I’ve been a believer most of my life. I went to church as a kid, strayed as a young adult, and returned to the church just before getting married. Sound familiar?
I’ve faced heartache, disappointment, and deep regret. There were days, weeks, even months where I thought I would not make it past those feelings. Sound familiar?
I’ve been afraid, lost, and without hope. I’ve always seen fear as a sign of weakness. Sound familiar?
On April 25, 2015 a doctor told me that my husband probably would not survive. You see, he had suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm earlier that day. Prior to this day, I had no idea what a brain aneurysm was. Now, I know.
My husband was driving home, and I was his passenger. We made it home, and as he got out of the car he collapsed. That was God. That rupture could have occurred while he was driving and we may not have survived.
Neighbors who we had lived near for 4 years drove past our house and saw our need. That was God. She was a nurse. She called 9-1-1. She took my husband’s vitals and reported them to the 9-1-1 operator. We had never spoken to these neighbors, didn’t even know their names.
The paramedics came, examined Joe and determined he was dehydrated. He told them he had a horrible headache, the worst he’d ever had. They left our house, with an empty ambulance. My gut said something wasn’t right. I managed to get my husband into my car and drove him to the Emergency Room, by myself. That was God. I could not have done this under normal circumstances, but this was not normal. According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, despite the widespread availability of brain imaging that can detect a ruptured brain aneurysm, misdiagnosis or delays in diagnosis occur in up to one quarter of patients when initially seeking medical attention.
Within a few hours my husband was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital and just after arriving I was told his chances of survival were very slim. I was advised to call in the family, and to prepare to say our goodbyes. That was God. Why? Because God was in that hospital room with my husband. Statistics say that approximately 15% of people with a ruptured aneurysm die before reaching the hospital.
My husband was in a medically induced coma. He was on a ventilator. He was clinging to life. Three days. That was God. Another word for a ventilator is life support. That’s what God did, he provided life to my husband when he couldn’t breathe on his own.
High fevers, blood clots in his legs, paralytic ileum, intense pain, respiratory distress, spiking blood pressure, and multiple surgeries. 3 weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. That was God. He was with my husband through it all, strengthening and healing him.
The Lord performed many miracles in my husband’s life. I sat by and watched each one, in awe. God surprised me so many times during my husband’s rupture and recovery. But it wasn’t just what God did for him. God strengthened me, day by day. These were definitely days in our lives that God didn’t do what we wanted or hoped for, and it’s hard to understand. My faith was strengthened when I trusted him, even during the times I didn’t understand.
When I was scared, God. At my lowest, God. In my fear, God. When I cried out, God. When I was hopeless, God.
Life is hard, but God can be our strength.
Lean on Him.
Denise Wilson is President of the Tri-State Brain Aneurysm Support Group and a tireless advocate.