Greg learning to walk.
Greg did have gifts as well as talents. For the purposes of this tribute, I’m only going to cover two.

I’ll address the two that played such an extraordinary part in his life. The following is taken from my blog from Friday, November 2, 2012. The posting is entitled, “Of Blessings, Healings and Pretzels.”

My husband's patriarchal blessing tells him that he has "the gift of healing." Traditionally, we have viewed this gift rather narrowly. For example, since he holds the priesthood, he is able to administer a healing blessing to those who are sick or injured.

In order to not abuse or exploit this gift, he tries to remain humble about it and follow Church policy and procedure in exercising it. For example, he doesn't brag about it and he follows all correct procedures when he offers, or is asked to administer, a healing blessing.

In the 1980's he and another priesthood holder were dispatched to give an infant a blessing. It was not intended to be a healing blessing because the infant had been treated by a renown children's hospital and been sent home to die. Medical science could do nothing for the child. The blessing would be to comfort the family and help ease the infant out of this life.

In the blessing, my husband pronounced that the child would live and be a special light and influence in the family. Many other precious promises were made. A few years later he saw the living embodiment of all these promises fulfilled.

This embodies what we usually think of as the "gift of healing" and there are many examples in his past of this occurring.

Recently though, we decided that his gift needs to be interpreted more broadly. In other words, his gift doesn't appear to be confined to just priesthood blessings. Consider the next example of when he was young and before he joined the Church or had the priesthood.

In the 1960s, he was managing a restaurant. While making french fries, one of his workers dropped a pair of tongs in a hot oil vat used to fry the french fries. Reflexively, the boy plunged his whole arm into the oil to retrieve the tongs. He quickly pulled his arm out but the damage was done. His screams and the oil dripping from his arm relayed to my husband what had happened. He calmly walked the boy over to a sink where he hosed the oil off the boy's arm. He yelled for others workers to bring ice from the freezer. He packed the boy's arm in ice and transported him to the hospital.

Keep in mind that the conventional wisdom, and medical position at the time, was to coat any burn with butter. To this day he cannot explain why he acted the way he did. Initially, medical personnel castigated him for NOT applying butter.

However, they finally concluded that his quick thinking, calm action and especially his innovative solution saved the boy's arm.

My husband seems to know exactly what to do in either a serious health crisis or a minor emergency. For these reasons, I let him doctor me for anything.
Greg sometime in the 1990s.

Throughout his years managing factories, or as a first responder working in law enforcement, he continued to respond to medical issues with insight and skill.

This past week, one of our new residents called and asked directions to the local hospital. One of her boys had gotten a pretzel stuck in his ear and it was lodged deep, bleeding slightly and she was unable to get it out. The boy could not hear.

Although we had just walked in the door, he told her to bring the boy over and he would see what he could do. Within minutes, he had dislodged the pretzel with an ear bulb. A followup call established the ear is just fine. This saved the young family money, time and angst.

It is evident my husband has the gift of healing, whether in healing blessings or simply the knowledge and inclinations to pursue a correct course of healing action.

There are other multiple examples I could cite.

Sometimes it's a life.

Sometimes it's a limb.

And sometimes it's an ear, with a pretzel stuck in it.

The version of the story of the infant he blessed that lived comes from his journal. It is remarkably modest:

He Healed Quickly

Greg in his later years.
Greg and I became convinced that there was another aspect
of this gift of healing as well. He, himself, healed extraordinarily fast. Yes, he died of cancer. He wasn’t healed from that. I’ll address that at the end of this tribute. However, even his fast healing evidenced itself during his cancer struggle.

At the time of his initial cancer diagnosis, his cancer was a localized lump in his colon. While awaiting surgery, the cancer blocked off his colon completely. After spending time in the local emergency room on a Monday afternoon/evening, he was quickly transported to a hospital in Fort Wayne.

The next day they put a stent in his colon so that he could eliminate. After that, he had to get healthy enough to have his surgery. It took only a few days. His surgery was Friday. It was a complex surgery and took the surgeon longer than he anticipated. He later told Greg it was more complicated than he initially thought.

He estimated it would take Greg an additional five to seven days to heal enough to be released from the hospital. Greg didn’t even need the complete five. The surgeon was astonished at how fast Greg healed and released him much earlier than anyone anticipated. The surgeon was in his low-to mid-60s at the time so he obviously had a great deal of experience with how fast patients tended to heal.

Greg healed in no time although this was something of a mixed blessing. Infections are common with colon surgery, obviously.  He had four deep-seated infections that worked their way to the surface just behind his scar tissue.

We went to Fort Wayne, three times so that the surgeon could cut him open, release liquid from the infection and swab the opening out with betadine and a very long medical quality Q-tip type. I had to learn how to do this. I had to do it every day. Sometimes I had to go down about four to five inches into Greg’s gut in order to completely swab everything out. It was ghastly for me but I knew it was necessary.

The surgeon trained me and told me it would take Greg four to six weeks to completely have it heal over again. I thought I was doing something wrong because Greg would be nearly healed over in about four days each time the surgeon cut him open again.

The last time this happened, it was January, cold and icy. We didn’t want to drive to Fort Wayne again, especially Greg. So we didn’t. Greg sterilized one of his X-acto knives and cut himself open that fourth time. This was the last infection he got and he healed completely without problems after that.

Later, he liked to horrify medical people with this story. He enjoyed the effect it had on them. One Nurse Practitioner shrieked. Others were just aghast. Nobody could believe it.

My favorite reaction was the nurse supervisor at the hospital where he got his last colonoscopy. She just looked at him, incredulous, and finally said, “YOU BAD, BAD BOY!!!”

Next: Part 8: Tribute to My Husband Greg Cook - His Gifts - The Ultimate Fix-it Man!

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