I spend a lot of time listening to Moody Radio, as it sets a spiritual tone to my day. One day while listening I began to hear information being given about an upcoming event, called "Pray Chicago". The event was going to be held at the House of Hope Church, the Pastor of which is Rev. Meeks, and the location of which was near my current apartment, on the south side of Chicago. I took down the information regarding the event, with the hopes of being able to participate ministerially. I sent an email stating my interest, and immediately received an email back from Dr. John Fuder (Director of Heart for The City/Pray Chicago). I attended the event and my heart was set ablaze by the power of the in terms of it's spiritual strength!! People from everywhere in the city and suburbs, standing on one accord, crying out to God, for the 77 communities in Chicago....MY CITY.....the one that’s always on the news for its unprecedented acts of violence. Now, I'll be honest, I live in a pretty calm niche, in the midst of the proverbial "HOOD", and one of the things that has bothered me most about the violence in Chicago is its effect on the YOUTH. Both, in terms of, their perpetuation/participation, and their victimization. So God put in my heart, the creation of, "Pray Chicago-Youth Edition"!!!
During the course of planning the Pray Chicago event in Garfield Park for May 17, I began to experience some breathing issues. I attributed this to being overweight. After one of our planning meetings, the Pray Chicago Staff, went over to Garfield Park to a press conference, held by Mayor Emmanuel, regarding his Faith In Action program. When leaving the event, with a box of placards we planned to use at our May 17th event, I began to feel extreme shortness of breath, this bothered me, because, although i still attributed this to being overweight, I had not experienced this level of uncomfortability before. Once I reached my car, and began to drive I felt much better, and carried on with my day. The following Sunday, (2days later) while returning from the neighborhood grocery store (approximately 4 blocks from my home) I began to experience the shortness of breath again, this time accompanied by tightness, and burning in the chest. This feeling was so extreme that at one point I considered laying down I made it home and on the sidewalk!! But God's voice kept saying, "keep going, you can make it, keep going." vowed to go to the emergency room..."sometime tomorrow"...
Well for me Mondays are kind of hectic. I pick my nephews up from school and take them to tutoring, wait the 2 hours for them, then return them home. On this particular day, my brother (their father) came with. While waiting for the boys, we decided to go to Mariannos (grocery store) by this time every where I walked cause extreme uncomfortability, and shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and general misery. I checked my blood pressure in the pharmacy to find it read nearly off the meter!!! Gathering enough strength to get to the car, I proceeded to pick up my nephews, drop them off at home, and then proceed to the Emergency Room at Christ Hospital (what a name huh). I parked in the lot and by the time I reached the ER Desk I could no longer breathe or speak. They immediately rushed me into the critical care unit where I received an EKG, and ECG. One of the ER Doctors then informed me that I was either having a heart attack or there was a blood clot in my lung!!! The ECG revealed, not only a massive blood clot in EACH lung, but one of the clots was sitting on one of the ventricles of my heart, and had been there for sometime, causing my heart to swell on one side immensely due to "...trying to get oxygen into the blood through a wall, basically..." The systems in my body had been going haywire, for some months, apparently. I was admitted into Cardiac Intensive Care in Critical Condition.
The next morning amid a preponderance of Doctors and specialists, I was told that I needed emergency surgery to administer "clot busters" to these blood clots, and that this surgery had never been done in this hospital on 2 clots simultaneously. Added to this news, was the byline that most people don't live with one small clot in their lungs, so i was pretty "lucky"....I corrected them to the use of the term "blessed"! I was rushed into surgery, early that afternoon, only to find out at the operating room door that because I had been given breakfast earlier, I could not be given anesthesia! When i responded with my request to perform this procedure another day, the doctor quickly retorted, " What makes you think you have another day!" So for the next 90 minutes or so I spent my time on the operating room table, murmuring to myself, praying, and though i may try, as long as I have been in Church, studied, and taught scripture, and Doctorate level theology, somehow, someway, I could not remember one scripture, or the words to one hymn!!! No Not One!!! WOW!!! I spent the next week in intensive care, where I really had an opportunity to reflect on both the seriousness of my condition, and more-so the awesomeness of this experience in terms of what I felt God was showing me!! I was genuinely sitting back and enjoying the ride!!! I had no worries, because I knew that God was there "with his rod and staff" so to speak. I remember calling Dr. Fuder a couple of days into my hospitalization, and offering suggestions, and ideas, with regards to our upcoming event, to which he responded, “You’re in Intensive Care, WHY are you worried about Pray Chicago?!!" My response, "Well the work has to continue!!!" This week I really saw the power of God, true, in terms of the dr's care for my ailment, but more so in how He constantly manifested how this experience though it may have seemed "tragic" on the outside, my attitude, and desire to both see, and utilize this experience as a testimony, and instrument of His goodness, and for His Glory!!!! All I could think was WOWWW, THANK YOU JESUS!!! THIS IS A GREAT GREAT TESTIMONY, THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO EXPERIENCE YOUR AWESOMENESS!! I sometimes thought of Job, and how he said, "...though He slay me, yet will i praise Him." But the fact of the matter was I KNEW I WOULD COME THROUGH, I KNEW HE WASN'T "SLAYING" ME. I KNEW HE WAS GROWING ME, STRENGTHENING ME, and yes...BLESSING ME, both WITH and THROUGH this "bodily crisis"!!! GLORY BE TO GOD!!!
Well upon my release from the hospital the time was winding down until our Garfield Park event, but i had about 5 days from my release until our next organizational meeting, so I allowed that as my official recovery time! I showed up at the meeting and had been given the new nickname "Lazarus". Although I knew I still wasn't feeling the best, there was much to be done for the Garfield Park event, and on a personal level, I WAS BEING EVICTED AT THE SAME TIME!!!!
The Garfield Park Pray Chicago Event was an awesome time in the Lord, I hosted, along with Roy Patterson, prayed over the youth of Chicago, and although I knew that my body was still not healed I also knew that God would sustain me, AND HE DID IT!!!!!!
3 days after the Garfield Park event We had to move, and during the midst of that I knew that it was time for me to go back to the emergency room asap....My return there just 2 weeks after being released was again a shocker, for an extensive battery of tests, called for me to have a procedure on my heart, which had been damaged by the clots. The testing on my lungs, and heart on this second hospitalization, and the heart surgery itself, although it took a toll on my mental energy, it didn't at all effect my spiritual fervor!! I thought to myself wowwww God is really going overboard with my testimony, lol!!!! But I felt so blessed to go through this walk WITH GOD...I felt so blessed to Go through this earthly storm, with a heavenly purpose. I felt so blessed to go through this physical crisis, with spiritual ramifications.
Coming out, all I can say is, Glory To God and remember, In ALL YOUR "GOINGS" and your "GOING THROUGHS" ....GO WITH GOD!! AND DON'T STOP SERVING, UNTIL THE WORK IS COMPLETE!!!!!!
Dr. Donovan E. Price
PrayChicago -Youth Edition