A Score and Sixteen Years Ago…
a child was born to Ed and Dorothy Johnson. Ok, THAT sounded old. 🙂
Seriously, I was born on this day in 1977. Every birthday I reflect back on the circumstances surrounding my birth and one particular incident that followed months later, and stop to give God thanks because my life almost ended when it was just beginning.
I was born 3-months premature, weighing 2 lbs. As reported by my parents, after spending around three months in a NICU incubator and on oxygen for such an extended period, the doctors concluded that it would be a high probability that I would permanently be mentally challenged and blind.
But neither of those things happened. I eventually gained weight, was eating fine, and breathing on my own without assistance. All my vital organs were functioning and developing well. I was released from the hospital with no complications. I was out of the woods, as they say. But not for long.
I had been home for only a couple of months. On Tuesday morning, as I was sleeping in my crib, one of my sisters came to check on me. When she leaned over to look at me, she noticed that I was having difficulty breathing and was turning blue from lack of oxygen. She screamed to my mom, who was heading out to work, to come in the room where I was. They grabbed me and rushed me off to the hospital.
All morning and into the afternoon, the doctors were scrambling to keep me breathing and conscious, all the while baffled as to the cause. My blood was drawn and sent off to the lab. As they waited for the results to come back, and after numerous seizures, I slipped into a comma. Not knowing the cause and therefore unable to appropriately treat me (beyond IVs), the doctors “threw their hands up in the air” out of hopelessness and despair, telling my parents that until they could get the results back there was essentially nothing that they could do, and that they didn’t know if I would survive to see another day. But my parents knew the Great Physician, Jesus. So they prayed.
The lab results came back. It was determined that I had been bitten by a mosquito – probably during a weekend family outing at the lake – that carried a rare baterial disease called “Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.” So they began administering antibiotics, but to no avail. I remained in a comatose state Tuesday and Wednesday with no signs of recovery.
Thursday morning. The doctors walked in and there I was wide awake, eyes open, and responsive. God answered my family’s prayers. He brought me back from the brink of death!
And I am alive today, 36 years later, to tell the story.
So on this day as I celebrate my birthday, I am reminded of what Paul said to the Athenians: “In him [God] we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28a)
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”