I called the prayer line in hopes that I could leave a message for Mike, First Baptist Powell's executive pastor. I was terrified my poor grandmother Jones would find out and panic. When I called someone answered the line! It was probably six o'clock by this time and everyone was gone out of the office. I told the woman who I was and she knew me. It was Deanie Dickinson. I explain what was going on and she promised to call Mike so he could let my mom and dad know.
Next, I remembered our youth director's phone number. Dr. John's son was Martin close friend growing up and for some reason I just remember Martin chanting his number. I was able to talk to one of their sons who promised to call his parents and let them know. Next, I called my close friend Jayme. Jayme is an "old friend" of Martin's that was at Word of Life the same time Martin and I were. She introduced us to one another and Martin was in her wedding and she was in ours. I had recently started working at her church as their bookkeeper. I called their home and it rang and rang and rang. But then Dave, her husband answered. I broke down at that point. I had not talked to anyone I was close to and poor Dave got the waterworks! He told me that Jayme was outside in the car and she was taking him to work and he would let her know.
Eventually they took Martin to the I.C.U. Silly, naive me figured this was a step-up from the E.R.! We took over the tiny I.C.U. waiting room. Family, friends and church people filled the room. I still had not talked to my mom and dad. Martin and I had been married almost three years by this time but not having any of my family there was so hard. I missed my family, my friends, my church family. I was thankful for Jayme when she walked in. She was my oldest friend in the room. When my dad called I once again broke down. I can't imagine how my parents felt. They were in Idaho with no way to get to me.
The I.C.U. nurse, Angel (I'm sure she gets the comments all the time) called Martin's parents, brother and I in his room for us to see him. I didn't realize they figured it would be the last time we would see him alive. We prayed over him and I held his hand. When we had to leave I told Martin that I had to go but that I would be in the next room. He squeezed my hand. I didn't think anything of it. I told his family that it seemed like he squeezed my hand. I repeated that I wasn't leaving I would just be in the next room. He again squeezed my hand but this time much harder. I told the nurse who gave me a sympathetic smile. She didn't believe me. I understand, I wouldn't have believed me either. He had brain damaged, they thought. I tried to pull my hand away and I couldn't. He was holding on too strong! I showed Angel and she went and got one of the doctors.
I went back to the waiting room and was grateful for the gift I felt God had given me. The night was filled with visitors and little sleep. As I was laying down on the couch around 3 AM, my mother-in-law was cleaning the room. I told her that my soul was at peace. Almost like God had sent his angels down to sing to my heart, music that only my soul could hear.
The next few days were hard. They got Martin's body temperature down so low he got hypothermia. They had to find a way to regulate his body temperature. No one was sure what happened to him. They eventually ruled out spinal meningitis. They attempted a spinal tap but he was too full of fluid to do it. He has yet to forgive me for allowing it! They did dialysis on him every other day. Eventually his heart (it was doing crazy, wacky things the day after his accident because it had virtually stopped the day before), his lungs, his liver, all started working again. He was responding well even in his coma. The neurologist was optimistic about his brain activity with his responses.
They told me he would be in the hospital for well over a month and a few months in rehab, learning to walk again (most of his muscles had melted). Then he would be on dialysis for his kidneys for as long as it took for them to come back, if at all. He was home in two weeks and although he had to do physical therapy three times a week and dialysis three times a week, he was home.
Honestly, being home was the hardest part for me. He was still weak and I had to help him with so much. He was home and not working and I had to deal with those emotions. He couldn't drive and I couldn't sleep in the bed with him. He was propped up here and there with blood clots throughout his body and he had a port for dialysis coming out of his neck. I know I didn't handle those times like I should. But God was gracious and patient with me. He taught me so much during those times and is still teaching me about those times. I try to be sensitive to those wives who have husbands at home after accidents or health issues. There is something in a man that God puts in them to provide and be the leader in the home and when the woman has to step up and do it for whatever reason, there is a humiliation there that can be taken out on that wife. It's hard but God teaches us through it.
As I look back on all that happened June 27, 2005, it really blows my mind. First of all, I have no idea why it happened. I can't sit here and tell anyone that God allowed Martin's temperature to get that high because there was a doctor at Shore Memorial that was doubting His existence and God chose to use Martin. People were telling me over and over, don't worry, God will let you know why He allowed this one day. But my dad (who eventually got to come up), in such wisdom, told me not to cling to that. Not to cling to a hope that one day God will let me know why He allowed that. Because honestly, God owes me nothing. He can do whatever He wants. But this I know: He does ALL for His glory. That's it. That's all I need to know and care about. And I count it a privilege that He used us.
I want to list the things that were nothing but God showing off. Things that are almost humorous when they are put side by side. Things that no one, not even the doctors could explain.
1. Little Shore Memorial Hospital had dealt with heat strokes before. They are near the Coast Guard training center and have had some men come in with heat strokes, and all that have come in with Martin's temp and some below have died (not because of the hospital, but because of the circumstances). But they are confident in this area.
2. That Monday night, the last Monday of the month was the department head meeting. This means that all doctors from all the areas of the hospital were in a meeting there when Martin came in. As I understand it, the E.R. doctor interrupted the meeting and gave them the stats of Martin. They all talked it out and Dr. Schreyer (Martin's kidney doctor) suggested he put a line in Martin and do dialysis to cool the blood. They all agreed and off they went. I guess it's not normal to have doctor after doctor, specialist and specialist come in to the death room and ask questions on a Monday night at a tiny hospital.
3. Everyone I called was there. Like I said, I didn't have my cell phone and sadly, I just know a few numbers by heart. But the three God brought to mind, someone answered everyone. Even Dave who ran back in the house to pick-up his forgotten dinner.
4. We never paid a dime for anything. Well, I take that back. They did make us pay $35 for the t.v. in the I.C.U. I have no idea why the t.v. was on while Martin was in a coma but I did walk in a few times and it was on and when I was there with him while they took his breathing tubes out. I was thankful Regis and Kelly were on so I could watch them and not my poor husband as they were taking them all out. I gladly paid the $35. Everything was covered by workman's comp.
It's been five years since all of this. I'm happy and thankful to say that I love Martin so much more today! But more than that - I am so awed by my God, so humbled by Him and oh so thankful for Him. I am truly learning more from His Word than ever before. I am learning more about the ways He wants me to be and am amazed at His pursuit and change, through the Holy Spirit in my life.
In five years we have left our old church family for a new one. It was hard but it was in God's plan. We now own a home in a perfect location. Martin went back to college and completed his Masters of Business Administration at Rowan University last year. He went back to his old job after he was asked by me and his doctor to not go back to the Sheriff's department. We are thankful his job took him back. He is now at a new job and has the flexibility that most people don't have. We've been on two overseas mission trips together.
Mighty is our God.