Surprise! There it was. Out of the blue, my stopped car was slammed into by a Brinks Armored Truck!
SLAM! BAM! CRASH! From out of nowhere, the extremely heavy, fast moving truck came directly at me. It rear ended my car so hard that my head was thrown forward with enormous force. Thankfully, the seatbelt caught my body and stopped me from flying through the windshield. Suddenly my chest was filled with excruciating pain. That's when I blacked out and went into shock.
Police arriving at the scene called an ambulance which transported me to the nearest hospital. Once there, I was x-rayed and released. I was casually told to go home because "there is nothing wrong with you."
So, home I went, beaten up and bruised all over. I literally felt like I "had been run over by a four-ton truck." Two weeks later I woke up in the middle of the night to the most terrible pain I had ever felt in my life! The pain was constant and brutally piercing. And I instinctively knew that I was very seriously hurt.
I KNEW I needed immediate help. (It's funny how we KNOW without any expert telling us when we are in danger. We just KNOW.) And that was the situation I was in. I was in danger.
It was only a few hours until morning when I could call a doctor for help. But who? Who was the right doctor for me? I didn't know where to turn or what to do. I didn't trust the local hospital that had released me so casually. I was a single woman with no family and few friends. Now here I was in the middle of the night alone, hurt and in trouble.
Let's face it. Where do you turn when you realize that you could die without immediate help? Scared and feeling helpless, I cried out in the darkness, "God, help me! I need you!" And with that cry for help, I added, "Please tell me the name of a doctor who can help me. I need this name at 8:00 am so that I can call early for an appointment because I need to be seen immediately!"
I understand now what an "impossible request" I had made. After all, Houston is a city of five million people. Prominent, well-respected doctors had waiting lists for months. But I couldn't wait that long. My life depended on being seen immediately...and I knew it.
At 8:00 am, I called three different people. I asked each one if they knew of a good neurosurgeon. Each person gave me several names to choose from. Much to my surprise, in each list of referrals, the same name appeared. All three people gave me the name of Dr. David Baskin. But along with the recommendation, each person added, "You'll never get in to see him. People fly in from all over the world to see him. He has a waiting list a mile long."
With nothing to lose, I called his office and I explained the terrifying wreck and the unbearable pain I was in. Then I paused, held my breath, and asked, "Would it be possible to be seen right away?"
Without hesitation, the woman's voice on the end of the line replied, "Yes. Go get an MRI and I will arrange for Dr. Baskin to see your pictures right away." She called me soon after I had the test done and said, "Dr. Baskin has reviewed your MRI and wants to see you as soon as you can get to the office."
Sitting across the desk from him, I noticed that this doctor had a glow about him. Here was man who had seen it all and felt it all. But, instead of becoming cynical and hardened to sometimes harsh realities, this man still believed in compassion, empathy, and hope.
I looked into his kind, twinkling eyes and knew God had sent me to the right person. I felt safe.
Then Dr. Baskin began to explain that I needed to "call in my family" before he completely explained the injury because "it was very serious".
Speaking softly, I told him that there was nobody to call, that I was alone and I would go through this ordeal alone. (That's kind of an embarrassing thing to admit. But what else do you say? It was the truth.)
Dr. Baskin didn't know what to say for a moment. So, we just sat there and stared at one another. You know what I mean. There was "the silent, eternal pause."
Then he sighed and said, "OK. Well, here's what you're up against." And he put the image of my cervical spine up on a lighted wall. "This is you," he said. "This is your skull and this is your neck. Look at this section of the cervical spine. The C-5 disc is pressing on your spinal cord. Immediate surgery is required. It is serious surgery."
Looking at the skeleton on the wall was like being in the "Twilight Zone." It was hard to believe that I was looking at me! It seemed like I was looking at some unidentified body in a science book. This skeleton on the wall couldn't be me!
There it was...the serious injury. I could see a large disc pressing on the spinal cord...my spinal cord. Believe me, it was a scary sight to see! As you may have guessed already, the moment was surreal. I felt dazed with the reality of the situation.
I fought the fear starting to overcome me. The room swayed for a moment. This was real.
And it was then and there that I set my intent on recovery. I decided to remain focused on the outcome, instead of the dangerous trial that lay before me. I know this sounds strange, but when I looked at the frightening MRI image, my trust in God was restored.
You see, all of a sudden, God didn't have to prove anything to me anymore because God had just "proved it." I instinctively knew that God had sent me to this specific doctor. And I KNEW I would not go through this operation alone. I KNEW I would be completely restored to excellent health...no matter what.
Miracle in the O.R.
When Dr. Baskin cut into my neck during surgery at Methodist Hospital, he was absolutely stunned at what he saw. The C5-cervical disc was not just pressing against the spinal cord; it was JAMMED up against it! What he discovered was "more than serious". It was lethal!
The delicate, microscopic surgery to remove the offending disc took over five hours. My cervical column was "fused" with the bone of a cadaver. Then, a stainless steel plate with four screws was implanted into the cervical spine to help support my neck. Finally, it was over.
Waking up, I lay on the gurney, slowly opening my eyes. I could see the bright overhead ceiling lights shining above me. The light seemed so harsh and bright. Then I saw Dr. Baskin standing there quietly. He was waiting for me wake up. He stood there alone in a blood covered operating gown. And I realized that the blood soaking his clothes was mine.
The quiet man came closer and just stood there, looking down at me. He appeared tired and worn out, like he had been through a major ordeal. Then Dr. Baskin smiled slightly and began to shake his head slowly back and forth.
He spoke softly, as if in awe, "Nancy, it was worse than we thought. We don't know why you are still alive. We don't understand WHY at all. Nancy, you should be dead or at least a quadriplegic. We don't know why you were spared. We don't understand.
Then he quietly turned and walked slowly back down the hall. This case was one for the books. It was a rare and unusual medical outcome to such a serious injury. Dr. Baskin had witnessed a miracle.
Lying there, in the hallway alone, I began to smile inwardly. Quietly, I thought to myself, "No, my learned and kind Doctor, with all your studies and great medical knowledge, you don't understand why I am alive. But I do."
No. They don't understand, even to this day, why I can walk or use my arms and hands. They say I should be dead or paralyzed for the rest of my life. They are all amazed that I am well, in excellent health and completely pain free.
At each check up during recovery, I was asked, "Are you sure that your back doesn't hurt? You have three discs in your lower back that were also badly damaged. Are you sure you don't have any pain there?" And happily, I answered, "Nothing, not a flicker of pain... anywhere."
That's right. The best doctors in the world said I should be dead. But I am not. People ask, "Why? How did you do it? What is your secret? What gave you the power to overcome death? Why you?"
I can't blame these people. It seems impossible. After all, who was I to escape death? Why didn't I die? I was only a "nobody." There wasn't anything special about me. I was just one of many poor and ordinary women in the world.
You see, before the accident, I had nothing and I felt like nothing. And like so many other people, I had seen the hard side of life. You know what I'm talking about...the really hard things...the bad things you don't want to hear about, much less go through yourself. That was my life.
That's right. I lived and experienced things like family alcoholism, gambling addictions, poverty, attempted suicides, severe childhood abuse, then spousal abuse, infertility, bi-polar disorder, divorce, bankruptcy, depression and simultaneous family deaths. I had felt the hurt of infidelity, loneliness, fear and lack of faith.
And I have to admit, loneliness was the hardest of all to endure. It was almost unbearable. I spent so many hours going to the movies alone, or going to bed early, just to escape loneliness. (And yes. I wanted to escape my thoughts too.)
Imagine. I would go to bed and lay there awake in the dark, listening to others outside my window. I lay there in that big bed by myself, and heard others laughing in the cool evening night, enjoying life. Many a night, with tears running down my cheeks, I tried to force myself to go to sleep when I wasn't sleepy.
That kind of loneliness you don't forget. And it's funny how "quiet" silence can be. Silence can be deafening.
I think the loneliness and wanting to be "perfect" in everything I did, eventually made me ill. I developed fibromyalgia. You see, I was an overachiever, but I felt I didn't deserve a better life. I felt unworthy of happiness. A fabulous life seemed to be for everyone but me. And wouldn't you know it, when the armored truck struck me, I was at the lowest point in my life. I felt like I couldn't take it anymore.
Have you ever felt like that? Like you can't take it anymore? I did. And that feeling hurts. It hurts badly.
You see, when the truck hit, I was scared, broke, out of work, depressed and a single mother who couldn't count on child support. I was tired of struggling. Life was just too hard. Every time I tried, I got knocked down again. I just couldn't seem to do anything right until that morning, when the Brinks armored truck crashed into my life. It was "a truck straight from hell" that taught me how to reconnect with heaven.
Today, thank God, I no longer suffer from depression or loneliness. I have no residual pain from the car crash. I am completely healed. In fact, since the night when I called out to God, there has been a physical and emotional healing of my entire life.
I am happy, healthy, and living the life of my dreams.
Today, my focus is different. I expect to have what I desire. And I believe in possibilities and hope now. I've discovered what's really important in life. And finally, I realize that I AM WORTHY and deserve good things to happen to me too. I've learned to believe in myself and the power of "The Invisible." But, best of all, I feel truly loved.
I wanted to share what I have learned with you. (God wanted me to share it too.) So, here it is.
God wants you to know that you have a force within you, a force that is so powerful, that you can accomplish just about anything you set your mind to do...even defy death!
And I am "living proof." I am alive today because my Soul cried out in the middle of the night..."God help me!" And you know what? I was heard.
So, my friend, don't ever think God doesn't hear you, or that there are no Angels on Earth. I had one save my life in Houston, Texas in the fall of 1997, at the Methodist Hospital on Fannin Street. That was the day I discovered my Soul.