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Sean’s covid recovery is an answer to prayer 

A Norfolk Christian man who spent over six months in hospital with pancreatitis and covid is now home. He attributes his recovery to God’s healing and faithful answer to his wife’s prayers.

By Helen Baldry

During the first lockdown in 2020, Jennie and Sean Hunte, enjoyed spending time together as a family at their house in Norwich, with their two boys Joshua and Steven. Things changed dramatically  just after Christmas when Sean began to feel unwell. Jennie convinced him to go and see the doctor. Bloods were taken and Sean was diagnosed as diabetic. Less than a week later he was feeling very unwell and the family had to call an ambulance to take him to hospital. Sean’s blood sugar was off the scale and he had acute pancreatitis. The consultant said it was highly likely that Sean wouldn’t survive, and if he did he would be on dialysis three times a week, housebound with little quality of life. Jennie said, “I didn’t take in what that meant. I was terrified. I prayed for a miracle.”

This wasn’t the first time that Sean and Jennie had been in such a desperate situation asking God to intervene. Sean survived a horrific brain haemorrhage 20 years ago. The couple believe his recovery was miraculous. Jennie said: “Here I was again asking for another miracle.” Sean and Jennie are members of Norwich Central Baptist Church and there were many people from the church and friends of the family who were praying for healing.

The outlook wasn’t positive. Sean was in intensive care, in addition to pancreatitis, he had caught Covid-19 at the unit. He wasn’t conscious, he had multi-organ failure and his breathing was shallow. A palliative care consultant talked Jennie through the drugs used in the process of end of life care and the family was called in to say their goodbyes, limited to just two people due to covid restrictions.

Jennie said, “All the news I was getting was really bad. I tried to be positive all the way through but I was terrified. I was not ready to let him go. I told the consultant ‘I’m still praying for a miracle. I’m a Christian and I believe God’s going to do a miracle.’”

Sean was given a tracheostomy, put back on a ventilator and prepared for high risk surgery. During the day of the first surgery Jennie prayed and fasted. Sean subsequently underwent seven surgeries, and describes his recovery as a ‘rollercoaster’; some days there would be good news, other days his health deteriorated. 

Sean said, “I didn’t think I would get through. I tried to be upbeat for my family. I wanted to make sure there was a decent memory of me, but I honestly didn’t think I would get off that [operating] table.”

Despite feeling fearful, Jennie felt a sense of peace. She knew God is faithful and she never gave up hope. She said, “For a long time when I was praying I was afraid to pray ‘thy will be done’ in case it wasn’t God’s will for Sean to survive. I didn’t want to lose him. That kept weighing on me. I felt I had to be obedient so I began to pray that prayer. I knew I was asking for yet another miracle.”

Sean was in the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for a total of 208 days, and half was that time was in critical care.

Sean is a vibrant person; he loves life and loves to talk. The tracheostomy prevented him from speaking, which was very difficult for him and there were times when he wanted to die. He said, “My brain was fine but no-one could understand me. It made me feel mad. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t write. It was too much.”

“I had some serious delusions on the drugs…I had a boxing match, I won a horse race!” Sean also thought he had been stabbed, which is how his brain made sense of the stomach scarring from the operation. He said, “These were actual clear memories, I didn’t know they were delusions.”

On one occasion when Jennie and Steven visited Sean he looked blank, it was as if he didn’t recognise them. They started singing Redemption Song by Bob Marley and Sean’s eyes lit up; he was still there.

Sean and Jennie are grateful for the care of the hospital staff. One of Jennie’s prayers was that Sean would have Christians around him. One of the intensive care nurses was a Christian as well as Sean’s physiotherapist. Jennie said, “God is so faithful and he answers prayer. Without my faith there is no way I would have got through this. I felt God walking beside me all the way.”

Sean said, “I’m back! It was a strange time. The majority of the time in hospital I was in a bay with no window. I didn’t know if it was night or day. It was horrible. It’s so nice to be back at home. God is good – I’m getting there.”

Pictured: Sean and Jennie at their home in Norwich

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