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South Texas Living

Reminiscing: Having faith in a hospital waiting room, part I

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Rainy Days and Starry Nights
February 8, 2012 | 2,111 views | Post a comment

It was September 1982. The waiting room outside the Neuro-ICU unit was quiet that morning. I sat in a chair half asleep. It had been a long night.

My daughter Julie, 27, had been there in a coma almost a week after experiencing a cerebral hemorrhage and having undergone brain surgery to have the large blood clot removed from her brain. The doctors had told us right after the surgery, she had a 10 percent chance to live, but as the days went by, her chances increased to 25 percent. We were still hoping and praying she would get well.

I had spent the week in the hospital waiting room, only going home or to someone’s home near the hospital to take a shower and change clothes. I didn’t dare leave Julie alone. At times like that, a mother wants to be near her child.

We made friends with all the people in the waiting room, who were anxiously waiting to see their loved ones too. We became a close-knit bunch.

One family was the Chuck DeHaan family. Chuck, who is a famous Texas artist, was a rancher who lived west of Fort Worth with his wife Joy and their children. Their son was in the room next to Julie in ICU. Chuck would hold Bible studies, with prayers at the end, every day. Chuck and Joy had a lot of faith. My sister-in-law, Helen, stayed with me during those long dark days and nights.

Chuck DeHaan was asked to come to pray for people because they saw how much faith he had. I was amazed, because their son had been in a terrible accident and was still unconscious not ever regaining consciousness. I knew that the doctor had told them there was little hope for their son. And we found out that two of their other children had been killed in auto accidents several years ago near the same area. My heart was breaking for them, but they had so much faith. They had not given up on God.

As I sat there in the waiting room, I heard the elevator door ding; the door opened and I looked up to see Chuck coming toward me. He stood before me with his Bible in his hand, and then asked me if he could go pray for Julie. I told him yes and thanked him.

That afternoon, the nurses told me about Chuck praying for Julie. They confirmed that he prayed a powerful prayer and had laid his Bible open on her head as he prayed.

The next day, we saw the doctor talking to Chuck and Joy and their family by the elevator doors. We sensed he had no good news for them. We found out later they had a decision to make. They had to decide whether to take him off of life support.

That night I went back to see Julie at 8 p.m., the last time I could see her that night. She was still in a coma, showing no sign of life, except for the respirator breathing for her. She would not squeeze my hand, or respond when I spoke softly to her. I talked to her about what was going on with her brothers and sister and her daddy. I talked about her husband Mike and her baby Lacey as if she could hear, but there was no response.

As I left her room, I looked in on Chuck and Joy’s son. The door was almost closed as he lay there in the darkness. I said a prayer for him. I saw the respirator breathing for him too.

After spending another night in the hospital waiting room, the next afternoon we went home to take a shower and change clothes, and hurried back to the hospital. We went up to the third floor and stepped off the elevator. The room was eerily quiet with only an old man nodding in his chair.

We hurried back to the ICU to see Julie, hoping there would be good news. As we passed Chuck DeHaan’s son’s room, we could see the bed was empty. He was gone. The room was quiet and dark. No respirator going, no lights blinking, no noises from machines. My heart sank.

We were quiet as we entered Julie’s room. She was still sleeping with all those noisy machines going, and lights flickering, and I could see her monitor registering and I could see that her heart was still beating steadily up and down on the screen.

I was crying as I squeezed her hand and kissed it. She was still alive.

And I thanked God for people who were praying for her, like Chuck DeHaan, and countless others around the world. Someday she was going to get well. I decided I wouldn’t give up ever. If Chuck DeHaan could have faith and trust in God after all he had gone through, I could have faith too.

“The rest of the story -- five years later” in my next column.

Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. E-mail her at

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