Strength for Today
Believe it or not, this is not the craziest stretch of life I’ve walked through.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nuts. It’s a psychotic, insane, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me season.
But it’s not my first time feeling this way.
Never mind that. You’re all reading this because you want news about David. So, here it is:
Yesterday I went to work. David was feeling well when I left. He wanted some activities to distract him, so he volunteered to do some of Noelle’s school work with her and plant some seeds in our make-shift garden. He said the activity made him feel energized and refreshed.
Then came late afternoon.
The ‘fluttering’ started again – he thought. He tried calling me. I was at work. I couldn’t answer my phone.
So he called 911.
The paramedics brought him to our hospital. He sent me a text.
I think I better stop reading The Hunger Games until this is all over.
David called while I was on my break. I had just read the part in Catching Fire where (block your eyes if you’re not there yet) Peeta’s heart stops. David chose that moment to tell me his heart was acting up again.
I stormed downstairs to emergency and told him he has got to stop being the boy with the bread.
He laughed. He looked well, actually.
And of course, he didn’t choose to do this at all.
Who would choose this kind of life?
We chose the life of money trees and insane wealth. We chose the life of four vacations a year and four perfectly behaved children. We chose the life of a huge house and two SUVs.
But we got this one instead.
We maternity nurses know the inherent danger of birth plans. We know that the more detailed you script your experience ahead of time, the more concerned you’ll be about reality matching your script.
I think that might apply to other parts of life, too.
Each time I hit one of these crazy seasons, someone inevitably says, good grief, girl, you can’t keep up what you’re doing forever.
They’re right, of course.
No one can keep up insane amounts of stress forever.
That might be why David is sick right now.
But the more I think long-term, the more I plan. The more I plan, the more I analyze. The more I analyze, the more I recognize the potential problems. The more I recognize potential problems, the more I worry.
Of course, there’s a different kind of plan. The helpful kind – the kind that analyzes why we feel so worried and breaks things down into bite-sized pieces.
If there’s one thing eight years of nursing has taught me, its that helpful kind of plan.
It might have been good that I wasn’t with David on the 13th.
But I’m glad I was there last night.
Now I understand what’s happening. I talked to the right people. We saw at least five different medical professionals. Each were very thorough and extremely calm. I asked them all the questions I could think of. We looked at every possible scenario.
There are six things that could be causing David’s symptoms:
1. (extreme) Electrolyte imbalance – that might be nutritional, and yes, I’m on it.
2. Hyperthyroidism – would explain a lot of the symptoms, and has a relatively simple treatment.
(both of these depend on blood tests we had done last week – I will call the doctor tomorrow to get results)
3. Benign tumor of the adrenal gland – this depends on the 24-hour urine test, is very unlikely, but something to rule out.
4. A ‘lone atrial fibrillation’ – the ER doc last night said that sometimes healthy young people have – for no good reason – isolated incidents of atrial fibrillation.
5. A cardiac issue – he needs an echocardiogram (what I had in November) and/or a cardiac treadmill/stress test to rule out an electrical abnormality or other problem. But I saw his ECG. In the words of the ER doc, the 12 lead looked pristine. It showed no abnormalities whatsoever. There is no evidence of heart muscle injury or electrical conduction problem.
6. Chronic stress and anxiety – in fact, all his symptoms could be due to this. ALL of them.
As I watched David last night and listened to the doctors, I realized that though it could be any one of these six things, or, I guess something we haven’t considered yet, there’s a strong possibility its only number 6.
So, we rule out numbers 1-5.
And, we deal with number 6, no matter what the tests say.
I’ve cut down his activities. I’ve set up the right appointments.
Tomorrow, I will call our family doctor for the blood and urine test results; I will schedule his echocardiogram at the hospital; I will take him to the stress test in Surrey.
That’s what I’ll do tomorrow.
Today, I will take care of my family.
I know David’s worried that what came out of nowhere before, will come out of nowhere again.
But for the first time in twelve days, I’m not.
It could happen again, but I’m not worried.
This isn’t denial; this is discipline. This is what I learned from all of those crazy seasons I’ve walked through before.
Deliberately choose not to worry.
Today, when David looks at me, he calms down. My face no longer betrays concern. I know he needs care, but I no longer feel subject to the merciless whim of some unknown disease.
We have a plan.
That plan could change.
But we’ll take it one step at a time, one day at a time.
Today, I choose not to worry.
Today, I choose to take care of today.
Today, I choose to let tomorrow take care of itself.
After all, ‘Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ‘
Um, well…. no.
Yesterday I woke with the strength for what I needed to do yesterday. Today I woke up with strength for what I needed to do today. Tomorrow I’ll wake with strength for tomorrow.
That’s how we’ll do this weird thing we’ve been given to do right now.
Maybe if we do it right – if we choose strength for today – then we’ll also get the other part of that line.
Bright hope for tomorrow.
Thanks for hanging in there with us.