Dann & Anna Marie Mosteller

"God sent an army to take care of us"

It was a Sunday morning like any other. Dann Mosteller was in bed checking his phone while his wife, Ana, caught a few final minutes of sleep before beginning their morning jog. 15 minutes later, Ana was awakened by an alarming sound. She says, “Dann started making some weird breathing noises. He was gasping for air. He looked like he was choking or had something in his throat. I tried to ask him what was wrong, but he couldn’t answer.” From somewhere in the sheets, Dann’s phone was still playing the sound of a video that he had been watching earlier. Ana frantically searched for the phone to dial 911, but she couldn’t find it. She remembers him raising his hand before he faded away. Dann’s breathing stopped and his face turned blue.   Quickly, Ana located the phone and called emergency services. The Fort Worth Fire Department  arrived five minutes later. They began looking for signs of a pulse in his neck. Nothing. “He’s gone,” one of the paramedics said. Ana recalls, “I remember saying, ‘It cannot be.’ I wasn’t hysterical, but I was in shock. I just started to pray.” As she was praying, Ana heard one of the paramedics say, “Let me check again.” When he touched his neck, he said, “I still feel something.” They immediately put Dann on the floor and began CPR. The ambulance arrived soon after, and they began to attempt to start Dann’s heart using a defibrillator. While the paramedics attended to Dann, Ana sent a message to Margaret, a member of her Doxology community group, saying, “Start praying. Dann isn’t breathing.” Margaret then passed along the information to the other members in their community group. Still in her pajamas,  Ana opted to stay at home while Dann was transported to the hospital by ambulance. “I never had a moment to process everything. I was in shock. I sat on the couch and started crying. I couldn’t figure out what to do. Should I call his parents? My parents? I began making phone calls to family members, but no one was answering.” Another couple from their community group learned that Ana was at home preparing to go to the hospital, and without hesitation, told her they were on their way to pick her up from her house and take her there. When she arrived, four of her community group members were already there waiting for her.

Once at the hospital, Ana was informed that Dann had been moved into intensive care. The doctors explained that Dann had suffered a cardiac arrest, and they needed  to place him in a medically induced coma to lower his body temperature and conserve his heart and brain. Dann was stable, but a full recovery was unclear given the amount of time Dann’s brain was deprived of oxygen. After a couple hours, the doctors allowed Ana to see her husband. She says, “When I was in front of him, I remember talking with God and saying, ‘God, if you want to take him, take him. If you want to leave him here, leave him completely. But whatever you decide, let it be for your glory.’” In those few hours of chaos that had completely upended her life, it was clear that God was moving. “Through this whole process I realized that God had never left me alone. Even in our bedroom when it seemed like he was gone, I could see God’s hand moving the paramedic to check his pulse again.” Needless to say, the events of that morning had left Ana with a lot of unanswered questions. Dann was slated to start a new job at a local school the next day, and Ana was clueless about who to call, what to do about the changing insurance policies, and more. But Ana’s community group members weren’t going to stand idly by. One member helped to call family and friends, and another helped call staff members at Dann’s new school to inform them of the situation. Ana says, “My community was supporting me from the beginning.”

The next week was filled with moments of both uncertainty and hope. The doctors hoped that Dann would wake up on Wednesday, but the day came and went without seeing any positive signs from Dann- he hadn’t opened his eyes and he wasn’t responding to commands. To make matters even more difficult, the doctors explained to Ana that although Dann was in a coma, it was imperative that Ana speak to Dann as though nothing was wrong because even subconscious stress could inhibit his recovery. Throughout the uncertainty and emotional stress there was never a moment where Ana was left without support from their community group. Even the nurses remarked that they had never seen a patient who had so many consistent visitors every hour throughout the entire week. Finally, on Friday, Dann began show small signs of improvement, and by Sunday, Dann woke up. Although he could only say a few words, recovery finally seemed like a possibility.

During the next week Dann was able to speak in complete sentences. After several scans and tests, the doctors were unable to determine the cause for Dann’s cardiac arrest. There was no blockage, and no other signs that his heart would fail. Their only explanation was that his heart was weak and out of rhythm. While the doctors weren’t sure of a cause, they were sure about one thing: it was a miracle that Dann recovered. On average, only 3-5% of patients who suffer that kind of cardiac arrest outside the hospital actually recover. The process was slow, and there were a myriad of mountains along the way, but God provided for each step. Ana says, “I was worried about a lot of things. I remember saying, ‘God if you want to take everything, it’s yours.’ But He didn’t take everything. Instead, He provided. I knew recovery was in God’s timing. The process was very slow and I’ve wondered when we were finally going to get through it.  I felt God say, ‘It’s not going to be soon, but I’m going to be here with you through it.’ I don’t want to pass through this situation too quickly: I want God here with me.”

While some neurological issues still remain, Dann was eventually able to make a full recovery. In all of the ups and downs, God’s provision was evident through their community. Ana says, “I know many were praying for us from all over the world. Our community has helped us with running errands, financial support, and prayer. It’s been invaluable. God sent an army to take care of us.”