Canberra, Australia: On Friday, September 26th, Matt Olney, future son-in-law of Canberra Church of the Nazarene’s Pastor and wife (Chris and Karen Northey) was rushed to the hospital with a collapsed lung. He was soon in an induced coma just one week before the scheduled wedding to the Northey’s daughter, Danielle Northey.
The outlook was very bleak. Prayer was requested. It was out of man’s hands and in God’s hands. Such a tremendous place to be!
December Update – Pastor Chris & Karen write:
Miracles are still happening!
Dear friends, Our family has so appreciated the continued prayers that have been lifted up for Matt and Danielle in recent weeks. We still grieve over Matt’s health and the forced cancellation of their wedding on October 3.
Through it all, however, God has sustained us, and we know this is the result of your prayers. Many have asked for an update of Matt’s condition. Thus, this email…. We will never know how long Matt’s brain was without oxygen before the paramedics were able to resuscitate him, but we do know that it was quite a long time and that he suffered a significant hypoxic brain injury. He was put into an induced coma in ICU on breathing support.
During the first three weeks, Matt’s temperature soared to 40.6 degrees C (over 105 degrees F), and he had four serious infections. The doctors said he could not survive all of these. The morning that was supposed to be their wedding day, the neurologist gave the family the result of Matt’s MRI. He said that Matt had significant, irreversible brain damage, that his brain scan was only a grey ‘mist’ with no connectors at all, there was no cognition and that considerations needed to be made about organ donation.
It took several days to recover from the infections. As his temperature came down to nearly normal, Matt became much calmer. Danielle would talk to him and he began to turn towards her voice. He was able to sleep for the first time. The doctors began to ask him to turn his head or wriggle his toes, and Matt did those things.
In the ensuing four weeks, we have continued to see miracle after miracle. The doctors asked him some maths questions, and he could verbally give the answer immediately. He began to sit up with assistance and could support his own weight when standing. Three weeks ago, he had to be totally fed. Three of the men in the church went to have breakfast with him and were able to take him in a wheelchair to the hospital cafeteria. We took turns feeding him but were really blessed to pray with him for quite some time.
Two weeks ago, he was able to pick up sandwiches. One week ago, he was able to use a spoon to pick up vegetables and feed himself. Three weeks ago, he began walking with the assistance of a crane and two physios walking beside him. Two weeks ago, he only needed two physios to walk with him. One week ago, he could walk next to one physio with no assistance at all. His voice is slow but quite understandable. He is fully cognizant and can answer any question and have discussions. His eyesight is not the best — everything is blurry, sometimes double, but he can recognize people.
His current recovery continues to amaze doctors and staff. It has been a wonderful testimony of the power of prayer to all those in the hospital including other patients and their families. It has given hope to families who have been given no hope by the results of tests and other medical scans. Praise God!
A few days ago, they moved Matt from Canberra to the brain injury unit at Liverpool Hospital (about 2½ hours away) for rehabilitation. Danielle is moving to Liverpool to work with him as carer. Her school has been marvelous. They have given her the rest of this year and all of next year off. She will be taking carer’s leave and long service leave for the whole time which means she will be on half pay for the whole year.
The doctors now say that it is very possible that Matt will make a full recovery and that he should only be at Liverpool for less than 6 months.
This whole journey has been a witness to God’s miraculous healing and power to sustain all of us during this traumatic time. It has been a wonderful testimony to all who come in contact with them or read of Matt’s healing. This experience has drawn Matt and Danielle much closer to God. Please continue to pray for his full recovery. He is impatient to be able to see clearly and to talk at a normal rate. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you have done on Matt and Danielle’s behalf. We are blessed to call you friends. Blessings, Chris and Karen”.
Please continue to Keep Matt, Danielle, Chris, Karen, and the entire family in your prayers.