Photo by Erin Drysdale, Erin E Photography
A fear and dread washed over me. The doctor had just told me that soon my mom may need to be transferred out of intensive care at the hospital to an institution if she didn’t start to breathe on her own. I was confused and intimidated by the doctor and didn’t know what to say or ask. Later, I asked the respiratory therapist that was suctioning out mom’s windpipe what the doctor meant. She explained that people could only be kept in intensive care for a certain number of days and couldn’t be transferred to a regular hospital room if they were still on a respirator. If after the designated number of days a patient still needed a respirator to breathe, they had to be transferred out, often to a “vent farm,” which was a facility much like a nursing home, except all people were hooked up to respirators.
I could not get the words “vent farm” out of my head. The words repulsed me. Why would they call a place for people who had been the victims of terrible tragedies by such an awful name? Mom was in a coma after a terrible car accident and the doctors didn’t know if she would ever “wake up.” She had not been able to breathe on her own since that awful day two weeks ago. Every time the doctor tested to see if she could breathe on her own by taking her off the respirator, her blood pressure would go up so high, the doctor feared she would have a stroke and was forced to place her back on a respirator. Her body was working so hard just to breathe. Again and again they tried, but she just couldn’t do it. The doctor said soon he would give up on her ever being able to breathe on her own. This terrified me.
On September 16 the doctors told us they would test mom’s ability to breathe one last time. I didn’t know what to do except to pray. I asked as many people as I could think of to pray for her. Our family and friends also asked people to pray so that people who didn’t even know Mom were praying for her. Neighbors, people in churches, teachers and students in schools, mom’s high school classmates and friends, my 80-year-old father’s classmates and friends, people in different workplaces all over the US and even in Japan—all were praying for Mom to successfully breathe on her own on September 17, the day of the final breathing test.
That morning the respirator was turned off. My cousin stood on one side of the bed, holding her hand, and I stood on the other side, holding her hand. We stood silently and watched the clock and prayed for her to breathe. We watched the blood pressure monitor. She breathed an hour, then another. We watched the monitor that showed how much oxygen her body was getting. It was good. She breathed another hour and another. We stood all day watching her, watching the clock and praying. And by nightfall she was proclaimed to be successful at breathing on her own! Praise to God for answered prayers for her breathing! Thanks be to Jesus, the Great Physician, for this miracle of healing for my mom!
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.