Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rob's Great Testimony.

Tom's Journal.

Hi Tom ~ this is long, but Rob (Norberto) wanted to share it with you. We are praying for you and Sharon. Please tell her that she can call me anytime as well. In Christ's love, Penny

Taken from the Antioch Ledger, December, 1996

=0 A
Norberto Perez spent much of October and November soaring above the people he loved.

This 51 year-old man, a resident of Pittsburg said that he remembers flying in the clouds and over cities for weeks while he was in a state of coma and near-coma after an accident that doctors said should have killed him.

While he flew, he talked with his girlfriend and family, whose voices he heard in the distance, he said. He said that they were watching him while he flew. He had no idea that they were seated at his bedside in John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

Every once in a while, he tried to descend to the city below, where, he thought, his family and his gir lfriend were waiting, he said. But the lights of the city were too bright and he had to fly again to the clouds, he said.

On Christmas, Perez rested comfortably in the home of his sister in the city of Pittsburg, looking at the lights of the tree and watching his nieces and nephews play.

He descended to earth at the end of November, leaving his dream world behind.

I see everything differently now,” said Perez, still in pain, but walking on his own.

Perez has seen hard times. In 1973, his 5 year-old daughter, Tina Christina, die d of a brain tumor. His marriage failed.

He was a jet aircraft mechanic in South Vietnam and later went to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. His nine brothers and sisters drifted apart after their mother died two years ago.

But Perez’ accident has changed things. Wednesday, Perez’s whole family gave thanks together.

By all counts, this ex- Salvation Army janitor should have died in October when he crashed his car into a large parked truck beside the Pittsburg-Antioch highway.

His heart stopped. Three times, experts declared h im dead. His heart did not pump blood and oxygen to his brain for 30 minutes.

But the persistence of a surgeon from John Muir and a bit of luck saved his life.

The doctor who is credited with saving his life, Dr. Murray Sheldon of Martinez, said the operation was a “once=2 0in a lifetime” procedure with everything against him.

When it was over, his colleagues saluted Sheldon by writing things such as: “great save” and “amazing save” in Perez’s chart.

The accident that almost killed Perez ha ppened while he was driving west on the Pittsburg-Antioch highway about noon on October 19th, 1995.

He had just entered the city limits when his car swerved and he lost control in a patch of gravel. He pulled again onto the highway and crossed traffic, hitting the front of the truck.

There was alcohol in his blood, according to reports.

It took rescuers 20 minutes to cut his unconscious body from his car. He was flown by helicopter to John Muir Medical Center, where 2 surgeons and a team of medical technicians and nurses were waiting for him.

The paramedics knew he was very critical, but no one realized how close to death he was until the doctors examined him.

Other than a broken leg and nose, his intestines were ruptured. Worse, his aorta, the main artery carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body – was torn as well.

A great quantity of blood was ready to gush out of his body, but a rare thing saved him from instant death. The one-inch hole was directly behind the pleura, the thin lining of the chest, and the lining prevented the blood from flowing out.

But the aorta was growing like a balloon, ready to burst.

The doctors hurried to repair his intestines. Then his airway swelled and closed and doctors had to do an emergency tracheotomy, cutting a hole in his trachea.

But when Sheldon and his colleague, Dr. William Sweezer, cut open the chest to repair his heart, the pleura gave up.

Almost 2/3 of Perez’ blood supply, about 6 to 8 pints, gushed out onto doctors and the floor. Sheldon and Sweezer placed their fingers on the hole to prevent more blood loss.

We couldn’t see the hole for the blood”, said Sheldon.

At this time, almost two hours had passed since the accident and Perez’ family was gathered in the waiting room. They had no idea how serious his injuries were.

The hemorrhage caused his blood pressure to plummet to zero. His heart wasn’t working and began to quiver - a sure sign that it was going to quit altogether.

The blood didn’t reach Perez’s brain. Normally, the brain can=2 0stand about 4 or 5 minutes without blood before permanent damage occurs. As the doctors worked, 5 minutes passed, then 10, then 20.

Not even several shocks from the defibrillator20could start his heart again. Sheldon and Sweezer took turns squeezing Perez’s heart wit h their hands to move a small amount of blood. A heart-lung machine technician declared Perez dead. But Sheldon, the lead surgeon, wanted to persevere.

I didn’t want to go outside and tell his family that he was dead,” Sheldon said. “If we had quit then, it would have been over.” Then he said, “Let’s pull out all the stops, even if it seems hopeless. Let’s go on.”

Perez was again declared dead a few minutes later. But then the doctors controlled the outflow of blood out and more began circulating in his body. Still, the technician declared Perez dead a third time.

Then Sheldon put a large 4-inch needle20into Perez’s heart and injected adrenaline – which Sheldon calls “God’s medicine.”

And the heart began to work.

We still didn’t know if he could wake up,” Sheldon said. “There wasn’t much chance, because his heart was stopped for 30 minutes.”

But later that night, an anesthesiologist passing by clapped his hands in front of Perez’s face. To his surprise, Perez opened his eyes. There was no apparent brain damage.

I don’t know how he survived all of this,” said Sheldon. “It’s hard to exp lain why someone can live so much time under these conditions when most would die.”

He fell into and out of a coma for most of the months of October and November. But Perez says he remembers his flying dream – a calm, floating sensation, where he could have stayed forever, he said.

Doctors said the dream was probably provoked by his trip in the helicopter to the hospital.

Perez isn’t sure what the future holds for him. He is recuperating at his sister’s house. The doctors say he can’t work anymore because of the20damage the stress could cause his heart. He doesn’t drink anymore and has returned to religion, he said.

I know that God had His hand on this,” said Perez. “I talk with my family more and I realize how important they are.”

Commentary of Norberto Perez, now a missionary to at risk children in Mexico along with his wife Penny, in 2001:

This miracle was of temporal things. The real miracle is my salvation. My name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life now. If this wasn’t so, the miracle that happened wouldn’t mean anything”

"He called to Him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall=2 0in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven."-- Matt 18:2-3

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