Lately, I have been pondering on my testimony of the priesthood and how it came to be so strong. As I began to slowly recall all the events and people that have truly effected my life, two stories came to mind. I will share with you the first one.
It all began with a distinct desire for freshly popped popcorn, and ended with a tiny kernel...
Everyone knows that your junior year is always the most difficult. Classes are harder, tests are more important, and grades are being watched closely by colleges. Ten days before all the semester finals were scheduled to be taken, I was sitting at home studying, and felt my stomach growl. My Mom wasn’t home, so I knew that I had to be in charge of making my own dinner. Since I was lazy, I just made myself a bowl of my favorite buttery popcorn, and went back to studying. Days after that, I started to feel sick. At first, it only seemed like the flu. I was running a high fever, throwing up, and had a lack of concentration. For a junior about to take final exams, it was probably the worst thing ever.
My entire life, I have always been a drama queen. Ever since I was in 2nd grade, I would fake being sick just so I wouldn’t have to go to school. Or when I was home, if my siblings teased me, I would cry and completely over-emphasize every little emotion. I did that throughout all my childhood and early teen years. So when I went to my parents telling them I didn’t feel well at all, they thought it was just an excuse I was using to get out of school.
But boy, were they wrong...
I started waking up in the middle of the night from all the pain. I didn’t want my parents to know though; they wouldn’t believe me. So I would grab my blanket and pillow, walk to the bathroom, and sleep on the cold, tiled floor hoping it would help soothe the pain. One night, the pain was more than I could contain. I awoke screaming, but realized there was no noise coming from me. I needed my parents. I kept hearing a voice tell me, “Get up and find your Dad.” My body began to arch and wrench from the pain. I couldn’t move. But the voice continued to repeat that same line to me. I knew that if I didn’t get up and find my Dad, something terrible was going to happen to me. I mustered up enough strength to twist my body hard to the left so I could roll myself off my bed. I fell to the floor and began to cry even harder. It took me about 30 minutes to climb all the way up the stairs from my room to my family’s living room. Once I reached the top step, I couldn’t move any longer. I laid myself on the carpet and began to call out for my parents. My voice was so quiet. But a few minutes later, my Dad came walking out of his room. Rubbing his eyes and putting on his glasses, he saw me curled up on the floor heaving, groaning, and crying from all the pain. He came over to me, helped me up onto the couch, put his arm around me, and began dialing up my brother Kevin who had recently married and moved out. It was around 3 in the morning, so calling my brother in the middle of the night was a long shot but he lived closer to us than any of my other brothers. Miraculously, Kevin picked up after a few rings and my Dad asked him to come over right away. After he arrived, they gave me a priesthood blessing. Although the pain was still great, I felt a powerful, warm feeling the moment the blessing began. I knew that everything was going to be alright.
A few days later, I woke up to the excitement of Christmas! There was family, presents, music, food, and stockings filled with goodies! Although there was so much joy coming from the holiday, I still felt like I couldn’t breathe or move. My Mom, who believed I was over exaggerating everything from the start, rolled her eyes when she saw me curled up on the stairs crying. She grabbed her purse and told me to get up and go to the car.
That afternoon on Christmas day, my mother took me to the hospital. We arrived to the emergency room and signed in. The nurses behind the front desk took all the standard tests and measurements before moving on with my situation. As the day wore on, we were finally taken to the back room. They ran all kinds of different tests on me to figure out what my problem was. They took blood, urine samples, CAT scan, ultra sound, etc. After 8 hours of tests, the doctors finally discovered an area inside my body that contained a strange fluid. They realized that the fluid came from my appendix. It had ruptured.
The night I woke up screaming and crawling upstairs to my Dad, turned out to be the night my appendix had ruptured. The poison/acid contained inside it began to slowly spread through my body and had been for about 6 days.
The doctors prepped me and we went into surgery right away. The normal estimated time for a surgery on appendicitis is around 30 to 45 minutes, an hour at most. My surgery lasted for a total of 3 hours and 48 minutes. The doctor had to cut me open, pull out all my guts and organs, clean the poison out of my body, and put everything back in. But, as he pulled everything out, he discovered that 7 inches of my intestines had been compromised. A pocket of poison snuck its way in and began to eating away my intestines. The doctor had to cut those 7 inches out and sew the two new ends together. The poison had also come so close to reaching my lungs. I was lucky to be alive. After I got out and was placed in the recovery room, the doctor told my parents that my appendix had been blocked by a popcorn kernel, which had caused it to slowly swell up and rupture. I had to stay inside the hospital for a week of recovery before given the okay to check out.
My life nearly ended because of a tiny popcorn kernel…
I firmly believe that if I hadn’t received a Priesthood blessing that night, I wouldn’t be alive today. The power of the priesthood is real and it continues to bless my life every single day. It is an amazing gift that our Heavenly Father has allowed us to have. It truly does perform miracles and saves lives as long as we have faith and love. I am so grateful to have a family full of righteous young men and a wonderful father that are worthy enough to hold the priesthood. No person should ever take it for granted.