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My Mistake Could Have Cost Me My Life....Lord Have Mercy!

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God bless you.

I made what could have been a fatal mistake Sunday. I went to cover a

Chicago Wolves hockey playoff game and forgot to carry a spare pair of

batteries that power the heart pump that is keeping me alive until I get a heart


Everything would have been alright if I had remembered or if my wife Joyce would

have reminded me to change into a fresh pair of batteries when I left home. Or if I had

packed a spare pair. Or if the game had ended in regulation. Or if the game had ended in

the first overtime.

But once the game was extended an extra 70-something minutes by going

into second overtime, something told me to check my batteries because I already

had been using them for 10 hours and they normally are supposed to last me

12 hours.

Understand, now, that once my pump stops being powered by batteries

or by AC current, I'm a dead man within minutes because my heart will cease to

pump blood. The implantation of the pump retired my heart from having a

heartbeat because my blood circulation became powered by the D-size-battery

pump attached to my heart.

Normally, I pack a spare pair when I got out of the house for a

newspaper or preaching assignment because I never know how long I would

be out. I could get in a car accident or a traffic jam resulting from somebody else

having an accident. That way, I'm in good shape for at least 24 hours.

But Sunday, stupid me just left home wearing a pair of batteries that already

had been on me for just over five hours. I should have changed into a fresh pair

or packed a spare pair. I did neither.

On the sides of my batteries is a five-dot meter that tells me how much

charge is left in the battery. Five is 80 to 100 percent. Four is 60-80 percent. Three

means 40 to 60 percent. I change batteries one he meter ready two dots. But what

put me in trouble Sunday was that I live an hour's drive from Allstate Arena,

where the game was being played. Plus, it takes from 30 to 40 minutes for me to do

my post-game interviews, write and file my story.

Once I saw my meter flashed three dots, I did not know how close that was

to two dots and the game wasn't even over yet. It ended just before I left the press

room to rush home to change batteries. Thank goodness, this was an afternoon

game because that gave me extra time to file. With the help of Wolves publicist

Elizabeth Casey and coach Don Lever and a couple of players, I was able to get

the necessary phone interviews once I arrived home at 7:30 p.m.

Tracy Valeroso, the right-hand nurse of Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam,

world-famous cardiac surgeon a the University of Chicago Medical Center, had

already given me an exrta pair of exactly for these potential emergencies.

What if there had been one of those 18-wheeler jack-knife accident that blocked

all lanes and tied of traffic for miles and hours? What if I had been stranded in

something that and my batteries ran out? Well, you would be reading this or

any other blog entry from me anymore.

This pump has changed my life immensely after its implantation saved

my life. It is now a part of my body. It is my lifeline. It is more than just my little

friend. It presently is imperative for my survival.

So keep praying for me. Pray that I not only get a new heart, but that I not

forget always have at least one backup pair of batteries whenever I leave for


God bless you.

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Thank the Lord you had that reminding thought to check the dots. It can sometimes be to easy to forget the most needed items when our minds become busy with life's other distractions. I am sure you by now have thought about every tragic thing that could have caused your demise, however use it for positive now and simply thank God that you listened to that inner something that caused you to remember and be able to avoid disaster.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, Judi. It's time for me to thank and praise God for working through His Holy Ghost to give me the presence of mind to check my dots at a needful time. I have been so angry at what I call my utter stupidity for forgetting to put on a fresh set of batteries and to take a spare pair when I left home. I thank God for your tender understanding, too. Some of my friends have come down hard on me. Real hard. "Lacy, how could you do something stupid like that?" they ask. Well, I do have a lot of my mind. And it's just my physical health but my financial health since this is my retirement year and I've run into some serious problems concerning the dispersal of my pension. The odds don't favor a man in my condition living more than a couple of more years or so. I'm praying for God to do a Hezekiah on me. He has brought me safe this far while others failed to survive some of the things I've been through. But pure and simple, I still should pay close--super close--attention to my batteries. It's part of my adjusting to a new order of things concerning my life and the supreme role the heart pump plays in it. I know heat can sap the power of these batteries if they are left in the car. And summer heat can turn a car's cabin into an inferno. Nevertheless, I must make sure that a spare pair of batteries are in my car at all times. Pleases forgive me, my prayers partners.

Rev. Lacy, Good morning and that's in every sense of the words. All I can do is shake my head and thank God for working things out to avoid a potential crisis. I imagine you've already received a terse lecture from you know who. And yourself. OK, self flagellation is over. Tape a note to the door, the car window, wherever necessary to remind you! Prayers and blessings to you and your family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Marie, it's funny that you should make those very suggestions because I had already received them from another dear friend who also added that I tie a ribbon around my big toe and tape a note on my dashboard. I say again to all of you that I am sorry for my carelessness. Here I am asking y'all to pray for God to heal me and there I go trying to work against that by placing myself squarely in harm's way. But, again, it is honestly unintentional n my part to make such a mistake. So add to your prayers for God to remove such stupidity and carelessness from me. Believe, me I will try very, very hard to do much, much better to be more careful in the future because one never knows what I might run into.

Rev.Lacy, No apologies are necessary because we are all human and make mistakes. Praying for you and your family is a privilege, a blessing from the Lord and I would not presume that it entitles me to make any judgements about you and your actions. You have an untold number of things to deal with every day and it's understandable that a ball may get dropped here and there. Batteries isn't one of them and you won't forget again. I am in the encouraging and uplifting and restoration ministry, seeking God's guidance for solutions, not condemnation. As a dear friend once told me years ago as I agonized over a major mistake, "God has already forgiven you, why don't you forgive yourself?" Have a beautiful day filled with the love of Christ Jesus!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Marie, for continuing to be a comfort and encouragement to me and so many other good people who are hurting for whatever reasons. Thank you for putting my error in proper perspective, a perspective that is doctrinally sound. Living under Jesus' New Testament Dispensation of Grace, we need not ever wallow in our woes, or labor and linger too long in laments where we are constantly beating up ourselves over something that is squarely within the radius of God's mercy. If we confess our sins to Him, and I consider what I did to be a sin, He is faithful to forgive us and to heal us of all iniquity. Isn't that one of the biggest reasons we serve him? When nobody else understands, Jesus does. When nobody else cares, Jesus does. When nobody wants to help, Jesus does. When nobody else CAN help, Jesus CAN. When nobody else wants to forgive us, Jesus does. So thank God for Jesus.

Dear Lacy -

I am compelled to offer a comment, not on your blog entry, but on your reply to Judi. I hope you will know that I seek not to criticize, but to remind.

Your reply is filled with the anguish and worry that I know you must be feeling in the midst of the medical and financial challenges you have had - and still have - to endure. I can understand that, in some regard. As you know, I have severe financial challenges. I face the next ten days without the funds - at this moment - with which to buy food. In addition, while I - thankfully - do not have the severity of medical challenges that plague you, I do have a significant problem, which, at this moment, I cannot afford to treat with a doctor's visit nor medication.

Having said all that, I do not despair. I am well loved. I know that it is not possible for my God to do anything but love me totally and completely. And, while I've said many times that you and I differ in the details of our beliefs, I do recall the words of Jesus, who reminds us that if God so clothes the grass, which is here today and tomorrow thrown on the fire, he will clothe us. I will not despair, for I am well loved.

I write this, because I need now, at this moment of challenge, to remember that Love will not desert me - ever. Everything I've ever read about faith tells me that I must not give into fear. Indeed, faith and fear are mutually exclusive; you cannot know both at the same time. Faith is not used to reduce fear, but to replace it. I am told that when I experience fear, it's because I'm relying on my own power. If my own power was all I had working for me, I would need to be afraid. But, I was created by the force of pure Love, who set things in motion for me to know joy and peace and abundance - heaven.

As for mortality, we all know that our physical lives can end at any second. But, we do not die, do we? The truth is that our earthly lives are filled with unexpected twists and turns and changes. Faith means that we accept that and we expect that the changes will be good ones. If we rest in our faith, what else can be? This moment, you have pension problems. Who's to say what they will be later tonight or tomorrow? Who's to say that, next week, you don't suddenly find yourself the recipient of a windfall or an offer that will make these present financial challenges moot? We know who's to say, don't we?

I have had to ask myself whether my fear comes from what may happen or my own delusion that I am somehow exempt from the promise of God's Love.

So, if I may be so bold, I am going to challenge you. Take a look around and you will behold wonders that are so far beyond our conscious minds that it's not surprising we should discount them. The perfection built into the design of our universe must remind us that things have been arranged here so that we may always feel the Supreme Love with which we are always blessed. Put your concentration there for as long as your mind will allow. If the grass doesn't need to anguish over when to grow; the rain when to fall; or the sun to shine, we may be able to trust that we do not need to anguish over how things will resolve. I ask you, please, to rest in faith, for tomorrow you may laugh at the worry you felt today.

As I challenge you, I challenge myself: Today, I could fear what it is to be, but choose to embrace peace and joy instead and let God be God.

I need not fear, for I am well loved.

So are you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: What a profoundly touching and thought-provoking comment. Whew! But you always have specialized in those kinds of comments, John. And you have been and still are prolific in them. I continue to feel your hurts stemming from unemployment. I have decried it several times and I will continue to do so until you get a job you are comfortable with. I repeat what I have said before: I believe it is obscenity that somebody as intelligent and as talented as you are do not have a decent job. I believe it is part of an incredible indictment against this country. I also pray for a mighty financial breakthrough for you. s I appreciate deeply your joining my cause early on. Perhaps you even still had your job when I started blogging, in the spring of 2008, my fights against a cancerous brain tumor, prostate cancer and end-stage congestive heart failure that, doctors said, would kill me within a year if I didn't get a heart transplant of a heart pump. I thank God that the brain tumor, within a couple of weeks, was diagnosed as benign. I also thank God that I received the recommended radiation seeds treatment for my prostate cancer. And that cancer has been in remission. I also thank the Lord that I am still alive after being hospitalized for 30 days, placed on life support twice in 10 days for three-day spans. I thank the Lord that the Jan. 29 open-heart surgery to implant a heart pump (Heartmate II) in me was successful. Now, my agonies have been aggravated by controversies over how my 38-year pension benefit will be dispersed. Thank God that I even have a pension. A lot of people who used to work for Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Arthur Anderson, etc, can't say that. This brings me to, what I consider, the heart of your comment. It is faith. More specifically, it is faith in God. Not in nothing else or anybody else but the Lord. Not in doctors or lawyers. Not in insurance agents of social workers. Not in politicians or police. Not in relative or friends, strangers or enemies who can't shoot straight. Not in black cat bone, wish bone, four-leaf clover, goofy dust, tea leaves, Tarot cards or horoscope. No, John, my hope and my faith are in God, which also includes his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, and His Spirit, the Holy Ghost. You are a man of faith, too. We still sing an old hymn in our Baptist Church, John, that pretty much states my position: "My hope is built, on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand. All other ground in sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand." Oh, oh, my eyes are starting to well up with tears trying their best to fall. I am weak, John. So are you. We all are weak. We can not fight and win our life's battles by ourselves. We lack the power. But Christ has all power. And largely because of Jesus' omnipotence and God's grace, I can say that I can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens me." For the same reasons, all things work together for good for them who love God and are the called according to His purpose. If there is anything that I pray for more than anything else, it's faith and more faith. I pray again and again, "Lord, increase my faith." People going through what, Marie, Gwen and so many others, as well as myself, are going through need more faith. And I'm so glad that this faith does not to be medium, large, extra large or super jumbo-sized. Jesus said if we had faith the size of a teeny, weeny mustard seed, it would be enough to move the Rockies or even Mt. Everest. So, I accept your challenge now, as I already had, to be honest with you, to take a broader view of suffering humanity, where I can see so many other people who are in worse situations than you, I or anybody else. But, that same faith in God, John, still can do whatever, whenever and wherever. That's why I also love that wise advice to "trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. But in all thy ways, acknowledge (God) and He will direct thy path." Trust in the Lord, my sisters and brothers. Trust in the Lord.

Hello Rev. Banks how are you feeling? Oh Lord did your story scare me.Thank God you made it home safely.You are only human and we all forget important things at time,that is a part of our human make up.But thank God he always take care of us.I had a thought.I'm sure you have to charge up your batteries,so can you keep a set of batteries being charged by the door you go out of so that way you will see them as you are leaving. Or you can do what I've done on numerous occasions, I tape a note to myself on the door so I won't forget.My daughter laughs at me but I just say help me Holy Ghost. You and your family have so much on your plates that is why I keep all of you in my prayers. Take care of yourself and please tell Mrs. Banks HAPPY MOTHERS DAY for me.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Happy Mother's Day to you, too, Marcia. What wonderful advice you offer. And more than one piece of advice, too. I will adhere to it. Thank you for your advice and thank you for your understanding. I know you only want the best for your preacher. And I promise you all that I will try much harder to cover myself, in terms of sufficient battery power, whenever I leave the house and know I'll be gone for awhile. And, of course, we never really know whether that while will be a little while or a whole lot more. But we must prepare ourselves for the unexpected for we know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh. But while I'm already prepared for that judgement day. My current focus is to make sure I'm prepared for the next hour, the next day and days beyond.

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Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on May 3, 2010 11:34 AM.

My heart is very's better....but very troubled. was the previous entry in this blog.

It Ain't Easy Living A Tethered Life With A Heart Pump is the next entry in this blog.

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