the ambulance reached the hospital. I remember after being “brought back” on one of the episodes, I felt remarkably rested. I guess when you die your can really relax J. I looked up at the EMS tech working feverishly over me and said “I feel better”. He didn’t reply but I’m sure he was thinking “well you aren’t better”. In reality I was getting worse by the minute. I heard him make a radio call to the hospital that I was very unstable. They wheeled me into the emergency room once we arrived and I was awake again. There was a team waiting for me whose intent was to try and stabilized me and then transport me via another ambulance to a regional cardiac care hospital (Providence) in Columbia, SC. They told me I was having a major heart attack, they would put me to sleep, intubate me (breathing tubes down the throat) and send me to Providence. Linda gave me a kiss, Steve and Lisa gave me a verbal hug and my world went black.
While all of this is going on, Linda, Steve and Lisa are getting the word out via phone, text, facebook, and any other means they could use, that I was in deep trouble and we needed much prayer.
Miracle #1: That call went out far and wide at an amazing rate and span of distribution. Linda quickly began to get responses for promised prayer from our immediate family, our beloved church family at Grace Baptist Church, friends, and before it was over, Linda was being contacted by people we hadn’t seen for over forty years! It was if God was setting the stage and gathering a audience for a demonstration of his power.
Meanwhile back in the ambulance enroute to Providence, I died again. Things were not looking good for me! As a side note, when they shock you four times with those paddles to restart your heart it ruptures all the blood vessels in your eyes (causing a great deal of discomfort once I woke up) and leaves you with a very sore chest. What happened in the next few hours I will tell you second hand, for I was unaware of anything. When we arrived at Providence, they took me directly into the Cath Lab to get inside my heart and see what’s going on. Let me stop here and express my huge appreciation and thanks to the talented and dedicated medical professionals that ministered to me during my hours of crisis. I would not be here without your skilled and compassionate hands. Thank you.
Linda, Steve and Lisa waited in the Cath Lab waiting room for two hours hearing no word from anyone about what is going on with me. The doctor finally came out (this is now about 5AM) to give Linda an update. He was not at all positive about my chances for recovery. Linda finally asked him point blank “so is there no hope?” He paused, unable to answer such a direct question, and again explained to Linda what he a done to my heart (and he did a great job by the way). To paraphrase his response “I’ve done everything possible” to give him a chance, but he wasn’t very optimistic.
Miracle #2: (my theatrical interpretation of it) The footlights on the stage that God has set now come up. A symphony of prayer and praise from our brothers and sisters in Christ who are praying for us rises out of the orchestra pit and a heavenly chorus begins to sing Matthew 19:26 With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. God then reaches down to my poor, sick, and broken body to do the impossible and raises me up from the Valley of Shadow of Death.
Two hours later, the doctor returns and is shocked that I am better. My lungs are clear and fully breathing on my own so they take all the tubes out of my throat a few hours later. (A horrible experience to endure!). By evening I was able to eat a little supper. The doctor making rounds the next morning (Saturday) is truly amazed to find me sitting up in bed talking to folks who have come to visit me. They began to discuss moving me out of ICU. By Monday, the doctor who put the stint in my heart is visibly stunned to find me in a “step down” room up and walking around and said he would send me home the next day. They sent me home Tuesday on the day that could have been set aside for my funeral.
Why did God choose me to do this mighty act on? I don’t know, but this much I do know, our God is an awesome God (look that word up, it’s a whole lot more than “cool”) and He works in our lives to reveal himself to us and those around us in a multitude of ways. He certainly revealed Himself to me, for I am truly a walking talking miracle. Perhaps He used me because He knew who Linda, Steve and Lisa’s cry out for help would reach. Several or perhaps only one of you being aware of my story may be struggling with the reality of God and what to do with Him. I can tell you He is real; intimately aware of you; and desires to have a relationship with you. Trust Him and He’ll embraced you with loving arms. This story is not about me but what God did and is doing in and through me. This process will continue as I have a long recovery to regain strength in my heart and I know that God will be with me every step of the way.
A dear friend of ours responded to our good news this way;
All I can say is look at God!!!
Couldn’t have said it better myself!