When God delivers a miraculous recovery, it is the element that makes life worth living.
I wouldn’t characterize my husband as unusually spiritual but his heart is right with God and he truly believes in God's healing power. He proved this true when one day, he called God for help and God was there to relieve him of his suffering.
In August 2001, George had been retired for ten years, more or less. At 62, he took early retirement to prevent an untimely trip to the grave. In addition to migraine headaches, he was developing high blood pressure from a stressful job as supervisor of an electronic engineering company. He would come home with a bloody nose. The doctor prescribed Tenormin to regulate his blood pressure. The medication seemed to help but when he saw co-employees having health problems as well, he decided it was time to fold his tent and take it easy.
To keep himself busy, he puttered around the house doing mundane things like cooking and doing laundry but he refused to iron clothes. He also fixed leaky faucets, broken sprinklers, and things of that nature. In short, he was a handyman, making us call him Mr. Mom, a title he was proud of.
One day, he noticed flapping shingles on the rooftop of our house by the chimney. These caused him concern because fall was in the air and the winds would surely blow the shingles off the roof if they were ignored. So, he finally braced himself to climb to the rooftop to see how bad they were.
Around eleven in the morning, at work, my phone rang. A voice in distress said, "Mom, Dad fell off the roof."
"Dad fell off the roof, and he is lying on the kitchen floor, writhing in pain."
"Did you call 911?"
"Yes, I did. They're on their way."
"Is he conscious? Is he talking?"
"Barely. Just moaning and groaning."
"Okay, I'll be right there."
Being "right there' takes an hour. And, because I have to take a coaster ride, meaning, I have to wait for the scheduled Coaster run which is every 45 minutes, this might be longer than just an hour. As soon as I hang up the phone to get up, I saw my supervisor, June, standing there, purse and all. I did not have to say a word. She said, "Let's go. I'll drive you."
While June drove, I called home to monitor the progress. Paramedics were still there, providing George emergency life support while haggling over which Trauma Center to take him.
"I'm glad you came home for lunch. What made you do that? Do you have an hour and a half?"
"Mom, who do you think I am? This is Gemma. I just came home from school and I found Dad lying on the kitchen floor."
"You're not Kara? All the while I thought I was talking to your sister.”
My girls all sound the same over the telephone. Added to my confusion, questions flooded my mind. However, to avoid a lengthy and unnecessary exchange, I fast-forwarded,
"Where are they taking him?"
"They are airlifting him to Scripps Trauma Center in La Jolla because trauma facility at Tri-City Hospital is not adequate."
"Okay, I'll meet you there. Please call Kara and tell her."
Turning to June, I said, "Take your time. We don't have to speed. You're not driving me to Oceanside. We are going to Scripps in La Jolla."
The 15-minute drive from downtown San Diego to La Jolla seemed like a whole day for me. Gemma, Kara, June, and I arrived at the hospital parking lot almost at the same time. Mercy Air Service just landed also. We watched George being wheeled out on a gurney. He was barely conscious, but he saw us and that's all I wanted, that he knew we were there for him.
I stayed at the hospital until I found out what the prognosis was. In silence, I pleaded with God to save my husband’s life. Five hours later, when the doctor came out to talk to me, he indicated that Initial findings showed two broken ribs, two cracked ribs, a broken thumb, and cuts and bruises all over his body.
"He will pull through, but we need to find out what caused him to blackout and fall," the doctor said.
A battery of tests followed. CAT scan and subsequent MRI showed a tumor at the base of the pituitary gland. The doctor believed that caused him to blackout, lose control, and fall. He explained that removal was not an option. It was a must. However, priority was stabilizing his heart rate and collapsed lung. The team of cardiologists could not see a way short of a pacemaker implant and on the second day, they performed the surgery.
“George, this is your doctor. Tell me what happened.” The doctor started putting his patient at ease as the medical team drugged him and prepared him for surgery.
“I was checking on a flapping shingle on the rooftop. I blacked out. That’s all I remember. When I regained consciousness, I crawled on my hands and knees to get inside the house. I collapsed on the kitchen floor. I didn’t make it to the telephone. My daughter came home from school and called 911.”
“Your heart rate is very weak. I can hardly feel a pulse. I will perform surgery for a pacemaker implant to help your heartbeat. You’ll be good as new in no time.”
When I walked in the following morning, George was hooked up to all kinds of wires. I could barely see his face. I breathed a prayer of relief to see him resting peacefully, albeit heavily medicated. When he finally woke up, he was seeing double, he said. He closed his eyes and kept them closed.
After five days, he was released. The doctor reminded us to follow-up on the scheduled brain surgery and to see an eye specialist.
"Gee, I can't believe it. As soon as they see your eyelids move, they kick you out!" I said. I felt that keeping him monitored a little longer could give him a better chance of recovering quicker.
“I’m just happy I’m alive and going home,” he replied.
I stayed home and nursed him all his waking hours as well as keeping an eye on him in his sleep. I took him to our Optometrist for his double vision problem, follow-up visits with the Cardiologist, and consultation with a Neurosurgeon for the upcoming brain surgery.
Five weeks later, he underwent brain tumor surgery at Tri-City Hospital.
Coming out of surgery, the surgeon explained to me the procedure and reassured me he was successful in removing the tumor. He said,
"I removed the tumor and all the roots. There is no chance for the tumor to come back."
"Thank you doctor for all you've done. I am forever grateful to you," was all I could say.
After my sick leave time ran out, I went on a catastrophic leave of absence. Thanks to donated time from well-wishers at work, my leave was with pay. I stayed home for three months, which gave George time to recover, ambulate and help himself.
His pacemaker implant made a big difference in his recovery. His broken and cracked ribs were healing, however, his constant headaches never subsided. Moreover, he was still seeing double and he felt as if he was constantly floating.
The eye specialist prescribed him eyeglasses with special lenses where the left lens was blurred allowing him to see only from his right eye. He also suggested that George take off his eyeglasses occasionally to keep the left-eye nerves active. The doctor did not give him much hope of regaining his normal eyesight but George was determined to get better...He played with Game Boy games that provided therapeutic exercises for his optic nerves.
Puttering around the house for his routine exercises one day, he went to the garage without his eyeglasses. Suddenly an excruciating headache hit him.
Stepping down cautiously, hanging on to the walls, he closed his eyes and cried, "God, please help me."
When he opened his eyes, he could not believe that for the first time in the ten months since the accident, he could see clearly. And the headache abruptly stopped.
An amazing feeling of relief engulfed him, electrifying his mind with awe, as he screamed to the top of his lungs, in a teary voice, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you."
Today, at eighty-four, wearing no eyeglasses, he says he can see better than he ever did before! Only God's power can deliver such miraculous recovery. It is the element that makes life worth living, invigorating his grateful heart and abiding faith in God.
“Honey, I believe God loves me.”
“I know he does.”
“Are you going to kiss me?”
“Go freshen up first, brush your teeth, then, maybe I’ll consider it.”
“Why do you have to be so difficult?”
“Because, well because, I love you.”