I will share a story of how the prayers of a priest and my acquaintances helped me overcome pneumonia. I was ill in Moscow, while people were praying for me overseas—in Washington D.C., the capital of the USA. Clearly, this disease has long been curable. However, it takes a minimum of ten days to cure, and a patient’s condition improves gradually. I had a different story: I was rushed to the hospital in a serious condition, with wheezing and fever. And next day I shocked the doctors by my absolutely clean lungs. The medics said there are phenomena that can only be explained as a miracle.
I seldom get sick; moreover, I am used to ignoring all kinds of ailments and taking illnesses without lying down. I can’t lie down all day long, doing nothing. Last year I came down with a banal cold, which didn’t cause me concern at all. As usual, I walked with my children two hours a day, took them to hobby groups, helped them with their homework, and did the shopping in a rush. But my illness wasn’t about to abate. A week passed, then the second and third… I was getting no better. My condition even worsened, but, unfortunately, I didn’t react to that signal. Neither did I change my daily routine. I just drank tea with honey and raspberry jam, putting my hope in my luck because all had ended well in previous times. One morning before a weekend I couldn’t get up: I was feverish all over, had excruciating pain, and a high temperature. I called the physician. She listened to my lungs and suspected I had pneumonia; so she had to call an ambulance. While we were waiting, the physician asked me how long I had been ill. I told her about my attitude towards all kinds of colds.
The physician was indignant:
“You shouldn’t neglect your health! Pneumonia can’t appear by itself! You were playing the heroine, and here are the results! You have small children. Do you think they need your dubious ‘heroism’?”
The emergency team took me to the hospital where I was X-rayed immediately. The diagnosis was confirmed: I had double pneumonia. I was prescribed a ten-day antibiotic course and three injections a day.
In the meantime, my husband wrote to Archpriest Victor Potapov, rector of St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral in Washington D.C., who we had been in contact with. He told him about my illness, his concern and, of course, asked for his prayers. Fr. Victor responded quickly and assured him that he would pray for my health and speedy recovery at the service.
My husband sent me a text with Fr. Victor’s reply to cheer my up.
There was a ward round next morning. The doctor listened to my lungs for a long time, then removed the stethoscope and looked at me confusedly. I was startled, thinking that something terrible was going on. Thoughts were whirling in my mind: “Two of our four children are small. I so want to greet the spring and Holy Pascha with the family! I so much don’t want to be seriously ill and die!...”
The doctor asked me to repeat my last name, first name, year of birth and compared this information with that in my medical record.
“Is something wrong?” I wondered timidly.
“I don’t know what to say. I am puzzled. The X-ray showed double pneumonia. Now your breathing is not hard and your lungs are practically clear. The picture was quite different yesterday, and there were no doubts about the diagnosis. Such radical changes in the lungs within one day are impossible.”
“But maybe my X-ray got mixed up with someone else’s? And another patient may not be receiving medication because of this…”
“They couldn’t have confused them because you were the only patient of this hospital to be X-rayed yesterday. For me it is an enigma…”
My doctor called his colleagues to take counsel. Two more medics listened to my lungs for a long time, scrutinizing my X-ray and shrugging their shoulders. Before they left one of the doctors said:
“You are very lucky. Sometimes there are phenomena in life that can’t be explained scientifically, that is something extraordinary… A sort of a miracle. Perhaps you should light a candle in church after being discharged.”
Though I had no more wheezing, the doctor decided not to change my treatment because I still suffered from fatigue, sleepiness, lack of appetite and weakness. I also had a high white blood cell count, which indicated that my body was struggling with the ailment.
Later I told my husband that the X-ray result had been wrong and the doctors had hurried with my diagnosis that turned out to be incorrect. But he replied:
“Why do you think they were mistaken? On the day you were rushed to the hospital you felt so awful! You could hardly move and were unable to pack up things before being sent to the hospital. I didn’t want to tell you then, but the color of your face scared me a great deal. I had never seen you in such a terrible condition. All of us had a hard time. The children worried and cried secretly.”
“But how will you explain that the doctor didn’t hear wheezing the next morning? Wasn’t it strange? There had been wheezing a day before, but it disappeared overnight! Is that possible?” I didn’t want to give up.
“In truth we lack faith! You believe that several doctors were mistaken and the equipment failed… True, it is easier to explain it this way. But why did you not suppose that a miracle occurred? Fr. Victor and the whole church congregation prayed for you and the Lord answered their prayers. It was certainly a miracle.”