My strong, healthy (other than asymptomatic CLL) husband, who just passed his aviation medical, and has low blood pressure and cholesterol levels, had a heart attack yesterday.
He called me from work about 1:30 and in a matter-of-fact voice said he had heartburn and felt flushed. He was calling the medical people in his company because his office is located in a remote corner of the building and no one was around.
He called fifteen minutes later and said he was having the guys take him to the ER. I got there about 10 minutes after they did. He looked a bit warm, but was standing up. He said they did an ECG and it verified that he was having an attack as they took it.
They put him in a bed and started hooking up wires. I watched his face. He was looking at the ceiling and smiling. He later told me that was when he was thanking God for good medical care, and for motivating him to take his mild symptoms seriously.
They already had staff assembled to take him upstairs for an angioplasty, but changed their minds and decided to give him blood thinners instead. He’d already been given Aspirin® and was on an IV. However, someone read some numbers wrong, and he was given three times the dose of thinners that he was supposed to have. Problem: he could bleed internally, especially in his head. They tried a dose of something that “might” reverse it somewhat, but they were not sure it would work.
The medical people told us when the blood thinners start working, the heart begins to fluctuate. It did. The first time his pulse dropped to 37, he nearly passed out. He calmly said, “I think you’re going to lose me.” Bells were ringing. Six staff converged, one of them pushing a crash cart. He told me later that right then he said to God, “If this is it, I’m ready.”
His blood pressure dropped too, very low. Then both pulse and BP moved up, then another drop, then up again. This went on for 45 minutes, but the nearer-to-normal readings began lasting longer and longer.
By then, our youngest son had arrived. I look back now and see how God worked. I couldn’t get any family on the phone. Our son is normally not at his desk at work and normally does not have his personal cell phone on at work. Yesterday, he’d misplaced the belt clip for his personal cell and had it in his pocket. He said if anyone calls him at work and it is on, he just reaches down and turns it off without answering it. With moving around in his pocket, the phone somehow switched from vibrate to ring. I didn’t have his work number on me anyway so called his personal cell. It rang and without thinking, he answered it. He was on his way to his car before we finished talking.
The doctor came in and said they were going to put my husband in the Cardiac unit for a few days. They were concerned about bleeding, and also needed to keep an eye on him in case the clotting recurred after the thinners went out of his system. They are also continuing with regular electrocardiograms and checking his blood enzymes.
He called me before 7:30 this morning. He didn’t sleep too well, mostly because of noises. (He’s the guy who went outside in the middle of the night and put electrical tape around the clappers of ornamental garden bells hanging in our neighbor’s yard!) But he was chipper and gave me a list of things to bring him.
Most of the details above are so I can send family and friends here rather than retelling it, which gets tiring for me. However, my devotional guide this morning has an interesting comment and speaks to the sharing of needs.
2 Corinthians 7:2 says, “Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one.”
This verse is about Paul’s desire for a right relationship with the Corinthians whom he had severely rebuked for some of their behavior. He wanted them to know that everything he did was done with sincere motives and a desire for their spiritual well-being. My devotional guide added this: “It is a shameful thing to profess trust in God and yet to play the role of a pauper, disclosing one’s need and provoking others to pity.”
The author goes on to explain that it is okay to enjoy the hospitality and kindness of others, but guard against taking liberties and “petty advantages” rather than remembering that I am God’s workman and He supplies my needs. I don’t need to go begging for anything, just trust Him. Not only that, because He is so generous, I can, even when I am needy, be liberal and supply the needs of others.
After my husband called the first time yesterday afternoon, I was standing beside my bed. I dropped to my knees and asked God to give me what I needed. He filled me with that incredible peace that passes understanding. As I look back on the events of Monday afternoon, I realize His wisdom in that grace. Our children were at first fearful and wild-eyed, but that peace of God that covered me had an effect on them too.
Most of all the calm assurance of their dad had to speak volumes. He had us hold hands around his hospital bed while he prayed and thanked God for His care and for the medical staff (even for the mistakes because, after all, God is in control).
For me, this makes this whole thing almost surreal. Did it really happen? Our lives changed so quickly. For sure, we live one day, even one moment at a time.
For those who read this blog and who pray, I know you will, and I thank you.