Tag Archives: Medicine

When There’s Been a Heart Change

Above is the view from my hospital bed at Coliseum Medical Center in Macon, Georgia. It’s not a view that compares with those my friend David Welford posts on instagram, but at least it’s a view – there were no windows in the ICU.

However, this morning my wife and I will be driving the 4-or-so hours back to Chattanooga, enjoying the view through the windshield. FREEDOM!

A  New Era

Last Friday I entered a new era in my life, one that will require lots more medication, a radical change in diet, and a physical therapy program that will probably turn into a regular workout program. I went from living life a certain way to living it a totally different way. I went from life as usual to life unexpected.

That’s what happens when you have a changed heart.

How It Happened

My heart began to change the moment I realized I was in trouble and admitted my need for help.  Had my pride said, “I can handle this…I’ll be OK,” I would have been dead.  But the painful feeling in my chest convinced me nothing I could do was going to change my condition – I needed a doctor.

The next step in my change of heart came when I submitted to the recommendations of those with whom I consulted. There was the doctor in the first hospital in Washington County who told me: “We got the results of your blood test…there’s something going on…you need to see a cardiologist tonight.” Then, several hours later, after a long ambulance ride and a lot more tests in another hospital (Coliseum), there was the cardiologist who said, “You need surgery.”

If I had rejected the recommendations of either, I would not be writing this; someone else would be writing my obituary.

The final step came when I submitted to the wisdom and ability of Dr. Nisreen Jallad and allowed her to fix what was wrong by weaving a wire up through my wrist and arm, all the way to the blocked arteries in my heart. Had I just agreed to what was needed, nothing would have changed. It was only when I put my life in her hands and allowed her to perform the scary, painful, life-saving angiogram and arterial surgery that change actually occurred.

Reassurance

Over the next couple of days, as I lay in the intensive care unit (ICU), there were times when I felt pain in my chest. Was I having another attack? More surgery?

That’s when Dr. Jallad calmly reassured me, “You came in with problems, but you are fixed…don’t worry.” All I was feeling were a combination of soreness and anxiety, not a heart attack; my heart was working fine.

What’s the next step? Live like my heart has been changed.

Evidence of Change

With a changed heart I will no longer consume the same foods; I will be on a healthier diet, one which will demand I think before I eat.

With a changed heart I will require an ongoing relationship with a cardiologist, someone who knows how the heart works and how to keep it working.

With a changed heart I will have to maintain a very specific regimen of medications for the rest of my life, else the devices in my heart will cease to perform as designed. The change was permanent, but its usefulness could be thwarted by my complacency and lack of discipline.

Spiritual Change

Can you see any comparisons to the spiritual heart? Some people claim to have had a change, but where’s the evidence?

Was there ever a moment of crisis? A moment of need? A time when you realized something was seriously wrong and there was nothing you could do to fix yourself?

Has there been a change of diet and discipline? Has the change been taken seriously?

Was there ever a surrendering to the Savior’s surgical hand, or did you simply continue as you were with only His words to contemplate?

Is there an ongoing communication with the Great Physician, the Cardiologist of the soul? Or, was that one trip to His office enough for you?

Then did a heart change really take place?

All I know is that everything changed for me the day my heart was changed.

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Filed under Christianity, fitness, Life Lessons, Life/Death, salvation

Phonetic Fabrication Friday

Homeopathiphobea…

What I am: homeopathiphobic. I’d rather trust an over-the-counter medication purchased in a pharmacy than a dark fluid or crushed-up herb prepared by a paranoid mother of ten named Luna.

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Filed under General Observations

Social Media Done Right

What Happened

Good Monday morning, everyone! I’m glad to be alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic! How about you?

Friday morning was a bummer, that’s for sure; I was alive, but not enthusiastic. Friday morning I was suffering from some unnerving chest pain. Let me tell you what happened.

Friday morning I was going over some stuff at my computer. Actually, it was some papers outlining what was needed for me to start back to school, this time for an M.Div. at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. To be honest, they stressed me out. As I sat there, the left side of my chest began to hurt worse and worse. The pain continued for nearly half an hour.

Finally, I went to my wife and told her what was going on. I had my doubts what I was experiencing was heart-related, but there was no way for me to be sure, therefore my wife insisted I go to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital here in Chattanooga.

The pain started around 11 a.m., but we didn’t get to the E.R. until around 1:30. Thanks to a lot of people there before me, I was triaged and sent back to the lobby to wait…and wait…and wait. Finally, at 4:40 I was taken back to a bed in the E.R., then admitted to the CDU (Clinical Decision Unit) at 8:08 p.m. For the first time in my adult life I was made to stay in a hospital overnight.

On Saturday morning, after having my blood drawn twice the night before, I was ready for some food. What I was not ready for was the heart-healthy crap they feed you in a hospital. For crying out loud, you’d think a multi-thousand dollar hospital bed would sleep better than it did, but then to feed me bland oatmeal and decaffeinated coffee? Torture, I tell you!

After breakfast I was taken for a nuclear stress test. Between injections, waiting, and treading on the mill till I thought I’d die, that was another 2 1/2 hours. But come around 11 a.m. I was being released – NO heart problems! Hallelujah!

Right before I was released on Saturday morning. Encouraged by prayer notifications.

Right before I was released on Saturday morning. Encouraged by prayer notifications and “OK.”

But now my knee hurts from the tread mill. Oh well.

Done Right

Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and all our blogs, can be used for a lot of selfish and cynical reasons. But this past weekend, as my inbox will attest, there are times when the internet proves its usefulness.

From the time I first got to the hospital till the time I was checking out, my wife was responsible for sending and checking all the messages. Because of what she wrote others picked up the ball and began to run. Before too long there were people all over the world praying for me, many of which I didn’t even know.

Then, this morning, a fellow blogger showed up right after our morning church service, just to come pray with me. Do you have any idea how much that means?

Folks, I have been tremendously blessed to have friends and family, both in person and over the web, who care enough to intercede for me. It reminds me of the story in the book of Nehemiah, the story where the people were spread out working on the wall, linked together by only a trumpet’s call. But when the enemy struck the trumpet would sound, and that’s where all the people would gather to fight (sorta like what the R.A.F. did during the Battle of Britain).

In the right hands social media became the rallying trumpet, calling those spread far and wide to the aid of one lone wall builder.

The wall still stands; the defenses held.

Thank you for caring and coming to my aid!

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Filed under blogging, Christian Unity, Relationships and Family

Getting Old and Scaring Wives

Pains of Aging

If there is one thing in life that stinks, it’s getting old. On the other hand, if there is one thing in life that is sweeter than honey, it’s getting old (i.e., not dying).

There are a lot of pains and aches associated with aging. One of those pains is the pain in the rear that comes with having to go to the ER every time I feel pain in my chest. I get so tired of all the questions, needles, sticky things that painfully remove hair from my chest (I am a manly man, you know), and freezing while waiting for a doctor to tell me I’m not having a heart attack – he thinks.

But there are other pains, too. There’s the pain of hearing your youngest daughter ask, “could this kill you?” There’s the pain of having to hug your girls as you leave for the emergency room, knowing, if this is it, they will be suffering unimaginable pain, but you won’t be there to help. There’s the pain of looking into your wife’s eyes, wondering how she will cope if you don’t make it through the next few hours.

I went through all of this, today.

Perks of Aging

But, there are some perks that come along with aging, too! One is being able to walk on a college campus wearing a sweater vest and have all the college girls (and guys, but not as many) open the door for you (because they think their grade may depend on it). It’s fun. I say, “Have you got your presentation ready for tomorrow?” Ha! Such fun!

Ultimately, getting older means the train is getting closer to the station. I have my bags packed, and my ticket punched. The longer I stand still and listen, the more I think I can feel the vibration on the tracks. It won’t be much longer. I will finally get to go to that land where I will run faster and faster, farther in, and farther up.

I just pray that my train is not too far apart from my wife’s train. She’s scared I will leave too soon. Maybe, if we wait long enough, we can ride in the same dining car together. I’d love to see her eyes when we see for the first time the place we are going. The light will reflect beautifully off of her grey hair.

12 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Faith, Life Lessons, the future