PRAYER STILL WORKS             (A praise report on Hetzel)                                              Andy Hollifield 1-31-19
I love stories with happy endings. In this case it is a story with a happy beginning. As I went back today and visited Hetzel, the first thing I did was look at all of the equipment. Heart monitor, oxygen sensor, respiration monitor, air flow meter, oxygen percentage lung monitor, heat lamp, C-Pap, feeding tube, and probably some stuff I have missed. There is a ton of equipment set up to keep track of how bad he is. None of it is working. I am inquisitive and every day we go in I look at all of those numbers which have been explained to me by those wonderful doctors and nurses in the NICU. The equipment isn’t malfunctioning. It is designed to monitor how bad a patient is doing but when he keeps improving, rather than justifying the inevitable, it ratifies the impossible.
Each day this week, we have walked in and seen those numbers going in the desired direction faster than ever looked possible. Monday, alarms were sounding constantly but on Tuesday; occasionally. Wednesday was seldom. The restless newborn we saw on Monday was a peaceful sleeping baby today. There wasn’t hardly any crying just some serious stretching of all four extremities like he was ready to get up and walk outside for some air. The oxygen number that was fluctuating Monday between 87 and 95 was stable at 95 on Tuesday and setting on a solid 96 and 97 on Wednesday.  Air flow percentage meter that was on around 24% Monday and a perfect 21% Tuesday was an incredible 19% Wednesday morning.  This number indicates that his lung function is improving daily.  All healthy people breath at 21%.  They said the 19 was a little deceiving but did tell me that regardless of the number, it indicated improved lung function.  Not bad for a kid that on his birthday had an x-ray showing the complete wrong color for his lungs is now operating at a percentage better than perfect.  A heart rate that had been higher than it should be earlier this week indicating stress in his little body, now is stable at the rate it should be.  His respiration that had fluctuated bad earlier has also stabilized close to where it needs to be.  He has gone from squirming and crying to sleeping like a baby, pun intended.  He had a good white blood cell count Tuesday which indicates no infection or at least not much.  No fever since Sunday night or maybe Monday morning even though his diagnosis was pneumonia. When I had pneumonia when my kidney rejected, I went from 98.6 to 105.3 in only three hours.  It took better than three days for me to get rid of that fever and I only had a spot of pneumonia but this newborn had lungs completely blocked with it and had no temperature. 
He also started eating through a tube Tuesday afternoon and all indications are that he likes to eat and it is having no adverse effect on him.  We have had the privilege of hearing the staff in NICU make comments such as, “He is a lot better than he was Sunday night,” and “He just seems to have a little bit of inflammation in his lungs now.”  It took me three to four days to get rid of just a spot of pneumonia and Hetzel’s was practically gone as of Tuesday.  There is only one doctor that performs like that and he is the great physician.  He has walked into the room and did what the doctors could not do.  As some doctors will tell their patients, “We can treat you but it takes God to do the healing.”  Well, he has and he continues to.  The good thing is that Hetzel will remember none of this but what a story his little momma will have to tell.  Early in the week I saw her sit and cry and pray while holding him and my heart broke for her.  Now, she sits and cries and prays but she can’t quit smiling.  She constantly talks to him and sings to him and he is coherent enough to where he begins to stir when he hears momma’s voice when he is asleep.  From a restless little feller that brought tears to your eyes no matter how tough you thought you were, to the same little feller bringing tears to your eyes but for a totally different reason.
Sunday night it tried my faith hard to keep from saying “God, why does this little guy have to suffer like this?”  Now you question God saying, “How can you be so merciful and wonderful to this little guy but we’re sure glad you are?”  From tears of sorrow to tears of joy.  From pondering “Why Lord” to praising “Thank you Lord.”  An added benefit is that not only have I been blessed to witness it first-hand, but I have also got to witness for him.  I have got to tell the nurses that folks from South Carolina to Texas and other places have been praying not only for the baby for them also.  Just asking God to give them the wisdom they need to take care of him.  I am sure there have been some that have been bitter and thought, “If God is so great, why has this baby suffered like this?”  Yet there are other that realize, “If God wasn’t so great, this baby didn’t have much of a chance.”  Even the devil can’t argue when there is this much evidence again him.  God has just “showed out” because he can and we sure are thankful.
As God continues to bless, please continue to pray for momma and baby and for daddy that he will be able to get his Visa approved so he can come and be with his family.  Thank you for all you have done.  All of the prayers, comments, questions, and concerns and responses to my posts.  It is encouraging to be reminded that God still has a lot of people who are caring and compassionate and close enough in their walk to get a prayer through.  God bless each of you.  Don’t quit praying because he is getting better, but pray harder that his life has been a testimony to the staff in the NICU of God’s mercy and grace.  Also pray that God will keep his hand on his life and use him in a special way.  Prayer still works.  Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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