Daniela's near-death experience
When she was 11, Daniela Maltais battled a fever. Five times, her family took her to the local clinic, but the tests were inconclusive. It wasn't until her kidneys shut down that they rushed her by ambulance to Fairview Children's in the Twin Cities.
She arrived there about 7 p.m. By 9 p.m., she had slipped into a coma, where she would remain for more than a month.
"One of the days, the doctors came to tell (my mom and aunt) to say goodbye to me, because they didn't think I would (survive) that day," Daniela said. "They prayed over me, 'God, you gave her to me for 11 years, now I'm giving her back to you.'"
The physicians took her into an MRI for a test and while there, Daniela experienced a vision, where she saw bluer-than-blue skies, two lines of marching angels and then two hands -- one smaller, one larger -- reaching toward each other. As their middle fingers touched, she woke up.
The monitors connected to her at that moment were flat, indicating that everything in her body had stopped.
Soon, they found she had somehow acquired Strep B, which had led to the kidney failure.
"Somehow, on its way to my heart, where it would have been fatal, it went into my (left) arm, and my arm was twice its size, black and blue," Daniela said.
She underwent five surgeries, and doctors considered amputation. Today, she has scars on her arm from the skin grafts taken from her hip.
"When I first saw (the scars), I was with the orthopedic surgeon who had done the surgery and I cried," Daniela said. "The translator, who was kind of harsh, she said, 'Do you want this or do you want a stump?' and that was what really brought me to reality."
She stayed in the Twin Cities for three months, somehow still passing fifth grade, and underwent months of therapy at home, learning to regain the use of her hand.
She smiled as she thought of her mother, who was prepared to donate a kidney before doctors found that Daniela's kidneys themselves were healed.
"God restored everything," Daniela said. "At the last minute, that is when God acts. This solidified my faith and my mom's faith."