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Tornadoes Delay Life-Saving Surgery

“It was a hot morning and we’d been out trimming our azaleas, but it had started raining and it was starting to get dark,” says Jerry as he recalls the morning of April 29, 2010.

The Florida panhandle was under a tornado watch when Jerry and his wife Carol cut their yard work short. “Shortly thereafter I felt a little nauseous,” he says. “So I said ‘I’m going into the restroom just in case I have to throw up. The next thing I know, she walked in there and said, ‘What’s wrong?’ And at this time, I had semi-passed out and had fallen between the commode and the wall. I said ‘Honey, I’m dying.’”

Carol called 911 – and then friends and family to ask for prayer. Her next call was to the prayer center at CBN. “The counselor immediately began to pray for me,” Carol recalls. “She knew it was a serious thing. And she quoted scriptures.”

Jerry was rushed to the hospital in Fort Walton, where doctors discovered an artery had burst in his stomach. He was diagnosed with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, known as the “silent killer.”

“The doctor came out, and the anesthesiologist came out,” Carol recalls. “Everything they were saying to me was he wasn’t going to make it, and I said to the doctors in their eyes, right in their faces, ‘We are believers. You do everything you can do. We’re believing for a full recovery.’ And I remember saying full recovery.”

Jerry needed to be life-flighted to a larger hospital, but due to the tornadic weather, had to be transported by ambulance instead. Because his life-saving surgery would be delayed by hours, the attending doctor gave the family one final piece of advice. “He had all of my family line up in this hallway where the ambulance was going to come in,” Carol says. “He said ‘Tell him goodbye as he goes by, because this might be the last time you see him.’”

Carol again reached out for prayer, this time to several area churches. Jerry was still alive when he arrived at Sacred Heart Hospital and went straight into surgery.  

While he was on the operating table, Jerry says he had a vision. “I was immediately enveloped in a golden mist,” he says, “and a set of huge golden hands just came towards me, and every place his fingers, his hands or anything, touched my body, it was like an infusion of heat. Then He said, ‘Don’t worry. The surgery went well. You’re going to live a long time, and you're not going to have any pain from this.’ I knew that was God’s voice. I can't talk about this without crying. I’m 83 years old now and I still cry every time I go through this, because I knew that it was God and His angels taking care of me.”

Jerry made it through the surgery, just as promised. He had beaten the odds, by the narrowest of margins. His surgeon, Dr. Layne Yonehiro, says, “Aortic aneurysm still is a top ten killer. Eighty percent never make it to the hospital and perish either at home or on the way. Of the twenty percent that do make it to the hospital, half of them perish either in the operating room table and/or immediately post operatively.”

“We were all praying just as hard as we could and saying God, thank you. We were praising God for getting Jerry back,” Carol says.   

During the surgery, one of Jerry’s kidneys was badly damaged and considered dead. Carol continued to believe and pray for a full recovery. “At the time of his being able to be discharged from what we call the acute care setting, he had one kidney that was not functioning at all,” Yonehiro says. “But, it finally began making some progress and over the ensuing months completely came back to near full function. So that’s a miracle in itself.”

Today, Jerry leads an active life in Florida, playing his trumpet in local ensembles, and he and Carol are quick to tell others about a God who still answers prayers today. “He wants the best for you. He wants to heal you. He wants you to be well,” Carol says.

Dr. Yonehiro is quick to acknowledge a higher power that was working for Jerry. “I believe that anything can be done in prayer,” he says. “Certainly this is something that, you have to give credit where credit’s due--not to us mortal physicians who know so little that we can’t even cure a common cold--but to someone who is obviously the Great Healer, the Great Physician.”

“Miracles are for whenever you ask for them and really believe,” Jerry adds enthusiastically. “I have 100% belief in that God can do anything, because He proved that to me.”

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