My husband dropped the phone and we ran to her house (she lives next door to us) to find her gray, barely breathing and in and out of consciousness. I felt sick. In fifteen minutes the EMT’s arrived and only minutes after that she was lying in the Emergency Room with IV tubs coming out of her veins, oxygen over her face, monitors over heart chest and a gazillion people lad in blue pajamas running on and out of her room.
As a physician, I took on the bossy role. I asked the ER doctor how long he had practiced and I questioned why he was administering the dose of morphine he chose. Why hadn’t they gotten her to the cath lab and where the hell was the cardiologist? After all, it was now 5:30 am and the hospital should be fully staffed.
I turned into a monster because I was scared to death. My husband gently reined me in and reminded me that larger things were happening than I could control. That’s hard to hear when someone you’ve loved for 54 years is gasping for air. I felt her life slipping out from under me and I couldn’t bear it.
If you have never felt such anguish, I hope that you don’t for a long while. But, sadly, you will. Life here on earth beats every one of us up at some time. That’s why I’m writing to you today. Because tucked inside those dark moments are snippets of blessings and we should never miss them.
I had a mother that I adored enough to feel crushed when she hurt. My 19 year old son called from college and asked if he could come home, “just to help me out.” My close girlfriend called and collected four women who met at the hospital to pray for my mother. My husband hugged me more and let me sob into his shoulder. Two of our daughters came home for the weekend to see their grandmother and to give me a break from holding vigil at my mother’s bedside. And beyond all of those good things, I felt the presence of God like never before.
The good stuff in life doesn’t come from the places where we spend 90% of our energies everyday- running kids to soccer, trying to make more money, working to get a promotion, losing weight or trying to get in shape. No, the good stuff comes from the people that we love and care for. It comes from a son who cares more about comforting his mother than getting good grades. It comes from a spouse who sees our pain and responds. I don’t know about you, but today, but I’m going to spend my time building more of that good stuff into my life because when the you-know-what hits the fan, that’s all that really matters.