It Felt Like Death

                                By Phil Scovell

               Although I have not slept well for many years, something had
          recently changed.   After awaking each morning, I  felt unable to
          physically  function  until late  in  the afternoon.    I finally
          decided it was time to see our family doctor.

               Although he  ran blood  tests to see  if anything  showed up
          that  might be  a possible  suspect,  his first  guess was  sleep
          apnea.   My wife,  a medical transcriptionist  for 35  years, had
          been trying to tell  me that I had sleep apnea  for more than two
          years but I just didn't think that was my problem.   I have since
          learned that people with sleep  apnea rarely know, or think, they
          have it because they generally don't realize their sleep is being

               In case the reader doesn't  know what sleep apnea is, simply
          defined, it  is when you  literally stop breathing  during sleep.
          So your brain  sends a critical wake up signal,  since you aren't
          breathing,  and your  body will  do anything  to jump  start your
          breathing  again.    It  can   literally  feel  as  if  you  were
          electrically shocked into  consciousness if the apnea  is severe.
          That, in fact, was happening to me at times.

               One of the most obvious symptoms of  sleep apnea is day time
          total  exhaustion to  the  extreme.   I have  never been  able to
          describe that  feeling until recently.   Saying I was  just tired
          wasn't exactly right.  Saying  I felt extremely exhausted  didn't
          exactly define how I felt  either.  I said often it felt  as if I
          were weak but that still  could not describe my physical feeling.
          Additional sleep would not make the feeling go  away.  There just
          wasn't a word  in the dictionary I  could find to identify  how I
          felt.    Strangely  enough,  by  later  afternoon  or very  early
          evening, I  always felt normal  and my strength seemed  to return
          and I could function normally.

               Upon  my doctor's recommendation, I entered the hospital for
          an over night sleep  study.  They glue four probes  to your scull
          to watch brain patterns during sleep.  They
          wrap a strap around your stomach and another around your chest in
          order to monitor your  breathing.  Additional probes  and sensors
          are taped to  your legs to see  if your legs jump  rapidly during
          sleep  because   often  people   with  sleep   apnea  will   jerk
          spasmodically when their  brain is trying to jolt  them back into
          breathing  again.  I had experience many of those symptoms to the
          point I was  jerking awake and  if one of my  hands was near  the
          head of  our bed  where we  have a  book shelf,  I often  knocked
          things over.   Frankly, awakening during the night  time and time
          again in  this violent  way, can be  quite frightening  and other
          emotional concerns then easily  come into play because  you can't
          analyze what is  happening or why.  Also, they taped probes on my
          chest to monitor air flow in and out of the lungs and  to monitor
          the heart during  the night sleep.   In some cases, they  have to
          come into  your room during  the night to  put a sleep  mask over
          your nose in order for you to breathe better.  During  the night,
          from  beginning to end, you are video taped.  An intercom monitor
          is likewise  on in your  room throughout the  night.  This  is so
          they can  listen to you and if you  need assistance, all you need
          do is speak  and someone comes  running.   All the wires  running
          from the probes, sensors, and straps, connect to a central device
          which is  then  connected to  the  computer.   Specially  trained
          technicians sit and watch your data being displayed on the screen
          all night.  In  short, if you so much as break  wind, which is an
          old way of  saying if you even  pass gas during the  night, it is
          recorded  and logged as  data.  If you  absent mindedly pick your
          nose during the night, you  are not only caught electronically by
          the computer but you are on  video tape as well.  Now,  there's a
          family  video  you  can  drag  out and  force  your  friends  and
          relatives to watch  for seven or eight hours.  Makes sure you pop
          a 55  gallon drum of popcorn if you  plan on watching it straight
          through.  They  also want you to sleep on your back for the first
          hour or two, something I normally find next to impossible to  do,
          but then  you are allowed to  sleep in any  position you normally
          use.  Sure.   Try rolling around with all these  wires and cables
          hanging from every part of your  body and see how comfortable you
          are.  Then, when you are awakened in  the morning, feeling lousy,
          the quickly  rip off  the tape  and gummy  glue in  your hair  to
          remove the wires and probes.  Too bad if you forgot to shave your
          legs the night before.  I did forget, I'm proud to say.

               In basic layman terms, sleep  apnea occurs due to the tongue
          sliding too far back and blocking the throat and thus cutting off
          air flow to  a lesser, or greater,  degree.  Wearing a  nose mask
          with air  flowing in and through the nasal passages, is often all
          that is  needed to  keep the passageway  opened for  breathing to
          occur normally.   In more  severe cases, a surgical  procedure is
          available  but most people  find almost instant  positive results
          from  wearing a device  over the nose  called Continuous Positive
          Airway Pressure or C  PAP for short.  This keeps  the throat from
          being blocked so the person can breathe and sleep normally.

               One  day, following  my  doctor's appointment,  and learning
          that nothing  in my  blood work showed  anything abnormal,  I was
          sitting on  our deck  swing praying.   The sleep  study had  been
          successfully concluded and now I was waiting for my doctor to get
          the data back  from the hospital  to see if  I in fact  had sleep
          apnea.   It was  mid afternoon so  I was  beginning to physically
          feel better  for that day.  I  was thinking about how  I felt and
          about what might be wrong.  Since I couldn't describe the feeling
          in my body,  I heard the Holy  Spirit suddenly say, "How  does it

               Then I knew.  I said, "It  feels like death."  It was  true.
          I felt  as if my body were physically dying yet I wasn't tired, I
          wasn't sleepy,  I wasn't weak, and  I wasn't exhausted.   It felt
          truly  as  though   my  body  were  physically  dying.     As  an
          intercessor, I immediately  recognized the warning signals  and I
          began to quickly do a spiritual search, as it were, to locate the
          cause of the feeling  of death.  Why?  Because I  wasn't dying so
          the feeling  of death should not  be there.   Yet it was.   I was
          going to pray and find out why.

               I prayed and asked the Lord where this feeling came from and
          I instantly saw the  demon.  He was  up high, as if sitting  on a
          tall hill  near my head, and small and  black.  I prayed a simple
          prayer; binding his  words and condemning them.  After dismissing
          him from his assignments  against me, I then  turned him over  to
          the True Lord Jesus Christ.  He  left.  The next day, I felt  the
          best I had felt in  months.  Did it cure my sleep apnea?  No.  My
          prayer, however,  removed that feeling of death and prevented the
          Enemy from creating a new foothold in my life.

               When we are sick, tired, run  down, or physically ill, it is
          a  perfect opportunistic  time for  a demon  to come  and implant
          thoughts of lies.  These lies are  much easier to believe at such
          times  because  we  are  blindsided  by  the  illness,  sickness,
          disease, or infirmity.  I  learned another valuable lesson.  When
          something doesn't feel  right, it  isn't.  That  means it has  an

               When I prayed,  I fully expected to  go to a memory  where a
          lie  was rooted concerning death.   For example,  when I was very
          small, perhaps not  more than 3 years  of age, my mother  and two
          older sisters and I were in a car wreck.  Fortunately, none of us
          were hurt  but one of  my sisters literally  fell out of  the car
          into a muddy  bar ditch which probably  saved her life.   To this
          day,  I  have  strong vivid  memories  of the  event  and  I have
          learned, praying with others, an event, just like this one, could
          be, and often is, traumatic for a child with subsequent emotional
          repercussions.  Additionally,  I well  remember the  time, in  my
          youth, I stepped on  a nail.  I was taken to the hospital and the
          ensuing infection became  so painful, I remember telling  my dad,
          as  he tried  comforting  me one  night,  that I  wanted  to die.
          Bingo!   Perfect  opportunity for  a lie  to be implanted  by the
          Enemy or for  fear to become rooted.   I had to have  my appendix
          removed when I was quite small and I frankly do not have pleasant
          memories of this  event due to my  age and being alone  at night.
          Another golden opportunity for a lie to be inserted into a little
          mind that is unable to process the fear being felt.

               I could  go  on with  many such  events but  I hear  someone
          saying, "these aren't major traumatic experiences."  They aren't?
          Try telling that to the 50 year old woman seated in my office who
          has suffered from depression for literally decades.  When we pray
          and the Lord takes her back to similar memories and events I have
          just described which happened in her own  life, and she is healed
          of the lies and the fear associated with simple childhood events,
          what would you call it if it was other than traumatic.

               My father died  when I was 11  years old.  Exactly  one year
          later, to the exact date, I was pronounced totally blind and sent
          home  from the hospital  after six months  and more  than a dozen
          surgeries on my retinas.  These two events alone, even if nothing
          else ever happened to me as a child, created fertile soil for the
          Enemy to implant lies that  my young mind simply found impossible
          to  process  with adult  understanding.    How  do I  know  this?
          Because, when I turned 50 years of age, I slammed into depression
          full  force and  began experiencing  anxiety  and panic  attacks.
          Nightmares  and voices  kept me  awake  for days  and I  found it
          impossible to even eat.   When the lies were exposed  and remove,
          the anxiety attacks and nightmares and voices all went away.

               Sometimes people wonder if all I do is hunt for demons.  The
          answer is yes and no.  No, I don't look for them, and yes, I find
          them during  prayer sessions  all the  time.   Let me  ask you  a
          question.   What would  you say the  cause would be  when praying
          with a  woman who  had been  raped many  years ago  but when  she
          embraces  those strong and  powerful emotions of  fear again, she
          becomes ill  and pukes her  toenails up?   "Oh,"  I hear  someone
          saying, "She isn't a Christian  because that wouldn't happen to a
          Christian."  If you think that, you would be wrong because she is
          a Christian.  "Oh,"  you say, "but all her sins  were forgiven at
          the cross."  That's true but  we aren't talking about the effects
          of sins  already forgiven;  we are talking  about lies  buried so
          deep, just the memory  of the event brings back the  fear and the
          apprehension and the dread so strongly, the physical  body reacts
          violently  as if  the rape  just occurred.   Using  your salvitic
          theology I  would say  you likely  believe, therefore, God's  Son
          just  died for  our sins and  nothing else?   Is this  woman, for
          example, although born again, unable  to live a totally free life
          and is  the salvation  Jesus died and  bled for  insufficient for

               "Well,"  the  argument  continues,  "she  is  mentally  ill.
          That's a case for the  professionals."  What's a professional, if
          you don't mind me asking?  Never mind.  I know what you think and
          I know what you mean.  I am not a professional.  I have no degree
          except  for a  three  year  THG general  theology  degree from  a
          seminary and  I've lost  that diploma.   I  was once  licensed to
          preach in a  very large Baptist church  but I lost that  piece of
          paper so I can't prove it.   I was later ordained in  the Baptist
          church once but I lost that document, too, and have no idea where
          it could be.   So, in short, I am definitely  not a professional.
          I will  tell you  what I  am even if  you find  it impossible  to

               First, I'm born  again.  Secondly, I was told by God I would
          be an intercessor at a time in my life when I had no idea what an
          intercessor was.  Nearly twenty years later, the Lord led me into
          praying with people  on a one-to-one bases.   I have watched  God
          heal people who the "professionals"  called mentally ill and said
          they never  could be fully well.  How could someone, who is not a
          professional, do that?   He can't.   Only a loving God,  who gave
          His  Son that  we might  live, and  was bodily  resurrected after
          three  days of  being dead  and buried,  could do  something like
          that.  What I really want to know is, where is the church when it
          is needed the most?

               Now, if you break your leg or arm, come down with an illness
          that  doesn't go  away, or  need a  cancerous tumor  removed, for
          crying in the sink, go to the doctor.  On the other hand, instead
          of buying the lie of the Enemy that certain things should be left
          up to the  "professionals," maybe it is time  we learned to pray.
          Guess what will happen when you learn to pray?   You are going to
          cross  paths with  demons who  really exist  and really  talk and
          really deceive even born again Christians.  So let's all get back
          to work and stop trying to prove each other wrong.  We  will have
          lots  of time in Heaven to find out  who was and who wasn't.  For
          now, keep your spiritual ears open when you are ill or  facing an
          infirmity.  You might be tricked by the Enemy.

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