My Journey: The Day Our Son Stopped Breathing
By Debbie Mannon
Dec. 28, 2014
Three days after Christmas last year, our three oldest sons went to a nearby ski resort to go snowboarding.
Jon (21), Dan (17), and Andrew (15) planned to enjoy the resort and make plans to return three days later for Jon’s 22nd birthday.
My husband, Rick, who is a pastor, and I were home with our two youngest boys relaxing until the afternoon when Rick had to officiate a funeral.
A little after noon, we received a call from Jon urging us to come to the hospital right away. We learned the boys had only gone down one ski slope, the easiest “bunny hill,” and were standing in line for the ski lift, when Dan fell to the ground. He was in cardiac arrest and quit breathing.
Dan had always been very healthy. There was no history of heart problems in our family. I never thought we would receive a phone call like this.
When Dan fell to the ground, a man nearby kicked off his skis and began administering CPR. He also called for someone to get a portable defibrillator. The defibrillator was used, and additional CPR was applied. Dan doesn’t remember anything until waking up in the ambulance.
Dan was hospitalized for five days. Numerous tests were run, and everything turned out negative.
At the hospital, a public relations lady wanted to do a story about Dan. She asked if Rick and I would give interviews to a couple of TV stations, and then we could meet Dan’s rescuers.
We talked it over with Dan, and prayed about it. Dan was the one who said we should tell the story and give the glory to God. It turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel in our community.
A year later, I reflect on God’s hand in the midst of our family crisis.
• First, the boys were originally going to go to a different ski resort. The man who helped Dan would not have been there.
• Second, God had Dan in the right place near the man who helped him. It could have been a very different story had the heart attack happened on a slope or the ski lift and delayed medical help.
• Third, the man who knew CPR had not planned on going skiing, but his father talked him into taking his two girls for the first time that day.
• Fourth, Dan collapsed right outside the window where the portable defibrillator was stored.
• Fifth, when Dan collapsed, there was an ambulance already on its way. Someone thought an elderly man was having a heart attack, and had requested an ambulance for him. It turned out the man was fine, but the ambulance was diverted for Dan.
From the moment Dan collapsed until he was in the ambulance took all of 10 minutes. This was another miracle in light of how far from the ski resort the ambulance had to travel.
For the past 30 years, Rick and I have faithfully prayed for God’s hedge of protection around our family. Even before Dan went into cardiac arrest, God had hedged him in right where he needed to be. Dan has suffered no lasting ill effects from the heart attack. We believe Satan wanted to destroy Dan’s life, but God intervened. We are so blessed!
None of us is guaranteed another year, another week, or another breath. Each moment might be the last we have. So many people say, “Let me live my life, and when I’m older and ready, I will give my heart to the Lord.”
In Dan’s case, he had no warning — no feeling of weakness, no sense that he was going to collapse. Dan almost died that day. If he had, he was ready to meet his Savior. But God intervened.
If this day were your last on Earth, how ready are you?
DEBBIE MANNON attends Calvary Assembly of God in Wilson, Wis., where her husband, Rick Mannon, serves as lead pastor.
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