Douglas Howard

My Life: The Early Years (part two), by Doug Howard

One wonders how much of our experiences in life actually influence the rest. From my own personal experience I would say our early struggles and joys, our failures and victories has a great impact on the rest of our lives; at least for me that is the case.
When I was about six years old I faced my first battle with double pneumonia. Both of my lungs were full of fluid making it very difficult to breath. I was admitted to the hospital, Virginia Baptist again, in December of 1973. I would, during my early years, spend several Christmas holidays in the hospital, which included Thanksgiving and Halloween. I fondly remember a number of Santas coming by then children’s wings to visit the hospitalized young over these eventful winters. Whether it was that year or another, I do not know however I joyously remember a magician coming by the room with a light bulb that he could make light in his hand. He allowed me to hold the bulb which would not light for me and I was amazed to observe the magician reclaiming the device and making it shine once again! Dad was with me that evening. He played along with the magician as I did I not know the bulb was battery powered with a button he secretely depressed to make it light. I an quite sure Dad could see the joy and amazement this incident brought to me that evening. I was astounded by this trick for years. What joy that brought to the
sick children in the hospital.
I recall having to remain in a clear plastic tent connected to a humidifier which coverd the entire top portion of my bed. I hated that tent. I couldn’t watch TV, have conversations or any sort of childhood activities when I was in that tent. However the tent probably saved my life on a number of occasions. I could exit the tent to use the toilet and to eat in addition to the nurse changing my bed clothing each day. Otherwise I remained in that tent 24 hours per day for how ever long it took for me to get better.
It was during this illness, I would later learn, that my physicians gave my parents a poor prognosis of my survival of the double pneumonia. I recall a big man from my grandmother, Katie’s church, Thomas Road Baptist Church, came to the hospital to pray for me. I remember his huge hands and his deep baritone voice as he lifted up prayers to the Heavenly Father on my behalf. My grandmother, Katie who all the grandkids called Nannie because she was indeed a Nannie to many of her grandchildren, was a very faithful Christian and believed in the power of prayer. I came to know later in life the man who prayed for me that day was R.C. Whorley, a faithful brother-in-Christ who often visited hospitals, visiting with and praying for the infirm. I attribute my survival in part, to the prayers offered up on my behalf that day. Within several days I began to recover from the illness that plagued my existence that winter. I was saved for a purpose, of that I am sure, but I wonder for what purpose as I would eventually cause many people so much pain which cannot be quantified in mere words, pain that haunts me even now after all of these years of confinement. I am confident of the fact part of that purpose is to share the good news of the Gospel to a lost world. What better venue in which to accomplish this important task than in prison.

Doug Howard
DOC #1051074

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