Jerome & Dianne Vick
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Posted on Fri, Feb 22, 2008
A Testimony from Jerome Vick
Jerome Vick has his life back after an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him it wasn’t his time to go. A successful farmer and businessman, Jerome was always busy, sometimes too busy to serve the Lord. He had several farms and a thriving potato company to manage. His business often involved travel. One trip took him to Mexico, where his life was changed forever.
In 2002, on his return from Mexico, Jerome began to experience weakness in his feet and legs. He went to the doctor, and the doctor told him he had read about a disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome, but he had never seen a case of it.
“What’s going to happen, if you have this disease,” said the doctor, “is that your muscles are going to shut down, and you will have difficulty breathing.”
“He was trying not to scare me,” recalled Jerome, “but he was scaring me to death. He said, ‘Go home, and if you don’t get any better, we will get you to Duke.’”
Jerome’s wife, Dianne, did not want to go home, however. She was afraid that he would stop breathing during the night, and she would not be able to get him help. She borrowed a car that he could get into and rushed him to Duke Hospital that same night.
Upon arrival at Duke, Jerome saw a doctor who ordered a spinal tap, and he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. “Your breathing is going to get harder and harder,” said the doctor. He then hospitalized Jerome and put him on a ventilator. Later, a surgeon performed a tracheotomy on him to help his breathing.
Ninety days passed. Jerome was still paralyzed, tube fed, and hooked up to a respirator. He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t even press the nurse’s call button. To communicate, he could only blink his eyes. Whenever he wanted to speak to his wife, she would start saying the alphabet. When she reached the letter that began the word he wanted, he would blink his eyes. Then she would repeat the process for each remaining letter.
Fear was real for Jerome during this time. “You don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s like going down a road in the dark at 60 mph. You don’t know where you are going or how long it is going to take to get there. They say you can recover, but how long will it take?”
One night, Jerome dreamed that he was standing in a line of people moving toward a massive throne. A huge man, resembling Abraham Lincoln, was sitting on the throne. As each person approached, he or she would stop at the foot of the man holding the great Book of Life. If the person’s name were in the book, the man would move his foot and let him or her pass into the inner sanctuary. If not, he would motion the supplicant off in the other direction. Jerome heard people at the front of the line crying, begging, and pleading to be admitted, but to no avail.
Then he began to wonder if he would be admitted. If not, would he be able to talk the man into admitting him? He knew he was a “Sunday morning Christian.”
Just before he approached the throne, a woman touched him on the shoulder and said, “It’s not time.” He woke to find a very caring travel nurse standing by his hospital bed. He decided the line at the throne was not the place to worry about whether his name was in the book or not. He knew he was going to be a witness.
Later, he told a friend who visited him about his decision to witness as soon as he got well. The friend replied, “What if you don’t get well?” His friend’s response made Jerome think about the statement and realize that he could witness right where he was, and he did so.
As the days passed, Jerome’s friends, family, and fellow church members came to visit. He discovered that he was not forgotten, and, above all, he was prayed for. He knew he should pray for himself, but he felt too guilty to do that. “I found myself praying for the people in the room next to me,” Jerome remembered. “I found it hard to pray for myself. I told people I felt so insignificant that I felt guilty asking the Lord to heal me.”
After sixty days in the hospital bed without ever looking out the window, Jerome was given the opportunity to go to the ninth floor to view the outside world from a large window. “I was terrified. It absolutely scared me to death. I was afraid to get away from the respirator,” Jerome fearfully recalled. “Getting off the respirator is something you have to will yourself to do.” In time, he was able to breathe on his own.
Before Jerome returned home, he had questions in his mind about his ninety-day experience. “Why did God spare me?” Jerome pondered. “What does He have in mind?” As these and other questions continued to affect Jerome, he made a decision for his life. “I’m going to use my name and my ability to glorify God,” he concluded.
When Jerome was able, he began traveling to churches to give his testimony. Each time, they tried to take up a love offering for him, but he donated the money back to the church. On one occasion, a church gave him $350. He knew the children of the church were going on a mission trip. One girl had only $50 of the $400 she needed for the trip. Jerome gave her the money, and she was able to go.
Jerome was surprised when his doctor wanted to prescribe antidepressants for him. Jerome quickly responded, “I am not depressed. I put my faith in the hands of the Lord. I hand things to Him and quit worrying about it. He will see me through.”
“People have put me on prayer lists all over North Carolina,” Jerome said. “The mission I am on is to thank people for praying for me. It is a fact that when people pray for you, you improve. I have to have confidence in my doctor and faith in the Lord. I trust that the Lord is going to get me through. The next time I get in that line, I’m not going to worry about whether my name is in the Book of Life.”
Rachel W. Edwards
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