Sunday’s Extras: Lest I forget (Angels in waiting)

We’ve all read about near death experiences. Today’s article is a testimony of faith, life-long love and answered prayers … even when we don’t know what to pray.

It’s been a while since I posted a Sunday’s Extras. It was an opportunity for me to share about faith and family. And this is the perfect article to restart one of my favorite blog topics.


We’ve all read about near death experiences. Today’s article is a testimony of faith, life-long love and answered prayers … even when we don’t know what to pray. Sometimes, all we need to say is, “Jesus, thank you, Jesus.” 


You might remember Pat Bryson from her previous WYMT blog “Mrs. B’s Corner.”   Mr. and Mrs. B., as we lovingly call them, were my spiritual mentors from the time I was in 4th grade until, well, even now. They invested in my life and the lives of so many other people. To be honest, I am who I am today in part because of their unfailing love, friendship and wisdom.


I hope you enjoy their testimony.



The day began in the usual way when we headed out to St. Mary’s Hospital, in Knoxville, for the routine GI scope to determine the condition of the spot where Jerry’s lymphoma last occurred, except that Emily accompanied us on this Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013.  (I felt an impression three weeks before to ask her to go with us; I was hesitant to do that because she had a new job and because I felt confident, since I’d done this several times, that I could make this drive.)




The morning felt different from the time we entered the hospital; I assumed the difference was because our scheduled procedure was set at a later time in the day.  Normally, I am invited back in the surgery area to wait with Jerry until they roll him back; then, after the procedure I stand by his gurney until he is ready to dress and leave.  This day, I was not invited back nor did I know when he went into the operating room.  Everything seemed busier and more crowded.  One husband asked to go back and was refused entry.  Much time elapsed.  There are window panels in the door leading to the waiting area, and I began looking through these panels to see if I could catch a glimpse of Jerry and/or his doctor.  I did see them roll Jerry into his curtained area.  The next thing that I knew there were people surrounding that area, obviously around someone in distress.  I know Dr. Miller well, and I expected him to come to tell me something; I could tell that he was distressed. I caught his eye, and he looked away from me hurriedly.   More people came to that area.  I cracked the door, and Dr. Miller, motioning for us to return to the waiting area, said, “Sit down” and went on with what he was doing.  Knowing his sweet personality, I knew he felt he couldn’t leave what he was doing.  On the intercom, I heard his name being called to come to the phone; he didn’t budge.  At a time like that, you just hope that you can get past your own fast-beating heart and lift your loved one to the Lord.  All I could do was to say to Emily, “The Bible says to thank God in all situations, so that’s what I am doing.”  I only could say over and over, “Jesus, thank you, Jesus.”  It would have been easy at that point for both of us to be overwhelmed by fear.  Finally, Dr. Miller beckoned us; he told us that the GI procedure was completed and things looked fine, but that Jerry had had a total heart block soon after the procedure.  He did tell me that he would be getting a pacemaker as soon as the cardiologist was through with the heart cath that he was doing.  We went into the curtained area and were so grateful that Jerry was conscious.  He asked me if the doctor said the scope was OK.  I was glad to tell him that it was and that they were going to prepare him for a pacemaker, since he had a problem after the procedure.  I told him to hold on to “our promise” and he nodded, as I threw him a kiss before they sent us out.   Jerry and I believe that God, several years ago, impressed us with the thought that we will walk in old age together.  That was a good while ago, and we’ve claimed it several times.  We’re not sure that we know God’s definition of “old age”, but it certainly has been a comfort to us both through several emergencies. 




(I want to take a minute to tell you of the wonderful on-call cardiologist who was such a help to us.  Dr. McCoy came to find us in the waiting room and took time to explain all that had happened.  I had assumed total heart block would mean he was facing another open-heart surgery.  Block and blockage are two different things.  He took time to explain that this was a “timing thing” not a “plumbing thing”.  He assured us that if he could get the pacemaker in, Jerry would be fine and could go home soon. His words helped us so much. Through this whole ordeal, Dr. McCoy treated us like “family.”)



The next time we saw Jerry, he was in the emergency room; his cardiologist was standing right beside him, and he, being a wonderful comforting man, was explaining what they were planning to do when it was obvious to us that Jerry was gone.  Emily saw the heart rate numbers plummet, and I saw Jerry’s face.  They demanded that we leave.  At that time we only could stand because we had each other.  We returned to the waiting room.  After some time, Dr. McCoy came and said that he had inserted a temporary internal pacemaker and would go back to scrub to insert the permanent one.  We were hearing words that we could hardly understand; we were realizing that he was talking about surgery and going home soon. How grateful we were.



The surgery was successful, and Dr. McCoy was smiling; we were transferred to a tiny hospital room where neither Jerry nor I slept.



The next morning, Dr. McCoy came by. He pulled out the footstool, and it was clear that he intended to have a conversation, doctor to doctor.  He looked at Jerry and asked, “What do you remember about yesterday?”  Jerry, step by step, told him what he remembered; then Dr. McCoy asked him, “Do you remember dying?” And as calm as a cucumber, Jerry said, “Yes, there were two angels, one on each side of a door; they were just standing there, and they had no wings.”  {He had not said one word about that to me, and I wonder if he might not have if the doctor hadn’t asked him; I am curious if the doctor saw something to make him ask.  Later Jerry told me that the door was arched and that he couldn’t see the faces of the angels, that they were bright lights.}  We now know that three doses of atropine did nothing to revive him and that the doctor inserted the temporary pacemaker through the groin to bring him back and to give him time to insert the permanent pacemaker through an incision in his chest.  This was on Thursday morning, the day after his GI procedure, his emergency procedure, and the surgery to permanently place a pacemaker, and the doctor smiled and said, “You can go home as soon as we get the paper work done.”   Hallelujah!



I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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God Bless America!
Neil Middleton <><
WYMT Mountain News
Appreciate Freedom – Thank a Vet!

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