Claudette and Leonard Himes, were approaching their 8th wedding anniversary. On March 16th, Claudette began to suffer from a 102 degree fever that wouldn’t come down even with medication. Then the 63-year-old began to have trouble breathing. Leonard rushed her to the hospital. Claudette tested positive for COVID-19, and her case was a bad one. Claudette’s life was now in danger. Doctors decided to move her to ICU and place her on a ventilator to help her breathe. Leonard would not see Claudette again for 18 days. Eleven days passed and Claudette was not getting any better. In fact, she was getting much worse. Leonard said that at that point, he got devastating news.
The doctor told him that Claudette’s lungs were full of pneumonia and that it was time for him to meet with palliative care to discuss “when you want to unplug life support.” He asked the ICU nurse and the chaplain to set up a baby monitor by Claudette’s bed so he could talk to her. She was unconscious, but he sensed she could hear him. He read Psalm 91 to her like he’d done many times before. “I was able to read to her, and pray for her” Himes says. At home that evening, Leonard was broken-hearted. He said he didn’t sleep at all that night. “I was weeping and calling on God.” As he saw the sun come up that morning he somehow felt peace. “I didn’t know if that peace meant my wife was going to be with Him, or be OK. But I had peace.”
Later that morning, Leonard was at home on the phone with the palliative care medical team and other family members when he began to get another call from his wife’s phone that had been left at the hospital. He dismissed it and kept on with the conference call. But whoever was calling was persistent and called three times. He couldn’t imagine what it could be. Surely, if something had happened to Claudette, her doctors who he was talking to would know what was going on. At that point, he told his sister-in-law to call Claudette’s phone. A nurse answered and gave Claudette’s sister some amazing news. ‘Claudette was sitting up in bed, extubated, and breathing on her own.’” ‘You’ve Received a Miracle’ she said.
The medical team on the conference call was silent as they heard Leonard shout and praise God that Claudette was healed. Finally, one of the doctors still on the phone said, “Leonard, it looks like you’ve received a miracle.” A few days later, surrounded by her nurses, Claudette celebrated her 63rd birthday. Claudette came home on April 3rd. Still testing positive for the virus, no rehab centre would take her. So Leonard, dressed in protective gear, helped her at home with therapeutic exercises to rebuild her strength. She’s doing well now, Leonard says, almost back to 100%. Leonard made the decision not to tell Claudette all the details right away of how sick she’d been, and that there’d been a discussion of palliative care. He wanted to wait until she was stronger.
Then, 10 days after she came home, Leonard decided it was time to tell her. He told her how sick she had been. And then Claudette told him something she experienced that has them both still in awe. “Claudette told me there was a man in the room in a white coat,” Leonard recalls. Claudette said “I don’t know the exact order of when I saw the man in the white coat, if I was still asleep or waking up, or if it was after. But I thought the man was there to turn the machines off.” A nurse came into the room. The man in the white coat was gone. Claudette assumed he was a doctor. But there was a strange detail that Claudette remembers about him that makes her question that now. “He was not wearing any protective clothing in a COVID 19 ward,” she says.