It was 20 years ago this week when…
…I almost died from pneumonia. Yep, that’s right! Many of you who knew me back that far may remember the event, but for those of you who don’t, here is the quick version of the story:
I came down with a cold, which after about 10 days, felt like it was much more than a cold. Perhaps this was turning into the flu? But then, by October 29th, my chest was hurting something awful and it was getting more difficult to breathe. So after a sleepless night, my wife Merrilyn finally convinced me to go to the ER where it was confirmed that I had a serious case of pneumonia.
It was not long before they knocked me out and put me on a ventilator to help me breathe. I went into septic shock (that’s where your organs start to fail) and within a couple of days the doctors and nurses sat Merrilyn down to have “the talk”. I was down to only a 30% chance to live.
Then there was the outpouring of support. The people from our faith community were amazing. Dozens of people camped out in the ICU waiting room around the clock saying prayers and singing worship songs. Friends and family flew in from out of town and/or drove large distances to see me and give encouragement to Merrilyn. Several thousand people lifted me up in prayer at an event across the country in Nashville.
It all came down to one day, November 3, where I needed to start getting better or it would be all over. Late in the day, things started to turn around. On November 4th, 20 years ago today, I was taken off the ventilator. I was going to make it!
I am still deeply humbled by the amount of love and support that was extended to me and all my loved ones. You know who you are. Thank you. Thank you.
Every kind word and thought counts for something. It’s so easy sometimes to get overwhelmed and discouraged, but then I remember. Thinking back to this time reminds me of the immeasurable power of kind, comforting words, thoughts, and prayers. I am so very grateful.