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FIRST-PERSON: Little miracles


[2]EDITOR’S NOTE: C.J. MacDonald is the client portfolio manager for GuideStone Capital Management.

DALLAS (BP) – Earlier this year, as my family sat at lunch after church service, my daughter lamented that there seemed to be no great miracles anymore. She had read about Jesus walking on water, turning water into wine, and feeding 5,000 people with only five loaves and two fish. These were impressive miracles, she thought, but they were in the olden days.

My wife noted that there are still miracles in the world today. Many of them are too small to be noticed, but they are equally important and powerful.

We discovered the power of these little miracles a month later, as the coronavirus ravaged my body.

I stayed in bed with a fever for four days before my wife Dylana took me to the emergency room. At that time, the hospital did not have enough COVID-19 tests, and even though I had many of the symptoms, they released me to return home after a few hours.

As I left the hospital, the nurse advised my wife and me to get a pulse oximeter, a device that clips on the edge of a finger to monitor blood oxygen level. Dylana scoured the internet and discovered that there was only one unit left in Dallas – at a store a mile away from our house.


Two days later, the device revealed that my oxygen level had declined sharply. We left for the hospital immediately.

I was admitted and given a coronavirus test. Over the next few days, my oxygen level continued to decrease. I was moved to the ICU and put on a ventilator.

My wife researched potential treatments and learned of an immunosuppressive drug that was being investigated as a treatment for COVID-19. She called around and found that in the entire health system, there were only two doses left. My doctors secured the doses for me.

C.J. MacDonald with his wife Dylana about two months after his hospital stay.

When I awoke after being removed from the ventilator, I thought I had been asleep for six hours. I was surprised when I was told that it had been the better part of four days. Though my eyesight was still blurry and my body weak, I could see that I had received text messages from 43 people. I also learned that when my neighbor heard about my condition, she stood in the parking lot outside my window and prayed for me.

A steady stream of hospital personnel not working on my case would come by, stand outside my isolation room and just stare at me. My nurse told me that I was the only patient on the floor who had been taken off a ventilator so far. I was apparently giving the hospital staff some hope during their daily shifts filled with chaos, uncertainty and sadness.

The old saying goes that there are no atheists in foxholes. We could adapt that statement to say that there is no one without faith in a COVID-19 care unit. The patients, their families and the healthcare workers are all constantly praying for miracles and blessings from the Lord. After all, drugs, tubes and ventilators can only do so much.

My story is full of little miracles. Finding the only available pulse oximeter in Dallas to alert me of my declining condition. Being able to procure the experimental treatment to aid my recovery. The prayers of my neighbor and the many people who reached out to my wife and me. And being the first COVID-19 patient in my unit to come off a ventilator. These miracles happen every day. True faith makes them possible and visible if we open our eyes to them.