By Sherri Kolade (Source: www.michiganchronicle.com) – She had just 24 hours.
Twenty-four hours to decide whether her husband should live or die. It was an unimaginable, sudden decision thrust upon Detroit resident Trena Edmondson last May — take him off a ventilator or not.
She had to make the choice after her husband spent 40 days in an induced coma as the result of a COVID-19 diagnosis and being unable to breathe.
It wasn’t looking too good for Terence Edmondson at that moment, but God had other plans.
Terence Edmondson, a father, friend and commercial real estate broker in downtown Detroit was in a fight for his life that caught him totally by surprise.
“I didn’t think it was going to be anything as dramatic as it was,” Terence and Trena Edmondson (both in their late 50s) shared, retelling their harrowing story of “faithing” their fears to The Michigan Chronicle almost exactly a year after his complete recovery.
“Tell Our Son to be Good”
Terence said that when he and his wife both contracted COVID-19 last year they had very different experiences. His own started like cold symptoms a week prior to March 25, 2020, when he was admitted to the hospital; she was asymptomatic and quarantined for 14 days around the same time.
Almost immediately when Terence went to Ascension Providence Hospital – Southfield Campus, healthcare officials told him that he had to be put in a coma.
“I was in a coma for three weeks and then I was on a ventilator for 22 days,” he said, adding that he didn’t “come around” until day 40.
Trena, who still gets emotional about it, said that when she dropped him off at the hospital that day, she was surprised at the treatment plan awaiting him.
“He called me within an hour and told me that, ‘They’re about to put me under,’ and I’m like, ‘What do you mean? Where is all this coming from?’” she said. “He said, ‘I can’t talk,’ and he told me to tell our son (38 years old) to ‘be good.’”
She added that her husband of now 28 years told her that he’ll see her in a couple of days — but that wound up not being the case.
“A couple days turned into 77 days,” Trena, who works in commercial property management, said. “I still tear up as I think about it … I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to do.”
Trena, though, found her strength to do what she knows best in the face of insurmountable challenge — pray.
She prayed for her husband, whom she met at the gym decades earlier, that he would live. She prayed with a prayer group that her sister-in-law and their family formed.
“I never imagined that it would be 77 days,” she said, adding that the first couple of weeks were especially rough.
What’s God Saying?
During this gut-wrenching time, Trena Edmondson learned something while in her waiting.
“I realized that, truthfully, God was trying to tell me something and the only way He could teach me was to sit me down and He had my undivided attention,” she said, adding that Wednesday, June 9, 2021, makes it a year to the day she took her healthy husband home.
Detroit resident Howard Morris, a family friend for 20 years, said that he was saddened by Terrence’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
“Initially I could not and did not receive any word of what was going on with Terry,” he said. “But I still prayed for him each day.”
He added that he and other received daily text messages from Trena updating him ad others about his friend’s condition.
He described them as “the most impressive display of prayer and faith I have ever witnessed.”
“Because he was in the hospital such a long time, I was close to giving up hope. But then I would receive Trena’s text message and it would replenish my faith and give me the hope and strength I needed to keep up my own prayers for Terry. I am convinced that his recovery is a direct result of Trena’s undying faith, devotion and love of Terry and of the Lord. My own faith was renewed and rejuvenated by this experience,” he said.
The journey before coming home was filled with ups and downs – and also extra care that helped carry the couple through.
“The nurses … that cared for him … were sent by God,” she said, adding that they made it a priority that the couple was connected, especially on their 27th wedding anniversary last April 2.
When COVID-19 peaked last year and hospital visitors were not allowed in, the nurses Facetimed Terence with his wife.
“[They] let me see him and everything he was connected to,” she said, adding that she didn’t care if it was graphic. “We missed a lot of time together.”
Trena Edmondson said one nurse went under the plastic covering surrounding Terence and it was there that his wife was able to talk to him while he was intubated. She wished him a happy anniversary, then asked him if he could hear her to make some type of movement with his body.
The nurse later confirmed that her husband moved his arm.
“That told me what I needed to take back to the prayer group — it was a very deep journey,” she said of their separate and collective experiences filled with miracles, signs and revelation.
On that difficult decision day last May, though, police came to her door and told her that doctors were trying to get ahold of her concerning her husband.
“I just fell to my knees,” she said, preparing for the worst. That was when she then found out about the choice she would soon have to make about her husband’s life. “The doc told me … ‘It’s been 21 days; we need to make a decision.’”
Dismayed about her options (take him off the ventilator and make him comfortable or send him to a type of “home”), Trena wanted a third option and she got it: a tracheotomy.
Twenty-four hours later after receiving the confirmation she needed from a friend, she decided to have her husband have a tracheotomy — a lifesaving move.
“The trach is what saved my husband’s life,” she said, adding that doctors said that her husband was going to have it the rest of his life.
“As God would have it, I don’t have it anymore,” he said.
The recovery phase was a miraculous journey, too.
“I had no physical use in my body — I couldn’t sit up,” he said, adding that his recovery then healing were miracles, too, and today, the couple are on their second wind with each other and God.
“You store up your blessings,” Terence said. “They don’t come when you want them to but when you are obedient and continue to pray, your blessings will come for you.”