My 94 year-old mom loves cardinals. She believes they are God’s way of letting her know everything will be alright when she sees a male cardinal. Beth and I adopted that belief many years ago. And lo’ and behold, a male cardinal shows up at the bird feeder just outside our kitchen window during our darkest moments.
Beth was admitted to our local hospital on Sunday, September 27, 2015. Her fever came back at dinner time so my daughters and I took her to the Emergency Room. I was scheduled to be on the air at QVC for the 9pm and 11pm hours. Fortunately, the hospital is five minutes away from QVC Studio Park. I stayed at the hospital as long as I could. I remember as I was driving to the Q that I was becoming very concerned about the way things were going with Beth’s health.
When I returned to the hospital around 12:15a.m., Beth was just getting settled into her room. We noticed a bright red rash was becoming prominent on her legs. As always, Beth remained in good spirits and told me to go home and get some rest. She always thought about everybody else. We wondered whether the rash was a reaction to an anti-biotic she was given in the Emergency Room a couple nights earlier.
Kirstyn, Kelsey and I were with her most of the next day. I spent ten precious hours in her room until I had to leave for work around 8pm that night. The next morning we noticed Beth said some strange things and she seemed to be confused. That confusion worsened as the week went on. At one point, Kirstyn (who is an amazing nurse and guided us through the medical world for three years) was worried her mom may have suffered a stroke. Our doctor, Dr. O., who was our primary care physician at this hospital did not believe that was the case. The minute I met Dr. O. I knew he was a very special man. He was always so upbeat and encouraging. His faith and positivity just lit up the room. The first day I met him he asked how I was doing. I said, “Well I have been doing a lot of talking to the Great Physician about our patient.” He grinned from ear to ear and he said, “Well, that is who I talk to in order to gain wisdom to treat all of my patients.” I knew God had worked it out for us to have Dr. O. as our primary doctor there.
One day Kirstyn told me I needed to get out of the hospital and take a break for an hour or two. I tried to be a warrior in front of my family and never would I break down emotionally in Beth’s room. However, I was growing weary and the pressure was starting to build up, so I took her advice and went out for a little fresh air. The second I stepped onto the elevator, I couldn’t hold in my emotions any longer and I broke down and started to weep. When the elevator doors opened on the first floor I saw Dr. O. walking toward me. He said, “What is the matter Mr. Wheeler?” I told him I was a bit overwhelmed by what was happening to Beth. He said, “But Mr. Wheeler you know Jesus and you also know that He has Beth in His hands.” I thanked him and said I needed that reminder. He then said something amazing: “Let me tell you something. I finished eating my lunch in the cafeteria and was hurrying back up to the second floor to see my patients. When I got to this very elevator something told me to turn around and walk back to the cafeteria. When I got there I had no idea why I walked back in and so, I turned around and started walking back toward the elevator. When I saw you step off, I knew exactly why God delayed me. He made sure I was here at just the right time to help you.” (miracle #10)
God knows what we need during our most difficult times. Dr. O. gave me a big hug and told me he was praying for me. How many medical doctors do that?
Dr. O. was right. Beth did not have a stroke and her scans and MRI came back clear. However, the rash on her legs was getting much worse and her hemoglobin, white cell count and platelets were all very low.
Kirstyn and I took turns sleeping in Beth’s hospital room. If you ever have a loved one in serious condition you want to stay with them as much as you can. Even the best hospitals make mistakes, so it is important to keep an eye on everything. Kirstyn stayed with her mom the evening of Monday, Oct. 5. The next morning I came into the kitchen for my morning cup of coffee and as I took my first sip my phone rang. Kirstyn said, “Dad you need to get here quick. Mom’s platelets have crashed!” Platelets are very important as they help our blood clot when we have a cut or a scratch. I asked, “How low are they?” She said, “Three thousand.” A normal platelet count for a healthy person is somewhere between one hundred fifty thousand and four hundred thousand.” I hung up and looked out at our empty bird feeder. I told the Lord that I sure could use a good sign. I took Zoey outside and when I came back into the kitchen I looked out the window and out of nowhere, a male cardinal flew up and landed on the bird feeder. He looked directly at me in the window. Wow! He was right on time and just when I needed to see him the most. By the way, I hadn’t seen him for at least a month. (miracle #11)
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