Sometimes tender mercies aren’t the first thing we notice when life seems to be going terribly wrong.
I had just gotten home from an appointment when I received a terrifying phone call from the local Hospital. A nurse on the other end said, “We have your husband here. He was out for a jog this afternoon, and we are doing some testing on him now. Would you be able to come to the hospital now?”
My mind was racing as I told them I would be right there. I felt anxious, and my mind wasn’t thinking clearly. I was confused about what had even happened. “Was his heart failing?” was my biggest question. My husband, Jared, had been through two heart valve replacements in the last eight years, so something with his heart was a very real possibility.
As I was preparing to leave for the hospital, I felt impressed to approach my Heavenly Father in prayer. I pleaded out loud, asking Him to give me comfort as I faced these next few hours. I felt the only way I was going to get through was to completely turn it over to God and trust Him. To believe in His plan for me, for Jared, and our kids.
Peace came over me, and suddenly the answers to all my questions weren’t making me frantic. I felt His arms wrap around me and instantly comfort my heart with an assurance everything was going to work out. It was a choice. I had to choose to trust Him.
While driving to the hospital, the doctor working with Jared called to tell me my 41-year-old husband was having a stroke!
An Answer to Prayer
As was his standard practice, Jared left his office around noon to go for a run. He made it about 2 miles before he started feeling what he thought was a migraine coming on. Then tunnel vision and a weird sensation started down the left side of his body as he was running. He instinctively realized he needed to get off of the path. With dirt some 10 feet off the trail, he knew it would make a softer landing than the concrete.
He laid down for a few minutes to rest and then sat back up. The rest didn’t help.He realized he needed to get back to his office, but in trying to stand up, he quickly fell back down. His left shoulder took the brunt of his fall. Working to stand up again he landed hard on the same left side, hitting the ground with force. After falling twice, Jared remembers laying there and feeling helpless and so alone.
He had his phone with him while running but at some point, he had dropped it and couldn’t find it. Off in the distance, he could hear people talking about him, but no one was coming to help. Jared felt the most profound sense of despair he has ever felt and realized the only person who could help him was Heavenly Father. He prayed for help and as soon as he finished, a kind lady named Angie came over and asked if he needed help. All he could do was give her a thumbs up. Fortunately, she took that to mean he truly needed help. She called 911, and the EMS arrived shortly and took him to the hospital.
Arriving at the Hospital
My arrival at the ER was about 30 min after Jared’s. The doctors needed my permission to give him TPA, a strong clot-dissolving medicine. They also informed me they were going to airlift Jared to another hospital where a Neurointerventional doctor could perform a Thrombectomy procedure. This surgical procedure could remove a blood clot from a vessel allowing blood to flow. A delay could mean the loss of a limb or even death.
As I walked into the room where Jared was, I hugged him, kissed him and held his hand tightly. He looked better than I thought he would. Alert and talking, I was amazed at how well he was doing. He could do all the things the doctors were asking him: answer questions, smile and raise his arms. Soon after I said hello, we said our goodbyes and I watched Jared get loaded onto a stretcher and into the Flight for Life helicopter.
It was a tight squeeze in the helicopter. His toes were pressing up against the front window. I am so thankful my Heavenly Father helped me be so calm at this time. I jumped in my car and made a handful of phone calls to family and to a friend who said she would pick up my kids after school for me. The drive to the hospital alone was long and hard, but I still felt peace in my heart and knew that Jared would make it out of this procedure and recover from his stroke.
The doctor informed me the Thrombectomy procedure was a success. They had been able to remove the clot with three tries! It had been located in his cerebral artery and had completely occluded the artery. Thankfully another artery had kept some blood flowing in other areas of his brain. The doctor felt positive about Jared’s prognosis because of how quickly they were able to get in to remove the clot.
Jared was patient and only complained about his shoulder hurting. After x-rays, his collarbone was confirmed to be broken, a result of falling twice while trying to get off the ground.
I stayed in the hospital with Jared the next three days. He worked hard with the speech therapist who came to test his cognitive abilities. He was able to go home on Saturday afternoon in time to see our son’s basketball game.
One evening, while in the hospital, Jared and I were talking about the miracles and tender mercies of what happened that day:
- It was a nice sunny day and so people were out using the trail. It could have happened on a cold day when no one would have walked by for hours.
- Jared’s prayer was answered almost immediately.
- Angie (who we call our “Angel”) was on the trail and recognized Jared needed help and called 911. We got together with her a few weeks after his stroke and she said she normally goes south on the trail but decided to go north that day.
- The spirit comforted me and gave peace to my heart that Jared would be ok.
- They were able to give Jared the TPA. In some situations, if the time has been too long it can’t be administered. Also, his INR (blood levels) were low enough to receive it.
- There was a great surgeon close by who was available and qualified to perform the Thrombectomy procedure.
- He received a Priesthood blessing from his brother where he was told he would make a quick and full recovery.
- Jared recovered quickly with no residual effects from his stroke.
What I’ve Learned
I learned several lessons from this event, but the one that touched my heart the most was how our Heavenly Father gives us tender mercies each and every day. I agree with a statement shared by David A Bednar:
The tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them…The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The tender mercies are there for us if we just look and listen for them. It has become our goal to take time each day to discuss the tender mercies the Lord has given us.