Received from Rene Schutte on 15 July 2015
On May 26th 2014 our husband and father suffered a brain bleed and was rushed to hospital.
On May 26th 2014 our husband and father suffered a brain bleed and was rushed to hospital.
After 1 week in hospital he was scheduled for an arteriogram where they would inspect the arteries in his brain and from there decide what to do. At the time he was still very confused but suffered only short term memory loss and loss of his peripheral vision of the left eye.
During the arteriogram the doctors noticed the poor condition of his arteries and decided to do an operation where they would fix his arteries with coils and glue.This was a very delicate operation as it is done through your groin and takes a lot of concentration and patience. The doctors struggled for hours to find a path to the arteries in his brain as they described the arteries to be knotted, like a birds` nest. We had been praying for him since the bleed first occured and at this point we had our whole family praying and trusting God to make a path where there is none.
After 8 long hours the surgery was complete and the doctors said that it had been extremely difficult but successful.
We were overjoyed and thanked God for this miracle and for keeping our husband,father, brother and friend alive.
During the early hours of the morning he had started reacting badly. They rushed him back in to theater and we heard the devastating news that he had suffered an even worse brain bleed. This time it was in his brain stem and the pressure in his brain had built up so much that he had hydrocephaly. They inserted a shunt into his brain that would drain the fluid and would have to stay there permanently if he survived.
Our children were on the first flight out of the Western and Eastern Cape, coming to Pretoria to be with us and potentially to come say goodbye to their father.
From that point on, us as a family decided to stand together and to believe that God is able to heal him and that he would protect him against the plans of the enemy. We refused to give up and accept the bad diagnosis from the doctors but rather decided to stand strong in our faith as we know God is above ALL things.
After the second potentially fatal brain bleed he was in a coma. Our family took turns visiting him and praying for him, laying our hands on him and praying to God to heal him and save his life. None of us had a lot of experience in praying for the sick but we knew that we were willing, available and that we had faith that God would heal him by his stripes.
He was in ICU and in a coma where he had multiple complications such as infections, a bed sore on the back of his head, falling blood pressure etc.
He was in a coma for about 1 week when we had an appointment with his Neurologist. That is when we heard the devastating news that he is very critical and will most probably never wake up again. If by some miracle he had to wake up he could be in a vegetative state and, best case scenario, he would be conscious but his left side would be completely paralyzed as he already presented with weakness on the left.
We left the doctors office completely devastated as we would never be able to speak to the husband and father we once knew ever again. My youngest daughter said to us that she knows God is going to save his life and that he would wake up, she had no evidence for this but she just knew in her heart that he would survive. We believe that God had laid this on her heart.
We sat at the hospital's coffee shop and prayed together as a family, declaring out loud that we do not accept this prognosis and that God is above all. We again refused to accept this and decided to stand strong in our faith that God would save his life, that God would perform a miracle against all odds.
After being in a coma for two weeks and connected to a ventilator we received a phone call at 6 in the morning that he had reacted to a stimulus during the night and that he was showing signs of waking up. We have never felt such relief and joy. Our prayers of pleading became prayers of thanks as God had heard our cries and answered our prayers. At that point we realized that God had performed a miracle and that whatever happened from here on out, we would be able to testify to seeing a real miracle. Little did we know of the miracles to come.
It was about a week long process of waking up and slipping back into a coma. He could move all of his limbs (another miracle as the prognosis was that he would be paralyzed on the left). He was extremely weak and had lost a tremendous amount of weight. He was unable to speak as he was still connected to a ventilator. We would take turns standing next to his bed and praying for him and sometimes he would squeeze our hands softly to say he could hear us. We were allowed to visit him 3 times a day. The whole family took turns praying for him at every visit. In between visiting hours we went to the prayer room and spoke to God, thanking him for the miracles and also the miracles to come, putting our concerns at his feet and finding comfort in him as he was truely all we had!
A series of complications occurred in the 54 days he was in ICU. He started having fits and sometimes when we were there to visit he would start shaking and we would start praying out loud. Another miracle as we could see his body relaxing while we were praying.
We were so aware of the presence of God , we could feel him and see him in the room.
Family friends from all over the country and the world came to pray for him and to support us. That is when we first met Daniel, he came to pray for Ernst and when he was awake enough Ernst would squeeze his hand to show that he agrees with the prayers.
Ernst had already surprised all the doctors and us by coming out of the coma and reacting so well, it was truely a miracle!!!
Ernst would have to go for extensive rehabilitation after discharge from the hospital as he could not walk or really speak and couldn't even lift up his arms. During the second week of rehab his gallbladder had burst and he was rushed to hospital once again. By that time our medical aid was depleted and they refused to pay for more rehab, Ernst had to come home with a full time sleep-in carer as he still couldn't walk or care for himself.
At home he would do some exercises with the physiotherapist that came to our house but Ernst refused to eat and he was losing a dangerous amount of weight. After a home visit from our doctor she decided that he should be hospitalized once again as he had infection and was deteriorating quickly. In hospital he received a feeding tube as he couldn't and didn't want to eat, he was also being treated for a very resistant bacterial infection in his bladder, this was a result of having had a catheter for a long period of time and the lack of nutrients and water in his body.
Suddenly Ernst started to breathe with difficulty and was even more tired than usual, after an x-ray was done the doctor confirmed that he had two pulmonary embolisms in his right lung. This alone is something that is very often fatal to patients, he had two blood clots in his lung, two very severe brain bleeds, a dangerous infection and a very low body weight.
Again we decided to not accept this and to pray to God to break the plans of the enemy. We knew the devil was hungry for Ernst`s life and we refused to accept it, we spoke life over him day and night. We draped him in a red scarf symbolizing the blood of Jesus that covers him, we prayed for healing and life and that, like Job in the bible, his latter days will be greater than his former. "Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.” Job 42:12a (NKJV)
Like Job, Ernst had lost many things at this point regarding his health but God saved his life against all odds, against all the plans of the enemy God had performed a miracle and we were, more than ever, aware of the power of prayer!
Ernst had survived the unthinkable. He walked through the valley of the shadow of death and God saved him. He never forsaked him in his darkest days. God carried us as a family and most of all He carried Ernst when he could not walk. He fought for us and for Ernst when we could not fight for ourselves. God knew exactly what he was doing. He had His hand on the pulse the whole time.He did not need our opinion or the doctor's opinion to work a miracle in our lives. He had his eyes on the clock of our situation and he saved us all from it.
Ernst went on to a new rehab centre after leaving the hospital. There he learnt to walk and care for himself again. It has now been a year since his brain bleed. He is at home and he is doing so well. He is recovering every day, improving into the person he once was. He is truely a living testimony of God`s work and the power of prayer and faith! God guided our boat safely to shore through the most horrible storm of our lives. He carried us emotionally and spiritually. He guided the hands of all the brilliant doctors and nursing staff that worked with Ernst and we could find refuge under his wings. A true living testimony!