One January 25th of 2010 it somehow got to be afternoon and I hadn’t exercised yet. After lunch I started contemplating, “Just how am I going to go about getting just enough exercise to appease my conscience today?” I got a little creative. My husband had left to run some errands. Out in the street in front of our house was a thick slab of ice. He had been working on it for days, trying to clear it out so we’d have more available parking. Our house faces north and I’ve often joked that we live in a glacier. Every year, as the grass greens up and the daffodils bloom in the yards across the street we still enjoy enough white on the lawn to build a good size snowman.
Well this January afternoon that thick slice of dirty, frozen, white winter called my name. I had never used a sledge hammer, but I knew where it was kept, and the idea of swinging and making my mark on that ice filled me with some kind of delight. I opened the garage door and grabbed the tool. This activity was going to count for gym time, so I gave it everything I had. My goal suddenly became not simply to get a little exercise but to have that ice entirely broken up before my husband returned. I knew I didn’t have long so I went at it hard! There was something very satisfying about swinging that sledge hammer–the centrifugal pull on my shoulders, the power of letting it fall on the freeze and the sound of thick ice cracking. About half-way through I glanced in the garage and noticed that right there next to where the sledge hammer was kept was a pickax. “Why not,” I said to myself. “This might be even more effective!”
As my husband rounded the corner I was done breaking up the entire sheet of ice and was finishing my afternoon workout by shoveling pieces of ice into the street for quick melting. My very surprised husband was happy to take the shovel and finish the job. Pretty satisfied that this twenty-five minute extreme workout could compensate for an hour at the gym I walked into the house.
As I entered my room a sick feeling I had never experienced before washed over my body. I knew that I was not only done exercising, I was done in! I was not in what you might call a great deal of pain, but a tremendous weariness seemed to emanate from my chest and fill my entire body.
I was removing my wet clothes when my friend Pat called. I put the phone to my ear and lay down on my bed. As she chattered away the feeling grew worse until I excused myself for a minute. I had a borrowed blood pressure monitor and it came into my mind that it was time to try it out. It registered 191 over 115. Back in October a doctor had given me a prescription of nitroglycerin after a less severe rise in my blood pressure. I went back to the phone, reported my findings and told my friend that perhaps this was the moment to put one of those small white pills under my tongue. I called my husband in, chewed up an aspirin, and asked my husband for a blessing. The pressure came down a few notches. I called my doctor who thought it was simply the result of my intense exercise. He suggested I give it a little time and all would be well.
“That’s good,” I thought and proceeded to make dinner. I continued to check my blood pressure every hour. Not much changed. Determined I was not going to spend the night in the ER, by gum, I took charge of the situation. I tried the “don’t think about it” system…the relax and make dinner system…the relax and watch a movie system. But at midnight my blood pressure was still extremely elevated, and my daughters, who are registered nurses, insisted I go to the emergency room. After several revealing tests, the attending physician insisted that I spend the night. I was admitted into the hospital. I soon realized that the only thing I was going to be in charge of was one of those nice beds with a thin mattress and a remote control.
I’d started the day feeling like a young 55 and now I lay in a hospital bed feeling old and trying to wrap my mind around what was happening. The blood work confirmed a heart attack. The next morning the angiogram revealed a blockage in my heart and the cardiologist placed a stent in one of my arteries.
I left the hospital with a 172 page Heart Care Handbook, prescriptions for eight medications to lower my blood pressure, thin my blood, and prevent cholesterol from playing havoc in my arteries, and finally, a referral to cardiac rehab. Wow!
Often the Lord is subtle and I have to really be on the lookout for what He might be trying to teach me. Other times there are events in life were His message is loud, clear, and unmistakable. This was just such an event.
By Nannette W.
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2010
Copyright 2008 by Nannette W.
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