A BEATING HEART THAT WOULDN’T DIE
This article is about an extraordinary event that happened in the lives of two people that are dear to my heart. I feel that the time has come to publish it and let others know that seemingly impossible events can take place in our lives that defy explanation. I have not personally experienced the same manifestations that are presented here, but my wife has during the first few days of our youngest daughter’s birth who faced life threatening issue with an embedded tumor in her tiny little throat and couldn’t breath. Anyone who doesn’t believe that such occurrences can happen, that is their choice. Be rest assured, however, nothing is impossible with God who can do anything he wants, whether we like it or not.
“I in no way want to bring attention or glory to myself in this testimony, but to God be the glory and my gratitude to Him for all that he did during this moment of our journey which continues to this day.” –Wayne Finley
It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon on Labor Day weekend in the year 2008 at my brother Chris’ camp house in Pass Christian, Mississippi where my wife Gene and I were finishing up the weekend together with him and his wife, Cindy. My sister (also named Cindy) and her husband Wayne had also joined us for the 3 day event. I remember the weather being sunny and somewhat pleasant as we faced the closing moments of a spirited sojourn in that neck of the woods. Thinking back to that moment in time, I figured that it almost felt like a fall afternoon.
Since we all wanted to start the journey back home before darkness set in, the first ones to head up that decision were Wayne and Cindy who left before the rest of us followed behind. After they departed, we kind of hung out a bit before leaving.
About 45 minutes later, Chris got a frantic call from my sister telling us that Wayne’s heart began acting up and beating irregularly while they were on the interstate. They didn’t want to take any chances and stopped at the emergency ward at a hospital in Lacombe, Louisiana.
So, with that startling bit of news, the rest of us ramped up our efforts to exit the premises and headed straight over there to see what was going on. When we arrived, we were ushered right in to his room and discovered him lying in a hospital bed with monitors attached to his body. It was an unnerving sight since he seemed just fine when he left us.
A Startling Revelation
After that initial event, Cindy kept us posted on his progress and eventually let us know that the physicians had run a series of tests and discovered that part of his heart was failing. This was amazing news because he was one of the healthiest members of our family. I mean, how does someone like him who has been taking care of himself so well suddenly be faced with such a daunting prognosis?
Following that event, he was released after his condition stabilized and went home. Still, he maintained regular contact with the cardiologist at that facility until a final decision was reached as reiterated in the quote below:
“The New Orleans Saints were on their way to the Super Bowl in 2009 when I entered the Lacombe Heart Hospital on the morning of December 11th to have a heart operation to repair the mitral valve in the right side of my heart. My cardiologist and I had scheduled this procedure in December of the previous year, but the symptoms I had been experiencing ceased right before the Thanksgiving Holiday back then and the doctor and I agreed that we would not go forward with the procedure at that time.”“I believed and confessed with all my heart that God had healed me of the symptoms during that time, but I later realized he was in the process of setting me up for a serious ordeal to test my faith the likes of which I had never experienced before. Quotes from the Book of Job filled my mind as the symptoms returned with a vengeance in January.” –Wayne Finley
He continued his work schedule, which included traveling and covering 15 states for the company he was working for. During this time, he said he was again trusting God for healing and that He would take care of him on the road. Unfortunately, his condition continued to worsen and he felt tired all the time with symptoms that included his not being able to sleep very little at nights.
Eventually, he and the cardiologist decided in September of 2009 to set the appointment for early December so that he could be back on the road in January. What he realizes now is that nobody would have known at that time that his body had received enough of a healing process to allow him to continue on then since he never missed a trip, a day of work, or gave in to the sickness that would befall him going forward.
With all that said, he entered the Lacombe Heart Hospital on December 11, 2009 for open heart surgery to repair the mitral valve in the right atrium of his heart. He said he had no fear or apprehension about the decision and, before he went in, prayed for everyone that would be involved in the surgery, that they would be empowered with skills, wisdom and actions exceedingly above any that they had ever been endowed with before. He said, in fact, that little did he know at that moment his petition was the exact prayer required of him by the Holy Spirit who spoke those words through him.
As the old saying goes which states, ‘The operation was a success but the patient died‘, said adage set forth rang true in this particular case. After lengthy discussions with the cardiologist, he let Wayne know that rather than providing a replacement for his defective heart valve with either a bovine or plastic unit, he felt very confident he could repair his without artificial help. In response, Wayne said that he also believed that procedure could be accomplished successfully and agreed with the doctor’s choice..
A Surgery Gone Wrong
On D day, as the operation progressed, it was determined the surgeon did an excellent job, but when they closed him up, an artery had somehow been nicked and caused blood to fill the interior cavities of his body. Everything then went south in the recovery room after a short time frame. He had no blood pressure and they filled him with 20 gallons of water to help stabilize his deteriorating condition. To keep him alive, they put him on machines to help all his organs and everything else function while a decision was made on what to do next.
As it turned out, it was decided that Tulane Hospital in New Orleans was the next best hope for saving his life. That facility was where a Dr. Michael Weaver specialized in dealing with critical sections of the heart. However, when it came time to move him, they could not do so that night because the weather was behaving like a hurricane in December with cold, rainy , 70-80 mph winds blowing all around. No cars or helicopters could risk it, so the medical team had to delay the transfer.
As the night wore on, the horrific weather conditions eventually subsided. The next morning was a Saturday, so they prepared him to travel in the EMS van and rushed him to Tulane Hospital. They filled the van with the machines that he was connected to and a nurse road along to monitor him during the ride over. When he arrived, they then prepared him for open heart surgery once again. But before he went in, he was granted a farewell meeting with family and friends who were already situated at the hospital.
During the unloading of the van, Wayne was confronted by a definitive voice near him:
“When I arrived at Tulane Hospital, and sometime during the unloading and checking me in, I heard this distinct voice speak to me saying, ‘Mr. Finley, this is Gabriel and I am going to take care of you’. I was only alert for that split second, but I heard him loud and clear. I knew then it was God’s way of assuring me that everything was going to be all right. A few days later, I rehashed that moment with Gabriel, something which I will share later on in this testimony and how I did so.” –Wayne Finley
A Doubtful Physician Is Rebuffed
Dr. Weaver had come into the room that afternoon to basically let his children say their goodbyes because he did not think Wayne would make it through the surgery. While the entourage marched in, Cindy shared with Wayne that his son Justin and daughter Jessica were having a terrible time dealing with the impending loss of their loving father and stayed over in the corner of the room indicating they were kind of out of it.
On the other hand, Jason, his oldest son, maintained his composure and gathered everybody together that would join in with him seeking the Lord’s deliverance. He then prayed the prayer of faith and told everyone, including the doctor, that his dad was going to be alright.
Later on, Wayne’s close friend of 40 years, Jim Nicoll, gave a powerful follow up impression of what was possible by saying:
“Wayne is going to have an incredible testimony of what Jesus can do.”
As they were gathering into the room, Cindy said she saw, in the spirit, Satan along with some of his demons in the corner laughing and saying ‘I have the Finleys’. This of course added even more fear to the moment at hand.
When that visitation ran its course, everyone left the room and Wayne was wheeled into surgery. Dr. Weaver then attached clear plastic tubes from an external cardiac assist pump to the right side of his heart. This procedure kept the blood flowing in rhythm with the rest of the organ’s pulsating functions. The right side of his heart (pumping out section), according to all indications, was essentiality dead and incapable of recovery.
When the procedure was completed, Dr. Weaver came out of surgery with a big smile on his face and said that Wayne was responding well. He came through the operation ok, but the ensuing night ahead, as well as the next few days of monitoring his progress, would tell the story. As fate would have it, they did!
The Lord’s Disclosure
The next quote follows his recovery from surgery. Despite input from friends and family which blur the lines that describe what he actually went through, his sworn testimony is as stated here:
“When I woke up out of a drug induced coma on December 16, I disputed what I had been told by others who tried to give me their view of what happened. In protest, I must let it be known that I did not hover over the surgery taking place, nor go to heaven and meet Jesus Christ, as many have testified to.”
“Instead, what actually did happen was that I was awakened by the Lord’s voice at 4:10 am. I know what time it was because I woke up lying on my left side, something I normally do not do. That maneuver let me face my alarm clock which was emblazoned with large red digital letters on the display. As I listened, he said, ‘You did meet me.’ I said, ‘How come I don’t remember?’ He then said, ‘You will’ (and the Lord resolved that dilemma for me at 4:10 am on April 17, 2010, 3 months later). After that, I went back to sleep having my questions answered. That moment is etched in my heart and mind forever and I will not let it go.”.–Wayne Finley
A Disconsolate Sister Gets A Message On High
Sister Cindy went home, and her daughter Jessica, along with her friend Courtney, stayed with her that night. Any chance of her falling asleep throughout that evening was a fleeting possibility because of this sudden terrifying ordeal that had struck their family. Wayne told me that her situation made him mindful of the verse in Proverbs 3:25 which states: “Do not be afraid of sudden terror when it comes….”. With that said, it seems that declaration was manifested in the next incident that followed.
On Sunday morning, the 13th of December, she got dressed so she could make the journey back to Tulane Hospital. Upon leaving the house, she found the weather was decidedly horrific once again. Because of said conditions, she drove his Toyota Sequoia SUV instead of her own car because the flooding in the streets was formidable. After making her way across the 24 mile stretch of the Causeway which crosses Lake Ponchartrain, she finally arrived in the downtown area of New Orleans and reached Tulane Avenue.
While plowing through the rising floodwaters, she stopped at the traffic light which precedes the street leading to the parking area of the hospital. As she sat there waiting for the light to turn green, she gazed at the flowing water in the street which had risen to about a foot or so all around her. The howling of the wind and the rain pounding down on the vehicle and windshield was intense. All this cumulative clutter of events finally brought her to the verge of her breaking point.
Now frustrated beyond all comprehension, she sat there and began to weep uncontrollably before crying out to God at that definitive moment in time.
“Oh God, what else are you going to do?”
Almost immediately, the voice of the Lord spoke audibly from on high, and she heard five clearly stated words:
“I will make Wayne whole.”
After that revelation, an immediate feeling of joy and peace flooded her soul which freed her from all the embedded fear which was now gone. She then regained her composure and drove forward into the parking lot.
As soon as she entered the section of the hospital where the waiting area was situated, their friends, Lynn and Jim Nicoll, spotted her walking up the corridor. They immediately came running up to her saying, “Wayne just woke up!” He said she felt at that moment that God had just entered into the battle and a paradigm shift had taken place.
Psalm 34 verses 4, 6, 7 tell the story of the moment: “4) I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 6) This poor (woman) cried out, and the Lord heard (her}, and saved (her) out of all (her) troubles. 7) The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear him, and delivers them”.
The Days That Followed
That joy and peace remained within Cindy throughout the remaining 26 days that he was in the hospital, and her demeanor was a testimony to all who saw her each and every day that she arrived for a visit. She said that when God speaks, there is no argument and no doubt about what He can do.
As for Wayne, he said that he was awake for probably a very short period because the drug induced coma took over time and time again. For the next several days, including Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, he came out of the deep stupor he was in and tried to communicate, but couldn’t do so. His back was hurting so badly that it made him feel worse because as he was laying in a fixed position and and his body was steeped in its own juices, so to speak.
Not only was the pain intense, but every part of him itched as well. Nevertheless, he knew he would would come out of this incredible amount of discomfort and just prayed it through by stating:
“Lord, this will be over soon, so I will just go back to sleep and bide my time.”
So, that’s what he did, and on Tuesday night, the attending physician woke him up later to take all the tubes out of his throat. Once done, he slept off the drugs till the next morning.
A Heads Up Event
On Wednesday the 16th, he woke up in the Intensive Care Unit of Tulane Hospital. When the nurse came in and asked how he was feeling, she wanted to know if he was in a lot of pain, thus offering him some pain medication. He said:
“Well, you tell me. I have two hoses coming out of my chest going to that instrument over there and I am hooked up to all kinds of needles and tubes and such. However, I am not in pain, and I don’t want any medicine. What I do want is for you to scratch my back and get something to rub on my skin to stop all this irritating itching.”
When she complied, he said it felt so good to have his back scratched. On top of that, he noted that he was very hungry since he had not eaten for 6 days, whereby he was given a light meal as prescribed. When the food lady came in with an offering, it was breakfast being served and he took what was placed in front of him. But that, in itself, created a problem.
The first small bite of sausage got stuck in his throat and he coughed hard to get it out. Following that, he spit out the next bite of scrambled eggs and refused anymore of it. The stuff had the smell of death on it and he never partook of anymore hospital meals after that.
He did have bottles of Ensure and and various juices on hand, but still sought something better. As sort of an alternative solution, he called up Cindy and asked her to bring him a large highly nutritious drink from his son Jason’s Smoothie King shop. So, that’s what he had every morning for breakfast. On top of that, he told her to let their friends and family know they could bring him some food if they so desired. They all did, in fact, and he wound up having the best eats in the whole place.
During this time, when alone one night, he said he heard a voice outside in the corridor and determined that it was that attendant named Gabriel. He then hollered out loud and asked him to to come in. When the young man responded, he asked Wayne how he knew him. He then replied by stating, “Gabriel, I first heard you when you checked me in”. Wayne then told him what he had said. Gabriel again responded by saying he was surprised. He then also told Gabriel that you never know when the patient is hearing what you are saying at any point in time.
Dr. Lejemtel Proposes A Heart Transplant For Wayne
The next time he was being visited by Cindy, he met with Dr. Lejemtel who was in charge of heart transplant procedures at the hospital. The doctor explained to the both of them that a replacement organ was required. Wayne said his immediate reaction was that he felt said option was not acceptable and that he would either walk out of that hospital with his own heart in tact, or be carried out on a stretcher.
The doctor replied by saying:
“You don’t understand. The right side of your heart, the one that pumps blood out, is not working at all and is essentiality dead and gone! The machine here that you are attached to is doing all the work.”
When the doctor told him that, the prognosis did not sit well with Wayne at all who replied:
“My heart will eventually start working on its own again and I will not need a heart transplant!”
His response was indicative of his steadfast mindset which he maintained the entire time he was in the hospital being fed the life sustaining circulatory activity by that device.
While depending on selected verses of the Bible that helped him endure his ordeal, Wayne was reminded of another one that stated:
“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”–James 1:1-4
After quoting those verses in the Bible, Wayne said that when someone enters a trial, the first words that person declares will lead to the outcome. He noted that at the time all this was taking place, his faith was not particularly very strong. To prop him up, he said that the faith of Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of his faith, was his pillar of strength. The Lord’s dissemination of that faith was planted in both his and Cindy’s souls, and it carried them through the severe testing that they were going through.
Giving New Meaning To The Word ‘Persistence’
Dr. Lejemtel continued to have discussions with Cindy throughout the coming days trying to convince her that her husband would need to have a heart transplant in order to survive without the pumping machine. She finally became tired of the barrage of causative medical narratives and exclaimed that even she didn’t believe he would need a heart transplant either.
The next irritant on the scene was a social worker coming around with a booklet for him to read that gave details for patients waiting on a heart transplant. He said he told her he didn’t need it because he was not going to have one. Undeterred, she came every day, twice daily, for the next two plus weeks attempting to get him to accept the booklet.
He finally did take it to get her off his back, but left it on the shelf. So she followed that up by making repetitive visits to make sure he read it. He knew she was just doing her job, bless her heart, and felt she was an exceptional person for keeping up with her perseverance. Nevertheless, he maintained his staunch position and continued with his refusal of her request.
The Smell Of Death In The Room
The odor in the ICU was a combination of the fragrance of the disinfectant that they use to clean everything and the stuff they wash the linens with. Those chemicals mixed with the distinct smell of death that settled over the ICU at any point in time. The aroma permeated everything including the food they prepared and served.
For a solution, he began to counter this problem with some changes he proposed. One of them was having Cindy take a couple sets of the bed sheets, towels, as well as the patient frocks that he had been brought to wear while in te hospital, and take them to their house so that she could wash them. Then, when that was completed, he had her dose them with an extra amount of fabric softener.
That procedure not only softened them satisfactorily, the fragrance was so refreshing that it made a world of difference. Another thing he did was having her bring a couple of their own pillows. He also requested a newer bed because the one he had been lying in for several days felt like the back of an old pickup truck. In response, the staff found one that was a little better and made the switch. As for the food itself, the meals that everyone was bringing him were so much better than that served at the hospital.
Throughout all these shenanigans, he was slowly taking back his life as well while enduring all those moments of trial and testing. He also named the pump “Mrs. Jones”! You know, like the song says, “Meeee and Mrs Jones…we got a thin…gggg going on”. When he told me that, I felt his interjection of humor into the mix of his overall situation back then proved he was feeling good about his chances, I suppose.
A Moment Of Self Reflection And Reaffirmation
The early morning hours of Saturday the 19th felt somewhat strange from the outset. He awoke and there was an aura of fear which had encompassed the room that he could feel. It was so strong that he had difficulty even speaking at all and it was so cold in that place. Responding in kind, he finally blurted out the words:
“God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. His perfect love casts out all fear. I am left undefeated by the blood of Jesus”.
He continued to repeat this epithet over and over for the next couple of hours. That overpowering sense of fear eventually departed in time, but left him in a funk. Meanwhile, his son Jason came for a visit and was the only one who came to see him that night. They passed the time watching the Dallas Cowboys beat the New Orleans Saints football team which was a bummer for both of them. After Jason left, he let himself drift into a pity party mindset as the weening hours lingered on.
A nurse came in and helped him get out of the bed and into a chair where he sat there seemingly forever thinking about all kinds of different possibilities and options presented up to then. One of them was that he toyed with the idea of whether or not he really did need a new heart. After all, his had been giving him a lot of trouble lately.
When push came to shove, however, he finally took a strong stand against that choice. He realized there would be all the drugs involved, the rejection of the new heart by his own body, and the relatively short life expectancy that goes with it. Besides, he realized he had already committed himself to the proposition that he would not need one, so he decided he would just stick with that choice.
As it stood, he really didn’t want the bother of dealing with a new one and that meant nobody would have to die for him to get that precious organ in the first place. He figured Jesus Christ had already done that for his soul and had given him a new new heart in the process.
Funeral Arrangements Discussion Time
When Sunday finally arrived on December 20th, Wayne called Cindy that morning to make sure she brought their daughter Jessica with her when she came. He also called his friend from their church, Brother Smith, and asked him to come by after the service because he needed to have a serious discussion with him.
The plan was to go over funeral arrangements with Brother Smith while his wife, and their daughter were present. When his friend came into the room, the man began sharing the message that Pastor Mille had preached at the service that morning. It was about one fisherman named Peter in the Bible who made the hard decision to not sell his boat and how the apostle handled the ramifications of that choice.
With that inspirational story serving as a springboard, Brother Smith, Cindy, and he got into a beautiful discussion about the symbolism of the message. The heartfelt words that they exchanged with each other succeeded in taking him out of the funk that he was in and away from the discussion of the funeral arrangements as well. He followed that by saying that when the Word of the Bible becomes a part of the dialogue, it dispels darkness and the light within brings deliverance. From that moment on, no more funk or self pity was entertained by him, or for that matter, her as well.
A New Wrench Gets Thrown Into The Worx
That Sunday evening Dr. Lejemtel came into the room sporting a decidedly heated disposition. The first thing the doc asked was if Cindy was in the room. When Wayne said no, he followed up that inquiry with the statement that he thought she was one tough cookie. He replied with the comeback statement that let the doctor know he should have met her mother.
Anyways, the issue that got the physician so upset was the fact that they had run a bunch of blood tests on him, and the unfavorable results caused the team to take him off the list for a new heart. He remarked:
“I thought you said your PSA was never over 4.0.”
“That’s right, it wasn’t.”
“Well, Mr. Finley, the blood tests show it’s over 15, and if you have cancer anywhere in you body, we cannot give you a new heart.”
“That can’t be right, Doc, you probably got false readings off all my organs. They were non functional on the North Shore and the doctors had me attached to every machine they had in the place to keep me alive. My actual number is correct, I swear, so what do we need to do?”
“We have to take a biosy of your prostate.”
“That’ll be lot of fun, Doc. How long will it take?”
“That’s a different department and it’ll take two weeks.”
After hearing that discomforting news about the timeframe involved, the next words out of Wayne’s mouth were prophetic and he insisted they were empowered by the Holy Spirit.
“You just watch, Doc. In two weeks this heart will start beating on its own”.
After hearing that, the doc just looked at him for a long moment or so and then left the room in a huff. I think Wayne felt like he was on some sort of roll at that point. Kind of like a freight train on its way to an impossible destination and couldn’t be stopped.
A Light At The End Of The Tunnel?
The next two weeks (12/21/09-1/2/10) were filled with tests and comparisons as well as good food from family and friends. He ate as his appetite would allow while the staff kept doing their relentless evaluations everyday.
During that time, he believed Dr. Lejemtel had begun to take stock of his predictions somewhat and was doing any and all tests to see if his heart’s vital signs were improving. He said he mentioned to the doc that this marathon is kind of like losing weight. You shouldn’t check or weigh yourself everyday. Some days you gain a little weight, some days you lose some.
In the meantime, he was still swollen up and retaining a lot of the 20 gallons of water they had packed in him that first critical day after his initial surgery. Getting creative one particular night, he lined up some cups of water, followed by some with juice, then water followed by more juice, and so on. Every time he woke up, he hydrated myself. The excess fluid began to leave him as he started urinating more frequently. In two days, his body was not retaining any more excess fluid.
It was little things like this that gave him the impetus to initiate a thought/mind process to do those things that the doctors did not even consider. They wanted to give him diuretics, but those pills were something he didn’t want. He felt it was God’s guidance for sure.
With this taking place, Cindy did tell him that on Friday, 1/1/10, she was informed that during the coming week ahead, they would be doing an extensive round of critical tests on him. If nothing really looked promising, they would move him out of intensive care to a room elsewhere in the hospital until a heart could be found. However, with that having been said, it can be noted here that it will soon be revealed that God Himself had a different idea in mind.
Fears And Tears
A lot happened during this time for Cindy, but he said that it would be up to her to discuss any of those matters if she wanted to. When I discussed the different facets of the story with her personally, with no Wayne anywhere in sight, I got a peek into her world back then. So, at this point, I will backtrack a little and bring her saga into focus.
When my wife and I made our first visit to see him shortly after he arrived at Tulane Hospital, we were met by her and her daughter in the corridor leading to the waiting area. She was a bit hysterical because all indications pointed to the fact that his days were numbered. I remember her coming up to me with tears in her eyes telling me that she thought it was all over and I put my arm around her and said that we will get through this.
Since the medical team was in the throes of prepping him at the time, we were not able to go in and see what was going on. So we hung out in the waiting area with other members of the family. One of them there was that oldest son, Jason, whom I mentioned earlier. When I sat across from him, he looked at me straight in the eye while insisting that he knew that his dad was going to pull through this trauma and come out all right. I was impressed by the fact his spiritual relationship with God gave him insights the rest of us couldn’t share with at the time.
In the meantime, Cindy was preparing for a worst case scenario. I overheard her telling her daughter, Jessica, that if Wayne died, she would have to sell the house. I guess she figured that keeping up the payments without his help would be too big a burden and she would have to figure a way to survive. This made me feel uncomfortable, to say the least, but at least she was being practical about her possible pending circumstances.
She seemed at bit uncomfortable that I mentioned this particular item in the story when we talked, so I told her that I wanted to show that she had a real human side to her mantra. I didn’t want to paint her as some sort of spiritual juggernaut who had unyielding faith in Gods ability to perform miracles. If she felt my assessment of her disposition at the time was a bit over the top, I told her I would hit the delete button and remove it from the article.
An Emotional Moment That Bares Noting
While drafting this story, I called her and she revealed some secrets that I didn’t really know all the facts about. A major one was when she and Wayne were heavily involved in their church ministry some years ago. A monumental event took place that suddenly made their world fall apart.
As it turned out, their seemingly steadfast and spiritually enlightened pastor revealed that he was having illicit affairs with a number of women in the church. This caused both of them to fall away, and she told me that she began blaming God for their demise and became very bitter in the process. The feelings that followed left her floating in a sea of confusion and discontent for quite a while.
She remained that way for a number of years until this moment in time. When she was visiting Wayne in the hospital, he told her that the former pastor in question was going to pay a visit. The thought of facing him again sent chills down her spine and she immediately planned a quick exit before he arrived.
When she stood in front of the elevator waiting, the doors suddenly opened and he walked out, thus facing her head on. She didn’t tell me what she said, but did let me know that all the pent up bitterness, anger, and frustration that she harbored for so many years drained out of her at that moment. She then felt like an enormous amount of peaceful feelings wafted over her like an invisible protective cloak that penetrated her very soul. At that moment, Sister Cindy was back in the fold and the Lord now had her undivided attention.
The Man And His Machine
When we did get our first glimpse of Wayne and the apparatus that was keeping him alive, it was an incredible sight. There was this pumping equipment (LAVD) sitting on a stand next to his bed with tubes coming out of it and inserted into his chest which, in turn, was wrapped with special dressings to help hold them in place.
I have no idea how they were able to make that process work without his blood leaking out all over the place, but they did and I was impressed. Nevertheless, through my research, I did find out that this type of equipment was used on patients who have reached end-stage heart failure. With that in mind, I didn’t know what to expect going forward.
As for Wayne’s attitude, he was in good spirits and maintained a positive mindset about his situation. I think he was starting to believe that God was in control of his fate and Cindy herself was beginning to join him in that belief. As for me and my wife, all we could do was help give our support through prayer and repetitive visits to show both of them how much we cared.
A Eureka Moment
As time went on, I was able to make several visits on my own because I was in the throes of building homes in New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina hit, and it was a short jaunt from my construction sites to the hospital after work. Since my wife was working for the City of Mandeville on the North Shore of the New Orleans metro area which is on the other side of Lake Ponchartrain, it was not feasible for her to join me during the week.
Before making one of those visits, I stopped at a favorite restaurant of Wayne’s and picked up some fried chicken that I knew he had been craving. When I showed up with it, he thanked me and then devoured the whole meal without offering me a piece. I guess that was a sign that he was doing much better, and I began to believe in earnest that he would survive the ordeal.
On Sunday, the 3rd of January, nothing out of the ordinary happened during the day and he dozed off sometime that evening. When he awoke a bit later, he noticed that the tubes from his heart to the pump felt cold in his hands and didn’t seem to be maintaining the regular body temperature that was evident before he went to sleep. He suddenly looked down at the clear plastic tubing and noticed that the blood was not circulating anymore. It had already separated showing clear plasma and chunks of stagnant blood.
He immediately called the nurse who responded within a minute or so. When she came into the room, he told her that “Mrs. Jones”, the name he tagged his faithful pumping machine with, had stopped working. As soon as he said that, she literally went crazy and tried to start the pump back up.
He said he immediately stopped her in her tracks stating:
“If you start that pump up even for a moment, it will cause these chunks of blood to get in my system and kill me. Besides that, just think about what is happening here. I am talking to you and looking at all my vital signs on the monitor. Everything is still working, so what do you think is happening here?”
With a dumbfounded reply she exclaimed;
“It seems your heart must have started pumping blood on its own and automatically shut the machine down. I just find that unbelievable because I have never seen that happen before”.
‘This night, the 3rd of January, was two weeks to the day and hour that God spoke to me and promised this miracle would happen.’ —Wayne Finley
Within minutes of that startling event, Dr. Nguyen came down and clamped the tubes so that there would be no chunks getting into his blood stream. When Dr. Weaver was informed, he called and said he would be there in the morning to remove “Mrs. Jones” from his body, and for that matter, from his whole life altogether.
“I finally was disconnected from the pump on Tuesday, the 4th of January, and walked the ICU corridor for the first time having not seen it at all anytime before then. They then hurriedly got me ready to leave the hospital ahead of time because there was infection on the floor and they did not want to lose their star patient. Even Dr. Lejemtel showed up and began smiling for a change.” — Wayne Finley
“They then wheel-chaired me almost to the front door of the hospital where my younger son, Justin, had arrived to pick me up. I surprised everyone by getting out of the wheel chair on my own and walking the few steps thru the door to get into his vehicle. When we got to the house, he and Jason helped me up the driveway and that stellar moment was 28 days after I went into the hospital on the North Shore before I finally made it back home.” –Wayne Finley
Then, Cindy contacted all of the extended family members and close friends not too long afterwards. She then wasted no time in letting everyone know that a miracle had taken place. Her text message said that, by the grace of God, Wayne’s heart decided that it had gained enough strength to start pumping blood throughout his body on its own and the impulse signaled the machine to shut itself off automatically. Hallelujah!
Since I, nor anyone else, had ever heard of anything like that happening before, I can only surmise that Cindy’s and Wayne’s faith in the Lord had created an event that only the Creator could resolve. When I heard what happened, my mind reflected on the words uttered by my nephew, Jason, when he told everyone that he knew his father would come out of this unbearable situation with flying colors.
The Finley’s’ journey after those thrilling moments simply began to head in a new direction and there were many twists and turns ahead. The difference was that God was now in the center of their lives. What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good and changed their course going forward. Every day is a new day with new adventures for all of them.
Since it is a well known fact that Hurricane Katrina happened back in the year 2005, it has been at least 15 years since that period in our lives when Wayne’s heart threatened to quit altogether 3 years later. With that much elapsed time having become history by now, you’d think his heart would be giving him all sorts of follow up problems afterwards.
However, such is not the case. The last time I checked with him, he was off of all the prescription drugs he was taking to help ease his way towards the healing process. He looks healthy as ever, and he and Cindy have been taking excellent care of themselves since then.
I know for a fact that it is hard to believe in the fact that the Lord will help pull you through the troubling circumstances you face, but he often places his charges in situations that garner their undivided attention. And that also holds true for family and friends who are close to them. In this case, the impact was enormous.
As For Me…
I am reminded of the famous statement made by Abraham Lincoln who once said:
“I am often driven to my knees in prayer because I have had no place else to go.”
Unfortunately, most of us don’t get really serious with our petitions until things look really hopeless.
As for the impetus that sparked the inspiration for this story, Wayne did not come to me and ask me if I would write it. I approached him and he trusted me enough to let me tell it like it was. I have never experienced anything like the thrill of hearing a heavenly voice give me a warning, a bit of spiritual insight, or promise me peace in a moment of turmoil, but my wife has. She finally decided to reveal that secret when I proposed to pen Wayne’s story. To honor that sensitive revelation from her, I wrote a companion blog as set forth in THE MOMENT OF TRUTH FOR A DISCONSOLATE MOTHER.
Still, in spite of my shortcomings, I am a living testimony of what can be done by Him. For all intents and purpose, I should have been dead 3 times over. But because of God’s mercy given to me long before I had any meaningful spiritual relationship with Him, I believe He kept me alive for a purpose. Therefore, I can’t refute any of what has been revealed here.
I have been touched by this story, and because of Wayne and Cindy’s inspirational handling of the ordeal they went through, I have found it easier to approach the Lord with my own troubling circumstances. I can only hope this recreation of the events surrounding that fateful moment in time will help others see the light and establish a relationship with the Creator themselves.
"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. King James Version". --2 Corinthians 1:5