In An Instant | Articles | The Fellowship

In An Instant

    Oct 27, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough

    It was a typical morning a couple of weeks ago with no warning of the challenge to come.  On my schedule that day was a 9:00 am meeting of a Christian charitable organization.  I give a ride to the meetings to three elderly ladies in their 80’s who no longer drive.  All of them live within a mile of my home in Katy, so serving as a chauffeur for them is both a privilege and a blessing.

    On this particular day, one of the ladies was not feeling well and opted not to go.  The other two were ready when I drove up to their residences.  Our destination was a church in the Memorial area of Houston.

    We drove east on Westheimer Parkway through George Bush Park.  My friend in the back seat was coughing now and then.  She told us about her persistent cough that would come and go.  Just a few days earlier, she had seen a doctor and was told the coughing was due to acid reflux.  Since she never had any heartburn symptoms, it seemed like a strange diagnosis to her.  But the doctor assured her that most people with acid reflux never experience heartburn.

    As we discussed some things that help alleviate acid reflux, she confessed that the doctor had told her to radically reduce her intake of coffee.  Thus far she had not been able to talk herself into doing so since she really enjoyed drinking a lot of coffee each day.

    Her coughing continued to get worse as we merged onto Westheimer Road.  She reached into her purse and got a cough drop to pop into her mouth.  By now we had crossed Highway 6 and traffic was fairly heavy in all four lanes of Westheimer.

    My friend’s coughing had now gotten uncontrollable and I was becoming very concerned.  Suddenly she stopped coughing -- and all I could hear were these guttural sounds as she was struggling to breathe, but totally unable to intake any air!  There was no gasping or choking or wheezing – it was very obvious that no air whatsoever was getting into her windpipe!  I knew immediately this was a crisis situation!

    “Lord, please help us!” I frantically cried out.  Knowing we needed to stop so I could try and help her, I glanced at my righthand mirror and saw a gap in the outside lane which was the one next to us.  I quickly got over and pulled into a parking lot.  It was a rather rundown part of Westheimer and there was no business open right there where I could run for help.

    “Raise your hands above your head,” I cried out!  Having had no previous experience with someone unable to breathe, I was astonished at the words that came out of my mouth!  Jumping out of my seat, I ran around the back of the car and opened her car door.  In just those few seconds with her hands raised, she had been able to get a breath.  Her face was a deep red, reflecting the fear that had overtaken her.  But now she was beginning to breathe again -- and there was no coughing!

    “Thank you, thank you, Lord!” I kept repeating over and over.  We stayed there for about five minutes to make sure she was all right.  Because of taking food to the meeting, I had a cooler with ice in it and gave her a piece to sooth her throat.

    She thought that the cough drop had generated saliva that went into her windpipe and would not come out.  The unstoppable coughing had probably caused her throat to close.  Whatever the reason, only by God’s grace and instruction was she able to breathe again!

    I did a bit of research later and learned the brain begins to die within four to six minutes with no oxygen, and irreversible brain death can occur in as little as ten minutes.  Raising the arms is not the solution if choking is caused by an object lodged in the throat!  But our ever-present Lord knew it would open her airway in this case and spoke the instruction through me!

    How thankful I am for our Lord’s promise to never leave us or forsake us!  My friend is alive because He answered my prayer in an instant!  (P.S. One cup of coffee a day is now her limit!)


    He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble….
    Psalm 91:15


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