Well, my “ready for anything, equal to anything” year is off with a bang.
I began this week with a visit to the ER.
I had bought a new blood pressure machine on Sunday and took my first reading on Monday morning. (I have what is known as “white coat syndrome.” That means that my blood pressure goes up every time I have to go to the doctor. Consequently, I have always taken my blood pressure at home so I can show the doctor what it is normally).
When I saw 250/150, I could hardly believe what I was seeing. So, I took it again.
It was even higher.
I walked down to my husband’s home office and showed him the numbers.
He looked at me in disbelief and said, “There’s no way that can be right. The machine must be broken.” He reached for it in order to take his own blood pressure to prove that.
His numbers were normal.
We just stared at each other in silence for a moment before making the decision to drive to the ER.
But not before I took a shower, shaved my legs, did my hair and makeup, and packed my cell phone, iPod, and Kindle into my purse.
Priorities, you know.
By the time we got there and the intake worker took my blood pressure, it was 260/190. I thought she was going to pass out when she saw those numbers. She asked if I felt well enough to walk to a room and I told her I did. (I felt totally fine, actually). She looked at me uncertainly and kept a close eye on me as she led us to my room. She whispered, “Good luck” before heading back to her desk.
How grateful I am that I do not rely on ‘luck.’
No, my life is held firmly in the hands of my Savior.
To remind myself of this, I held tightly to a small cross that my mom gave me for Christmas. On one side is a cross and on the other are the imprinted words: “Do Not Be Afraid. I Am With You Always.”
The next five hours seemed to crawl by as Doug and I sat together in that small room with the green walls: he on an uncomfortable plastic chair, me on a hospital bed, hooked up to all kinds of machines.
I was so grateful for his presence. He calms me. He makes me laugh. My heart melts when he fastens those beautiful blue eyes of his onto mine…eyes that speak of love, tenderness, so many memories, and still hold enough mystery to keep me intrigued, even after 22 years together. One of my greatest joys is that I get to be his wife.
Yet, for all our closeness, we are two separate people. There are limits.
He was in the chair but I was the one in the hospital bed. He was powerless to feel what I felt or to heal my body. There was nothing he could do to stop a stroke or a heart attack, which is a real possibility when one’s blood pressure is so high.
It was a fresh reminder that in the end, each of us truly is alone before God.
Jesus goes where no human being can go with us. His eyes watched our tiny bodies being formed in our mother’s womb. His Spirit resides in our hearts. He feels what we feel. He knows our thoughts. He is aware of every fear. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He knows the number of days He has given us to live on this earth. He knows it all. He will be with us when we leave this life and enter eternity.
I felt His Presence very strongly in that room in the ER. His peace just saturated my heart.
“Ready for anything and equal to anything.” I kept reminding myself as the staff ran test after test and the blood pressure number continued to remain stubbornly high.
In my own strength, a situation like this would have completely overwhelmed me with fear and dread and I would have been tortured by “what if’s?”.
But in Christ, I was strong in spirit, even though my body was weak.
In Christ, I was at rest even in the midst of an emergency room…because with Jesus, there are no emergencies. Nothing catches Him off guard.
One of our old friends is currently undergoing aggressive treatment for cancer. He recently wrote these words on his blog: “God is the Potter and I am the clay…God will heal…He always does that for His children but not always on this side of Heaven.”
Those words are beautifully true.
I am the created, who has accepted the gracious and breathtaking invitation of my Creator to live this life with Him. He purchased me on the Cross and He can do with my life whatever He wills. I have purposed this year to give Him my all and I meant it. My life is safe in His hands, whether I am sick or I am well. He can allow this body to be in a hospital bed, brimming with health at the gym, or heading across the world on a mission trip. I accept whatever He has for me.
I prayed for every single person who came into my room, as well as the patients I saw being wheeled through the halls.
I realized afresh how easy it is to take good health for granted until it’s too late.
I treasured anew the precious time that I have been given here.
I thanked Jesus that this world is not my home and that there is a day coming when all sickness will be gone forever.
I thanked Him for the gift of His joy, even when circumstances are far from happy.
I prayed that He would protect me from a stroke or a heart attack and I asked for wisdom for the doctor who was treating me.
I enjoyed the fact that Doug and I could still laugh in the midst. Laughter has always characterized our relationship and it is such a gift.
I prayed that I could go home that day…and He granted that request.
Since all my other tests revealed that my body is healthy, I was given medication, a follow up appointment with my doctor, and sent on my way.
Doug and I stopped for lunch on the way home and my eyes drank in everything around me…the sheer beauty of life being lived outside of hospital walls. Did these people realize the great gift they had been given? To be well enough to leave their homes and do whatever they wanted to do? May we never take such gifts for granted!
Today I was officially diagnosed with high blood pressure and have started on medication. I have to severely limit my caffeine intake, which makes me sad because I do so enjoy an ice cold soda….or ten. I have to watch my salt. I have to take a break from exercising until my blood pressure is back within normal range.
I called my dad’s brother and sister, my Uncle Duane and Aunt Dot to tell them that I was the latest family member to be diagnosed with his malady, which has run in my dad’s side of the family for generations. In a surreal moment, I found myself comparing dosages and side effects of blood pressure drugs with each of them.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was 18 years old?!?!
It certainly seems like it.
But I am soon to be 47 years old. My body certainly isn’t what it used to be…but my spirit is stronger than ever.
I am equal to anything and ready for anything.
Bring it on.