Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is this place even on the map? {and do you know how to get there?}

I must make a confession.  You know when you are driving and you realize that you might be off course.  Perhaps even lost?  And typically the male of the species is the one who will refuse to stop and ask for directions? 

That isn't quite how things play out in MolliWorld.  Odd as it may seem, Rocket Man {the uber-male who isn't in touch with his feminine side unless he's touching me, because I AM his feminine side} is the one who is most eager to stop and ask for directions.  I am the one who thinks she can figure it out and get where we are going with no help from anyone.  Give me a map and a landmark and by golly! I think I can get anywhere. 

I don't know why I am that way.  I will say on my behalf that I am pretty good with a map.  I have a good sense of direction and it has served me well.  I learned quickly in heavy traffic in Germany when I was a young bride and a map was thrust in my lap with the loud command to 'figure out where we are and how to get where we are going!'  And all the roadsigns were in Deutsch, which was not a language I knew well enough in which to be even considered illiterate.  What a pickle to be in while going 100 mph down the autobahn. In heavy traffic. At night. 

Anyway, I learned then and there to read a map-regardless of the traffic, light source or ability to read the roadsigns. 

Back to the requesting directions thing.   I don't even like to find a store clerk and ask which aisle the popcorn is on. I'll spend many minutes walking up and down aisles looking for a thing before I'll find a clerk to ask for help.  Muttering to myself if the popcorn isn't where it seems to me to be the logical place to put it. The Rocket Man, on the other hand, will ask before he looks.  He says it is more efficient.  Efficient-schmefficient sez me! 

That would be one of the differences in us.  He's always looking for a more efficient way and I'm often just out there for the ride. I'm pretty certain I can figure it out and find where I'm going on my own. Which sounds mighty independent for someone who for years considered herself to be fairly dependent and has to work hard occasionally not to be co-dependent. 

For the past 12 days or so, I've sort of felt like I'm without a map, a flashlight or directions. In uncharted waters.  Wandering.  There isn't a trail of breadcrumbs. And it is somewhat scary.  But I'm not scared, if that makes any sense.

You see, the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, Rocket Man looked at me and said he wasn't feeling well and he thought he might need to go to the ER to get it checked out.  He had his right hand sort of held where his heart is and we headed out to the emergency room with chest pains. 

I blathered on and on for  the entire drive, trying to be careful in traffic, but driving as fast as I could.  Do you have shooting pains down your left arm?  Are you nauseous?  On a scale of 1-10 how bad does it hurt?  Do you feel pressure?  What sort of pain? Even that unspeakable phrase, Do you think you could be having a heart attack?  All questions that I probably heard on  Marcus Welby, M.D. as a child.  Because I surely am not a medical professional and while I know a little bit about heart disease, certainly not enough to diagnose a heart attack. 

And I hadn't stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in quite some time, so that couldn't be it.

I mostly wanted to keep him talking to me.  Which was a good thing, it turns out, because when we got to the ER and they begin asking him all the same questions...he passed out.  The nurse immediatly hit him in the chest because he wasn't responding and she saw something on the EKG that was abnormal.. He opened his eyes and said {with attitude} 'What?'  Somebody called for a cardic alert and  brought a stretcher and people in scrubs were scurrying around me. 

I felt like they were moving at warp speed while I had slowed down to 33 rpm.  Someone said that his heart had stopped.  He was taken back to a room and outfitted with all sorts of wires, IVs in both hands, had blood drawn,was asked questions, monitors were read. Sort of like you see on TV, only without any commercial breaks. And with my Rocket Man as the star.  I didn't like it so much. I didn't like it at all.

I was right outside the room in the hallway, trying not to get in the way, with a clipboard full of papers they wanted filled out  I was feeling very, very alone.  And small.  Quite small.

I had already called my parents and asked them to pray.  I called my Annie to come get the Boys Fantastic who were at my house.  I texted my niece, Teri Lynne asking her to pray.  My phone rang immediately and it was Teri Lynne asking what was going on and about that time someone said to me, "he's having a heart attack" and Teri Lynne asked if I wanted her to come {she lives 85 miles away} and I said yes!  Come!  I called Rev. Boss and he said he was on the way.

All of the sudden, I was asking for directions to someplace I'd never been before.  It was like the part of my brain that thinks I'm big and I can do anything I want to do was in neutral and all that was engaged was my heart.  Let me assure you, my heart wanted directions and comfort and people who love us.

Within 40 minutes of the time he told me he wanted to go to the ER, Rocket Man was headed to the heart cath lab to find out what was going on under the capable hands of the cardiologist on-call.  And I was in the waiting room with Rev. Boss {who arrived just as they were rolling the bed out of Rocket Man's  room.  He asked if he could pray and the nurse said if he could pray and walk, because they weren't stopping!}.  Family and friends began to gather after they took him back and shortly the doctor came and got me to view the film.  The Rocket Man  had NOT had a heart attack {Thanks be to God}but they were going to keep him overnight after the procedure. 

By the time we could see the Rocket Man, the nurse commented that he must be very popular, there were so many people there.  He kept saying, 'that nurse punched me in the chest' until I told him he'd passed out.  He didn't quite remember that part.  He was perfectly willing to take my word for it.

We still don't know what happened.  We are in the process of seeing doctors and gathering information and taking it just a little bit easy.  You see, his father had his first heart attack before the age of 40 and died of heart disease at 62.  His grandfather died in his 40s of a heart attack.  So we take chest pains seriously. Thus far, we are finding out that the man is as healthy as can be.

As I sat beside his bed that night in the hospital, after everyone had left, I realized that I was in a place I always knew I could be...someplace I always knew I might have to go...I just didn't think I would be there that night.  And I looked at that face I love so dearly as he breathed in oxygen through the tube in his nostrils and was overcome with gratitude. I knew grace in that moment.  Grace so real I could almost touch it and gratitude flowed from my heart.

I am so thankful that he recognized that something was wrong and was willing to ask for directions.  Thankful that we got to the ER before he passed out.  Thankful that my heart-yearning to suround myself with people who loved and cared for us overcame my head's bent toward figuring it out myself.

Thankful that even though the circumstances were scary, I wasn't afraid.  I knew that this little lamb and my amazing Rocket Man were safe in the arms of the Good Shepard.

I've faced my own mortality and stared down some scary things in my life.  I live being 'off' and with whole systems in my body that continually stump the medical community.  I'm okay with that. That's me.

I haven't been quite so okay with the events of the past few weeks.  I'm getting there.  I understand that this is part of the journey of our lives.  This comes with being middle-aged and needing to know about heart disease and having affairs in order and asking people to make decisions for us if we are ever rendered incompetent to make them ourselves. 

All of that reeks of stopping at a gas station and asking for directions to me.  And I'm just not so good at that.  But I'm learning. 

So if you see me standing alone, looking lost and trying to figure something out...I might be getting ready to ask you for help.  And I'm getting more and more okay with that. 

Doesn't mean I'm going to give up my love of maps and figuring out which way to go.  Just means that I'm learning to have a head that matches up a little better with my heart.  Because it is just more effiecient and you might know how to get where I'm going.


Did I mention that my niece, Teri Lynne, dropped everything and drove 170 miles to be with me because I said, 'Yes! Come!' which I would NEVER have said if I'd thought about it for 2 mintues.  Becaue her husband is a pastor and they have an 11 year old daughter and it was Saturday night for-goodness-sakes and I know how crazy Sundays can be.  If you aren't already subscribed to her amazing blog you should go there RIGHT NOW and check her out.  She has a precious heart and she puts her money where her mouth is concerning her faith and love!  I may or may not be somewhat biased.

Huge thanks, as well, to my daughter...Annie-with-the-million-watt-smile.  She made a bazillion trips back and forth from the hospital to the house to get important things like comfy clothes, makeup, iPad, phone charger, etc. etc. etc.  How wonderful to have grown-up children!!

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