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Young Father Feared Dead After 13 Minutes Without Air

“Bryson ran through the door really hard and he was like, ‘Mom! Dad’s dead! Dad’s dead!’ And was just screaming. And I said, ‘what?’”

Those words sent Jennifer Buckingham racing down the street.  Her sons Bryson and Braden had just pulled their father from the bottom of a neighbor’s pool.  When Jennifer arrived, Michael was foaming at the mouth and gasping for air.   

Jennifer says, “I thought he was breathing, but then I looked at him and his eyes and he wasn’t there.”

By the time EMTs arrived, he had been deprived of oxygen for at least thirteen minutes.  Jennifer, who works as a hospital pharmacist, knew what was at stake.

Jennifer says, “2-3 minutes you start seeing brain damage. And I couldn’t imagine–I mean, we just adopted our baby girl. I was raising 4 kids by myself. I didn’t know how I was going to do it.”

At the hospital, emergency room staff worked to stabilize Michael.  The prognosis was grim, but Jennifer wasn’t giving up.

Jennifer says, “[The doctor] said his CT scan shows brain damage.  I said ‘I don’t believe what you’re saying.’ I said, ‘I serve a God that’s in miracle business.’”

Doctors put Michael into an induced coma, and lowered his body temperature to reduce the swelling of his brain and lungs.  Meanwhile, dozens of friends and family gathered at the hospital to pray.  A Facebook page posted on Michael’s behalf garnered prayers from all over the country.

Jennifer cries as she says, “I just knew that I had to fight for his life. And that’s what we had to do for the next couple days. We just set all that aside and we just fought and prayed and prayed and prayed.”

Bryson says, “We were praying about um hoping that my dad would still be here whenever we went to the hospital.”

Braden adds, “And that God would heal him.”
The prayer vigil continued through the night.  On Tuesday morning, two days after the drowning, Jennifer and a friend were sitting with Michael.

“She was like, ‘He moved,’” says Jennifer. “And then he moved his head. And we were like he moved! So I run out there to get his nurse and I was like, ‘He’s waking up! He’s waking up!’”

It didn’t take long to realize Michael was going to be okay.  

Jennifer remembers, “I said, ‘Do you remember Isaiah 41:10?’ And I started saying it.  Michael just spat it out like verbatim, word for word.  And we were like, ‘He’s back!’ It was amazing.”

Michael says, “My first question to my wife was, ‘What is today?’ She’s like, ‘It’s the 28th of July.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, we got to get out of here. My health insurance ends on the 31st. We got to get out of here.’”

What Michael remembers most about that day is being surrounded by those who love him.

He says, “I remember seeing my wife and kids, my friends… I saw so many friends that first day when I woke up.”
Michael explained that one of the children jumping into the pool landed on his neck.  
“It caused instant paralysis,” he says. “I knew exactly where I was, my eyes were working. But nothing else in my body was working. So I’m just floating, sinking, to the bottom of the pool.”

The day after he woke up, Michael was already back on his feet.  He believes that it was prayer and God’s healing that defied the odds.
 
“I was under there for a long time,” Michael says. “I was under there for long enough that the medical professionals told me I shouldn’t either not be here or should have major brain damage.

Since then, Michael has had no residual effects. And their children are thrilled to have their dad back.

“He’s really active and crazy,” Bryson says. Braden adds, “He’s nice, kind.  He loves us a really lot.”
 
And the entire family has a new understanding of the God of miracles.
 
Bryson says, “I know that he has the power to do anything and make anything come true.”

Jennifer says, “Prayer is our number one connection between us and the Lord. And that’s what fights off the enemy. And it was so awesome to be a part of that.”

Michael says, “I feel like every day’s a gift. God’s given me a new day to hug my kids, to spend time with my wife, to hang out with my friends, to tell people about how good He is. And it’s changed everything.”

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