Claudette and Leonard Himes were approaching their 8th wedding anniversary, but before that on March 16th, Claudette got a fever of 102-degrees and wouldn’t come down even with medicines.
The 63-year-old accountant started having trouble breathing and Leonard had to rush her to the hospital where she tested positive for COVID-19. Her life was in grave danger and doctors decided to move her to ICU and place her on a ventilator to help her breathe.
They did not allow Leonard in there to pray and encourage her, he said that before they moved Claudette, he quickly said a prayer. “I prayed with her, and I said I loved her, and I said we’re going to trust in the Lord and Savior to heal you,” he remembers.
Leonard did not see Claudette again for 18 days, but they say that it was their faith in Jesus Christ that got them through those days.
The couple had met years before at church, where Leonard served as an associate pastor at Beulah Missionary Baptist Church in nearby Decatur. Their life was all about serving God and serving others together, but now their faith was being tested.
Claudette says, “He tells me the stories of how bad it was, what I went through,” she says. “It was mind-blowing.” It was eleven days and Claudette was not getting any better, but in fact, she was getting much worse.
Leonard says the doctor gave him devastating news when they told him that Claudette’s lungs were full of pneumonia and that it was time for him to meet with palliative care to discuss last decisions and essentially talk about “when you want to unplug this.”
That night, he asked the ICU nurse and the chaplain to set up a baby monitor by Claudette’s bed so he could talk to her. For all he knew, it might be his last chance to do so. She was unconscious, but he sensed she could hear him. He read Psalm 91 to her like he’d done many times since she first got sick. “I was able to read to her, and pray for her, and just let her know it was going to be okay,” Himes says.
When he got back home in the evening, Leonard was brokenhearted. He said he didn’t sleep at all that night. “I prayed through the night, weeping and calling on God.”
When the sun came up in the morning, he somehow felt peace. “I didn’t know if that peace meant my wife was going to be with Him, or that God was going to do something. But I had peace.”
Later on that morning, Leonard was at home on the phone in a conference call with the palliative care medical team and other family members when he began to get another call from his wife’s phone that had been left at the hospital. He dismissed it and kept on with the conference call.
But the calls were persistent and the phone rang 3 times, he couldn’t imagine who it was, and was fearing the worst for Claudette. He told his sister-in-law to call Claudette’s phone, and a nurse answered and gave Claudette’s sister some amazing news. She came rushing into the room with the nurse on the phone and told him, “And she came running in there and saying, ‘Claudette was sitting up in bed, extubated, and breathing on her own.’”
The medical team on the conference call was silent when they heard Leonard shout and praise God that Claudette was healed. One of the doctors still on the phone said, “Leonard, it looks like you’ve received a miracle.”
Soon a few days later, Claudette celebrated her 63rd birthday surrounded by nurses. “Can you imagine having a birthday and someone telling you that you might not have made it,” she says. “And to breathe God’s air? Oh, my God, I’m just blessed.”
Claudette came home on April 3rd and was still testing positive for the virus, as no rehab center would take her. So Leonard, dressed in protective gear, helped her at home with therapeutic exercises to rebuild her strength. She’s doing well now, Leonard says, almost back to 100%.
Once she was at home, Leonard decided not to tell Claudette all the details of how sick she’d been, and that had been a discussion of palliative care. He wanted to wait until she was stronger.
After about ten days, Leonard told her how dire her condition had been, and then Claudette told him something she experienced that has them both still in awe. “Claudette told me there was a man in the room in a white coat,” Leonard recalls.
She’s not really sure when it happened. “I don’t know the exact order of when I saw the man in the white coat, if I was still asleep or waking up, or if it was after. But the machines in the room were going off. I thought the man was there to turn them off. I do remember he asked me if I would be made whole.”
A nurse came into the room and the man in the white coat was gone. She assumed he was a doctor but Claudette remembers that strangely he didn’t wear any protective gear which is something quite unheard of when dealing with COVID-19 patients. “He was not wearing any protective clothing,” she says.
Claudette’s doctor told them there’s no way medically to explain what happened. But Leonard says while he was on the phone talking about death, that was the very moment life and healing came back to Claudette.
Leonard and Claudette believe God answered their prayers with divine healing. Let us keep praying for this beautiful couple who are devoted to God and are sharing their story with the world because of what God has done for them.