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As nurses, we witness the miracles God performs for our patients and families. I work in a step-down unit where we care for pre- and posttransplant patients, as well as acute postsurgical patients. Caring for patients both before and after transplants, and if they return with complications, we get to know them well. One patient was a 54-year-old gentleman named Dwight Sheraton.*


Mr. Sheraton had had a heart transplant a few years ago, and due to complications returned to our unit frequently. I had the pleasure of being his nurse several times; he was a quiet and humble man, quick with a gentle smile and a soft word. Often as I entered his room, he was reading his Bible. He was the kind of patient who never seemed to need anything. "Are you having pain? Can I get you something to drink? Are you warm enough?" Always the answer was, "No, I'm good. Everything's good." When he did talk, he spoke of how much he loved his wife.


In December, Mr. Sheraton returned to our unit. I was talking with another nurse when we heard the telemetry system alarm. Mr. Sheraton's heart rate was in the 30s and plummeting. We ran to the room yelling for help, initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and a code was called. I was performing compressions as the code team arrived. I prayed, "Please, God, please, God, please, God," each time I pumped on his chest. Every time we paused compressions to check his rhythm, it was v-tach or v-fib and we again had to shock him.


The code lasted over 50 minutes, so long that we used all the drugs in one cart and got a second. Sometime during the code Mr. Sheraton's cell rang; it was his wife calling. When one of the physicians answered the phone and left the room to speak with her, my eyes filled with tears.


At another point, the attending physician arrived, called back in from home. I have worked with this physician for several years; he is one of my favorites due to his calming presence. Like Mr. Sheraton, he has a gentle and humble spirit and speaks about his wife with great love. He came just when we needed him the most.


Toward the end of the code, Mr. Sheraton's heart began to beat on its own...just for a few beats before going into v-tach and being shocked again. The intervals gradually increased in length until at last he was stable enough to be transferred to critical care. Afterward, we were physically and emotionally exhausted. As we comforted each other, tears again filled my eyes and I prayed, "Please God!!"


By Sunday, Mr. Sheraton was extubated and able to tell his wife he loved her. It was a miracle-an enormous, unimaginable miracle!!


A few days later, Mr. Sheraton was back in our unit. I could hardly wait to see him. Listening to him and his wife lovingly banter back and forth, I was amazed. God had performed a miracle, and we got to see it.


When I visited the next day, he and his wife told me that an implanted defibrillator was recommended. He said he really didn't want it; he had one before and didn't want to go through it again. His wife said, "Dwight, you have to do it." He just smiled and said, "No, I'm good. Everything's good." He knew he wouldn't be here long.


Mr. Sheraton spent Christmas with his wife, but shortly afterward it was his time to go. Many of us refer to someone's dying as losing the battle; "he lost his battle with heart disease," "she lost her battle with cancer." However, I cannot help thinking that if he could, Mr. Sheraton would let us know he won the battle.


* Name of patient has been changed to protect his identity. [Context Link]