BACK FROM DEATH

Although I miraculously lived through that first night, my troubles were far from over. My life would continue, but now the devil had me on the ropes, and although I did not know it at the time, he was coming in to finish me off.

He continued attacking me in the hospital as I fought for my life. Several of his attacks damaged my body, while others aggravated my job standing and relationships. When all else failed, he influenced my doctors to persuade me to consent to a risky and unneeded operation. He repeatedly brought mayhem into my life with a relentless wave of events designed to abort my destiny and life purpose.

As strange as this may sound, I paid no heed to the Judgment Day messages I experienced that first night in the hospital (MY DAY OF DEATH, When You Disbelieve The Devil’s Existence…, Entering The Spiritual Realm, MY JOURNEY TO SPIRITUAL GOLGOTHA, IN HELL – CONFRONTED BY THE DEVIL, SWIMMING IN THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, Standing On The Seat Of Judgment Before God, MY EXPERIENCES IN HEAVEN AND HELL.) 

This entire encounter was so unbelievably dreadful and depressing that I often doubted if these terrifying experiences could even be real. So, I blocked all my reflections of that night because I no longer wanted to dwell upon them or think about their consequences. I rationalized them away as being nothing more than an awful dream. I pictured them as being very small and far away in my mind. Unfortunately, the consequence of these measures is that they exposed me to a new series of demonic attacks. I was about to experience the truth of living without God to block the devil’s attacks.

THE NEXT THREE MONTHS

I spent the next few weeks in the intensive care unit (ICU), and quite frankly, I could not have been any sicker. It was so bad that I remember thinking, “oh well, at least I’m still alive.”

Seriously ill patients in intensive care unit with a artificial — Stock Photo, Image

The doctors confirmed that my pancreas was the problem. They explained that it had exploded into hyper-production, generating thousands of times the required volume of digestive enzymes and discharging most of them into my bloodstream. They said that these digestive enzymes decompose proteins resulting in massive deterioration over most of my body. My blood, veins, arteries, muscles, nerves, organs, bones, and brain were all decomposing. That would explain my sensations of needles and pins all over my body and the numbness I felt after I entered the hospital.

The physicians continued to divulge that this hyper-production of digestive enzymes created immense pressure on the internal lining of the pancreas. This force became so powerful that it forced the inner lining through the outer wall, forming a balloon-shaped cyst outside the pancreas. The doctors called it a pseudo-cyst, and they deemed it to be a potentially deadly condition. They articulated that even though my pseudo-cyst was leaking, it had not yet ruptured. Eventually, it would harden and break open, abruptly releasing massive quantities of digestive enzymes into my bloodstream, creating even more impairment to my body. My surgeons said my pseudo-cysts were a ticking time bomb and would require defusing before this explosion struck me.

I believed that surgery was on their minds and in their hearts from the very start. I also knew I was not strong enough for surgery then, as my body needed to heal and gain strength.

In the meantime, the physicians proceeded with a recuperation strategy founded on food abstinence. They asserted that total fasting would slow enzyme production considerably because food consumption activates the digestive processes. Beginning this program would also give my body time to purge itself of the harmful toxins in my blood. To confirm that the program was working, they monitored my blood regularly. Within a week, they declared that my enzyme levels were consistently descending.

I made it through the first few weeks without eating anything and lost 30 pounds in the process. They then started IV feedings that consisted of sugarwater and vitamins. The physicians said afterward that my body responded as desired, and I had gained strength. While this was good news, I still felt very sick.

THE STENCH OF DEATH

It was more than physically feeling very sick, however. I began to sense there was something very different about my behavior. One thing that I noticed was my inappropriate speech. Vulgarities were now flowing out of my mouth, seemingly with every sentence I uttered. For some reason, I did not seem to care who it offended as I spared no one from my bad speech, not my mother, father, or even my children. Physicians and nurses were daily victims, and things like my handwritten notes strangely included vulgarities. It was so bad that even though it was clear to me, I seemingly could not stop. I wondered to myself, why am I saying such disgusting things? It was obvious to everyone around me that my vocabulary had changed. In reality, the stench of death was all over me. I was still alive and in this world, but the scent of death had wrapped me like a blanket.

My mind was also influenced. My thoughts were of sensual pleasures and flirting with nurses. This conduct was inconceivable for someone so sick that they could die at any moment. I recall thinking, what is wrong with you? You’re so ill you cannot stay awake for more than an hour at a time, and you are harboring these absurd thoughts?

BREATHING PROBLEMS

One morning soon after relocating to a conventional hospital room, I labored to get air into my lungs and found it difficult to talk. I notified the nurse’s station and was startled when they considered my breathing difficulty insignificant. They declined to do anything, proposing I wait for the physician to come around on his usual rounds. But I had been in the hospital long enough to know that this could take several hours and that it was also possible for the doctor to not show up at all.

I was getting scared as my disorder worsened rapidly, and I did not want to leave things to chance. So I phoned home, and they convinced our family physician to come to the hospital. He discovered that my vocal cords were swollen and restricted my airflow. He then explained that digestive enzymes damaged my vocal cords and proposed that this happened when I puked entering the hospital. He stated that if left unaddressed, a total blockage would eventually ensue, and I would suffocate. He ordered that I be placed on oxygen immediately and scheduled a tracheotomy for the morning.

The operation required that the physicians enter through a cut in the base of my neck. They then had to cut a hole in my windpipe just below my vocal cords and insert a small metal pipe into the hole. This mechanism ensured that the passageway remained open, allowing air to flow into my lungs through the tube even when my vocal cords closed completely. This device became my lifeline to the oxygen that I needed for the next several weeks.

EATING PROBLEMS

After I had been on IV feedings for a while, my physicians grew concerned about their ability to preserve my weight and health on continuous IV feedings. So they decided to see if I was healthy enough to begin ingesting natural foodstuffs again. They gradually introduced a liquid diet, and when that was successful, they pursued a soft nourishment diet. Everything went well for about a week, but unexpectedly my enzyme levels shot up dramatically again. 

So they paused these tests until my enzyme numbers turned back down, and when they did about a week later, they reinstated the exact meal plan strategy. Unfortunately, my enzyme levels shot up again, and they suspended the feeding program for a second time. Through all of this, the IV feedings never ceased, and their effect began to take its toll as the veins in my arms, legs, hands, and feet broke down. Things were getting more alarming, and I wondered if they had a resolution.

A CATHETER IN THE AORTA

I was gradually moving toward a no-win crisis. My large veins had broken down, forcing the nurses to use smaller ones, therein reducing the amount of nourishment I could obtain in a day. They also had an increasingly challenging time locating a vein, often having to make several sticks were now becoming common.

After agonizing about this predicament, my physicians eventually resolved to take the risk of inserting a semi-permanent catheter into my Aorta. That’s correct, through the center of my chest and incredibly close to my heart. They were reluctant to perform this operation because one slip could result in permanent heart damage.

But there were several advantages to taking the risk. One benefit is that it would solve my nutritional issues. Once this catheter was in place, I would get all the nutrition required in just four hours. Secondly, it was considerably easier to use; merely attach an IV bag to the catheter and eliminate the needle sticks. Things would become more comfortable and pain-free. I could get up and move about more frequently as I would no longer have an IV bag holding me back.

They performed the Catheter insertion procedure in my hospital room, and I was conscious throughout the operation as the physicians required feedback from me. They began by cutting a small opening in my chest so they could gain access to my Aorta from between two of my ribs. Then they injected the catheter through that hole and inserted it into my Aorta. But as fate would have it, they encountered considerable trouble piercing my Aorta wall. The Doc had to gradually exert increasing force to propel the catheter into the artery. This exertion persisted for several minutes until, finally, the physician leveraged all of his strength and body weight to get the job done. As all of this was happening, I became very concerned as I recollected the danger warnings they gave me before the procedure began. But the catheter finally pierced the aorta wall, creating a loud sound like the crushing of a giant beetle’s shell as the catheter punctured the Aorta wall. The good news is that the operation was a success. There were no slips, thank God. I was delighted and relieved that this ordeal was over.

A MEAGER ATTEMPT TO FIND GOD
Someplace along the way, I picked up a Bible. I had never read it before, but now that I had the time, I believed that perhaps it would be as good an opportunity as any. I was still tired much of the time, and I napped several times a day. I would often read just a few chapters at a time because even reading tired me. I started reading the book of Matthew and hung in there until I eventually completed the entire book. I read the words, but they somehow did not hit home. I remember thinking that the book did not make any sense. The book of Matthew seemed like a series of beautiful stories, but not much more. I wondered why anyone would get so passionate about these simple accounts. After finishing Matthew, I resumed reading, but after a while, I gave up. The Bible did not make much of an impression on me then. Little did I know that God would reward my modest attempt to reach out to Him.

A HEALING MIRACLE

After being in the hospital for a couple of months, a staff surgeon came to talk to me about my second CAT scan results. He conveyed that my pseudo-cysts had not been reabsorbed back into my pancreas. Further, it would be perilous to leave them in their present state indefinitely. He then provided me with a long list of the perils of this disorder, followed by a recommendation that I have a pancreas operation to eliminate the dangers. 

I then inquired about the dangers of surgery, and he explained that the procedures are complex and risky. It involves making a fifteen-inch cut in the abdomen and then physically removing the stomach, kidneys, and some intestines. The pseudo-cysts would then be lanced and stitched to the inside wall of the intestines. Once finalized, they would reinstate the extracted organs and stitch me up. The surgeon reacknowledged the riskiness of the operation. On the other hand, he remarked that the risk is justified because I would eventually experience conceivably fatal episodes without it.

But the complexity and risk of this operation seemed unreasonable to me. After all, I had believed from the very first day that I would recover and that everything would be fine. I refused to let negative thoughts into my mind. Bad news from the doctor did not change my mind regarding my positive outcome. It also seemed to me that the risk of the operation was higher than any potential future damage caused by my pancreas. I did not want to die on the operating table. This surgery just seemed intrinsically a bad idea to me. It seemed wrong in my head and my gut.

Some of my family thought differently, however. Of course, they knew considerably better than I, just how fortunate I was to be alive. After a discussion with them and thinking about the right decision for some time, I chose to get a second opinion. So I contacted my family doctor to see if he could help. He searched and found a very experienced pancreatic specialist who worked in another hospital in town. So I asked him to set things up for me.

Little did I know what a firestorm I initiated by bringing in a doctor from another hospital. My mindset was that I wanted the best I could find and could not comprehend why anyone would do it any other way. I also understood that a second opinion from another doctor in this hospital would tend to agree with their surgeon’s assessment. I wanted a fresh set of expert eyes and an open and independent mind, and my family doctor did an extraordinary job playing the middleman in making this happen. He pulled all the strings required to get the second evaluation set up.

On the morning of my second opinion, I was sitting in bed, and I could hear the nurses and the doctors talking in the hall about the outrage of having an outside doctor coming in to examine me. It seemed that every staff member in the hospital was talking about it. They were deeply offended and outraged. With all the fuss they were putting up, you would have thought that someone had robbed a bank, and perhaps, that is what it was all about.

In any case, the external physician showed up and did an excellent job. He asked me several questions, examined me, reviewed my records, and ordered a second battery of tests, including CAT scans, X-rays, and blood tests. A few weeks afterward, he reported his findings, and the results were shocking. He said that by comparing the latest CAT scan with the preceding one, he could see that my pseudo-cysts were shrinking! He indicated that they were reabsorbing into my pancreas and forecasted that they would disappear within three to six months. My body was healing! What great news!

I did not give God any credit at the time, however. I believed that it was my positive attitude, healthy body, and good luck getting me through. It was only much later that I apprehend the truth about Jesus that I understood the healing was all God’s doing.

When I look back at it now, it is as clear as crystal. Something occurred between my first and second series of tests, and that something was that I had sought God’s help by picking up a Bible and reading it. Regardless of how feeble the effort was, God responded with a healing miracle! It did not even matter that I found the experience empty; God honored my attempt to find Him. It was as if God was saying to me, “Okay, son; you took one step in My direction, and you thought that nothing would come of it. But, you have My heart. I am going to show you that I am real. I desire that you live.”

I did not ask for healing but simply reached out to try to find Him. Sweet God in heaven, I praise Your holy and sacred name. I praise You for loving someone unworthy of Your love, who could not have changed the error of his ways without it.

As you can see, God was there again for me. He was watching out for me and taking care of me even when I did not know it. I think about these things now and wonder why the Lord would love me so. He has saved me from the lake of fire and brimstone, the pit of hell and the devil’s savagery. He has given me life even though I stood before Him with the stains of sin on my garments on Judgment Day.

DISAGREEMENTS ABOUT THE GOOD NEWS
When the hospital received the second opinion report, I was not surprised that they disagreed. Nor was I shocked when the hospital surgeon suggested that I would experience severe consequences if I did not have the surgery. I remember thinking at the time, “After all, a surgeon only makes the big money when they operate, right?” But the surgeon was not the only one pressing me to go ahead and have the surgery anyway. Members of my immediate family also tried to persuade me to go forward with the procedure. After all, they were fearful of losing me. I understand.

I knew in my heart that I would live from the very outset. I may have picked up this positive attitude by merely living through the first night. I, therefore, rejected the risky surgery and accepted the path of natural recovery. You see, I had believed in a good report even before there was one to contemplate. I knew that I did not need the operation, and I told my hospital doctors and everyone else of this belief. Many people tried to change my mind, but I declined them all.

The physicians tried several strategies to get me to recant, but my response was always unwavering and to the point. In the end, they pressed me so hard that I had to rudely tell them that this was the end of the line. There would be no more discussions about an operation.

Interestingly enough, by chance, I ran into a surgeon who recommended the operation on an airport shuttle bus several years later. I was in much better health by then, and he may not have known who I was, so I reintroduced myself. Would you believe that he started preaching to me about the operation again? I guess he just did not get the message. He refused to accept the test results that confirmed that the pseudo-cysts had disappeared and that there was nothing left on which to operate! So it is with the unbelieving, they see with their eyes, but their minds don’t comprehend. They hear with their ears, but they don’t understand.

GOING ON HOME CARE
Just as the second opinion foretold, I began to feel much healthier as my body recovered. I still had some difficulties with food digestion and therefore had to stay on aorta IV feedings for quite some time. I no longer had to nap several times a day, and with this added time on my hands, I walked the corridors of the hospital out of boredom.

My family doctors believed that I was now out of severe trouble and suggested that I go on home care. One advantage would be that I could manage my IV feedings without the aid of a nurse. Of course, being home had to be the most important factor. After months in the hospital, going home seemed like a dream come true.

Another advantage of going on home care is the significant cost reduction. Since my healthcare coverage was paying for my entire hospital stay, they had the most to gain by this move, and yet they for some unknown reason balked at funding my home care. Eventually, my family physician had to call the insurance company executives to get home care approved. I was fortunate to have this man in my corner, making things happen for me, time after time. It was a long struggle, but I was pleased to be finally going home.

The home care outfit delivered the IV equipment and demonstrated its proper operation. They also furnished a miniature refrigerator to keep the IV solutions fresh. They furthermore promised to provide additional solutions bags each week. After that, I became responsible for my home care procedure. All I had to do was hook up the IV line to my aorta catheter at the proper times and visit my doctor frequently for check-ups.

PROBLEMS WITH INFECTION

For the first few weeks, everything performed remarkably well. Then one day, for no apparent reason, I suffered what I would describe as severe icy chills and uncontrollable shivering. Blankets did not remedy my symptoms either, as I shook for around ten minutes. Eventually, my lips turned blue from the cold. Then, just as quickly as they formed, these chills ran their course and suddenly ceased. I then went to the hospital, where they performed a series of tests. I afterward spoke with the physicians, and they were baffled. I became very concerned regarding this situation, so I walked them thru the chronology of my illness and my home care program. Despite this added information, they advised me not to worry about it as it was likely nothing. I remember contemplating that perhaps something was amiss with my catheter. After all, what else could it be? But then I also reasoned that they are paid well to unravel people’s health crises. They are doctors. It is their job! They have studied for years and are competent in reasoning this out. They are professionals! They know what they are doing, right?

Roughly ten days later, just as I began believing that maybe the doctors were correct, the chills hit me a second time, only much more acutely. I am not sure how this reoccurrence of shivers remained, but when they ended, I was exhausted. In my way of reasoning, this attack drastically reversal of my recovery. When it was over, I mustered up the energy to return to the hospital, where they completed an even more exhaustive set of tests. But the results were identical; they found nothing wrong and sent me home. I confirmed they understood the details of my condition and home care treatment. I explicitly questioned if my Aortic catheter could be the source of the difficulty. They replied that if they could see me when I was experiencing an episode, they might identify the origin of these perplexing shivers and convulsions. I was beginning to doubt if they believed what I had told them.

A week afterward, my third episode commenced. Luckily it happened at my family doctor’s office when it happened. The doctor was examining me on the exam table when it all started. I became ice cold and started shaking violently in front of my doctor. I saw my lips turning blue in a mirror across the room. The physician had the nurse cover me with heavy blankets, but they were ineffective in controlling my coldness. The convulsions became much more fierce, and I felt numbness in my fingers and toes. The muscles of my body then began cramping from the exhaustion of the shaking. In the thick of all of this, the doctor checked my heartbeat with his stethoscope. I felt an irregular heart rhythm awkwardly pounding in my chest and knew he was hearing it as I watched his face turn white. I saw the fear in his eyes, and I knew he thought I could die there in his office. I also knew I was weak enough to expire, but like before, I knew I would be alright.

But my body started shaking even more violently, and the doctor directed a nurse to lay on me to provide body warmth. An ambulance soon arrived, and the emergency responders wheeled me out on a gurney right through the patient waiting room. I saw the horror and disgust on the faces of the people as I passed by them. I guessed that they likely presumed that I was dying!

Like the other two episodes, the extreme shaking and coldness abruptly ended inside the ambulance. My physician must have phoned ahead because the medical staff there immediately concluded that something might be wrong with my catheter and removed it as a precautionary measure. Later, tests performed on the catheter confirmed their suspicions as a strand of staph infection was growing at the end of the catheter. 

According to my family doctor, they speculated that a long chain of staff infections formed on the end of the catheter and grew as time passed. Once it reached a critical mass, however, the strand would break, and the staff would be instantaneously released into my heart. This caused my body to react the way I identified above. 

SIGNIFICANCE TO THE VISION

I did not know it, but these things were a part of the spiritual warfare against me. Satan kept hitting me because I did not know to seek the protection of God. God was trying to get my attention, but I was not paying attention. He had something He wanted to tell me.