Judy is Professor Emerita of Intercultural Studies at Biola University in southern California. She and her husband have worked with several different mission organizations to help them focus on issues of concern in today’s changing world.
Following are excerpts from an e-mail Sherwood sent last Friday, detailing their experience in a Hawaii airport.
“Judy and I are in Hawaii. We were on our way to Guam on Wednesday, arrived in Honolulu for a two-hour layover at noon. At about 1:00 we started walking toward the gate for our flight to Guam to board at 1:10.
“Suddenly Judy gasped, and began to fall backwards. I grabbed her arm and struggled to hold her up as she fell to the floor. For several seconds I thought she had a heart attack and died. She was completely unconscious, eyes open, and unable to respond in any way.
“I tried to feel her pulse, put my hand to her mouth to see if she were breathing, crying all the time. I was so afraid she was gone, I wept in anguish.
“Then she began to breathe, and she spoke … “what happened?” At that point I helped her sit up as people gathered around us. A security guard arrived, then a paramedic, and he advised us to go a local hospital.
“The paramedic left for a short time, and came back with more equipment and did an EKG on Judy as she sat against a wall on the terminal floor. She was feeling very nauseous, and was very pale. She could hardly respond to him or to me.
“In a few minutes he told her she had a blockage in her upper heart which caused her pulse rate to drop to 35-50 beats per minutes. We waited what seemed an interminable time for an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
“By two o’clock we were in the Straub Hospital in Honolulu, and by 5:00 pm an exceptional cardiologist had completed the installation of a pacemaker for Judy. I found a hotel about 20 minutes walk from the hospital, checked in with our luggage, and came back to find Judy in a hospital bed, complete with rosy cheeks and a smile again.
“Yesterday she was released at about 10:00 am, and we walked the 20 minutes to the hotel. Our son Joel and his family arrived in Honolulu just a hour earlier (coming from Guam) and we managed to connect by cell phone.
“It was good to be with family and to rejoice together in God’s grace to us. Dr. Chun told Judy that the ‘stars were aligned perfectly’ for her on that day. To have a pacemaker installed within 40 minutes after we signed the papers to proceed never happens.
“Judy’s heart is dependent upon the pacemaker, and cannot function properly without it. We are grateful to God for providing for Judy this exceptional care. If we had boarded the plane for Guam, and this had happened hours later, they would have had to fly her back to Honolulu.
“We are planning to stay here until August 23. Friends here have offered us a studio apartment for as long as we want to stay. Again, God has provided for us in such a remarkable way. We are so thankful today that Judy is alive, and that we can rest here together for this time.”