3 years. So much has changed since that fateful day that I went into the hospital after a scare with my heart.
Oh my heart.
It's taken such a beating, been bruised, been shocked, been in love..yes, in love.
Some of you may not know this story. It can never be told enough, and yet how many times do I forget that it ever happened? I often touch the scar on my chest, above my heart, where an object so foreign yet now familiar rests, monitoring my every beat, ready at a moment's notice to shock the muscles back into life.
Saturday,April 4, 2009.
It was a day that started out at McDonald's for breakfast with my friend Ruth-Ann. I still don't even remember it. My memory is completely blocked out from the night before until the week after, therefore this is all what people have told me.
I went to work. I was wearing my favourite outfit (which, I found out later, the paramedics had to cut off me, rendering me vulnerable and my clothes useless, never to be worn again.) When I went unconscious, my frightened co-workers called EMS, and then my heart stopped. Or maybe they called EMS after my heart stopped. You can fill in the details. Whatever the case is, my heart stopped.
And I'm alive. Praise God!
I was in the hospital for two weeks. The first couple of days I was in a drug-induced coma, then when they woke me up I scared everyone with short-term memory loss. Thankfully that didn't last. I started to remember my visitors the following Friday, and, being more aware of my surroundings and lack of appropriate clothing, started to be more embarrassed whenever the nurses had to attach leads to do their numerous ECG's and tests. Speaking of tests, I had 7 tests done, including drug infusions, MRI's, and angiograms, and they still don't know what happened.
That's how I ended up with this ICD inside of me. It's even more noticeable now that I've been losing weight. But I thank God that there's technology that can save me.
I fell in love...
One of the biggest changes that came of this was that my love interest at the time finally decided to ask me out. God showed him that there is no time like the present, especially when imminent death is in the equation. He came to visit me in the hospital, and I couldn't breathe (because he was so awesome, not from lack of oxygen). I held his hand, and gave him a comb. He thought I was still on drugs, or crazy (sometimes I think he still thinks that!), but now we're married, and we love each other so much. I remember the first time he touched my scar. It was so intimate, and such a reminder of how life can change, just like that.
I learned how to be dependent.
My parents came to see me every day. They stayed in the Heritage residence so they could be closer. My mom helped do my hair, and they held my hand during various procedures and tests. They prayed for me unceassingly.
Other people came too, praying, visiting, gifting me with sweet things to remind me that I was loved.
Once I was released, people helped me move to my new apartment, lifting boxes, packing, reminding me that I couldn't do this on my own. I was reliant on these people. And it was hard, but such an important thing for me to learn.
God didn't creat me to be Miss Independent, individualistic. In the hospital, I had to wait for the nurses to help me get to the bathroom, take a shower, bring me my meals, take out the oxygen, move my bed to the lab.
A hard lesson, but one that changed my life.
I give thanks for breath.
Yes, breath. I have written a few blogs about this one, but I can't talk enough about it. When I was hooked up to the oxygen (I hated the nose tubes, by the way), I would get disheartened every time I looked at the monitor. 77%, it would say. I was only breathing on my own at 77%?! It left me feeling vulnerable and scared that things would never go back to normal. Even after I was released, I was winded after walking up a simple flight of steps.
I went for a 30 minute run on Monday morning. With my own breath. And that felt good. I feel so close to God when I run outside, which is probably why I'm so addicted.
God is incredible, and even bigger than anything we can imagine, and any struggle that we go through. Even if the circumstances had been different, even if I had died, He still would have been good. Because that would have been part of His perfect plan.
May His name be glorified.
Over the years, people have told me the various ways that God touched them or changed them at this time three years ago. These are a few of my reflections. I would love to hear yours.