A Father's Story: Padre Pio Miracle
It’s amazing how one phone call can alter your entire life. My daughter Rosie was admitted to the ER in critical condition with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). How could that be? I spoke to her just two days ago and she was fine and in good spirits. The photo above attests to what I saw on entering the CCU.
Rosie’s kidneys were shutting down. Her cardio-vascular system had been compromised. She was suffering from aspirated pneumonia and her GI tract was showing signs of paralysis. I had never seen so many tubes flowing into and leaving such a tiny frail body. I cried. I grabbed her hand and said fight. You’re not a quitter. I believe the mind controls bodily functions and can heal from within if you have the will to live. Through the nights that followed, I would hold her hand and repeat those same words.
About 11 pm of the third night, monitor alarms went off and four dedicated health care professionals came running. Her blood pressure was dropping rapidly. For the next two hours they worked feverishly to bring her back from deaths door step, her second near death experience in three days. It’s awful for a father to feel so helpless and so alone.
I hadn’t cried for anyone as much as I cried those first three nights. All I kept thinking is that a parent should never outlive their children. The emotional toll is too heart wrenching.
That first night I found solace about 3 am in a small quiet chapel on the first floor of the hospital. When I entered there was a bronze statue that was so lifelike that I was drawn to it. It was the recently canonized Saint named Padre Pio whom I had never heard of.
As I read about his life, I realized he was a healer and had done so through prayer even though the person was miles away. I had no place to turn. The doctors were doing as much as humanly possible but I felt I had to do something to help. I’ve been an agnostic, a doubting Thomas, for a very long time. But, despite my doubts, I entered into a dialogue each night with Padre Pio, keeping him abreast of her condition and asking him to pray for the return of the organ system that her doctors were working on that day. One by one, each organ began to respond. I also asked the Blessed Virgin and her son Jesus if they would watch over and protect the rest of our loved ones and comfort them in this time of need. Often we overlook the trauma experienced by family members as they sit watching their loved one’s fight for survival.
On the tenth day Rosie opened her eyes. That night I asked her what she remembered. She said weird frightening dreams involving the devil and his minions fighting with angels. But between these battles she found a safe haven in a small cabin, in the woods, with a cute bear cub and a gentle old man sitting by the fireplace. Her family was sitting off to the side and they would come in and out of the cabin at different times. There was also a nice couple- a pleasant woman with a smile and a bearded woodsman. “But the strange thing”, she said , “was that they weren’t interested in me as much as they were there to feed and comfort my family”. One night the old man turned to me and said,” you will be fine”.
Several days later, a prayer group from the local church stopped in and handed her a booklet on the life of Padre Pio. When she opened the book, there was his picture. She exclaimed to the ladies, “That’s him, that’s the man in my dreams sitting by the fireplace. They had no clue what she was talking about. Till then, I had never mentioned to Rosie my trips to the chapel or my special requests to Padre Pio.
On the 23rd day she walked out of the hospital with a big smile to the cheers and hugs of all who had seen her in the ER and CCU. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of caring physicians and nurses but in my mind, I was left with the knowledge that they had some help - a miracle indeed.
It took this prolonged hospital stay to define Rosie as Brittle. That ended two years of finger pointing and being told she was non-compliant.
Rosie and I spent months researching brittle diabetes and concluded that there was a need to provide brittle or uncontrolled Type 1 diabetics the opportunity to share their experiences and learn more about this very rare ailment. With the help of dedicated volunteers, the Brittle Diabetes Foundation was formed. We look to tell it as it is, provide meaningful insight and offer you a place to share your experiences and stories with the rest of the world.