We were a couple of minutes away from the San Diego airport when I received a phone call from the hospital in Austin.
It’s not looking good.
He’s lacking basic brain stem function. He has no blink reflex. No gag reflex. No cough reflex.
His body is shutting down.
He’s probably only got a couple of hours left, if that.
I sent a simple text message to those praying for Keith: Pray harder. Then I boarded the airplane for the longest flight of my life.
When I finally arrived in Austin I received word that Keith was still alive; it was the best news I could have gotten. My parents drove me to the hospital and we headed straight to ICU. As I walked down the hallways I started seeing people I knew. The walls were lined with tear-filled family and friends as they watched me, very pregnant with our first child, walk down the hall to Keith’s room.
The next several days were filled unending tests, lab work and visitors. Medical professionals were looking for purposeful movement and a response to commands; friends and family were looking for miracles because we knew that was the only way we would get Keith back.
“We’re trying to determine if he’s still in there…” I was told this time and time again, but I already knew the answer. He was still in there. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that Keith was still there; I just needed other people to realize it too. I prayed, “Lord! Please show them Keith knows what is going on; show them that he knows we’re here!”
And God did just that. One afternoon, as we stood by Keith’s bed, the man in the coma – the man who should not have survived – lifted his left arm, placed it on my stomach and rubbed my pregnant belly.
Purposeful movement. Check.
After two weeks he was able to come off of the ventilator and breathe on his own. We were praying for miracles and we were seeing them unfold before our eyes. With time and prayer, Keith’s basic brain stem functions returned. He blinked. He gagged. He coughed. After being told he would be paralyzed from the waist down, he regained limited movement in his legs. The only explanation for his progress was prayer. But he remained in ICU and we were told he would be there for the foreseeable future.
Six weeks after Keith’s accident, I began having contractions. When they were just minutes apart I was admitted to the same hospital where Keith resided. After laboring for several hours I delivered the most perfect baby, our son, Brooks.
The next couple of months were tough, to say the least. I had a newborn baby to care for as well as a husband who required the same, if not more, amount of attention. One afternoon I was really struggling with my situation and what would become of my future. Would I ever fully get my husband back? Would Brooks ever have a dad not in a hospital bed? Would I ever be able to have another child? With Keith in a coma and possibly paralyzed from the waist down, I didn’t even have the option to choose to have another baby. The choice seemed to already be made for me. But as I cried on my bed I very clearly heard the Lord say, “You will be blessed with more children.”
Did I just imagine this? No. Because if I imagined it I would have said child. I more than likely wanted two kids total – three or more would definitely need to be discussed. Children? I couldn’t believe it.
But I did believe it. I clung to the hope brought forth by those words. And I believed God was going to fully restore Keith and give me my husband back.
Editor’s Note: Judy’s husband’s struggles are not over. He takes a turn for the worse. And God shows love can carry on. It will be a story of endings and beginnings.
For part three click here.