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Falling into miracles

David and Jenne Paddock tell a story of faith and miracles after David fell and was miraculously healed

A man stands in front of a very tall tree by the side of a road
David standing in front of the avocado tree he fell out of
Photo by Abigail Harper

David Paddock, a BYUH alumnus, 9 years ago fell 20-to-30 feet out of an avocado tree onto asphalt. He broke his pelvis, three ribs, a wrist, skull and facial bones. The fall also collapsed a lung, lacerated a liver and burst his adrenal gland. Most importantly, says Jenne Paddock, his wife, he had a diffuse brain injury. All of this was going on during Jenne’s third trimester with their third child. Jenne wrote about David’s fall and recovery process on her blog, “Different But Good.”

Through miracles and an incredible community, the Paddock’s say David recovered. David said the most beautiful part of the journey was learning how good people are. “I have so much more respect for humans because of how fragile life is and how kind people can be,” he said.

The fall

On a Sunday morning, Jenne writes, their family took a drive to Pupukea to an avocado tree for David to climb and pick some fresh produce. “Up he went with strong, easy movements,” she says, and she herded the children to the side to avoid falling fruit.

David said he has been climbing trees since before he could walk and has only been injured doing it once, when he was 4 years old. He said he believes he blacked out because his head was tipped back and his arms were up while he picked avocados. Because he blacked out, he was unable to catch himself on the way down. Jenne saw the fall in her periphery, she says, and heard the sound of it.

She says she ran to his side and her heart stopped when she saw the blood coming out of his ear. She called 911 and an ambulance came and took David away. She felt sick, she said, as they drove him away but was unable to join because she needed to be with her children.

A man using a long picking pole to pick avocados from the ground
David picking avocados, he now does it with a picker because Jenne does not want him climbing anymore. He says he would still climb otherwise.
Photo by Abigail Harper

David said he remembers the day before his fall eating a banana cake with his family. The next recollection he has is a month later, sitting at a table in his house painting a picture of an elephant. The painting was part of his therapeutic recovery process.


David said the day of the fall his bishop came to the hospital to give him a blessing. He was stopped in the elevator by a Latter-day Saint doctor who said, “Don’t you dare go in there and give that woman (Jenne) hope. He’s done.” According to David, who was told about this after his recovery, the Bishop shook the doctor off and gave him a blessing anyway.

A man lying in the hospital bed connected to machines
David in the hospital after his fall
Photo by Jenne Paddock

One night while sleeping in David’s hospital room, Jenne says she awoke to the sound of ripping tape. David was pulling out the various tubes connecting him to machines. The doctors put him into restraints but as soon as they left the room he started to struggle against them. “He looked at me from his swollen face with panic in his one open eye and said very clearly, 'Please, please help me!'” writes Jenne. That was a phrase he repeated on numerous occasions, she says, but she did not know if he was begging someone, speaking in his sleep, praying or just speaking his misery.

She freed him from the restraints and stayed awake with him the rest of the night to stop him from pulling out his IV.


Jenne and David Paddock honeymooned in Zimbabwe, writes Jenne on her blog. While on their honeymoon, they went on a whitewater rafting tour of the Zambezi river. While David was in the hospital, she says memories of this adventure would come to her mind. “It was deliciously frightening and exhilarating and disconcerting all at once,” she says. “A feeling of complete surrender to the pull of the current.”

To say I am terrified doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel.
Jenne Paddock

Those feelings on the river thrilled her, she said, but the current she was swept up in during the weeks David was in the hospital put the Zambezi experience to shame. She writes that part of her tried to claw her way back to before the fall, “but my hands raked through the water and found no purchase,” she says. “I am carried inexorably forward, clinging to the unstable little raft of my faith, my hope and trying desperately to guide my little family into and through the huge gaping maw of this rapid. To say I am terrified doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel.”

a man lying in a hospital bed connected to machines with a woman and two kids kneeling by his bedside smiling at the camera
The Paddock family in the hospital
Photo by Provided by Jenne Paddock

Keeping the darkness at bay

During the recovery process, someone asked David if he knew Jenne. After looking at her for a minute he shook his head no, says Jenne. Driving home from the hospital after that, Jenne said she was on the verge of a serious mental breakdown: “Like I was teetering on the edge of some deep dark place where all my worst fears live,” she wrote.

She picked up her children from a friend's house, took them home and tucked them into bed without changing their clothes or brushing their teeth, she says. Then she stumbled onto the deck of the house where all her emotions came out in “sobbing retching sounds I didn’t recognize.”

When someone knocked on her door, she said she went to see whom God had chosen to come find her in such a state. It was their bishop, she said. After comforting her, Jenne said he gave her a blessing that “created a barrier between me and the darkness.”


The first time David’s children visited him in the hospital, he smiled for the first time since the fall, says Jenne. “I cried,” she wrote, “but I tried not to cry too much, because happy tears are hard to explain to a 4 year old.”

I feel the shaping hand of our Father in all of this. I am learning to trust that He is creating for us something good in ways that would not have been attainable by any other means.
Jenne Paddock

Jenne says she worried about her children processing what had happened to their dad and their mom being absent to take care of him. She did not know how to tell them their dad may never be the same. Even if he did fully heal, she wrote, would either of them ever really be the same again?

As much as she grieved for what used to be, she says, “I feel the shaping hand of our Father in all of this. I am learning to trust that He is creating for us something good in ways that would not have been attainable by any other means.”

David could not understand why he was in the hospital and would get angry when he was told he couldn’t leave, says Jenne. He repeatedly asked when he could go home. One time after a visit with the children, he started to cry. “He just wanted to come home with us,” says Jenne. "If he only knew how much I want this to be over and for us to be a family again.” It was agonizing to think of how confused and trapped he must feel, she says.

a pregnant woman holding the arm of an injured man who is supporting himself on the back of a wheelchair
Jenne and David leaving the hospital
Photo by provided by Jenne Paddock

A month after the fall, David was released from the hospital and the family attended church together again. Jenne says, “I feel like we have lived a whole lifetime in these five weeks.” She said it felt good to do something normal together again, but she was worried about David. He, however, loved being there because everyone was so happy to see him and would talk to him, said Jenne. He cried, and said he had no idea how many people loved them.

A woman, two kids, and a man wearing an eye patch sit and smile at the camera
The Paddock family at church
Photo by Jenne Paddock


David said the doctors are careful not to use the word miracle to describe what happened to him, but they are all amazed he is alive and functioning. Ty Dennis, the chiropractor who worked on David after the fall, said the doctors saved David’s life but he was able to help his body function again.

“If I'm being honest with you,” said Dennis, “I was terrified to work on the dude. He looked like if you blew on him, he’d break in half.” He explained to David the potential good that could come from the treatment but also the potential bad. David responded, “It can’t get much worse from what it is.”

Before adjusting David for the first time, Dennis said he went into the other room and said a quick prayer. There was no ‘aha’ moment of inspiration, or even a calm feeling, said Dennis, but he had the thought come to mind, “Just do what you know.” He said that is advice he has received from many people over the years, from his wrestling coach to his father.

Just do what you know
The inspiration Ty Dennis received before working on David

When he adjusted David’s ribs, they went CRRRUNCH, said Dennis. “Dave made this sound I didn’t know how to interpret,” he said, imitating the strangled gurgled cry. After a moment, David sighed in relief and said, “That felt so good!” He could breathe and walk without pain again, explained Dennis.

The nature of chiropractic treatment, said Dennis, is a patient can get adjusted and feel better for a while, and then start to stiffen up again. Then they are treated again and stay well for a longer while, and then stiffen again and are treated again. Expecting David to stiffen again and quickly, Dennis said David’s response to the treatment was dramatic. “He came back a few days later, still massively better than he was the first day,” he said. “Within a week’s time he was mostly out of pain where he had been in agony for months.”

The fact that David did so well is not because I'm a superstar doctor. It's because God made it happen.
Ty Dennis

Once he was out of pain, David asked Dennis if he could do anything for his closed eye. “We changed gears and did some more neurological work,” said Dennis. After two or three visits focused on the cranium, David’s eye started to open up again, said Dennis. “It wasn’t very much or very well, but it was something,” he said. After several weeks the eye opened wider and wider, he said, and now he can move the eye and track with it. It’s not back to normal, said Dennis, but it’s usable and David has binocular vision again.

After David was healed, Dennis had to move offices and do renovations which would have put him out of business. David, who works in construction, took the renovation plans and was able to get the work done for a fraction of the price, letting Dennis keep his practice.

New life

During Jenne’s first two labors and births, she said David was her rock and confidence. With her third baby on the way during his recovery, she says she didn’t know if she could do it without him there.

By the time she was ready to give birth, David was home from the hospital. They had to sleep in separate beds, however, said David, because he would thrash around in his sleep and she didn’t want the baby getting accidentally hurt.

a man with one closed eye holds a new baby and smiles at the camera
David holding their new baby
Photo by Jenne Paddock

When Jenne’s contractions started, she went on their deck and paced, explained David. He saw her through the window, he said, and thought she was an intruder and went out to confront her. When he came out, Jenne told him to get things set up for the birth. “I was trying, but my brain was a little bit slow,” he said. When she walked into their bedroom, the baby's head dropped, David said she yelled, “Forget the tub. Come help!” David said he caught the baby, and everything was fine. “It was a really, really beautiful moment for it to just be us,” he said.


David said he does not understand why he miraculously lived when other great people do not. So many people were fasting and praying for him, but people fast and pray for those who don’t heal the way he did, he said. He does feel very strongly his recovery was not a coincidence, saying, “I feel like I’m supposed to be here. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful for it.”

Dennis said he has had patients in almost as bad of a condition as David who did not recover. “The fact that [David] did so well is not because I’m a superstar doctor,” he said. “It’s because God made it happen. I had the good fortune to be the tool he used to make it happen.”

Everybody has a different test to go through, said Dennis, mentioning Elder David A. Bednar who once asked a couple if they had the faith not to be healed. Nobody knows why David recovered, he said, but it’s God’s will and sometimes God shows his power in different ways.

After David’s recovery, Jenne wrote if she had been able to speak to her former self and put her mind at ease, it would have removed the need to exercise faith, “Thereby depriving myself of precious gems of truth I now possess,” she said.

9 years later

David said the hardest part about the whole experience is he now loses his temper a lot easier, especially with his children. He has more emotions overall as well, he said. “I cry a lot easier,” he explained. “I was a boy who didn’t have feelings and now I have feelings.” Jenne says while in the hospital David would often get angry, especially when he was told he could not leave. But she was impressed by how much restraint he had when emotions ran high. “He has never once struck out at anyone or used foul language or been destructive,” she said. One day he threw a book in anger, but he calculated the move to make sure it did not hit anybody, she said.

He and Jenne are also changed in the way they see the world. “Truly, no man is an island,” wrote Jenne. The sheer volume of outreach from so many people strengthened her during the dark times, she said. David said he’ll do anything to help anyone now, after all the help they received. Other changes are his loss of peripheral vision and sense of smell, said David.

Avocados in an backpack
Avocados picked by David
Photo by Abigail Harper