God had to break me so He could fix me again
GLENPOOL—His doctors didn’t think he was going to make it. His nurses called him the “miracle man.” His church was praying for him.
And more than a year after suffering an aneurism, Tim Warner’s life is just that—life.
Almost four years ago, doctors told Warner he had an aneurism on his aorta, and if it ever burst, he would probably die. The good news, however, was that the doctor had never seen an aneurism in the position Warner’s was burst.
But, on Feb. 17, 2008, as Warner was sitting at his dining room table paying bills, he experienced a pain in the back of his throat that moved to his head. As he stood up from the table, he sensed something inside him was tearing; then he heard what sounded like water running and realized it must be blood flowing out of his aorta.
His wife, Karen, called an ambulance, and by the time he was on the way to the hospital, he said his legs started hurting with a pain he had never felt before.
“It felt like someone was trying to cut my legs off,” Warner remembered.
At the hospital, Warner told the surgeon, Dr. Mammana, that all five of his arteries had some percentage of blockage.
Mammana told the family this was a critical situation and Warner would need immediate surgery. He gave Warner a 50/50 chance of survival.
At that point, Warner had made it further than most people with that condition. Nurses at the hospital said 95 percent of those patients don’t make it to the hospital and of the five percent who do, most don’t live through the surgery.
After 12 hours of surgery, which included a double bypass and valve replacement in addition to repairing the aorta, Warner’s family was told there could be brain damage and he could lose his arms and legs.
Mammana explained that Warner’s situation was worse than he first thought, and his chances of making it through everything were more like 80/20 against him.
Warner was in an induced coma for five weeks, during which he had several blood transfusions, his kidneys shut down, he was struggling with his oxygen level, he got an infection, had a heart arrhythmia and doctors performed a tracheotomy.
About 10 days after the surgery, doctors told Karen his kidneys were not functioning properly even on dialysis, there was nothing else they could do, and they did not think he was going to get any better.
Yet he slowly improved, although he continued to fight an uphill battle.
On March 22, 33 days after his surgery, doctors stopped his sedation and he finally awakened.
“Just before I woke up, I saw this little angel touching me,” said Warner. “It was like he was telling me to wake up.”
Warner recalled that before he went into surgery, he realized he was either going to “wake up here or in Heaven.”
He remained in the hospital for five months, had five surgeries, one of which was a skin graft on his toe after he acquired a bone infection. Doctors finally had to take the bone out of the little toe on his left foot.
Karen said she received a phone call three weeks after the surgery asking her if she wanted to “pull the plug.”
She said “no,” because a year before the aneurism, she had a promise from God.
“God gave me Philippians 2:27, ‘For indeed he was sick nigh unto death; but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow,'” Karen said. “In the hospital waiting room, I told my mother-in-law about the promise and went to pick up a Bible on the table to show her, and it was opened to Philippians 2:27.”
When Warner was facing foot surgery, he called his wife, who was home reading Proverbs 3:5-6.
“She asked me what I thought it meant, and I said I thought it meant we should go ahead with the surgery, trusting God,” Warner recalled.
Warner said he believes through all of this, he has experienced several miracles. One of those is being able to keep his job.
He was getting ready to lose his job as a software engineer and go on long-term disability, when his boss told him if he could work 30 hours a week, he could keep his job and medical benefits.
He suffered the aneurism the day after his 18th anniversary with the company, and is now working 50 hours a week from home.
Warner said he realizes he needed to be remolded physically and spiritually.
“I wasn’t going to church when all this happened,” he admitted. “I was reading my Bible and praying.”
He said before the surgery, he had a peace because in October of 1987, during a revival at Glenpool, First, where he is now a member, “the Lord led me to ask Him to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior.
“You know, a lot of people think they can wait until they are in a situation like this to give their heart to the Lord, but I can tell you from experience that making that decision is the last thing that is on your mind. Your thoughts are on your pain. I admonish people who have not given their heart to Jesus yet, to not wait until they get into a situation like this before they make that decision.”
Steven McAbee, pastor of Glenpool, First, said Warner’s illness was amazing to watch.
“The first few weeks I visited him, I was really concerned,” McAbee said. “I knew we could trust God for healing, and I am excited we have a great God with great ability to heal. That’s what He did for Tim.”
Warner said he believes one of the reasons God left him on Earth is to tell the story of what God did for him while he was in critical condition.
“I learned a great deal about the conjunction ‘but’ in this situation,” Warner commented. “I nearly died, ‘but’ the Lord intervened and worked a miracle in my body to leave me on the Earth. I believe it was as a result of His will and the prayers that were offered up by my family, my church and my friends. I found nothing is impossible with God.”