When Mrs. Alvarez woke up in the early morning to the constant barking of her son’s service dog, she found a mother’s worst nightmare; her only son, John Paul, was unconscious.
Mrs. Alvarez began CPR while calling 911 for help. She remembers the Harlingen Police Department responded quickly and the support they provided. The ER physicians at Harlingen Medical Center in Harlingen, Texas, were “kind and helpful” she recalls.
Even though the treatment of her son was quick, the prognosis wasn’t good. “In my years of working as a nurse, I have never seen a surgeon show up so fast,” she says of Dr. Six, who took John Paul into surgery that morning. After surgery Dr. Six confirmed what the ER doctors had already said; John Paul was not doing well.
What came next were long days of prayer and hope for a miracle. Mrs. Alvarez found she wasn’t alone; the community came to support John Paul. Through social media, and through the people whose lives John Paul had touched, came well wishes and prayers. Members of the community groups John Paul belonged to gathered outside the doors of Harlingen Medical Center to share heartfelt support.
After several days, a nurse came in to check on John Paul. His care team wanted to try lowering his sedation to see if they could get a reaction.
After several moments and attempts, the nurse said, “John Paul, if you hear me move your fingers.” John Paul slowly lifted two fingers. “Am I imaging things? It’s just a reflex,” were the thoughts running through Mrs. Alvarez’s mind.
There was no imaging this; after being in bed for several days with no movement or response, John Paul had reacted to the nurse’s request. Dr. Six was called to evaluate, and immediately he took John Paul back to surgery. As the anesthesia wore off after surgery, Mrs. Alvarez and John Paul’s wife searched for any signs of the John Paul they know and love.
“Do you love me?” they asked, and to their surprise John Paul nodded his head.
“Do you love me,” his sister asked. John Paul shook his head no, showing that the lighthearted, funny, playful John Paul had returned.
From the darkest moments to John Paul sitting in bed, recounting his experience and laughing with family, “This was a true miracle. This is all thanks to the great care my son received here [at Harlingen Medical Center],” Mrs. Alvarez shared. “From the very beginning in ER to the ICU Director, who is an angel in disguise with a heart of gold, everyone has been amazing.”
We are beyond honored to have been a part of John Paul’s miracle journey, and we wish him and his family the very best.