By Angela Errett
Sally grew up in a small West Virginia town where everyone knew each other. The courthouse was in the middle of town, and the adjacent fire hall doubled as the event center. When she was three years old, her parents held her birthday party there, and all of her friends and family attended. It was one of her favorite childhood memories, and on this particular day, she needed to remember something good.
It was 12 o’clock a.m. when she received the phone call. Her husband of only three years had overdosed after his shift in the gravel parking lot of the coal mine. Joe, the night watchman and best man at their wedding, called to let her know he had been taken to the hospital shortly before he called.
What was happening to her life? There was no indication that Steve had even been taking drugs. An occasional beer was all she ever saw him drink and there was no history of substance abuse in either of their families. It was so out of place and never even once crossed her mind that it would be something she would have to deal with in her lifetime.
She threw on her sweatpants, a t-shirt from the previous day that was laying in the chair, and rushed to find her purse as she headed for the front door. She turned to lock the deadbolt on the door, and her key got stuck. Not now, she thought and fought with it until it finally broke free with one final jerk.
The streetlight at the end of the driveway was dim, and she was thankful for the motion light Steve had just installed the week before. It shot on as she approached her Honda Civic and she immediately jumped in and headed towards the hospital which was just around the bend from the mine entrance.
When she arrived, Stuart an old family friend and the EMT working the night shift, hailed her.
“I don’t know how it happened,” Stuart began, “but I want you to know we have done everything we can Sally.”
“How bad is it Stuart?” Sally asked as the tears started to flow down her cheeks leaving marks on her gray t-shirt.
“Sally,” Stuart said softly as he reached for her. “It’s not good at all.”
She lunged into his arms and almost fell. She caught her balance then took a deep breath as her eyes grew more clouded with tears.
“Where’s he at?” she asked.
“He’s still in the ER,” he replied. “They were still working on him when I came out here. Do you want me to go with you?” he asked.
“Yes, please,” she replied, and they started to walk inside.
People were scurrying everywhere. The head nurse Jill Worthington and Macy, the CNA on call, were back and forth at the main desk then disappeared. Doctor Turner rushed passed them and placed a chart on the counter. Sally waited a few seconds then approached the receptionist desk to ask what was going on and to find out about Steve.
Jackie looked up from behind the desk, and her face lit up as she saw Sally and Stuart standing there. Behind them, she saw around ten to fifteen people filing in the main lobby doors. Most of them were from Steve’s work, and a few others were friends from the fire department.
“You both are just not going to believe this!” Jackie exclaimed as she read the chart.
“Believe what?” Sally asked. “Where’s Steve? What’s happening?”
“Okay,” Jackie replied. “Here is what we have been able to piece together. Steve accidentally grabbed another guys lunch box which was identical to his. When he clocked out, he went to the truck and must have reached into the box without really looking. This guy is a known drug user, and he had a needle full of a fentanyl and animal sedative concoction that has hit the streets recently. The needle was stashed under his food. Steve must have reached in and as he did, the syringe depressed, and he injected most of it into his hand.”
“Oh no!” Sally yelled.
“That’s why the Narcan wasn’t working!” Stuart blurted.
“Hold on,” Jackie answered. “The Narcan may not have worked, but God did!”
“What?” Sally questioned. “What are you telling us? What happened?”
“Well,” Jackie began, “Steve is going to be all right!”
“Oh, thank you Jesus!” Sally screamed, and everyone turned to look at her. After she went on to tell them Steve was going to make it, the waiting room was filled with people shouting praise God, hallelujah, and Amen!
“How do you know for sure he’s going to be all right Jackie?” Sally began to question.
“You know Dr. Turner right?” Jackie asked Sally.
“Of course,” Sally replied. “He’s been here for about five years now, but I thought he was a pediatrician?”
“Yes, that’s right,” Jackie answered. “But something I bet you didn’t know is that he often helps out Chaplain Dougherty. Before he was a doctor, he attended seminary. The moment Steve came in the ER, Dr. Turner ran in and began declaring he was healed by the stripes of Jesus and quoting scripture. He began praising God for all His goodness. Everyone in the room began to feel a shift in the atmosphere. Steve had been without a pulse on the way here and everything Stuart and the others tried was not working.”
“Wait a minute,” Sally said. “Why in the world was Dr. Turner here at this hour?”
“He was here,” Jackie continued, “because, seven years ago, at the same time, Dr. Turner was in a car wreck in Ohio–a really bad one. That’s where he got his limp.
“He was pinned under a tractor-trailer that was hauling a mobile home. When they brought him in he was flatlined, but miraculously, he came to after about an hour. No one could medically explain it.
“When he woke up, he told the story of visiting Heaven. God spoke to him and wanted him to return so he could bring faith to others by sharing his testimony.”
“Wow, I never knew his story,” Sally admitted, “but what does this have to do with Steve and why the doctor was here?”
“Well,” Jackie continued, “Dr. Turner always volunteers to be on call for the night shift the same day his accident happened. For the last five years, he has been faithfully volunteering out of obedience to his promise to God and to remember that He is the reason he’s still here. Tonight, he shared his testimony with everyone in that ER room and this waiting room.
“They are going to get Steve into a room, and as soon as they do, you can go be with him.”
“Oh, thank you, God! And thank you, Jackie, for letting me know!” Sally replied.
Stuart and Sally turned to see everyone in the room hugging and celebrating the good news and went to sit down. Sally caught the attention of Jill and Macy as they were walking passed and flashed a thumbs up at them. They both smiled as each of them gave a thumbs up back to her.
Just then, Dr. Turner rounded the corner opposite the waiting room, and his eyes met Sally’s. She stood as he approached and she opened her arms to receive him in a hug.
“God be with you,” she said as she squeezed his shoulders, “and thank you for what you have done here tonight Dr. Turner. I just can’t thank you enough.”
“Sally,” he replied, “I only played a small part in what transpired here tonight. I was only the vessel God worked through–He did all the work!”
“What made you run into the room and start praying for Steve?” she asked. “You barely know us.”
“Ah,” he replied, “but God knows us all, and if God will do it for me, then he will do it for Steve. I had no doubt in my mind that God would make him whole.”
Steve was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health after staying only three days for observation. Sally, Steve, Dr. Turner, friends and family, and some of the hospital staff, celebrate the “Round the Bend at 12 a.m.” miracle each year by having a potluck get-together in the city park. By making an effort to remember the events of that day, they plan to make sure many generations to come will also know that God is still performing miracles.
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