Arnold Poppens, North Naples
June 24, 2015
This Week’s Storyteller is…
Arnold Poppens, North Naples
In early 2010 my wife Julie had open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve and to repair an aneurysm on the ascending aorta. The surgery on the ascending aorta is a very serious and complicated surgery that is only performed by the most skilled cardiac surgeons.
After the surgery, while she was in recovery, the bleeding would not stop. The surgeon placed her back in the OR and placed her on the heart-lung machine for the second time and re-opened the incision. They did not find any reason for the bleeding so she was closed up and returned to the recovery area. She continued to bleed heavily for about three days to the extent that she lost more blood than was in her body. The bleeding gradually stopped. We now know that her blood was allergic to Heparin, a blood thinner that is commonly used in surgery. The Heparin did not leave her system until it bled away and the blood that clotted was the blood the she was given as replacement for the lost blood.
This trauma caused the organs to shut down and she was placed on dialysis, in addition to an external heart pump, a breathing tube down the throat, and an external pacemaker. Over the next three weeks she was gradually removed from the external devices except for the dialysis. The organs except for the kidneys returned to normal operation, except there was minor damage to the brain.
By then she was so weak that she could not even raise her arm to her mouth to feed herself or to brush her teeth. She was then taken to a local nursing home for rehabilitation to gain her strength back and to continue the dialysis. After about 2 ½ months she was able to get around in a wheelchair but could not walk. We took her to dialysis treatment three times a week--on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. We were told that the kidneys could return to normal gradually over a period of months, but there were no guarantees that a return to normal would occur. Believe me, we, and all our friends and relatives, were doing a lot of praying for her return to health and to be able to leave the nursing facility and return to our home.
On this particular Saturday in March at about 11:30 a.m., while we were waiting at the front door of the nursing facility, for wheelchair transportation to the dialysis center, a woman walked in and approached us asking what we were doing.
We responded that we were waiting for transportation to the dialysis center.
She then asked, “Would you mind if we had a word of prayer together?” We responded that would be fine and so the three of us held hands and she prayed quite a long prayer, praising God and asking for healing. Shortly thereafter, the wheelchair transporter arrived and took her to the dialysis center. She was scheduled to start dialysis at 12:00 p.m. and things were pretty much on schedule. After she was connected to the dialysis machine I went home to work on my taxes as dialysis could take 5 hours and it is very boring to just sit there.
After three hours, I returned to the dialysis center to keep her company as I was tired of working on the taxes. I found her sitting in the lobby in her wheelchair instead of being connected to the dialysis machine. I asked her “What is going on?”
After I had left, the nephrologist, (kidney doctor) arrived to check on Julie. The nephrologist asked for the blood test results that were taken before the dialysis started. The doctor studied the results of the test and proceeded directly to the operator of the dialysis center and told them to disconnect the machine as Julie’s kidneys were normal and she was healed and did not need any more dialysis. The blood test was taken approximately ½ hour after we prayed with the woman praising God and asking for healing. The nephrologist continued to check her for the next eight months and the kidney functions continue normal even to this day. The doctors explained that kidney function would gradually improve over a period of months, or Heaven forbid, not at all.
The personnel at the nursing home had only seen this “angel” once before the time she came in to see us and have not seen her since.
When Julie finally regained her strength, she was able to walk out of the nursing home and back to a nearly normal life. We asked God “What do you want us to do now?” since we are retired and not going to work every day. God’s answer was that we should tell this story to others to find more believers for the Kingdom of God.
I have told this story to friends, relatives, and partners on the golf course. Now I am telling it in a medium that will reach even more people through the Southwest District of the UMC. Praise God!!!
Up Next Week…
Rev. Esther Rodriguez
The pastor shares her story about the many people who mentored her through different seasons for different reasons and for different lengths of time, and the importance of those who helped her clarify her call and ministry.