You Come From Good Stock

Three months ago. Saturday. 8:04 AM. Work rings. Never good. Answer phone.

“Dee’s mom called. His wife is a nurse and woke up and heard him gurgling. She called 9-1-1 and started CPR. They don’t know how long he was without oxygen. He’s at the ER now, but non-responsive.”

My heart sunk. We’d worked together 23 years. Dee’s a quality guy. I knew then I’d never see him again, not the same.  At minimal, brain damage from oxygen deprivation would forever change him.

~~Something awakened Dee’s wife, Alanda, at 6:15 AM.  She heard Dee gurgling from fluid filling his lungs. She flipped on the light, called 9-1-1 and started CPR.

Alanda saved Dee’s life. He’d crossed death’s doorway, but at the threshold, Alanda grabbed the tip of his little toe toenail and began pulling him back.

Five minutes later paramedics arrived. They took over CPR and used an AED.

One electrical shock to the heart. Two.

A third.

After the fifth shock, a faint but steady heartbeat returned. ~~

A few minutes after my phone call, I was at the ER.  Dee’s mom, Mrs. Pennywell, hugged me as tears flowed down her cheeks.  Alanda was at Dee’s bedside.

Dee was breathing, but unresponsive.  He flailed as the doctor and nurses intubated his lungs with the hollow tubes.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Pennywell!”

I’ve been acquainted with Mrs. Pennywell for years.  She is a very kind, gracious lady, simply an outflow of who she truly is.  Her quiet answer explains much:

“My God has this!”

When Mrs. Pennywell says God, it’s possessive. “My God!”  A relationship. Trust. Faith. Familiar.

She says God as a praise going up, and responds with confident peace that flows back down.

God is not a three-letter word to her. Not when she says it. When she says, it’s a seven-syllable declaration…

“My Goooooood!”

Doctors put Dee in a drug induced coma to let his brain rest and heal. At the same time, they feverishly ran every test, scan and image they could.

No stroke. The CT scan was normal.  No heart attack. Dee’s heart was clear and strong. They weren’t sure what happened, but he almost, or maybe did, die in his sleep.

Janet and I stopped by the hospital several times over the weekend.  Each time Mrs. Pennywell was so kind, quietly confident that her Lord would forge a way through the unknown, light a path through the darkness, move the mountain in the way.

You Come From Good Stock story

During lunch on Monday, I stopped by the ICU to check on Dee.  As soon as I stepped in the waiting room, Alanda’s face spoke volumes.

She was beaming, giddy really, with an ear to ear grin.  Joyful tears welled up in her eyes as she excitedly said, “You’ve got to go see this! He’s awake! The doctors woke him up from the coma, and he’s sitting up! He’s eating lunch!!”

Dee saw me through the window on the way to his room. He was still groggy from the medicine and asked his mother what was wrong that I was in the hospital.  She smiled and told Dee I was fine, that I was there to see him.

Until then, the last thing he remembered was being at his son’s baseball game Friday night.

Still confused, Dee was trying to put the empty slots in his memory back into logical order, yet when he reached out and shook my hand, his hospital grip was stronger than most men on their best day.

He was exactly like Alanda described, sitting up eating lunch!

He spoke normally, and although you could tell the medication hadn’t completely worn off, there were no side effects. No long term symptoms. No impairments.

Dee, was Dee!

I stood at the end of Dee’s bed wide mouthed in amazement at how miraculously well he was.

“Dee, I’m so glad to see you!!”

He shrugged, and gave me a man look, like that’s a weird thing to say.  Mrs. Pennywell was just beaming, grateful her son was back.

I said, “This is amazing!”

Without hesitation, Mrs. Pennywell spoke while raising one hand up in the air, “No!  My Goooooood is amazing!!”

I looked back at Dee.  “Yes ma’am! But this is just incredible!!”

Lifting her hand even higher to the heavens, “Uh ugh! My Goooooood is incredible!”

A tear rolled down her cheek.  Dee saw.

Seeing a tear on his mother’s face caused him distress.  He followed with a tear of his own, still not fully understanding all that had happened to him, yet in awe of all he was hearing.

The doctor said Dee needed to keep his blood pressure down.  Mrs. Pennywell realized his blood pressure would go up with tears.  She instantly switched gears to cool, calm and collected.

In a mama’s voice, as if she was preaching to the choir, she spoke.RabBits 20

“Dekovin.” (Only Dee’s mother calls him by his birth name.)

“Dekovin, look at me!”

Dee looked up, then back down.

“You look at me, Dekovin!”

“Yes ma’am.”

“You’re from good stock Dekovin!  But your stock, it didn’t come from your Daddy.  Your stock, didn’t come from your Mom.”

Leaning in while pointing up, she stared straight in his Dee’s eyes.  “Your stock? It comes, from your GOOOOOOOD!!”

Dee nodded, took a deep breath, and his blood pressure numbers began to drop back down.

Honestly, tears were in my eyes.

It was the best church service I’ve been to in a long time! I just wanted to run grab a doctor or ICU nurse. I mean somewhere, somebody needed to pass the plate!

You Come From Good Stock
Left: Dee and his wife, Alanda                       Right: Dee and his mother, Mrs. Pennywell

Dee came back to work a couple of weeks later and hasn’t missed a step.  Doctors never figured out for sure what happened, but precautionary measures were put in place, and he’s as strong as ever.

It’s still mind blowing amazing to me.

On the other hand, it’s pretty simple because his mother is right.

He comes from good stock!!!



33 thoughts on “You Come From Good Stock”

    1. Yes it is, Terri! Everything, at least on the surface level, would point the opposite direction in outcome! It is such an encouragement to be around flesh and blood saints in the faith!!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. A wonderful story; but it is a reminder we don’t have to be a nurse – we can all learn CPR. The Red Cross taught me; it taught Alie how to perform it even though she is crippled with arthritis – some help in an emergency is better than none.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was awesome! Gloriously not as uncommon as we may think, too. God is actively at work all around us “moving mountains” in ways we cannot see as well as phenomenal ways we can. Thank you for making the Pennywell’s story available to us for our encouragement, Rab. You are a good storyteller! (Loved the followup photos!) What a blessing that you were there to witness it firsthand and tell it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, totally agree! There are things going on all around us and God is moving right in the midst of it all! If we saw with spiritual spectacles all that was going on, we would usually see mountains as nothing more than speed bumps. It was a true blessing to witness this firsthand!!


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