*Editor’s note: This information was published in the December 2020 issue of Heartfelt Magazine, CHM’s monthly magazine that provides CHM membership-related tips and tricks, medical advice from doctors, testimonies from CHM members, and more. Please refer to the CHM Guidelines and applicable web pages for the most up-to-date information regarding CHM membership, sharing eligibility, and ministry news.*
By Sonya Lewis-Picon, Robbinsville, N.C.
From the December 2020 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.
God taught me that everything has a purpose, and that He works all things out for His good.
I told one of my dental patients about my search for health cost support. That same day, he came back with an envelope from his wife. She had typed up information about CHM for me and told him to take it to me right away.
I thought it sounded too good to be true. However, I talked with other CHM members who told me joining CHM was one of the best things they’d done. Armed with those stories and my own research, I gave CHM a try.
A year later, as I geared up for the holidays, I wasn’t feeling well. I thought I had a bad cold or the flu. The doctors from my clinic also thought it was the flu and gave me antibiotics.
However, I got worse. Finally, my husband said I had to go to the hospital; he left me no choice.
The hospital was an hour’s drive, so I convinced him to first visit our local clinic, because they could assess me right away. I’ve been going to that clinic since I was 11, but I was so swollen and gray by the time we arrived that the staff didn’t recognize me.
The doctor immediately arranged for me to go to the nearest hospital.
The oxygen mask they wanted me to wear made me claustrophobic. I asked if I could take it off, but my oxygen levels were far too low. “Just go to sleep, then, Sonya,” I remember saying to myself. It was December 26.
I woke up in the hospital. A nurse asked me questions to see if the lack of oxygen affected my recall. She asked my name, age, where I was from, and finally, if I knew what day it was.
“Well,” I said, “I might have been asleep for a bit, so it’s probably December 28 or 29.”
“Oh, no, honey,” the nurse gently said. “You were very sick. It’s January 7.” I’d been in a medically induced coma for 12 days.
I didn’t have a simple cold or flu—I had bird flu. Doctors only gave me a 30 percent chance of surviving. Because my lungs were full of fluid, they put me on an ECMO machine, or an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine. It did my breathing for me while my lungs healed.
God taught me that everything has a purpose, and that He works all things out for His good. Because of my experience with ECMO, I have been able to reach out to other people who have loved ones on an ECMO machine. As we ministered to one particular family, God opened the father’s heart to accept Christ. Going through that experience to bring one soul to Christ was worth it! And I would do it again for another soul.
God also provided for us through CHM members. I was in the hospital until the end of January and had even more follow-up doctor and specialist appointments. My fellow CHM members generously shared 100 percent of all of my medical bills, after over $380,000 in discounts. I can’t thank you enough. CHM is a huge blessing to my family and me!