I was behind the wheel of our Toyota Sienna when my wife looked over at me and asked, “Are you OK?”
We were in a little town called Sandersville, GA, and we had just finished walking through a small grocery store just to see what it was like. But when I got in the van and sat behind the steering well, my chest was burning. I was a little short of breath and I was staring straight ahead. My wife had good reason to ask if I was OK because I wasn’t:
I was having a mild heart attack.
Over four hours away from home, not counting Atlanta traffic, the last thing I wanted to do was go to the emergency room in a little town where the hospital wasn’t much bigger than a Walmart. But knowing that chest pain isn’t something to trifle with, and especially since my wife looked worried (Who’s kidding who? I was worried, too!), I agreed to go get checked out.
The little hospital was the best it could be, I suppose, for a little town like Sandersville. They couldn’t do much for me other than do an EKG, a chest X-ray, and a blood test. All of the tests that they did came back negative, as in nothing was wrong. So, we got ready to leave as we awaited the results of a second blood test that needed to be done, one which was supposedly only a formality. The only problem is that the final blood test showed that my troponin levels doubled in the three hours that I had been there…evidence something was wrong.
The emergency room doctor came back with the results and said that I needed to go see a cardiologist. My wife asked, “Just schedule an appointment with one when we get back home?” “No,” replied the doctor, “he needs to be transported by ambulance to another hospital right now.” Unfortunately, the nearest ambulance to the hospital was still two hours away! So, the waiting began.
When the ambulance finally got there, we decided to go to the nearest hospital that was in the direction of home. So, we decided on a hospital in Macon, GA. An hour later I arrived at Coliseum Medical Centers. #coliseumhealthsystem.com
All I can say is that I praise God this happened down here when it did because this place is so much better than Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Everyone down here, from housekeeping to the nurses to the cardiologist, has been absolutely wonderful! They have treated me like I was their only patient. If I had been at Erlanger, it would’ve taken me four hours to get a bedpan. But I digress.
Anyway, long story short, more tests were run on me here which led to the discovery that I had blockages in all four main arteries in my heart, two of which were blocked 90%. A few hours later I was in surgery receiving 2 to 3 stents, depending on how you measure them (one was as long as two). Other than when they numbed my wrist, I felt everything. No kidding, it hurt.
But I’m alive.
Come to find out, I’ve had heart problems for a while. When I have had pain in the past, all that was done were EKGs and stress tests. But nothing ever showed that I had blockages of any kind. None of the places in Chattanooga ever did a heart catheterization.
My dad died at 46 with a heart attack. My grandfather died at 53. I’m 51. Am I blessed, or what?
But here’s the thing: I’m going to die one day, and so are you. Unless the rapture takes place, every one of us have an appointment with death. It doesn’t matter how many times we go to the hospital and get fixed, these old bodies will eventually break down the last time and we will enter into eternity.
My only hope for you, dear reader, is that you have the same hope and peace that I have. That hope and peace are found in my Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, when I take my last breath, I know where I will spend eternity.
I’m not dead…yet. But because of the blood Jesus Christ shed for my sins, I’ll be more alive that day than I am right now.
I’m ready to go. Are you?