The Lanes Call it Faith, Not False Hope
By Debbie Harper and Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
On August 17 2003, Donna Lane was driving on a wet four-lane highway in southern Florida. Her car hit a slippery patch, skidded into oncoming traffic, and overturned. Donna was ejected from the window and thrown onto the pavement.
When the emergency medical crew arrived, there were no signs of life. Donna was in a near-death coma and non-responsive. She couldn’t breathe, so a tube was placed in her lungs. Responders could detect only a faint blood pressure reading, and she was hemorrhaging from massive injuries to her brain and abdomen.
Donna was transported by helicopter to the hospital where emergency surgeries kept her alive. She also suffered a stroke because of the trauma. Doctors gave Donna a tracheotomy and put her on life support with little hope of recovery.
Soon, her children arrived at the hospital.
“Then we went to the nurse and she brought us into the room to see my mom and it was just utterly devastating," said her daughter Tracey. "God - who - what happened? Who could - who is this? This can’t be my mother.”
Tracey learned that both arteries in her mother's neck were severed.
“The doctor explained to us, in his 20 years of practice had never witnessed anybody have two torn caroted arteries without a full decapitation," Tracey said. “It just sits with you and you say, 'will she ever be the same?' and that’s when they started telling us, 'no, she won’t.'"
On the fourth day, Donna’s family met with her doctors.
“They said, 'you know, we need to take her off this respirator if she doesn’t show any significant signs, basically by tomorrow,'" Tracey recalled. “I knew in my heart that my mom was not going. God was not taking my mother at this point."
Donna’s family refused to give up. They sang songs and hung pictures around Donna’s room hoping for the best.
“This is in the ICU, where they keep everything just mundane, and you’re not allowed a lot of visitors," Tracey said. "And here we are, with this full family support, church support - everybody just rotating as much as we can. My mom was never alone.”
“One of the doctors was point-blank with me and really direct and said to me, ‘you need to stop.’ And I was just - ‘stop what?’ And he said, ‘this is false hope. You’re creating false hope.' And I know they took me as the guidance to my family, my younger siblings," Tracey said. "And I said, ‘well, we don’t have false hope, we have faith.'”
When morning came and the doctors were to remove life support, there was amazing news!
“They said, miraculously, my mom started breathing on her own that night. Whooooo, the chills in my spine - and they couldn’t even explain it,” Tracey said.
Three weeks after the accident, Donna opened her eyes. The next week, she was moving her extremities. From there, every small achievement became monumental. Still doctors were not hopeful.
“With the stages of coma, they basically say if she comes out of the complete state of a coma, or stage 1, she could be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life," Tracey said. "So, as we progressed to each stage, they still would give us the scenario that this could be it; and this is where she will be for the rest of her life."
In spite of the doctors’ grim prognosis, little by little, Donna’s condition improved. She began to speak, and move with better and better control. On September 24th, she was transferred to a special care facility.
“Now it was just start therapy and really help her get integrated back into life,” Tracey said. “As we started to bring mom to rehab, we just thought, ‘Thank you, Jesus, we know we’re on our way to recovery.'”
Just three months after her accident, Donna came home - just in time for Thanksgiving!
“My mom’s first Thanksgiving after the accident was such a blessing," Tracey said. "We were so thankful that she was home. That was her goal. She would tell everybody in rehab, 'I’ll be home for Thanksgiving.'”
Today, Donna is full of life. She enjoys her family and gives thanks to God.
“Back then, I couldn’t even stand up," Donna said. "It was a task to sit up straight. To move - I couldn’t move like this. I mean, they shook, but I couldn’t move. I remember laying in my bed saying, 'God, stop this arm from shaking.' I’d lay on it and I’d be like this, 'please stop it from shaking,' because my whole bed shook. But as you can see today, no shaking. Thank you Jesus.”
Donna now lives on her own and drives wherever she needs to go. Inspite of her previous brain injuries she enrolled in college. She has a 4.0 grade point average, and is earning a business management degree.
“I believe I’m a miracle and I thank Jesus for it," Donna said.
“We just can’t believe that our mom is here and healthy and independent, which they said she would never be!” Tracey said.
“As I walk today and I have use of my limbs and they don’t shake errativally, I am ecstatic. I’m so thankful to Jesus because without Him we couldn’t do anything, nothing,” Donna said.
“We are just so blessed and thank the Lord for keeping her in our lives,” Tracey said.
“I believe and I thank Jesus that He brought me from death to life," Donna said. "I believe that hope is in Jesus. Nobody else, nobody can give you hope; only Jesus can.”
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