A Critical 48 Hours: Follow-Up

10 days ago our life took a dramatic turn.

Within 48 hours Judy and I went from packed and ready to leave for Germany to open heart surgery. Now that was totally unexpected and a severe shock to both of us. I’ve often heard the phrase, “My world was turned upside down.” I now know what that phrase means.

shutterstock_162256817You can get the details of those beginning hours in my previous blog. For now I want to offer a short perspective of the past 10 days , how it all seems to me from the perspective of today. Time will yield even greater and perhaps more profound insights and lessons learned, but these are the reflections of right now. If you have had a similar experience, please weigh in with yours too. I think the sharing process is truly the "Church".

Lessons Learned

First there is the fear and pain. Judy’s fainting spell and face first fall on her bathroom sink caused there to be blood all over the place. Coming into the room in answer to her call, a call for help as it turned out, I had first surprise, then fear, then concern, then I searched for an action plan. In the midst of those thoughts and emotions, upon reflection, there was a realization of the importance of both our love and relationship. “I don’t want to lose you...not now, there is still so much to do together”.

Next was the struggle to make sense of what was happening and decide what to do next. Sometimes under stress we do and think the dumbest things. Here was my thought: “Maybe we won’t have to go the hospital and the deep wound can heal with a band-aid.” Now that is denial at its most obvious.

Judy had some off-base perspectives too: “I don’t want a scar so if we go to the hospital right away this can be taken care of and we can still make the flight to Germany.” This was said while she was stretched out on the floor, not yet recovered from fainting. Here is the other part, “I was taking her seriously”. Under stress I was reaching out for the first solution, clearly not a realistic one.

Love and Clarity in the Hospital

If you have to go to the emergency room, go about 8:15 on Sunday morning. I know, you have no choice, but I think it’s true anyway. When you arrive between the early morning emergency rush and the late Sunday morning one, you get right in. Also, helps if you know where the emergency room is, where to park, get a wheel chair, etc. This is just the practical advice.

I could write a book about what a difference staff attitude and service makes. It true for all service organizations. From the receiving clerk, to the trauma nurse, to the orderlies, and straight through to the emergency room doctor, everyone was unbelievably kind, professional and reflected Christ’s concern in action. What I, what we, can all learn from that consistent witness. Nothing obsequious, just plan old love in action. I think we see so little of it, that it is a hi-impact experience. One to be savored and to be thankful for the model.

About an hour after we got to the emergency room, Judy’s friend Sherrie showed up. The security guard asked if a friend named Sherrie could come back to the emergency room where Judy was resting, now all connected with wires and tubes. What an unexpected surprise and such a solace for both Judy and me. Going the extra mile and not on her time schedule modeled Christian friendship in a powerful way.

The ER doctor was special in two ways that illustrate more lessons. He was both professional and caring. Hearing Judy’s protestations that we were still going to Germany, he acknowledged her desires when he sewed up the cut with 5 stitches all the time telling Judy that he was using self absorbing thread so it would not require a visit to the doctor in Germany. Second, he kept pressing the question of “Why did you Faint?”, recognizing AFIB and immediately putting in a call to the on-call Cardiac specialist. He kept us up to date with what was happening, assured us, that if they could find a way, we could go to Germany. At the same time, he was dead honest by sharing that experiencing a stroke, or preventing one, was, is, more important than any trip. His compassionate honesty was refreshing, reassuring, and another trait to be admired and personally appropriated.

The Journey Continues

Well there is much more to be learned I know. Realizing God’s kindness and concern by making it possible for us to learn about Judy’s calcified heart valves before she suffered a stroke. As the saying goes, “The bad news is open heart surgery, the good news is open heart surgery.”

One last observation from my current perspective: For the first time I determined to use social media, primarily Facebook, LinkedIn and then Church Community Builder, to share Judy’s story and status. I was blown away by the response and I can’t calculate the number of initial and ongoing prayers offered for her health and safety.

Please keep the prayers coming as we prepare for Judy’s open heart surgery in two weeks.

I’m sure there are many more lessons to be learned from the 48 hour experience and then the journey we are yet to make. So happy that Judy is in good spirits and is physically strong as she prepares for the surgery. Yes, 6 days in the hospital and 6 months recovery. We firmly believe that God is saying, “I’m not done with her yet”.

More as we travel the path with Trusted Advice along The Way.

Thanks for coming along. Share your thoughts for the edification of all.

Bruce