"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beginning at the end of the story

Sometimes in order to understand what someone has been through, it is necessary to start where they are now. For me, that's what I need to do....I think. The below was written about two weeks ago and since then I have quit my job and am looking for something with less stress and, possibly, less hours. I realize that my love for music has been gone for over a year, I cannot play with the same skill I once could...and have realized that in order to regain my relationship with God that I must find somewhere to serve as a musician. Also, my love for writing has not been as joyful as it once was. I'm getting back to that point and quitting my job, finding my love and service through music will help restore that, I know.
So....below, is the ending of the story for now and where I am now. To come soon is where it all began about a year ago.
I woke up that morning feeling a bit odd, which for me is not the most unusual thing, but this time it all seemed a bit different. Over the past few weeks, my thoughts had not been as focused as I needed them to be, my mind was spinning at warp-speed, and I could feel my heart racing at times, so that I had to often lie down and close my eyes to slow everything down. This was going to be one of those days. I could just tell. I downed my bowl of cereal and cup of juice, wished my family a good day and headed to work, all the while feeling this underlying impending ‘something is not quite right.’
As the morning progressed, I had a lot to do since this was deadline day for the paper, but was I was ahead of schedule for my part, so I would have time to leave the office to cover a couple of local events without disrupting too much of the flow. Lunch came and went; nothing spicy or heavy, just a plain roast beef sandwich and a soft drink….no fries. Over the next few hours, my world changed completely.
As I settled back at my desk to finish up the afternoon’s work, without notice, it began to feel like an elephant was slowly settling himself on my chest becoming heavier and heavier until I was having difficulty breathing without deep gasps from my toes upward to get air. My shoulders and arms were beginning to ache and despite the air conditioning in the office, my forehead was sweating and (I was told) my face was red. I called my boss into my office and mentioned that I felt like I was having a heart attack and needed to go home and (perhaps) take a couple aspirin or one of my mom’s nitroglycerine. She immediately went into crisis mode, which is exactly what every employee should desire in a supervisor. I was sent to the back room to lie on the sofa while she called 911, managed to corral the office pet Corgi and put him behind closed doors so he would not go crazy when all these people came in, and handled telephone calls between my family and myself. I never had doubt that I was in capable hands.
The fire department and paramedics arrived, immediately noticed I was in some type of distress, loaded me on a gurney into the paramedic van, and off I went to Henry Medical Center. After a nitroglycerine tablet and a couple morphine injections, my blood pressure and heart rate began to lower and my discomfort level reduced significantly. I literally sailed into the ER and was hooked up to monitors and oxygen before I hardly knew it. Blood samples were drawn regularly for the next 24 hours to check enzymes and all other manner of stuff. I underwent a stress test the next morning and an echocardiogram later in the day.
After all was said and done, there was no evidence of heart muscle damage or that I had even suffered any level of heart attack. It was diagnosed as a cardiac episode due to high blood pressure and stress and was advised to follow up with a cardiologist, take it easy and reduce my stress levels, eat right, exercise…you know the routine. With that, I found myself homeward bound.
My thanksgiving thoughts this past week center around the fact of how thankful I am to have my health back. My biggest thanks go to the paramedics from Station 7 and to everyone at Henry Medical Center. From the people who wheeled me from room to room, to the care assistants, nurses, technicians, doctors and volunteers, I experienced a level of care that was beyond professional; I found a smile wherever I went. It was just plain friendly and almost family.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.