Jan 5, 2020 | by Nancy Newbrough
I am a walking miracle! On Memorial Day, 2018, I visited friends in the country and left early to get home before dark. After a rest stop halfway, I got back on the road. That is the last thing I remember!
The constable who witnessed the accident reported that a train hit me as I crossed a track. It dragged my car about 425 yards. When the train stopped, my car fell into a ditch. Jaws of Life pried my car open and Life Flight transported me to the Medical Center and an ICU Shock Trauma Unit. Multiple CT scans, MRIs and x-rays from head to toe were ordered. I had a concussion, brain bleed, broken neck, damaged spinal cord, broken sternum, broken ribs and multiple bruises all over my body. Unceasing prayers for my life and recovery began!
The medical team tried surgery twice, but very low blood pressure caused them to stop. The pulmonary team said no more surgery until the blood and fluid were removed from my lungs. The first drain was 700 ccs (equivalent of a two-liter bottle of soda). The next day 200 ccs more was removed -- then I was ready for surgery.
A neurosurgeon replaced damaged vertebrae in the back of my neck with glass-vertebrae, using pins and screws to keep them in place. The next morning a plate was inserted to repair the front of my neck. The pain was excruciating because of spinal cord damage. Since I could not feed myself, my two sisters from out-of-state took turns feeding and caring for me.
After surgery, I began learning how to feed myself with a spoon using handicap manipulators. It was a slow process, with much of the food going on my hospital gown. But I kept at it.
After several days, I was transported to a skilled nursing facility. Being unable to walk, I was put in a pouch and a machine picked me up and placed me in a wheelchair. I felt like the baby in a pouch that the stork delivers!
Physical therapists started teaching me to walk and occupational therapists began a big push to regain movement in my arms and hands. I received electrical stimulation for muscle rejuvenation and excruciating pain.
After a month, I was sent home and my sister, a retired RN, stayed with me for 5½ weeks and took care of me 24/7. I had PT, OT and wound care twice a week as well as many doctors’ appointments.
The schedule was exhausting and I went to bed early every night, but was so relieved to be home! Under the constant care of my sister, I progressed quickly. Once she left, I had private nurse care and also wound care and physical and occupational therapy.
About a year into recovery, I hit a brick wall -- feeling I could not go on. Depression set in because I was healed 80 percent, not 100. Would I have to live like this the rest of my life? Whine, whine – you get the picture. When I could finally pray about it, the Lord showed me that I was doing no good to anyone. How could I be of use to Him when I was only looking at myself? My depression was about me, not God, and was very self-centered. As soon as I realized this, the depression lifted! It was gone!
Over the last 1½ years, I have experienced a multitude of miracles! For every inch, every ounce of recovery -- I give credit to God! He did not have to heal me to this point where I am functional, but He did! Even though I still have pain, He has restored 80 percent of the use of my arms and hands. So what if I cannot open things with my fingers? Scissors work just fine! Sometimes I think God left me with pain and some disability as a reminder to keep the focus on Him, not me. I can walk unaided, drive and live a mostly normal life. Sweating the small stuff is not worth it. I treasure my life with my two daughters and three grandchildren!
Early on while in ICU, I had a life-changing experience. One evening late, I woke suddenly. It was quiet with only a night light on. I felt very peaceful. While talking to God, I asked him, “Why did You not take me home?” No answer came. I thought for a few moments and then said, “I know You have me here for a reason. How can I serve You?” His answer was immediate: “Spread My Word.”
I am blessed to know my purpose in this life. How do I spread His Word? At first I panicked, then realized two things: The Lord will show me the way and He equips those He calls. My calling is to consecrate myself to Him daily, always put Him first, follow when He calls, and stay in the Word.
The wreck is not about me – it is all about Him! It is about His incomprehensible, unstoppable, never-ending love, mercy, grace and miracles! I am happy and take true joy in my life because He incredibly answers prayer!
Praise the Lord, all my soul, and forget not all his benefits …
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you
with love and compassion.
Psalm 103:2, 4