Fourteen years ago I found myself at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bryan, praying for the life and recovery of my son Charles.  

A college freshman at Texas A&M, Charles had told his mom (my wife) Carolyn on the phone the night before he was not feeling “quite right.” 

Upon her urging, he agreed to go to the school infirmary. So early that next morning, Charles began walking to the clinic, only to become disoriented, somehow staggering his way through the infirmary’s doors.  

After quick evaluation, the medical staff realized this was beyond their scope of treatment and called for an ambulance.

The nurse called Carolyn in Glen Rose to inform her of the situation and within 2 1/2  hours, Carolyn was at his bedside in the ER. 

I was in Denver when I received the call and was able to catch a flight that afternoon. 

I’ll never forget the gut-wrenching feeling I had when Charles first spotted me. He sat up, and with flailing arms and a distant, hollow look could only speak gibberish.  

Initial tests were inconclusive, but the doctor said he was going to treat him for viral encephalitis. He put him on intravenous fluids and ordered further tests including an MRI of the brain and an EEG.

Charles lay there unresponsive as Carolyn slept on the couch in his hospital room that night. I slept in the car, wondering if this was all just a bad dream. 

By late the next morning, the doctor came in and said there was slight swelling of the brain, and they would continue treatment as if it was viral encephalitis.

The doctor said some people heal completely with no after effects, some only regain partial faculties of their normal selves and some never recover. 

We solicited prayers from our close friends whom we knew to be believers. There was no noticeable change throughout the day. Carolyn got a call from the infirmary nurse to check on Charles, and decided to accept her invitation to spend the night at this woman’s house and get away for a few hour’s respite. 

We thought that was a good thing, and I just stayed in my son’s room alone to pray and sleep. 

Around 10 p.m., I heard a knock on the door and it was three of Charles’ close college friends, Caleb, Sarah and Carrie. 

They asked if they could come in to pray. I expected them to circle around his bed and have maybe 5-10 minutes of prayer for my son. But they had other ideas.  Carrie knelt down on that hard linoleum floor at the foot of the bed, while Caleb and Sarah got on their knees on each side and placed their ministering hands on Charles. 

For almost an hour they beseeched the Lord on Charles’ behalf. I was in grateful awe of these young friends giving their time on a Saturday night to come pray for my son. 

Though Charles probably did not hear any of those prayers, I certainly did. Even more so, I believed The Great Physician heard.

The next morning the nurse came in and did her morning check. 

“Things seem to be a little better. The doctor should be in shortly,” she said. 

What encouraging news! In the meantime, Charles was beginning to stir a bit as well. 

The doctor entered, did his evaluation and said there was definite improvement. Carolyn and I embraced each other with tears of hope and thankfulness. 

Charles improved so quickly throughout the day Sunday that when the doctor came around the second time for evaluation late that afternoon,  he said, “I think Charles will be well enough to get out of here in the morning, and go to class by afternoon.” 

Charles, with a sly grin on his face, spoke up and said, “Do I have to?” 

We knew then he was normal again.

It was our best Valentine’s Day gift ever.

Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at