My miracle patient.
Mrs. B. gripped my hand and gazed into my eyes. "I just want to live long enough to see my daughter graduate from high school. Is that too much to ask?" My eyes pooled with tears. As a parent myself, I understood her anguish. But Mrs. B's leukemia had defied every chemotherapy and there was no bone marrow match. Things looked hopeless, especially since her daughter was still only a sophomore in high school. But Mrs. B had unwavering faith. She, along with her family, church, friends, and doctors prayed for a miracle. Her one and only prayer? "Just let me see my daughter graduate."
Things only worsened. Her platelet count plummeted to zero and her body destroyed any platelets transfused within hours. Nose bleeds and chronic sinus infections plagued her. One night, she hemorrhaged into her lungs and brain and was rushed to the ER. She fell into a coma and required a ventilator. Things looked so hopeless the hematologist called in her family to say their goodbyes. "She won't survive the night," he told them.
Later that night, I came by her room. I reviewed her medical record and shook my head. There was nothing more I could do. I offered up a heartfelt prayer. "God, I pray for a miracle. She just wants to see her daughter finish high school. If it is your will, please grant her that." I exited her room suspecting this was the last time I'd ever see her this side of heaven. My eyes pooled as I'd grown fond of Mrs. B. and her family.
Amazingly, she did survive the night and over the next few days, with no treatment whatsoever, her platelet count rose, her breathing improved, and she woke up from her coma. Soon, she was off the ventilator and breathing without oxygen.
Since she knew her oncologist and I prayed for her, she shared her near death experience with us: Jesus appeared to her in a transluscent white robe while she lay comatose. He told her He had heard her prayer and she would live to see her daughter graduate from high school.
Sure enough, she lived three more years with no serious infections or bleeds. Unfortunately, once her daughter started college, the leukemia returned with a vengence and she died shortly after receiving a bone marrow transplant.
Why didn't God heal her for good? I have no idea but I suspect it's because we had only prayed that she live long enough to see her youngest graduate. Take home message? Be careful what you pray for.