By Flora Jackson Sawyer
Friday of Easter weekend, 1966, I was rushed to the hospital!
Sunday I awoke to a new world.
As I lay on my hospital bed for the next two weeks my heart was filled with a hallowed mixture of fear and joy. I was traumatically aware that God could at any moment take my life, yet filled with wonder that He had just given it back to me. I count every moment precious since that day so long ago …
Both of my children – three-year-old Debbie, with her dark wavy hair and attention-getting big blue eyes – and little light-blond Danny – barely six months, not yet weaned – were sick with fevers and sore throats. The doctor, seeing that I also had a red throat and knowing that I was at risk of recurring Rheumatic Fever, prescribed Penicillin for all of us. That evening, after giving the children their medicine, I took a pill myself. Immediately, my throat began to burn. I ran toward the phone to call the doctor but lost consciousness and fell to the floor. Unable to contact the doctor, my husband, Carl, called the druggist, then ran next door to his sister, Ercell’s, home. Her husband, Donald, was a fireman and accustomed to such emergencies. Little Debbie ran to our sofa, and knelt, praying for Jesus to help her Mama. Soon I was rushed by ambulance to the hospital swelled beyond recognition and turning black and blue.
By God’s direction, the doctor, a friend of the family, who had prescribed the medicine, met us at the emergency room entrance. He had called together every available doctor in that small local hospital. This was the first occurrence of Anaphylactic shock due to Penicillin at that facility. By now my heart had stopped and I had been without oxygen beyond the point where brain damage begins. Just outside the ER, a well-meaning doctor had told Carl I probably would not survive the night and if I did, I would “… be nothing but a vegetable.” Beside himself with worry, he fell to his knees right there on the steps begging God to spare my life. By then my family and church family were also praying.
Trying everything they could think of, every doctor except Dr.______, who had prescribed the Penicilllin, gave up on me. He made one last try. He quickly filled a large needle with a solution of Adrenalin-Solucortef, Benadryl and Regitin. Thrusting it directly through my chest into my heart, in seconds, that seemed like an eternity, his stethoscope recorded a faint heartbeat. Gradually, I was breathing normally. I was out of the dark!! but was I?
For the next 38 hours, I lay on my bed in a semi-coma. I simply stared at the ceiling, unresponsive to efforts by my husband and doctors and nurses to arouse me with lively talk, and photos of my children. At last, as a doctor spoke my name and asked me what I perceived to be a silly question, I suddenly awoke and answered him with a joke. Doctors and nurses were surrounding my bed. They, too, were smiling. I knew without being told that life had left me and I was ALIVE AGAIN!
I’ll never forget that beautiful Easter morning. I saw everything as though I were seeing it for the first time. The verdant growth and the nodding yellow Jonquils I could see from my hospital window put me in mind of the God who had given life back to me just as He had to them after the dead of winter. I had a new appreciation of Easter. A better understanding of the Eternal Life of which my recent physical experience was only a metaphor. This Eternal Life has been made possible through Jesus Christ’s Death and Resurrection. He shed His Blood and died on the Cross to pay for our sin, then rose from the grave in victory to give us newness of life. Exciting as it is to have one’s physical life restored, it is far more wonderful to be saved from sin and to know that I have Eternal Life, and will live with Him forever. I had received that Eternal Life many years before when I confessed my sin to God and acknowledged my need of a Savior.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said:
“I am the Resurrection and the life: He that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall He live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” John 11:26 KJV