GOD IS ABLE
In the morning of Saturday 4th of January, 2014, I woke up feeling nauseous and eventually vomited twice, consisting only of sputum since I had not taken breakfast. My wife offered me tea and while I was in the bedroom getting set, I was suddenly hit with a sharp piercing pain in the middle of my chest all the way to my back between the two scapulae (shoulder blades). I bent over, eventually knelt beside our bed, sweating profusely that cold morning, in excruciating pain. I thought it was ulcer, because I had that in the past, but the location of the pain suggested otherwise.
All I could say was, “Jesus, what is this? What should I do?” He said to me, “Call your wife and get to Federal Medical Center Accident and Emergency Room” and I did that. She gathered our boys into the car and rushed them to our pastor neighbour’s house, briefly explained the situation and left for the hospital.
Based on the history of peptic ulcer disease and some reflux I had, the diagnosis was Gastroesophageal reflux disease (a condition where the acidic contents of the stomach flow back into the oesophagus and cause pain) and I was managed for that along with painkillers. All the while, I was vomiting. My pastors came and prayed with me and anointed me with oil.
I was later moved to the amenity ward and the problem continued till the next morning when I was seen by a physician who, on examination, picked up a third heart sound (i.e. an abnormal heart rhythm) and ordered for a chest x-ray, which showed enlargement of the heart, and ECG, which showed marked ST elevation on all anterior leads indicating extensive myocardial infarction (i.e. abnormal heart beating pattern due to damage of the heart muscle caused by obstruction of blood supply to the heart by a major blood vessel. Simply put, a massive heart attack of the very worst type).
That afternoon, a severe pain started suddenly in my abdomen. It was so painful that I was screaming terribly loud. At this point, thoughts of dying and leaving behind my wife and two boys crossed my mind several times and on each occasion I would aim the scream at the devil and yell out “No!”
My wife came to me, leaned over me and said, “We’ll get through this. The devil came late because the victory started on Friday when God made sure you got back home instead of on Saturday as was usual for you.” And I agreed.
The consultant physician came back to see me and saw the ECG and commented that it was incredible for someone with my physique would have Myocardial Infarction (heart attack with damage to the heart muscle) so extensively. He prescribed Morphine and sent me to the ICU. I also had abdominal ultrasound scan and x-ray which both turned out normal.
That night, my wife put the song “God is Able” led by Reuben Morgan of Hillsong Australia on repeat on her phone and left it on my bed.
The next day, Monday, a consultant cardiologist performed an echocardiography and found evidence of extensive anterolateral myocardial infarction(i.e. extensive damage to the front part of the heart). He counseled that the extent of damage would require angioplasty (repair or reconstruction of blood vessels) or possibly a major heart surgery although an angiography (a study of the blood vessels that supply heart) would be needed to see the exact heart structures that had been damaged. Contact was made with a center in Lagos that had both the required personnel and equipment.
My pastors from various locations called in prayers, prayers were going on in church and at other groups in other churches. Some friends sent communion elements from the one they had at church that evening which I took till the next morning. And we made arrangements to have our tithes paid in our absence.
I had a very high temperature that Monday and an antimalarial was commenced.
Tuesday was dominated by travel arrangements and goodbyes from friends who probably entertained the possibility of never seeing me again. I couldn’t blame them; they’d never even as much as heard of me being ill let alone seeing me so pitiable.
We went to Kano by road and completed the trip to Lagos by air. We arrived Lagos at about 10:30pm and were transported by ambulance to the hospital. I was assessed again with all the x-rays, ECG, and finally with another echocardiography by a second consultant cardiologist at about 1:00am Wednesday morning and all the tests and examinations came to the same conclusion as before – extensive anterior myocardial infarction requiring angioplasty or major heart surgery after angiography to ascertain the extent of damage. This was scheduled for later that morning. And so I slept off.
A few hours later, I was awakened to be prepped for the procedure and surgery. We got to the theater table and the angiography was performed and to our amazement, there was no heart damage to be found and the place where the plaque had formed which caused the obstruction was identified but it had ulcerated (broken up) so much that no stent (a small pipe inserted into a blood vessel to keep it open) was required in anyway. There was obviously no need for surgery and I was cleaned up, returned to my room and placed on some drugs for preventive purposes. I was discharged the next day.
God showed up at the eleventh hour and resolved my situation in a way that only He can and I live evermore to praise His name. I am grateful for all the prayers of all the saints; I felt it because my faith, nor my wife’s, did not fail.
Indeed, our God is able.