Madeleine O'ConnellMy husband John, who is a paediatrician, and I were living in Fiji at the time. The children were at school in England and used to come to visit us for the holidays. John had always told them that if they had a fever within three weeks of going back to school, they should contact him immediately, in case they had contracted some kind of tropical disease unfamiliar to the local GP.
It was just after the Easter holidays when we got the dreaded call from Victoria four days after she had gone back to school after visiting us. She was calling from the infirmary. She wasn't feeling well and had a fever. She had been given antibiotics but they weren't working, and suspecting that it was glandular fever the doctor wanted to do tests. Remembering what her father had told her, she insisted on calling home to let him know about it.
I could hear him asking her various medical questions, and from the answers he got I realised that it was something very serious. He asked to speak to the school matron. At the time there was a terrible outbreak of Dengue Fever in Fiji. John had seen many of his young patients die, and he was concerned that Victoria might have caught this. It is passed on by infected mosquitoes, but, unlike malaria, there is no preventative.
He asked the matron for the name of the paediatrician in the area. At first she was reluctant to give it, but eventually gave in. Amazingly it happened to be a former colleague of John, who was very co-operative. John told him his suspicion about the Dengue Fever and asked that various tests be done to confirm it. There are two kinds of Dengue Fever, one which is very debilitating but not life threatening which lasts about six months, the other is Haemorrhagic Dengue Fever, which is a killer. The patient is dead within four days, with blood haemorrhaging out of their eyes and ears and mouth, for which there is no medication. Victoria's paediatrician had no experience of Dengue Fever and was only too glad to be guided by John who is an expert in tropical illnesses like this. John told him to carry out some tests and ring him back as they would tell him what he wanted to know. When he rang back, I knew just from the way John kept saying "oh" that it was not good news. My heart sank. When he put the phone down he said. "We are leaving for England in an hour". I realised then that it must be Haemorrhagic Dengue Fever.
We rushed to the airport where we had managed to book a flight out of the country. I always remember on the same flight was the national Fiji rugby team, who are committed Christians. When they heard about the situation, they insisted on praying for us. I will always remember the sight of these huge men holding our hands and praying that Victoria's life might be spared.
"Prayer groups praying for her round the world"
It was a very long journey, with lots of connections, but the Lord seemed to be with us and 36 hours later we landed in London where we rushed straight to the hospital. Victoria by this stage was semi- comatose and looking really bad. In the meantime, I had contacted my friends and family and asked them to pray. Soon there were prayer groups praying for her in Malta, America and the UK. The following day was the third day of her illness and her arm was already showing signs of bruising, although she hadn't started bleeding yet. Her platelets were dropping and were now at only 20,000 instead of 250,000 and her blood count was only 600, which is what cancer patients who are dying have. John was very aware of Victoria's medical condition and by the Thursday evening she was so bad that no one was saying much to each other. There seemed no hope. I was sleeping in the room with her. But I kept waking up every hour with the most awful laughing voice in my ears saying "I'm going to take her away from you." I remembered a tape that I had listened to that had said that the thing that frightens the devil more than anything else is to quote the bible at him. So that's what I did. What came to mind was "go back under the power of Jesus where you belong for it is written that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." This went on all night.
"Vision of Jesus"
What I didn't know was that the same night in Malta a young woman was also praying for Victoria. She was a member of my sister's prayer group and had been told that Victoria was seriously ill. She didn't know me or Victoria but as she was putting her own children to bed, she suddenly remembered about her and knelt down to pray for her. As she did, she received a vision of a girl in a glass tent -at the time Victoria was in an isolation ward - and she saw a thief with a sack on his back trying to break the glass so he could steal the girl. But she also saw a man in white standing between the thief and the glass tent, stopping the thief from breaking in.
She realised that the man in white was Jesus, so she asked if there was anything she should do or tell the family. She felt that he told her to tell them to fast and pray and that Friday would be the turning point for her. She immediately rang my sisters to tell them. They decided not to tell me but to pray and fast themselves, and they stayed awake all night interceding for Victoria.
On Friday morning my husband came into the room expecting the worst. He ordered a blood test. To his amazement her platelets had gone up 20,000. Fifteen minutes later they went up another 20,000 and then another. We couldn't believe it. She had had no medication because there is nothing for this kind of Dengue Fever. Medically the doctors couldn't understand what was happening but by the end of the day her blood count and platelets were completely normal. It had happened just as the woman had predicted - the turning point was the Friday, the 1st of May. This was also the first Friday of the month, which for Catholics is a special day of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was a miracle for which we never cease to thank God.
Ironically, three weeks later, when it was all over, we received the results back of the initial tests from the Tropical Diseases Unit. They said that they regretted that the patient did have the fatal disease Haemorrhagic Dengue Fever. But Victoria didn't die. She's 27 now. The Lord saved her life and she knows it and this has affected her life choices and her faith ever since.
Source: Good News Magazine