By Deaconess Tonya Brown September 28, 2019 is a day I will never forget. It was a Saturday morning, the only day of the week that Chris, my husband sleeps in. I had plans to meet some ladies at 6am in Murfreesboro to work out, but I overslept. I remember calling my friend and explained how I overslept and would not be able to join the workout group. I decided, I would just lie with Chris another hour and not disturb him and later go to the Walk for Type 2 Diabetes to support ‘family’. I quietly dressed and was getting ready to leave. However, when I went to my car, I couldn’t leave because Chris’ truck blocked me in. Due to the business van in the driveway as well, there was no way of getting around his truck. The fact that I never learned to drive a stick shift, I had to wake Chris to move his truck.
As I woke Chris and asked him to back up his truck, he said ok and sat up in the bed. As I go into the kitchen and return, Chris is laying back in bed. I asked him again and he said ok, got out the bed and attempted to dress to go outside. I noticed something strange about him getting dressed… he was using his left hand (which he never does) and his right arm was limp to his side. He also seemed a little unbalanced. I asked him, what was going on with him and he said “nothing, I’m good”. I lifted his right arm and it just dropped with no movement. My mind went immediately to stroke but I didn’t want to believe that is what it was. I tell Chris “something is not right, look at me and smile”. He didn’t smile, but he looked like his normal self. I gave him a bottle of water and asked him to drink it (to see if he would drool). He drank the whole bottle without wasting one drop of it. I held up 2 fingers and asked him how many did he see…he said two. I held up 3 fingers and asked him how many he saw, he said 4… I pick up the phone to call 911 and Chris says, “There is nothing wrong with me, I’m alright” takes the phone and says “you’re over reacting”. I indicated if you are alright, then move your right arm. He lifts it with his left hand and says, “See, like I said, I’m ok”. Knowing he needs to get to the hospital, I indicate, if you are ok, then go move your truck (knowing he couldn’t). He gets to the truck and cannot lift his arm to put the key in the ignition. I ask him, are you ready to go to the hospital, he indicated “yes”. I ran to the neighbor’s house to see if anyone there could drive a stick shift after explaining the situation. Diana answered the door and indicated she could. She runs over and moves the truck and I drive Chris to Vanderbilt (considering the time that has gone by it would have been taken more time for an ambulance to arrive).
Arriving at the emergency room, an attendant asked if we needed a wheelchair. Trying to stay calm I indicated I believed my husband had a stroke. The attendant immediately ran into the hospital bringing back medics with a bed to roll Chris in quickly. Medics immediately take Chris back and begin the routine questions such as timing, medications, allergies, activities and anything that would help with the type of treatment needed. All this time Chris is still somewhat talking. He never slurred any words nor had the ‘look of a stroke victim’. Once we get to the hospital, I start hearing his words begin to be scrambled. He is immediately given a room and soon after leaves to have a MRI done and other test. Amazingly, all his vitals were fine… results from his MRI confirmed he had a stroke which showed two spots on his brain which affected his speech. However, no blood clots were found. Chris was admitted in the Critical Care Unit. After 3 days in the Critical Care Unit, Chris was immediately discharged to go to an in-patient rehabilitation hospital. No one but God could allow a person to go from CCU and go directly to rehab. Chris went through eight days in rehab before being discharged to go home. A week later, he started out-patient therapy at a different facility within Vanderbilt. Now the in-patient therapy hospital had a waiting list… but God, Chris’ doctor called the office and they were able to schedule him the following week. As you can imagine, my emotions were on a roller coaster ride from the moment God allowed me to wake him that morning.
I share our testimony in detail so you can imagine what we went through in the physical. Now let me share the spiritual side. God is and always will be our provider. He still performs miracles this day and time. What may seem like a disaster can be a blessing in disguise. It wasn’t by accident that I overslept that morning, nor that I was blocked in by his truck whereas I had to wake him. Once I realized that something was not right about my husband, I went into prayer as I was trying to convince him to go to the hospital. It was not a long formal prayer, just simply “I need you Lord, please have MERCY”. As we arrive to the hospital and they assigned Chris to a room, I immediately called family and texted my prayer warriors. Chris had a stroke in his sleep. Someone who works out and overall in good health…had a stroke. How can that happen? God put on my heart and I finally understood, this did not happen for us, but for someone else. God will never leave you alone. Not only was He there in the spirit, but He sent the right people there by my side in the physical who were there to comfort and support me. After Chris was assigned a room, God gave me extraordinary strength and peace. That night (Sept 28th) I prayed over my husband and touched him from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet believing God heard my prayer and would provide restoration. I knew all was going to be alright even when the doctors were still testing trying to determine what caused the stroke. I heard in my spirit “Do you trust Me?” I was lying on the cot and answered aloud, “Yes, I trust You!”. As I said that, Chris looked around to see who I was talking to. I looked at him and said, “Everything is fine, I love you now get some rest”. I was at peace. (When you know, what you know what you know…God Is!)
Only by God’s GRACE, the situation was not as it could have been. Instead of asking the Lord ‘why’ this happened, I asked, “how can You use me in this situation”? I knew I had to share this testimony. The next day, I began to see more of God’s FAVOR manifest and overflow of blessings on our behalf…
• Sunday, I emailed my job to let them know I would not be at work due to the situation and I wasn’t sure when I would return. Monday, the Chair of the department contacted the CFO. I later get a call from the CFO indicating, they do not want me to use any of my PTO nor go on leave. They made an ‘unheard of’ exception for me to work from home for two months as if I was at work (and would extend it if needed) because they trust me. They provided me with everything I needed to work from home but said “get online to work when you can, your priority is to focus and care for your husband and help him get better”. My department also had dinner delivered to our home 3 days a week over 4 weeks because they ‘wanted to help simplify my life as I care for Chris’. • I called our business contacts to let them know what happened. Two other independent owners worked our route for two weeks with no charge as well as doing their own routes. Even the Area Mgr. stepped in and ran our route without charging us. • Very close friends (considered family) were there continuously praying, bringing things such as baskets of snacks, dinners so we didn’t have to eat hospital food, kept Chris company when I tried to rest, brought books, cards, flowers, comfortable neck pillows, etc. • While I am still at the hospital with Chris, our biological family comes both from Georgia and Memphis, doing things at the house, caring for Zora (our German Shepard) as well as other things. Prior to them arriving, our neighbors took care of Zora as well as our nephew. • In-patient therapy (Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital) for 8 days. When we arrived to Rehab and Chris room was assigned, he had a roommate. I knew the amount of visitors we would have and requested a single room. There were none available; however, the Lord worked it out whereas they gave us a double room and blocked it so no one would be assigned to it. Won’t HE do it! • As I mentioned previously, the out-patient Speech Therapy Clinic had a waitlist. Chris was put on the top of the list and was able to begin his therapy a week after being discharged from in-patient therapy. • Deacon’s Ministry showed up and showed out! Prayers and blessings on top of blessings • Neighbors smoking brisket, baking cakes, offering to do the lawn when needed, coming by just to check on us • Many blessings through phone calls, cards, visits, meals, and people time
All I can say is THANK YOU GOD for WHO YOU ARE! Thank you for your Mercy, Grace and Favor! Thank you for all You’ve done, all You’re doing and all You will do! To God be ALL the GLORY!