One morning in November of 2008, I suddenly felt as though I could not breathe due to lack of oxygen. I thought I was having a heart attack. My wife phoned 911, the paramedics came, gave me a shot of something to relax me and then got me into the ambulance. As the vehicle rolled over bumps, I lost consciousness.
When I arrived at the hospital, the doctor on duty happened to be one of the top vascular surgeons in British Columbia. The surgical team operated on my aorta for fourteen hours. When I was wheeled from the operating room, my wife Janet was told I had only a five-percent chance of survival.
For the next few days Janet was very distressed. She was a Christian and member of another faith. I had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints five years earlier in November 2003. Reaching out, my wife called a member of my ward whom she had come to know and explained what had happened. She was impressed by the outpouring of prayers and helpful support.
Several days later, I was still in a morphine induced coma because I was not supposed to move after the delicate surgery. About the tenth day, the doctors started bringing me out of the coma. My likelihood of survival was moved up to fifty-percent.
As I woke, I saw my wife sitting there. It was amazing and one of the most profound experiences of my life. When I had gone into the ambulance, I knew that I was dying and had not said goodbye to my wife. When I awoke and saw her, she and I both began weeping. I am not an overly emotional person, but I felt overwhelmed that she was there.
By the first week of December, I was fairly conscious. I developed a sore on the back of the calf on my right leg and it developed into gangrene within just a few hours. A week later, my doctor told me that he was going to have to amputate my leg. A feeling of horror gripped me because of the morphine. I couldn’t comprehend it. It was horrific.
Later that same morning, two men from my ward gave me another priesthood blessing. I then felt a sensation of relaxation and peace. Suddenly, I realized that I was going to come through this amputation and would be fine. I submitted my mind to the power of the priesthood blessing and with hundred percent of my faith, an overwhelming feeling flowed over me that through my submission and belief, all would be well.
From the time I entered the hospital, I had not been able to engage in a coherent conversation with anyone. After the priesthood blessing, I awoke and talked with these men for 10 to 15 minutes. One was so impressed that he phoned my wife and told her everything was going to be fine. He truly believed the outcome of this was going to be great.
Lots of prayers were also given in my behalf elsewhere. My mother in England asked that her church and several other churches in England would pray for me. There were churches of other faiths in Canada praying for me in addition to my own church members.
When I was released, my doctor arranged rehabilitation for me. I was told that people of my age rarely get out of a wheelchair, let alone walk after an amputation. I went through rehabilitation and muscle building therapy for a couple of months. By the end of May, I was fitted for a prosthesis. I was walking within a month and in two more weeks, I was walking without a cane.
I had never understood how trials make us stronger, but now I truly believe this to be the case. Placing oneself in God’s hands through the prayerful acts of others can bring us closer to Heavenly Father.
Another great blessing from God followed these experiences. The support from Church members and the power of prayer that my wife had witnessed influenced her decision to be baptized on May 24, 2009.