Anthony Murray
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March 31st 2006…Man, I felt like crap. I was running a fever and was really not in the right frame of mind. I thought maybe a shower would help so I took a quick shower and as I was walking out; my life came to a shattering change. I fell against the wall and as I tried to get up I felt so weak. It's like my brain said move but body said nope!! All I could do was fall forward onto my stomach. I laid there thinking "Wow, why am I being so lazy?" Ever so often I would try to crawl over to the bed and force myself up but it never seemed to work. Then I started coughing up blood. I was too sick to really care. After what seem like an hour or so I heard the bedroom door start to open. Knowing I had just come out of the shower I didn't want my daughter seeing me like that so I barked at her "Go back upstairs". A couple of minutes passed and she was back so I barked again. This time it was my wife. Turns out I had been on the floor for over 9 hours. She called my sister they decided it was time to call 911. By this time I'm thinking I must have the mother of all colds or flu's. So as if my sister seeing me that was not bad enough, in come several firemen. They were able to get me on my feet and walking to the stairs. Once I made it to the top of the stairs they had me sit down for a minute and catch my breath. Now understand that all of this is really fuzzy because of the fever I was running. I made it to the living room and one of the firemen told me to sit back. I'm thinking I am going to sit back on a chair but no… Turns out it was a large canvas seat of some sort. Once I did, I kind of faded in and out. I can remember hearing that someone took my daughter away so she didn't have to see me like that. I remember them loading me in the ambulance and the shadows that kept passing by. I remember thinking "Man, I hope I don't roll off this gurney". I learned later that I was actually on the floor because I was too big for gurney. I was fading in and out of consciousness at this point. I remember throwing up blood that resembled coffee grounds and thinking "That can't be good!! Then the doctor told me something that sort of brought the severity of the situation to the surface. He said "We are going to put you in a medically induced coma for couple of weeks". In my mind I knew I would not be coming off it. I remember this overwhelming feeling of needing to tell people good-bye. As I can recall I know I told my brother Joe good-bye and telling my brother in law Mike to take care of Karen. I have always been glad Karen and Mike found each other. That was the last of the normal memories…. While I was in the coma a lot of very odd things happened including hearing God tell me I was not ready to go. I remember being so angry because I WANTED TO GO!! He just kept telling me "You're not finished". Now there were a lot of crazy drugged out whacko things that happened (or so I thought) because of the medication. That is a story better left unwritten, I recall coming out of the coma wondering 3 things. "Where the hell am I" and "when are they going to put me under" and "why in the world are they talking about my leg"!! I remember thinking "These morons are getting it all wrong. I have the flu or a bad cold." I remember hearing this distinct sucking sound of the wound vac. No, I didn't know what it was at the time. What I had was a nasty little bug called Necrotizing fasciitis. "The flesh eating disease". I still had no idea just how bad things had been. I knew I couldn't talk and I had tubes in every part of my body. I mean EVERY part. I don't think I have ever been so thirsty in all my life. They came in with these little green sponge tipped things to swab my mouth with. I remember every time I woke up family was there with me. I spent 3 weeks in ICU. They took me off the vent a day or so before they let me out of the ICU. After a week or so in a room the real pain began….Rehab!! I never knew what I was going to have to go through. I thought I would be able to just get up and go… I had three operations that left me with a foot that is so scared I still can't put a shoe on 5 years later. I could not believe how hard it was. My mind knew what I was supposed to do but my body just would not let it. One day I was lying in bed crying and wondering why God allowed me to live just to leave me like that. I could walk about 3 or 4 feet before needing to sit down. I turned on some music and something strange happened to me. I began feeling a sense of peace wash over me. I remembered the one thing I had forgotten. I was mad at God for doing this to me but I NEVER asked for Gods help. Now I began laughing and crying all at the same time. A young pastor in the hospital brought me a bible and the first verse I turned to has helped me ever since. Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. The next morning I woke up feeling alive and knowing my life would never be the same. I slid out of bed saying to myself "Dear God please be with me and give me the strength to take the steps I need to take that will help me be the Dad to my little girl that she needs. With the aide of a walker I walked out of my room and walked towards a window all the while hearing "Just walk to me". 21 feet….That is how far I walked. It might as well have been a mile. I sat back down and laughed like I had just won the lottery. I spent 3 months in the hospital and I learned a lot about myself and this experience I was going through. Some are really hard to talk about. I learned that family can see you through anything. You know…The one thing I that hits me the hardest is learning that my sweet loving Aunt sang to me while I was in the coma and just how scared my daughter was and still is. I learned several months after I got out of the hospital that I was an hour or two from dying and that my family had to wait for me to die. I can't begin to imagine the pain they felt. Then they were told I would lose my leg. Guess the trick was on them. I learned I am stronger than I thought. I have my leg and my life. I am in pretty good shape today. Not perfect but I am so blessed to be here. Every day is just one more day to show God how grateful I am for the blessings in my life… Now I realize that most likely no one will read this… I just needed to get it out…