A brief introduction of myself and the “August 2010 episode.”
Written October 2012
My name is Shelley Beatty. I am married to Bob Beatty. We have two daughters and one son. We currently have seven grandchildren.
I grew up in the small coal-mining town of Price, Utah. I am fifth generation Mormon. All my ancestors crossed the plains, joining the church at different times in early to very early church history.
I attended BYU where I received two undergraduate degrees one in biology and one in psychology. I then went to the University of Utah where I received a master’s degree in Medical Biophysics and Computing. I also have a master’s degree and CPA in accounting. I had started on a PhD MD degree at the University of Utah when I met and married Bob.
Bob grew up in the small town of Anaconda, Montana, as a good Catholic boy. He attended Stanford University, and received a degree in chemistry. He attended the University of Utah Medical School where he discovered both the church and me. We had the fortunate opportunity to be married in the Salt Lake Temple by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley.
Shortly after we were married we moved to Boston for Bob’s year of internship and his six-year residency. This was perhaps the refiner’s fire period of our marriage. I don’t think anything will ever prove so difficult for so long. When Bob started his internship he was asked if he was married, and when he answered in the affirmative they said, “Too bad, it won’t last, no marriage has made it through our training program. If yours does, it would be the first.” This was a statistic Harvard of which seemed proud; they wanted it to be the toughest training program in the country.
Our three children were born in Boston. We lived on a resident’s meager income, determining we did not want to incur living expense debt during those years unless we absolutely had to do. We had just one car. Bob’s hours were intense. They have since passed a law making the schedule Bob trained under illegal. His schedule rotated between a light week, then a heavy week. For his light week he would spend an average of 110 hours at the hospital and for the difficult week he spent 140 hours. Most often he got very few hours of sleep during the hours spent at the hospital. His only day off was every other Sunday, which we spent in church and Bob trying to catch up on sleep. This continued for all the years we spent in Boston.
After residency we moved here and have lived here ever since. Bob still works very long hours, getting up at 4:00 a.m. operating most days and is on call at least 50% of the time. Fortunately he enjoys his work.
Our relationship with God is our most sacred and vital strength. We are His spirit children. He is our Father. He desires our happiness. As we seek Him, as we learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, as we open our hearts to the influence of the Holy Spirit, our lives become more stable and secure. We experience greater peace, joy, and fulfillment as we give our best to live according to God’s eternal plan and keep His commandments. It does not matter what is happening around us if we have strength from within.
For me, our years in Boston were challenging years, they were my years of trial and testing. I felt alone, away from all family. I had three small children, no car, no computers and communication then was much different than it is today. You could not just pick up a phone and call anyone, anytime or anywhere due to the cost. In fact it was long distance charges to almost everyone in our ward. It was hard to get to the grocery store. It was hard to get to church. It was hard to fulfill church callings. Each day was a challenge.
But, somehow we survived.
These were the years where I learned I had to develop that relationship with Heavenly Father and develop strength from within. I learned to trust our Heavenly Father. I learned he was the one I could turn to at any time.
Throughout my life I have carried within my heart a spiritual experience very sacred to me. This event occurred after I had diligently sought answers to some difficult questions. I lost a brother while he was serving a mission in Australia when I was a teenager. It was a difficult time for my family and a real trial to our testimonies. After many prayers, I received answers to my questions.
Additionally, I felt I received personal insight and revelation; it was impressed upon me that my brother had passed his test in this life, and he did indeed die for the gospel. My test was however much different and perhaps and in some ways more difficult. My test was to live for the gospel. No one great monumental test, no one great accomplishment, but simply living each day, one day at a time, day after day.
Just a few weeks ago, my husband and I returned from our annual trip to Utah to attend Education Week at BYU. It marked the second anniversary of something that happened two years ago that forever changed my life and changed the lives of my family and many of my friends.
It is something I don’t talk about much. Not because I don’t appreciate what happened to me, but it is often hard to find the words to express my feelings concerning all that happened.
A recent checkup to my doctor right before we left for Education Week made me think and realize that I needed to share an update, one more chapter, to that story, at least complete a written history of that event.
For those of you that don’t know, let me give a brief synopsis.
Two years ago, my husband and I went to Utah to attend BYU Education week. The week had gone as usual until Friday the last day. I can only attribute the outcome of this day to a series of little miracles, which occurred in my behalf.
My husband got up early to go swimming. Bob is a creature of habit and he has gone swimming every Monday, Wednesday and Friday since I have known him, for over 30 years. He goes running on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and he throws in some tennis whenever he has a chance.
On this Friday, a day for swimming, he got up and immediately the thought came to his mind, “Why don’t I go running today instead of swimming.” He then thought, “but it’s Friday and I always swim on Friday”. That was followed with the thought, “but the water was so cold on Wednesday why don’t I just run today instead,” and then “and if I go running today, I don’t have to leave for another 20-30 minutes and I can go back to bed.”
And so he went back to bed. It would be in that next 30 minutes that I would stop breathing and my heart would stop beating. Miraculously, Bob was right there lying next to me when it all happened.
He immediately called 911 and started CPR. Fortunately as a doctor, with 30 plus years of training, he knew what he needed to do. He is trained in CPR. He had done CPR before.
Unfortunately, he is also trained to time how long one does CPR, since there is definitely diminishing returns in doing CPR as the time elapses. Bob carefully kept track of the elapsing time as he diligently performed CPR.
He could not get my heart to start. Just when he was about to call time and stop CPR, just when he knew that it was to no avail, miraculously the phone rang and it was the 911 operator calling him back, telling him not to stop that the paramedics were almost there.
He told me, he actually argued with the operator, telling her he was a physician and he knew what he was doing and he knew it wasn’t working and he did not want to do more harm than good. Miraculously, at that moment Bob went against everything he had been trained to do, went against 30 plus years of being a neurosurgeon, went against all medical knowledge, and his knowing the brain intimately, listened to the spirit instead and he continued doing CPR.
The paramedics arrived. I was transported to the University of Utah Hospital and put in a cold temperature coma for the next few days.
They immediately started running many medical tests. At this point, the outcome was very dire. The medical tests were not promising and indicated it was unlikely I would survive and if by chance I did, much rehab and therapy would be needed, I would never return to normal. My family all flew to Salt Lake City, hoping they would get there to see me one last time and they were thinking they would be planning a funeral.
Just when things seemed the darkest, my brother anointed me and gave a priesthood blessing. In that blessing he blessed me that I would be “completely recovered and totally restored.”
Some doctor friends of Bob, who were LDS, had gathered to give him support. These doctor friends pulled my brother aside and asked him what he was doing, thinking he did not understand medicine or the gravity of the situation and telling him that a complete and total recovery was medically out of the question. I am sure they thought my brother was somewhat deluded. However, my brother told them he had received confirmation not once but twice, and those exact words had come clearly to his mind. He later told me it was a very strong and a very distinct impression, and one that could not be ignored. But as in all blessings it was to be according to the Lord’s will.
I am so grateful, for my brother who honors his priesthood and lives a life worthy, so that at a moment’s notice, was able to give a priesthood blessing. He had no time to prepare to be in tune with the spirit.
I am grateful for family, friends and a ward family, and a stake that upon hearing the news immediately had a day of fasting and prayer. So many prayers were offered in my behalf. Many fasted, and some told me it was the first time they had ever fasted the full 24 hours. I was so humbled to think they had done it in my behalf.
Friends called temples and placed my name upon the prayer rolls of dozens of temples.
Friends gathered and did much in my behalf.
It was just as in Alma 10: 23
(But) it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared;
I was brought out of the coma. I was spared. I learned that my heart was very enlarged. But in all other respects I was totally fine. I actually left the hospital a few days later, with no rehab, fully restored and was able to come home and resume all my activities.
I have pondered much on the events that happened.
Six months ago, my family, friends and myself rejoiced when my medical tests showed my heart had recovered to within the range of normal. It was the visit to the doctor a few weeks ago that really stopped me in my tracks. The medical tests showed I was well into the high end of normal. The doctor again confirmed he thought it was caused by a virus, and was again absolutely amazed at my recovery. He had all my medical records, but knew nothing about the numerous prayers, the fasting and the priesthood blessing. He said, “Well Mrs. Beatty it does seem like a miracle, I can’t really explain it, but you seem to be completely recovered and been totally restored.”
There were the same words from my priesthood blessing two years earlier when my brother blessed me that I would be, “completely recovered and totally restored.”
I wanted to share this additional chapter in my story. I wanted to share the total and complete fulfillment of that priesthood blessing, which flew in the face of modern medicine and modern scientific knowledge.
I am grateful to a husband that listened to the spirit. I am grateful for a 911 operator that for whatever reason felt the need to call my husband at the exact moment he needed the call. I am grateful for fasting and prayers of friends, because I know it was because of the prayers of the righteous I was saved. I am grateful for a restored gospel, that restored the keys of the priesthood, and grateful for my brother and his choosing to honor that priesthood, and his laying his hands upon my head and giving me a priesthood blessing. I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father and grateful it was his will that I was allowed to continue my sojourn upon the earth with my family and with friends like all of you.
I have pondered this event in my life and wondered its purpose, and as I did so the spiritual confirmation I received so many years ago has come to mind. I am to live each day for the gospel. It is not one monumental effort or one incredible achievement but it is by those simple daily acts of living the gospel day after day.
I pray I can be the kind of person I should be and meet the challenges I need to meet.
But most of all I want them to know beyond any shadow of doubt I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church, my being here today testifies of that truth.
I know Joseph Smith has restored the Gospel in its fullness. I know Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son. I know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and through him we may all be saved.
In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.