It was early December. We rushed down through the city in the middle of the night. The hours having switched into the new day. The back seat was filled with our five children including our 12 day old newborn daughter who was peacefully sleeping in her car seat. Hubby was quiet. I was simply trying to breathe. As he dropped me off at the emergency room entrance I recall him saying something about we’ll be right in.
I remember looking back into the backseat of our filled to the brim Suburban and saying to my children, “It is going to be OK.”
As I turned to walk what felt like the longest sidewalk ever…I was terrified.
There were too many unknowns.
There was a really good chance this was NOT going to be OK.
Blood Clots, Teaching Hospitals, & Me
Apparently they take seriously – chest pains and not being able to breath at the hospital. I went through triage quickly and while the ER wait was 8-9 hours by some sweet miracle the triage nurse recognized the possibility of what was happening. She was able to get me upstairs within a half hour.
While my husband, four older children, and breastfeeding, newborn daughter chilled in a family waiting room downstairs – the doctors and nurses upstairs on the labor & delivery floor began the process of finding out what was wrong.
- I remember being crumpled up in pain.
- I remember being wheeled to a CT scan, pushing my IV pole with me.
- I remember the oxygen mask.
- I remember being pushed passed my waiting family on my way to radiology.
And I remember their little faces seeing Mommy was NOT OK.
When they brought me back to the exam room and I couldn’t get from the wheelchair to the bed – the panic set in. As the helped me in my agony to the bed I finally leaned back into the mattress and took focused breathes: blocking out the lights, blocking out the world and the pain.
The anxiety began to settle and the waiting game began. And I kept the waves of panic at bay by imagining this path:
and this man:
and these faces:
At the end of the waiting a nurse came into the room in a flurry and told me I had a blood clot in my lung.
They quickly moved me to another room with huge monitors on the wall. I was hooked to a few more machines.
The blood clot (called a Pulmonary Embolism) was so big and the lung so close to being completely blocked that the radiologist reading the scan had called up to L&D while he still had my images on the screen. “This is serious. You need to get her hooked up to monitors and start treatment NOW.”
Then they came, the doctors standing in a circle at the foot of my bed – the older, wiser ones and the ones still being taught. My physicians laid out what this was going to look like, what I should anticipate. They were thorough about what was happening, concise about what they were going to do, and sympathetic about how many unknowns we would face together in the hours to come.
As the terror came so did the peace. I know it does not make much sense
BUT in my sorrow at what could happen – I knew the God who did happen every single day of my life thus far. I knew I was held.
In these moments I was being tested on the things I have learned about a great big God –
- Who never leaves, nor forsakes
- Who is a very present HELP in times of trouble.
- Who does not give us a Spirit of Fear.
All those words I have written and spoken and believed about a God who has always been faithful to me became a very present test in leaning into God’s Love.
It was almost two years ago that I stood before a congregation of God’s people and shared with them a verse that God has given me for my life:
“I didn’t die. I lived. And now I’m telling the world what GOD did. GOD tested me, he pushed me hard, but he didn’t hand me over to Death.” (Psalm 118:17 MSG)
- When 10-30% of Pulmonary Embolism victims will die within one month of diagnosis.
- When “sudden death is the first symptom in about one-quarter (25%) of people who have a PE.”*
I didn’t die.
And now I have to wrap my mind around what that means.
Join the Journey,