By Max Devantier —
James Story wrote a song for his sister after her death. How could he possibly have known that the same song would save his life?
James contracted Covid-19 in March, in the early stages of the outbreak in America when doctors still did not know much about the pandemic. He very nearly died.
“I had become septic. I started dialysis because the kidneys were failing,” James recounts on a CBN video. “From there it was pretty much downhill.”
James felt chills and fever in March of this year, when Covid first broke out in the U.S. He went to the ER, but doctors, not diagnosing Covid, sent him home. Over the weekend, he grew worse and had to be taken to the hospital.
For several weeks, he went in and out of consciousness and remained on a ventilator for 15 days. His vitals got progressively worse. His kidneys were breaking down, so he required hemodialysis. Among the many afflicted by Covid, his was one of the most severe.
Meanwhile, his friends from church set up a prayer page on Facebook, and the Gallatin, Tennessee Methodist church entreated God on behalf of the retired college music professor.
As he lingered near death, James didn’t just waste his downtime in the hospital. “I took advantage of the time that I had away to meditate and read scriptures and become closer to God,” he says.
That’s when he got a vision.
“I felt like I was in a grave, and I was trying to pull myself up (out of the grave) to the sunlight,” he remembers. “I felt as though I saw the face of God and He was reaching out his hand to me. All I could do was bow down and worship.”
Meanwhile, doctors were concerned the damage would be permanent, which required the installation of a tracheostomy feeding tube.
In all, James spent 71 days in the hospital.
Eventually, doctors wanted to get him off the ventilator. But James was attached to the easy breathing like a security blanket. He became agitated over the potential loss of the ventilator.
Then he remembered the song he wrote several months earlier for his deceased sister. It helped sustain him. It was a song about the church’s mission statement: to show love in words and deeds, in truth and action, he says.
“There were times that I was fighting not wanting to have the vent taken out, but over a series of a few days, as someone was playing, I finally calmed down and they were able to remove the ventilation and I was breathing pretty much on my own,” he says.
The recovery began. His kidneys recovered. He credits prayer for an almost total restoration of health.
“He could have died and I think that God spared him,” says Laura Youngman, nurse practitioner at the Hendersonville Tristar Medical Center where he was treated. “He’s just a wonderful success story to his faith and to the excellent health care that he received.”
“I don’t consider myself lucky,” he says. “I consider myself blessed.”
Max Devantier studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.