On Father’s Day, June 20th 2010, Maria Cabrera was standing with her eyes closed during an altar call being given by Pastor Bruce Dial. Suddenly an image of her 74 year old father came to her mind. The vision was so clear she could count the veins in his hands. The color of his hair and eyes were so vivid, tears came unbidden and wouldn’t stop.
It had been eleven years since Maria had made a trip to visit her parents in Puerto Rico. “When I got home I told my husband what happened, and started crying again. I said to him that I needed to go to Puerto Rico. I have to see my father.” Maria purchased her ticket and flew to Puerto Rico in July. Her father was recently retired, and had been working to receive his Veteran’s pension. There was a series of tests which needed to be taken before that could take place; one of which had been scheduled during the time of her stay. After a treatment called the bronchodilator, he began feeling very ill. In the days following his pulse was too slow and he had heart palpitations. “My father seemed to be very distracted and tired. He took naps often, but was still not as functional as he should have been.” On Monday he told Maria that he still had the palpitations from the test taken the previous Wednesday. They went for another visit to the doctor at the Veteran’s Hospital, where her father was told that his asthma and pulse were not looking good. After checking his blood pressure twice, as well as his pulse, they immediately asked him to open his shirt so that they could do an EKG. As the first print out came, the nurse quickly shared it with the doctor and proceeded to ask her if she wanted her to call the ambulance now? Maria’s father had a blockage in his heart that needed to be monitored. They were sent to Urgent Care in the same building. Once at Urgent Care they connected him to another EKG machine and oxygen. They also connected him to a provisional pacemaker, and opened an IV line. “During this whole time I thought it was asthma, but it wasn’t until I called my sister Lourdes in NC and she started questioning me, that I realized it was his heart.”
The doctor at the Urgent Care said that Maria’s father needed a pacemaker but it was up to the cardiologist to make that decision. Her father was soon transported by ambulance to another hospital. “When I saw that the doctor and one of the nurses got in the ambulance with him I realized that my father was in bad shape and that this was something serious.” Maria started crying, and a 10 minute drive to the hospital felt like an eternity. She quickly tried to calm herself down before her father could see her.
Maria knew that God was present. He had guided her steps from the moment she envisioned her father that Sunday morning, to this time right now. Everything was going to be alright because God was in control. It was hard to see her father connected to machines when he had been active his whole life. She could hardly remember a time when he had been sick or even complained about being sick. This was a man who walked away from terrible car accidents and went to work the next day. Maria’s father was given a provisional pacemaker because they could not find a surgeon to operate that night. The next day emergency surgery was scheduled and by 4:00 PM he was out of surgery with a pacemaker. He came out of the surgery smiling and joking with the doctor and nurse. Maria’s sister flew in the same day of his surgery and met them at the hospital. Later that afternoon Maria understood that everything was orchestrated by God almighty. “I had always asked God that if an emergency situation ever happened with my parents, that He would allow me to be there with them and He did. He gave me that vision of my father on Father’s Day in church, and He even showed me what my father would be wearing on that day. God had everything orchestrated everywhere we went. My father had the best treatment and all the equipment was ready for him. God gave me strength, guidance, wisdom and peace of mind and soul in order to make decisions without doubting myself. God is Awesome!”