The house doctor was listing my options once the angiogram is done. I had already heard it from the Cardiologist and had time to think about it in the quiet of the ICU.
“Is it too late to start walking?” I asked when she finished. She moved her lips in a half smile. I suddenly felt foolish for asking the question with all the machines surrounding me. She relented. “Maybe in a few months. You have to recover first.” .
Oh! I knew that by now but my deeper question was … is too late to start walking .. EVER?!
Surprisingly, I was not anxious. It felt like Déjà vu except that this was quite a bit earlier than had bargained. I had been pushing my luck, ignoring my health and the warning signs of a nagging pain. I had ignored my inner desire to take time off, relax, or in modern buzz ‘chillax’, even Blog! I had wanted to write but had to sort out design and IT issues to get going. But my worst offence was that even up to that very day (i.e.ten days ago) when I took my Mum to the Doctors, I postponed seeing him myself as “I had work to do!”
Thank God for stubborn mothers who cant take no for an answer and made the appointment for me whilst I was parking thereby forcing my hand. Why wasn’t I surprised when the doctor told me the ECG he ordered was unsteady and that I had to see a Cardiologist immediately?
It seemed uncanny that my mum who rarely visits the doctor wanted to go that day. In a series of surreal occurrences, my cousin was at the Clinic and able to accompany me to the hospital after I dropped off mum. I had no cash on me or card – or cheque book – and would have to go to the bank first. I was driving with one eye on the clock when a friend’s car joined the lane right in front of me. I could not believe it. My twin sister, whom I had been unable to reach from morning, was in the car! I tooted like crazy and was frustrated when they merrily waved back. However after more frantic tooting and signalling, they pulled over. My sister immediately took the wheel and since she had her card, we drove straight to the hospital. If I had been a minute earlier or later, we would have crossed each other in that lunch hour traffic. The timing was all the more astounding because her mobile was not working and I would never have been able to reach her (or her card) which ultimately saved the day. It was then I began to feel some comfort that there was an incredible plan unfolding which would take its course.
So as the doctor completed her briefing and left me with my thoughts, I repeated to myself it was too late now to walk or exercise or take my medication. I also asked … ‘what now God? You know my weakness and my waywardness more than anyone else. Yes, I am sorry I did not take care of my health, and I ask pardon for this – but if I had to do it all over again, you know more than anyone else that I really may not do it differently. I have tried and can’t seem to shake this habit of mine.’
I remembered a verse pinned on my bedroom door: “Think of the years passed by in which you said to yourself ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ and how the Gods have again and again granted you periods of grace of which you have not availed yourself” (Marcus Aurelius). It looks like I had pushed it one time too many.
The Doctors said I had already had a heart attack and hence surgical intervention was necessary. I remember thinking and so wishing that I could put back the clock, do things differently, take care of my health. But when you are facing the future square in the face in the ICU it hits you really hard: “Sorry .. there’s no Rewind button.” The tape runs on. Present turns to future. There’s no going back.
So I was resigned to a stent or bi-pass, whatever the angiogram indicated. Inexplicably, I was not agitated. There were so many ‘strange coincidences’ I could only sit back and wait. Also in the far corners of my mind was a seed of an insight which I had incorporated (albeit vaguely) into my Christmas wishes: I/we are striving to be perfect when PERFECTION itself became human at Christmas. With Him, “I’m OK, you’re OK” does not apply. I do not have to be OK to be loved. He loves me just the way I am (procrastination and all).
So I felt quite calm. No point stressing about it.
It transpires now that “No point stressing about it” is an attitude that I should have had a couple of months ago, The angiogram showed that contrary to all expectations, there were no blocks or damages that required surgical intervention. The attack had been brought about by ‘stress’. The damage can apparently be reversed or reduced in a few months if I rest, relax, ‘chillax’ and do what I enjoy doing.
Talk about reprieve, Talk about Grace!! This wayward child has been saved from herself.
Greatly blessed, highly favoured, imperfect but forgiven child of God.