On Tuesday, August 5, 2008, just nine days after ministering at the Northwest University 60s Alumni Reunion, Dale Lidstrom suffered cardiac arrest in the Bi-Mart parking lot, in Yakima, Washington. Amazingly, an off-duty nurse "just happened to be nearby". She saw him collapse lifeless on the pavement, and rushed to try to aid him. Finding no pulse or heartbeat, she attempted CPR, but could not get the heart started. So she began to massage the heart area in order to keep the blood circulating somewhat, until paramedics could arrive. When the paramedics arrived, they administered electric shocks in an attempt to restart Dale's heartbeat at the scene. The EMT who administered the electroshock later said, "I lost him four or more times on the way to the hospital."
While attempting to stabilize Dale's heart condition, it was also necessary to deal with a major laceration on the back of Dale's head, and a concussion which probably resulted from his fall to the pavement.
Rushed into emergency surgery at Yakima Memorial Hospital, surgeons found that an artery in the heart called "the widow maker" was completely collapsed. Miraculously, they were able to reopen that artery and insert a stint. They also found that another main artery was ninety per cent blocked. A second stint was inserted, and they were able to successfully restore blood flow through both arteries. Later, the surgeon told Rita that they documented nearly eight minutes in which Dale had no blood flow or oxygen to the brain; and humans cannot sustain more than five minutes or so without resultant brain damage for sure. "How much there is... we'll have to wait and see."
As the surgeon came out of the operating theater, he signaled a "thumbs up" regarding the surgery on the heart, and Dale was taken to ICU and placed in an ice bath to help reduce swelling of the brain from the concussion, and kept on machines through the night. The plan for the next morning was to remove Dale from machines and verify that he could "make it", determining "what then".
For three and a half hours on Wednesday morning, Dale and Rita went through a horrible experience, as it was revealed that "no connection" was possible with Dale's brain. He did not respond to any verbal commands or questions. Even as light was shined into his pupils...there was no response, no dilation of pupils. Though his eyes were open, they were covered with a thick grey film. Rita said, "There was no identity...nor awareness in his eyes; only bulged bloodshot eyes that strayed up and off somewhere else." His physical strength was beginning to return, and he was beginning to thrash about and "wrestle" against those male attendants, who now had to attempt to restrain and hold him down. At that point, the decision was made to heavily sedate him and strap him to the bed, as doctors left the room to decide "what now".
Rita fell to her knees and began praying in the Spirit. Soon after, family members arrived. Rita asked them if they would agree with her in prayer: "Lord, raise Dale in glory or take him to glory. But deliver us from this evil" (meaning, his living on with no brain capacity). They agreed, and prayed: simply that.Fifteen minutes later, Dale's eyes suddenly snapped open and he looked directly at Rita, as if she had called him! His face was full of color and radiated light! The swollen puffiness gone, his eyes shone clearly and beautifully, as if in perfect health and awareness! He smiled peacefully and answered "um-huh" when Rita exclaimed, "Dale, you're happy!"
As the doctor entered the room, he questioned Dale as to "identities" of persons in the room, names, etc., and Dale audibly and clearly answered each question. Then he smiled, closed his eyes, and went back under the sedative, which was to last from eighteen to twenty-four hours.
Early Thursday morning, Dale was up, had cleaned up and shaved himself, and phoned Rita asking where "his dress clothes were". He thought he was in a motel and getting ready to go preach somewhere.
Visitors came that day and Dale functioned perfectly, as though nothing had ever happened (including nearly a two hour Bible study with a minister friend, who had come to see him). Dale's short term memory had not fully returned yet; so he kept asking, "Can we go home now?" This continued through Friday, until after he was released from the hospital on Saturday.(The picture of Rita and Dale on the right was taken in his hospital room the day he was released to go home...08/09/08)
At six p.m. on August 9th, the doctor checked Dale out of the hospital, and he went home. In a phone conversation the next afternoon, Rita said that Dale's "HEALING OF THE BRAIN WAS INSTANTANEOUS AND MIRACULOUS!"
One week after Dale's fateful episode, he insisted on doing some administrative tasks at the ministry office. He was very weak, bruised, and sore; but it was amazing to think how far he'd come in just one week!
Under doctor's orders, however, for Dale not to drive for a month, nor to minister for three months, the Lidstroms canceled the next few months of itinerant ministry. "His body needs a lot of R&R," Rita said, "but his spirit is vibrant and overflowing with praise and gratitude to God, and to all who have been praying on his behalf."