Wednesday I got a call from Janet’s coworkers that I needed to come down there at work, that she was sick.  I called to find out that they thought it was a stroke, and that the ambulance was already there.

Apparently during their morning staff meeting and prayer at around 9:30 she started forgetting words and names, even of her own children. They just thought she was under a lot of pressure and so didn’t get alarmed. They all went and had coffee together in the break room and everybody went to work at each of their offices.

Knocks on her door and questions about the center’s business were answered with “O.K” and things that didn’t make a lot of sense.   Then one of the staff, Heidi, came in to Janet’s office and found her slumped at her desk and unresponsive; they then called 911 and me.

I rushed down to Oroville hospital and beat the ambulance there.  Finally after she arrived I got to go see her in her ER room with what seemed like about 10 emergency people and doctors scurrying about.   She was moving her left hand.   That was all.

Janet is strong and she has the peace of God dwelling in her.


A scan was ordered so I waited in a room.  Many thanks to Matt, Ed, Vern, Dennis and Penny who joined me.  We prayed.

A CT scan confirmed blood in the brain, a stroke, and she was immediately life flighted to Mercy San Juan in Sacramento.

Vern and Gina drove me down and Penny drove Janet’s car.

A second scan there showed increased bleeding (just the blood pocket was the size of a child’s fist!) and I elected for an operation.  The neural surgeon was iffy on going for that with the risks, but doing nothing seemed to me to be not enough with the probable increased bleeding.   I told him that Janet is the director of a non profit that believes in the value and sanctity of life.  I said, “It’s a no brainer; go for it please.”   (No pun intended but we can laugh…)

About 4 hours later the surgeon came out and wanted me to accompany him back from OR to ICU where Janet was already. But little did he know that our entourage had grown to about 15 friends n family so we all followed him.  He told us the operation went well that the brain was relaxed and not hard, so that was good. He was able to go deep into the brain microscopically and cauterize the bleeding at almost the center of the brain, and remove the blood with suction.

By then my 3 sons and 2 of my daughter in laws had joined us.   Chris, Jason, John and I sat by her bedside for some more of the evening and prayed and cried.  Still unresponsive, moving her left hand and leg occasionally and apparently involuntarily.

We went to bed hoping for a sign of improvement in the morning.   The next day we missed the doctor making his morning rounds.   No real improvement all day.  No opening of the eyes.  I don’t know how many times I called out to her and asked her to squeeze my hand or open her eyes.   I don’t know how many times I felt like dieing or how many tears.

But Janet is strong and she has the peace of God dwelling in her.  Funny how over the last several weeks with all her fundraisers at the center, day to day work, and preps to get her moms house sold (she jokes about being a hamster on a wheel) I’ve prayed with her many times for her to have peace.   And she’s had a lot of peace through all of this.

Today she might have stroked and squeezed my hand purposely one time, I don’t know.   I’ll take any sign and miracle right now.   The thing we all have to do is take one day at a time.

Our family went to dinner tonight and to bed but meanwhile Janet’s sister and brother in law, Lisa and Allan, stayed with Janet for a while longer.  Their latest text to my boys was: “The surgeon  just stopped by and got your mom to flutter her eyes!  He said she seems to be progressing just right!”

That’s the best news I’ve heard all day.


Dave Niemeyer