Exclusive:Greenville Mayor's Wife's Recovery from Near Drowning Called a Miracle
She's being called a miracle -- Janice McLendon, wife of Greenville Mayor, Dexter McLendon, nearly drowned last month. She was found unconsious in a swimming pool. But tonight, she's making a full recovery. It's the first time McLendon is sharing this story on television.
McLendon tells us it's an experience that's changed his life. It all started with a call, saying, "Jan has drowned" just minutes before he saw her.
"I thought I lost my wife of 34 years," Said McLendon, who says he'll never forget July 2. He describes it as a normal afternoon, where he and his wife, Janice, took a dip in the pool.
McLendon says he slipped out for a few minutes to see his son and that's when he got the call from Jan's mother.
"I answered the phone, 'hello,' and she said, 'Dexter, Jan has drowned'," said McLendon.
Thankfully she didn't drown and was still alive, but without knowing how long she'd been under water, he says his brother-in-law jumped in to pull her out. It was followed by CPR until until the paramedics arrived.
"She was basically purple from the chest up. She looked like a little doll... just there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. And the paramedics were right there behind us," Said McLendon.
One of the first on scene was Fire Chief, Chad Phillips.
"Probably did two cycles of CPR on her and then noticed the veins on her neck stood up," Said Phillips.
"I could look at the images on their face and know that we were in trouble," Said McLendon.
Janice was then taken to L.V. Stabler Hospital in Greenville to be stabalized, but he thought she was gone.
She was then flown to Baptist South Montgomery and as he watched the helicopter land, McLendon says that's when faith spoke to him...
"And in my left ear I felt and I heard... the only person I knew who it could be is God. [He] said, 'calm down. She's going to be okay'," Said McLendon, who says it's a voice he heard every hour as the night went on.
But on the brink of death, Janice was still alive.
McLendon says she spent ten days in the hospital, six of those on a respirator.
"When she came off the respirator she looked at me and the first thing she said was, 'I love you.' And it was good. It was just good news. It just was a miracle," Said McLendon.
It's a miracle that has doctors saying Janice will be making a full recovery -- and that's exactly the message Dexter wants to send out to viewers: Miracles do happen.
McLendon says doctors say the reason she almost drowned in the pool was due to a respiratory infection.
The family is thanking everyone in the community for all their prayers.
McLendon says she's doing so much better, they're planning a beach trip.