Monday, August 17, 2015

Living on a Prayer

It's hard to believe, but 12 years ago today, I got a new life. And when I say that, I mean in a physical sense. The doctors had all but given up hope with me when Dr. Blue of Roper Hospital downtown had an idea. But I get ahead of myself...

How did I get to this point? It began on a Sunday morning like any other. I woke up, spoke to the Lord, read the Word, and left for church at Oceanside Baptist Fellowship. We were meeting at the Movies at Mount Pleasant, and I went early to help set up and get my heart and mind prepared for preaching that morning.

Just before the church service began, I began to feel really strange. I looked at my wife, Kelly, and said three simple words, "I need help." In moments, I was on the floor, eyes were blank, and I was gone. I was straining to breath and turning blue from the neck up. My son, Ivey, rather than panic began to give me mouth to mouth. While everyone was screaming for him to give me compressions, he refused saying I was breathing so it was unnecessary. That was the difference between life and death for my body that was hanging on a thread between life and death.

Moments later, the EMTs arrived and were given permission to transport me to Roper. Once there, the doctors were baffled. They couldn't find a pulse anywhere. They were ready to "call it" when one doctor, Dr. Blue, gripped my ankle, felt a slight pulse, and immediately pushed my gurney down to the CAT scan. There, he discovered a pool of blood around my heart because my aorta had ripped lengthwise for 2 1/2 inches. The term was an "ascending aortic dissection." It was the worse case scenario. Very few ever survived. And those that did were blind, crippled, dumb, and lived on breathing machines. The doctors told my wife that they could probably save my heart, but the prognosis was bad. And if my son had given me compressions I would have bled out instantaneously. Thank God for a son who used his knowledge to calmly do what he should instead of doing what everyone else was yelling for him to do. I am forever in his debt.

Then God's people began to pray. The Lord heard from heaven and at that very moment began to restore my body and my brain. Kelly's words to Dr. Blue were, "Save his heart, and we'll worry about the rest later."

Dr. Blue called one of the leading experts on heart surgery in the nation, Dr. David Peterseim. He had recently moved from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to Charleston, SC. He was in church on Sullivan's Island. Blue asked Peterseim, a cardio-thoracic surgeon, if he wanted to come and do his best to save my heart. His answer was, "Yes. And please keep him alive until I get there. I've never seen anyone alive before with an ascending aortic dissection."

By the time the operation began, some say that hundreds had gathered in the waiting room singing, praying, and asking God to save my life. Within hours, Dr. Peterseim had done all he could do to save my heart. In his own words "It's all up to God now."

Now, 12 years later here I am writing about it. God truly does answer prayer. He is still in the miracle business. I am forever grateful for all of you who chose to pray for me and help me and encourage me over these last years. I will always be grateful that you didn't give up on me.

What miracle do you need God to do in your life today? God can do it for you. Pray and trust. You'll never be the same.

And yes, I am "Living on a Prayer."



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