For those of you following this blog closely, you may be surprised to see this post. It is quite unexpected, specifically since I last told you all that I would not be blogging for the next week. I told you that I was going to be at a wilderness survival camp for the next 5 days, that I would not have access to internet. That was all true, until 6 am this morning….
Regretfully, I was awakened this morning, like a reoccurring dream that won’t go away, by my wife telling me that her heart was beating irregularly fast again. After sitting up and praying for her, she, without any hesitation, told me she wanted to go the hospital again. Unlike our previous episode of the same kind, we had the privilege of being with family and having the luxury of borrowing a car for the convenient, six minute drive to the hospital. After defrosting the windshield, after surviving the below freezing Missouri night, we drove away without the hassle of moving our RV or waking the children.
Avoiding ice on the roads, we quickly made it to the hospital building where we had been to only two days previous for Mel’s cardiology exam. Checking Mel in, she was wheel chaired to her hospital bed, though this time I was granted the ability to stay with her in the hospital since the kids were still safe in bed at “home”. She requested I call her parents, and I did so. They prayed for her as I chatted with them in the lobby, then I joined her in her room afterwards. Her upper body was covered with monitor cords connected to her skin by white circular “stickers”. Her gown and our favorite “star blanket” covered her to keep her warm. Her cheeks were red and her face shown agony and discomfort. By the time I came in, the nurse had already talked with her and no one who worked there showed signs that they were worried about her condition. Everyone was kind, calm and professional.
Between short occasional conversations with the staff, Mel and I were left alone with each other and I moved the single chair in the room by her bedside. We looked into each other’s eyes and cried. I could see in her eyes, not only the pain of her physical discomfort, but also the agony of the fear of the unknown, the latter, I believe, far worse than the former. I had no power to do anything to change her situation, I had only myself and my presence to offer her. The only gift I could give her that cold winter morning, felt to me to be the most precious gift I had. Though I wish we were still together, sleeping in our own bed, I felt more grateful than ever to be in her presence in that moment.
Suddenly her heart monitor began to flash red numbers and her heart rate rapidly rose. I watched the red numbers increase before my eyes. 145… 151… 159… 163…the monitor began to alarm and a nurse quickly came into our room as the number 171 appeared. The nurse coached Mel in her breathing and tried to assist her in relaxing, all the while staying very calm, without the slightest hint that she was concerned that Mel was in any kind of danger. As Mel’s heart rate slowly decreased, she was administered an oxygen mask for a short time, then after the episode had passed, we were once again left alone to ourselves. I had, which I must admit is very rare, brought my Bible with me, and I read the Psalms to her starting with chapter 23. We then sang a song together she remembered singing in her childhood when she was scared.
Mel reminded me that we had not yet written our will together and I told her that I was not ready to discuss it now, though I was willing to listen to anything she wanted to say. We quickly moved on to listening to uplifting music, on my phone’s Pandora app, gentling filling the room with songs of praise to the Divine King. After over an hour had passed, the doctor came in to discuss Mel’s situation and the results of the lab testing. The good news was that Mel’s heart was working properly. The top muscles and the bottom muscles was working together in harmony, even when her heart rate rapidly increased during her episodes. Mel’s heart was healthy, with no signs of serious threat. “The question remains,” the doctor explained, “Why is your heart rate suddenly increasing without reason?” This question she could not answer, though she listed off some uncertain possibilities. She recommended we call the cardiologist again on Monday morning and, with the new heart records they had just obtained, she may be able to shed some new light on the increasingly concerning situation.
“If you have another episode,” the doctor explained to Mel, “take a dose of the medicine you have been prescribed, and lay down and relax your body the way you did when you were here.” And with that final advise, Mel was discharged once again. As we exited the hospital and got into the car, we had only thoughts of the unknown to accompany us. I was grateful that Mel was safe, though deeply perplexed by the situation. Thanks again, everyone, for your concerns and prayers. We will keep you all updated as we discover more about where this unexpected turn will lead us.