During this Thanksgiving Season, as in each year at this time, I remember, and I marvel at God’s Grace and Power. He has seen me through a lot, protected and taken care of me through a lot. I am reminded of the verse in Psalm 139, “For I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” and I think about how complex God made us. The human brain is a wonderful and wondrous ‘creation’. It tells the rest of our body what to do and when to do it. There was one particular year that I will always remember…the Thanksgiving week of 1999.I was at work, on assignment with Kelly Services at Exxon/Mobil. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the day after my brother’s birthday, November 23, 1999 at approximately 4:15 p.m. Almost everyone was already gone, getting an early start to the four-day holiday that we were all looking forward to. I had gone to the restroom before packing my things to leave for the day. God had already prearranged two things that He knew I would need: 1) My mom knew how to get to my office building, as she had picked me up for a mother-daughter lunch just a week or so before, and 2) the lady who worked in the office next to mine was still there.
As I was walking back from the restroom to my office, I noticed that my legs felt a little bit weak. I wanted to get to my office and sit down for a moment. When I arrived at my office, I went to get my keys out of my purse and dropped them on the floor. As I bent down to pick them up, it happened…my brain just seemed to ‘click to off position’. All of a sudden, I couldn’t function! I tried to turn my computer off, but the brain-hand coordination needed to maneuver around on a computer wasn’t happening! I couldn’t imagine what was happening. I put my head down on my desk and began to silently pray. Then, just as clear as day, I heard a still, small voice speak to me and say, “Can you speak the name of Jesus?” I replied, “Well, I’ll try”, and with that, I was able to successfully speak His Name. As soon as I spoke the name of Jesus, I felt a little bit freed up…enough to pick up the phone and call home. I attempted to communicate to Mom that something was wrong and I needed her to come and pick me up. I KNEW that I couldn’t drive! After I hung up the phone, the second miracle happened. The lady in the office next door appeared in my doorway and asked if I was OK. I told her that I didn’t know. She could tell that I wasn’t speaking clearly and she asked if I felt a tingling in either of my arms. I answered that I did feel a tingling in my left arm. She said, “It sounds to me as if you are having a stroke.” Those words terrified me. In the first place, only old people have strokes, right? I was 44 at the time. This lady turned out to be my ‘angel with skin on’ and I was later able to thank her and tell her that she was my guardian angel that day.
She helped me to get downstairs to the lobby of the building. We waited for my mom to arrive. Another miracle was that my aunt, Mom’s sister, had just driven in from Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with us and, so, was able to be there as spiritual and moral support for us during this time.
When Mom and Bobbi arrived, they made the decision to, immediately, transport me to West Houston Medical Center to get checked out. The third miracle was that, when we arrived at the hospital, the Emergency Room was empty…there was no one else in there, so we were able to get help right away. It was so strange! I felt as if we were all playing Charades. The ER nurse would ask me questions, which I was unable to physically answer. Mom and Bobbi would try to guess what I wanted to say and I would nod my head, yes or shake my head no in order to try to communicate the correct answers! The mini-stroke or TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) had affected my speech center and slightly numbed the right side of my face.
I was taken to an exam room where a technician began to run tests on me, every test you can imagine. It was later discovered that the only thing which came up ‘out of the ordinary’ was a magnesium deficiency. I was admitted to the hospital and given 5 days’ worth of magnesium supplements to get my magnesium levels back to normal…but, I’m getting ahead of myself.
After the initial tests were run, I was taken back to the exam room and put on a table. The doctors began to talk to Mom and Bobbi about my condition and some possible remedies. By this time my brother (who, by the way, is totally amazing) was listening to all that was being said. The doctors wanted to try what was then a new drug called Activase which acts as a ‘Liquid Plummer’ of sorts to clear out any debris or impurities which may be blocking blood flow to the brain. The family was afraid because the drug was so new that they didn’t know whether to trust it or not (plus the fact that they were terrified, anyway, about the whole situation). My brother finally said, ‘Why don’t we ask Darla what she wants to do?’
Suddenly, all eyes turned in my direction. I turned to the wall and began to pray, asking for the Lord’s direction. Before I could even get the entire prayer out, I heard a clear, almost audible voice saying ‘Yes’. I asked again, to verify and knew that the Lord was saying yes to the Activase. I turned to the medical staff and said, ‘Yes’. They asked again to verify and I said ‘Yes…we’ve got to do something.’
At that moment they flew into action. They needed me to sign a consent form, which I was unable to do, but they asked if I wanted Mom to give the consent and I nodded. At that point, I kind of lost track of what was happening, because the next thing I knew, I was in a private ICU room and it was around 6:30 or so in the evening.
In a few minutes, my brother came into the room and began to talk to me…no actually, to minister to me with the most amazing words of love and encouragement, as if straight from the Lord Jesus’ Heart. Soon after that, I drifted off to sleep. Around 3 a.m. I woke up and began to think. I asked my self if I could take my left hand and reach over and touch the right bed rail. Would my brain work yet? I tried and, sure enough, my brain worked! Praise the Lord! My left hand went right to the right bed rail. I then went back to sleep.
(Please join me as we continue this journey soon)