Whine less, breathe more
Talk less, say more
Judge less, love more
and all Good Things will be yours.
If someone asked me how this week has gone, and I answered honestly, my response would be, "Well, it has been an eye-opening one, that's for sure." The unexpected happened, and I got a mighty wake up call. A blessing truly, but not a happy reminder. A wake up call that might just save my life.
Let me back up. For years I have had times when out of the blue my heart has started racing full speed ahead. I get a little light headed, feel a little faint, and physically feel as if
I had just run a race. Over the years I have developed a set of "tricks" to get my heart rate back where it belongs. I use yoga positions, breathe a certain way, cough or use ice around part of my face. I've considered this just an inconvenience since I've always been able to make my heart stop racing. I knew I had something called "tachycardia." I've mentioned it to my primary care physician, but never made a big deal about it.
You see in truth, I am much better taking care of those I love than in taking care of myself.
This last Wednesday night I had some of those same symptoms appear and my heart started racing. I went through my usual set of "tricks", but nothing worked. It just wouldn't stop racing. My beloved husband, Bert, came home and asked how long this had been going on. I told him over an hour. He took one look at me and my almost-never-gets-demanding husband said, "Linda, put your coat on, we are going to the ER." I started to tell him that we should just give it more time when he looked at me, pronounced he loved me, and said we were going NOW.
I've heard that tone before, and he means business when he says it. I agreed he was right and off we went. The ride from our house to Sacred Heart Hospital is only 5 minutes top.
When I get nervous, am a bit scared, or am really scared, I talk more, not less. I was talking like I was headed to a fun Christmas party. Bert was absolutely quiet. And then I started to sing my favorite hymns, that's also what I do when I am scared. I started to belt out "What a friend we have in Jesus" as if I was now part of the Bethel Church Choir. That's the gospel choir my beloved husband is a member of.
When we arrived at the ER, we signed in and when I told them what was going on, we were asked to come directly into the intake room. They got my information and took me directly to the Heart Trauma area. I was still humming, singing softly and looking at a sea of faces who looked back with serious stares. It was only moments before they had all kinds of equipment out and Dr. Dan Hagerty showed up. What a reassuring, gentle and articulate
doctor. He asked questions. "How long had I experienced these symptoms. Was this the first time?" I replied that I had been dealing with this for twenty some years. Here's what I usually do when it happens, but this time it didn't work. He spoke slowly and said softly,
"Twenty years? You have had to deal with this for twenty years?" I mentioned that it might be a bit more than that. He asked me my weight and I didn't lie. He asked me what I did for a living and I said I was a college professor and a Communication consultant. There was a long pause before he said, "Ahhhhhhh." I asked as sweetly as I could muster. "What does
Ahhhhhhh mean?" He replied that teachers often take care of lots of people and forget to take care of themselves. He came over, took my hand, and gently asked, "Linda, could that be the case with you?"
All of this took less than 5 minutes, but time seemed to stop with that question. That's when the tears started to flow. You see it seemed to me that Dr. Dan was almost like Jesus.
Jesus gently asking me why it is so easy to take care of everyone else, but so hard to take care of me.
Since tears were running, no flowing, down my cheeks and I couldn't utter a word or I'd have a HUGE big.ugly.cry right there in the Heart Trauma unit, I just nodded my head.
They started to hook me up to every machine imaginable, and I started greeting folks who walked in like I was the hostess at a party. Fairly soon everyone knew I taught communication, specialized in customer service, and wondered what their grade was going to be.
Some hours later, and after a procedure that took six doctors and nurses to do, my heart
started back into a regular rhythm. They had told me that the procedure of pumping this medicine in often made people sick, but by this point I was softly singing Jesus Loves Me
and had a big grin on my face. I felt immediately better. After several more hours of observation, and a diagnosis of Supraventricular Tachycardia, I was released with the next step being to fill a prescription and see a cardiologist.
Before I left, Dr. Dan asked me if I knew that stress and caffeine contributed to this happening. I told him I knew it did. That's why my coffee is decaffinated and I don't drink
pop. He asked me if I had been under much stress lately and what my top three stresses might be. I immediately knew two of the faces that I was struggling with. I felt a big internal sigh take place. I had let them both upset me. I had allowed myself to get super frustrated with both of them. Both of them were at the college. I had to make some changes and I had to make them now.
On the way out the door of the Trauma Center, Dr. Dan looked at me, gave me a huge grin and said, "You are one tough lady!" I smiled back and said, "You bet I am!"
All the way home, at 11:30 at night, I kept saying to Bert, "This is such a blessing! This is such an "AHA" moment. I have to make some changes." Bert quietly agreed.
Before I went to sleep that night I got out my journal. I keep lots of quotations in it and
when I opened it up the Swedish Proverb (see it at the start of his post) about less and more floated out and landed face up on my lap, almost like a present from the Lord. After reading it, I wrote the following...
"One of my goals is to live more intentionally. I really believe that I just need to slow
down so that I am truly paying attention to what God has in store for me. What direction does He want me to take?
I want to schedule less and be fully present more.
I want to get less frustrated and smile more.
I want to to hurry less and stop and smell the roses more."
It's time for some radical changes, and I can feel God's gentle nudging and his
almost audible whisper, "Linda Marie, you are my precious daughter. It's time for you
to take care of the gift of your body."
And I am singing with new vigor,
"Jesus loves me..
This I know...."
Friday, March 07, 2014
"We are all just walking each other home." ...