Prayers for my Father

January 29, 2011 at 5:41 am (Genealogy/Family)


Together Sunday Morning

The Bartlett family owes enormous thanks to all friends and family who gave prayer on behalf to my dad, James Bartlett, unto our Almighty Heavenly Father for his physical recovery. On August 2nd, 2010– two weeks before my marriage with Amanda Kruse– my dad fell down and broke his neck during midnight while at home. His neck snapped in two places along the topmost vertebrates. The fractures were not hairline, and very serious. The doctors in ICU called it a ‘hangman fracture’, meaning that normally this kind of fracture severs the spinal cord, killing a person instantly. In the emergency room my father then aspirated blood and vomit, and consequently he was intubated for burnt lungs. The intubation machine was an external lung, used to prevent suffocation and stave pneumonia. However, the machine posed a huge infection risk, and the longer a patient stayed on it, the greater chance they might die from secondary factors. At this point the doctors and staff began pushing us toward ‘pulling the plug’. But we demanded full-code. At the end of the first week, the doctors began talking about weaning him off the lung. On the third wean my father resumed normal breathing but was very weak. He also failed his swallow test, and so a g-tube was inserted into his belly for fluid eating. As he left ICU for acute care, the doctors next pushed hospice care which basically amounted to starving our dad to death. We were insistently against such. After five days of dramatic improvement Jim left for post-acute care in Hayward, and, three more months down the road– after two more bouts of pneumonia (one of which was septic)–  he was walking again, communicating with friends, and his neck was totally healed.


Dad and Mom

There were some amazing lessons the Lord taught us. First, our family had to stick together to save our Father’s life. The health establishment is not particularly friendly to old folks. They often underestimate their elderly patients and prefer euthanasia over difficult treatment. Elderly often cannot communicate for themselves and consequently rely on loved ones for health care advocacy. When families are frightened by worst case scenarios, they often fight amongst themselves and make panicky decisions, leaving medical care to indifferent yet seemingly “objective” third parties.  The episode certainly made us wiser about the medical establishment, but it also gave us a deeper value for “life” itself. Our father knows who is his family, and he knows what is love and comfort. We could not abandon him to a cold logic or statistical odds. Second, though my family is not especially religious, it was a trial that definitely brought us closer to God by prayer. Prayer was especially given during the darkest moments, and it was wonderful to pray as a family. Our prayers also included the hope that my dad might come back to church for worship. This seemed like an impossibility at the time, but I believe the Lord graciously answered it.

St. Luke's Chapel

My father is 94 yrs old. He served his country in WWII as a major in the navy, worked postwar as an accountant, and built a number of pre-schools for the Head Start program before his retirement at 75. He was a good father, an educated man, and planned not only for his own estate and wellbeing but also for his family’s.  Jim was baptized a methodist, and during his earlier years he did much for the methodist church. I’ve been taking my father to chapel every Sunday since his healing. He has moderate alzheimer’s and poor hearing, but he responds well to Christian art and iconography moreso than preaching. Yet you can never be certain what old folks grasp or pick up. James still needs a miracle to recover his normal eating. Right now he receives food by g-tube until his swallow returns. Please keep his lost swallow in prayer. We owe much thanks to those angels and saints in the church who prayed for our dad.  We know there were a league of you! These prayers brought him to a near-total recovery! We figure the Lord gave us our Dad back so he might meet his new daughter-in-law, my wife Amanda, as well as some time to live on this earth to see future grandchildren.

Fr. Mike gave my dad a birthday prayer on the Saturday before his 94th birthday, Jan. 18th. Below is the prayer from the 1928 bcp. God has answered many prayers, and He has been very merciful to our family. We owe Him all praise and glory. Thank you everybody, and thank you gracious God!

“Watch over thy child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be, keeping him unspotted from the world. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”



  1. Mark said,

    Thanks be to God. I’ll continue to hold Jim up to the Lord in prayer

    • Charles said,

      Thank you Mark. Your prayers have helped, and we are very thankful. Blessings, Charles

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