I have never felt as alive...
Here follows just a very small, but very important piece of my life story which I want to share with you for reasons you will soon understand:
I was sixteen years old and the first sixteen years of my life were wonderful. I had the world at my feet. I was in Grade 10 and things could not have been better. I excelled in sport and played 1st team cricket and also 1st team rugby! I also enjoyed jogging and playing tennis. Academically I was doing just as well and had received a certificate for academic achievement of 75% and higher every year since I started school. I was chosen as prefect and had lots of "friends". I was very handsome and as far as girlfriends went I had a steady relationship with the girl next door to us. But to be honest I was never deterred by the fact that I was in a steady relationship and often that meant that I had two girlfriends at the same time. To me success was measured only by how well I was doing in sport and how many friends/girlfriends I had!I was living a charmed life, what could possibly go wrong…?
But then on the 30th of September 1988 I was on my way on holiday with my best friend, his parents and his younger brother. We had our spring season celebrations at school that day and afterwards I just quickly went home to get my luggage and went straight to their house to help with loading the caravan and then it was time to hit the road. We were full of excitement and anticipation when we left; looking forward to the great time we were going to have! But more or less 4km before a town called "Bronkhorstspruit" we were involved in a very serious car accident...
A drunk driver who had been chased by Police, crossed over to the wrong side of the highway in an attempt to get away from them and landed right in front of us! The impact was enormous, because at the moment of impact it was estimated by the police that he was traveling at 180km/h or more and besides him hitting us from the front we also had a very heavy loaded caravan at the back!
My friend’s parents died instantly upon impact. He broke his leg and his brother broke his arm. I sustained serious injuries because I was sleeping at the time of impact and therefore could not guard myself. How serious my injuries were would only become evident upon my arrival at hospital...
The matron on duty at the hospital’s Casualty Unit was a friend of ours mother and when she saw us she phoned my parents immediately! My parents, sisters and of course my girlfriend jumped in the car and when they arrived at hospital only my dad was allowed to see me. He was only able to recognize me by the clothes I was wearing because both my eyes were out of my eye-sockets and lying on my cheeks and my head was swollen as big as the pillow I was lying on. When he got back to where my mother and the rest were waiting, doctors came and explained to them that my whole face had been shattered into small pieces (only the back of my scull was intact) and I had a crack at the bottom of my scull. Furthermore I had fractured my ankle, had three cracked vertebrae in my back and lost all but seven of my teeth (the rest were pulled out along with the braces I had been wearing since 1984). They went on to say that they were going to operate on me now because it was their duty, but that they didn't have any hope what so ever that I was going to survive the emergency operation. My mother didn't want to accept this and pulled the one doctor aside and insisted that he gave her an indication of how big a percentage change I had of surviving the operation. He said: "Mam, if I had to I would give him no more than half a percent chance of surviving!"
I was taken into the operating room at 21H00 that evening and the next morning at 05H50 they pushed me out of the operating room, ALIVE!!!!!
The doctors came to speak to my parents and said that it was all well and fine that I survived the operation but that they should understand that I was going to be completely blind, I would never be able to walk again and had serious brain damage. According to the neurologist I would have the mental capacity of a three year old child...
After the operation I was moved to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. On the 3rd of October 1988, my parents were waiting outside the Intensive Care Unit whilst the ophthalmic surgeon and the neurologist were inside with me. The ophthalmic surgeon came out and explained to my parents that the optic nerve of my left eye was torn off and the right eye had bleeding behind it. He said that they might be able to save the right eye.
When the neurologist came out, he kept stopping and looking back at the door several times. When he got to where my parents were waiting they asked what was wrong and he said: "A miracle has just happened in there, your son has absolutely no signs of brain damage!" He expressed his concern with the crack at the bottom of my scull, because air inside the scull could cause Meningitis, but said that they would monitor the situation.
On the 4th of October 1988 I was starting to show signs of life and was able to breathe on my own without machines. I was also squeezing people’s hands when asked to do so, although I wasn't aware of my surroundings. On the 6th of October 1988 I apparently tried to get out of bed and in the process pulled off all the wires and stuff connected to me, including the "heilo frame" around my head. The heilo frame was attached to my head by screws that were screwed into four holes drilled into my scull and also attached to my upper jaw to keep everything intact. Doctors had to re-attach the frame in an operation afterwards and I was kept under sedation to stop this from happening again.
On the 10th of October 1988 my mother, sisters and my girlfriend went to visit my mother's niece to get away from ringing telephones and to relax a bit. That afternoon when they got to the hospital they were very surprised to see me sitting upright on a chair! When my mother entered into the room I showed her I want to write and wrote on a little black board in my usual handwriting "I want to sleep, I'm in pain!” Apparently I was very upset to be sitting there but the nurses put me there because they felt I was sleeping too much...
Early on the morning of the 11th of October 1988 I was moved out of the Intensive Care Unit to Ward 13. This ward was for people who underwent eye operation or had eye illnesses and therefore the curtains were kept drawn and it was very dark in the room. The only light in the room came from the faintest of lights on the skirting board all around the room.
Later that day I awoke and for the first time since the accident I was aware of my surroundings. As I was looking around the dark room trying to make out were I was I saw the brightest light I have ever seen in a corner of the room shining from the ceiling of the room to about three quarters of a way down were I could see only feet in sandals beneath the light... And God spoke to me and said: "I have saved your live so that you may be a living testimony of My Mercy and Grace!"
What a blessing! Now my friend it is important to note that although I did not serve or know God in my life thus far, He still showed me his favor and saved my life! And not because He had to, but by the Grace of The Most High God!!!!!
Later that day my parents and some teachers and a whole bunch of the girls from my class at school came to visit as I came to terms with what happened earlier that day and what it meant. The one girl in specific talked so much and asked so many questions that I was completely exhausted when they left and just went to sleep.
The following day I was completely awake and I could take stock of how I was feeling and what I was experiencing. My jaws were wired shut and I could only be fed intravenously. The doctor came to see me and explained that I would NEVER be able to smell or taste again because a nerve was irreversibly damaged during the emergency operation. I was completely blind in my left eye and I had no feeling whatsoever on the left hand side of my face. I also had a Trachea pipe in my neck which I had to put my finger on every time I wanted to talk. But I was alive and very happy to be...
Now remember my friend I was only sixteen and still a child and I was struggling to make sense of everything. Yes, God did appear to me and told me what I was going to do for him but there were so many questions going through my mind like how and where and what did this mean for my future? I can honestly say that unfortunately I didn't focus on what I was going to be doing for God but I was thinking about other stuff like would I still be able to compete in sport and all the other things I enjoyed so much.
But luckily I didn't have to much time wonder because for the first few days I had visitors right trough the day which made me happy.
After a while thought the visitors became less and less and it left me with only my roommate in the room to talk to. He had tried to commit suicide and shot his whole lower jaw into pieces and doctors had reconstructed him a lower jaw as best they could from hip bones. His jaws had been also been wired shut and although it was difficult we talked allot. His wife came around very often and she was really nice. She usually brought some sweets or if she didn't she would always start a conversation with me or al least have a friendly word. I don't know where they are now but I will never forget them!
On Friday the 14th of October the Maxilla surgeon who performed most of the emergency operation the night I was brought into hospital visited me. When he walked in the room I was busy building a puzzle that my mother had given me. As we spoke he took a puzzle piece and slammed into a space with his fist where it didn't fit. I asked what he was doing and his words to me were: "That's what I had to do with your face too my boy! I had all these pieces of bone and it was like building a puzzle. Unfortunately I had to make some pieces fit by force!"
I was starting to feel very lonely and wanted to go home! The next day I had couple of visitors in the afternoon and when they left I went to sleep. I woke up at around 21H30 and called the nurse to phone my mom and ask her to come visit me because I missed them. The gift from God that my mother is got in her car without hesitation and came to sit by me until I fell asleep, which was around midnight. On the 17th of October my dad sat with me the whole morning. Later in the afternoon my friend and his brother whom I was involved in the accident with and their aunt came to visit for the first time...
During their visit it was the first time that I found out that their parents had died and I was devastated to say the least! The worst of it all was that because I didn't know when they first arrived, I kept asking my friend "what car is your dad going to get now?” I must have asked him at least five times before they told me sad news! Doctors had advised my parents not to tell me earlier because they were afraid it might cause a setback and endanger my life. I spent the rest of the afternoon crying in my pillow!
The next day my mother took a days leave at school and came to spend the whole day with me, so that I didn't have to be alone. Late in the morning the doctors came to see me and told us if every thing goes well I would be at home before the weekend!
And so on Friday the 21st of October 1988 I was discharged from hospital!
And here is what you shouldn't overlook my friend, I was pushed into that hospital on a trolley inches away from death but by the Grace of the Most High God and by His Grace only I walked out of that hospital on my own two legs, ALIVE!
Since then I have testified at churches and many other places numerous times and honestly my friend I have never felt as alive as when I was testifying about almost dying!
May this be an inspiration to you to look at your own relationship with God, and if you haven’t given your life to Christ yet, please do so TODAY because tomorrow might be too late! Be Blessed!!!!!