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Patti Foster: My Only Constant

By Audra Smith
The 700 Club “My head and body were going at such a full speed that it shot like a missile through that area made of plexi-glass…not designed to be opened. In fact, one of the eye witnesses said she saw something fly out of the Tahoe, but she thought it was just a piece of laundry," Patt Foster recalls of the car accident scene she found herself in, nearly six years ago.

That “piece of laundry” was Patti. On June 18th, 2002, she and three friends were on their way to a Bible study. Patti’s SUV was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler traveling 70 miles per hour. Three of the passengers were injured, and sadly--one lost her life.

As Patti’s body lay mangled in the middle of the road, bystanders began to pray…

"People that didn’t even know each other, and they began to join hands, automatically. They automatically began to pray with each other," she says.

Emergency helicopter crews landed at the scene and transported Patti to the ICU.

After an all-night effort, the trauma team was able to sustain Patti’s life, but she remained in a coma for six weeks. In addition to multiple other injuries, every lobe of Patti’s brain had been severely injured. Her primary injury was to her frontal lobe.

"Without the frontal lobes functioning, and organizing and directing what we do…without the frontal lobes doing that for us,our brain doesn’t really function," Patti knows.

“The doctors met with my family sometime during the coma and prepared them for what to expect. They said, 'Okay, if she lives, she will be a persistent vegetable.' ”

As news of Patti’s accident began to spread, prayers and support from around the world began to pour in.

“People from the radio station, churches, listeners, the girls from the prayer group…just everybody [prayed]."

Patti says it was the power in those prayers that eventually woke her from her coma.

Her husband, Scott remembers, “I was in the room with Patti, she had been in the coma for a few weeks, and this was after they told us that she wouldn’t speak in complete sentences again. And she mouthed the words, 'Get out of my face. Pray for me. ' ”

“From that point on, after that day…everything completely changed ... completely," he says.

To her doctor’s surprise, Patti was released from the ICU and sent to rehab, a year earlier than expected. But, due to the extent of her brain injury, she still had enormous obstacles to overcome.

“I had to relearn the basics of living. I had to relearn how to swallow, breathe on my own, blink, open my mouth, move my head, move my hands, and find motor skills. They had to reteach me numbers. They had to reteach me the alphabet… every single thing," she says.

Through it all, only one thing remained the same for Patti.

“My love for God was there the entire time. It didn’t leave. I didn’t have to relearn that. From the stories I have been told, that is the one thing that remained constant throughout it all. Just like a little kid…it was real to me. I was learning to live again. I hadn’t lived long enough to let the layers of life get in between me and God.”

Patti’s rehabilitation progressed swiftly and after only one month of treatments, she was released from the hospital and sent home. 

"Her total recovery is amazing and the fact that it happened so rapidly ... those are two things I did not expect," says Patti's doctor, Dr. Mary Carlile.

Patti also regained her ability to process information and eventually…she was able to pursue her career in public speaking again.

"She is able to go back to something that people without a brain injury couldn’t have done. And for her to recover that ability is nothing short of a miracle," believes Dr. Carlile.

Today, Patti travels the world sharing her story with other’s about God’s miracle in her life.

 “I want to be there just to encourage people not to give up because of what I have been through. As long as I live, God will use that tragedy that Satan used to rip me to shreds. As long as I live, the miracle that began on June 18th, 2002 will live on to my Father’s glory!”

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