Summer brings many storms, but there is something about watching the lightning spread across the night sky that makes me appreciate how powerful Mother Nature can be. I also appreciate how powerful prayers can be along with second chances. What started out as an ordinary weekend with a trip to Tyler to visit my father turned into a weekend of many prayers, tears and a second chance.
My daughters and I went down Friday afternoon to visit with my dad who was feeling pretty good after experiencing a couple of weeks of complications – from showing signs of a stroke to excessive water retention due to his failing kidneys. He was in great spirits when we left! However, when we returned Saturday morning, things had changed. He was experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath and nausea. They moved him to the hospital for monitoring and testing. After a few tests they determined he had a mild heart attack sometime Friday evening and was continuing to aFib (irregular, rapid heart rate). By noon, the doctor came in and told my dad that he will likely go into cardiac arrest sometime within 5 to 48 hours. My dad has a ‘do not resuscitate’ order so if/when that happens the hospital will not do anything to stop it. The doctor did not believe my dad would survive much longer, yet the hospital would continue to give him medicine to slow his heart rate (140 bpm) and lower his blood pressure (170/140) to give him comfort along with morphine to ease his pain.
I made several phone calls to our family. At 4pm, the pastor from his church came to pray and give him his final communion, and talks of funeral arrangements were underway. I sat with my dad that afternoon saying my goodbyes. I told him I did not want him to suffer, but I needed him here. I did not want to lose my biggest supporter, I did not want our daily check-ins to end, and I did not want to lose my dad. He told me to continue to fight for my health, to do what I can to be and feel healthy but he felt this was the end and told me to live a happy and good life but he needed to go now.
Then at 8pm something, I cannot explain, happened. A switch was flipped. My prayers were answered. A miracle occurred. My dad had been stabilized and the doctor believed he would pull through. By 9pm, my dad was sitting up, talking and eating. By Sunday morning, he was a different person. He said he hasn’t felt this good in months. I watched in disbelief. I sat there in shock at the sudden change of events. It really was like someone flipped a switch and he was fine.
I have not cried as hard as I did this weekend. I have not felt such heart ache as I did seeing my dad so close to death. And I have never witnessed a miracle as I did Saturday night. My dad was given a second chance. The doctor came into his room Sunday morning and said “Tom, it obviously wasn’t your time to go! I didn’t think you would survive beyond 7pm last night.” My mom also told my dad that God gave him a second chance; that his work wasn’t done here. She asked my dad if he knew why. He looked at me and said…. “she’s sitting right across from me!”
I cannot express the emotions I experienced this weekend. Such sadness and heart ache to shock, joy and gratitude for more time with my dad. I thank God for answering my prayers and for giving my dad the gift of more time…for giving him a second chance. I am also so grateful for my mom for coming at a moment’s notice, to Michelle for coming down to help with the girls, to Katie for making a trip down to bring me things from my house, to Diane for opening up your home to my mother and I and finally to all the family and friends who visited, sent messages, called or just said prayers for my dad. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
As I sit here this morning, I am filled with such great emotions and still remain in awe at the miracle I witnessed this weekend and am so very grateful and humbled at my dad’s second chance! When I called him this morning the first thing he said was “It’s so great to hear your voice.” I could not agree more, Dad!