love for my husband

Blink of an Eye

10:17 AMHeather

One minute, I'm sitting watching a movie, a great ending to a girls' day out, with dear friends from church. All is right with the world. With one little phone call, my world is crumbling and my future is uncertain. My husband calls me to come home right away because he doesn't feel well. What? My husband who refuses to see a doctor for antibiotics on day four of a fever? My husband who is quick to admonish me to seek medical treatment when necessary, yet rarely complains of not feeling well? Surely, it was a wrong number....

But, no....just a few minutes later, our friend Beth calls back. She's reached my house before me, ready to watch our sleeping children so I can take Chris to the E/R. She asked how far out I am. She tells me that the ten to fifteen minute drive is too long, and she's calling 911.

Panic set in. I have visions of watching my father die, driving home that night so many years ago when my world changed from all I knew. My mind travels to the what ifs....and I can't think straight, other than to call a friend to pray over me as I drive home. She's known me for twenty years...she knows where my mind is traveling. She confidently tells me all will be fine...despite the fact that I can hear the sirens of the ambulance, screaming the potential danger as they pull up to my house, just before me. Despite the fact that I have never in eighteen years with Chris heard him sound like THAT...despite the fact that he is complaining of chest pains, and the reality of a heart attack at age thirty-seven is not unfathomable.

I literally shook as I waited...and watched them work on Chris, placing him into the ambulance. But, in the midst of the panic, sweet moments came, too. The friends who rushed to our house, engulfing me in hugs and reassurances and prayers. The new neighbors who offered to sit at our house with our children. The reassuring paramedic who took time time to explain things to me as they worked to get an IV line into Chris. The fact that numerous people were praying the children slept through the scene, avoiding the scare--and miraculously--they all did.

By the time we arrived at the E/R, we were greeted by four friends in the examining room--at nearly midnight on a Saturday. They surrounded us with their loves and prayers. The doctors and nurses were amazing--and quick to assure us that the test showed no signs of any issue with Chris' heart. Yet, at the same time--I watched the term "writhing in pain" in action, as Chris required two round of morphine before he could lay still. I watched his heart rate, lingering at alarmingly low rates.

Yet, the only moment I felt alone was in the ambulance, riding next to the paramedic. Quickly, family flew in from a vacation, drove from Plano, called from all over. People rushed to the hospital, and e-mails and calls came in from all over the country. I cannot even describe the feeling of being so encircled with love, prayers, and concern.

And, as I had cried out to God, begging him for my husband's life, God answered. God showed up. The cardiologist who'd treated my grandmother-in-law was assigned to our case. By Sunday morning, we knew the issue was not Chris' heart, and I think I finally took a breath of relief. I could relax that the I would be able to grow old with the husband of my youth--God willing. Before Saturday night, it had never occurred to me how much I had begun to take this for granted. I'd wasted time being irritated about how he might not wash the dishes, or he might forget to run an errand.

God showed up over and over again, and I write this post to give Him the full credit here. The G.I. doctor that we requested just "happened" to be on the floor, and our amazing nurse grabbed him to come in and consult with us. The surgeon we wanted also just "happened" to be on his way out the door when he got the page. On a Sunday evening, he took the time to come back in and answer all our questions. The nurses took extra care to show us their concern. Our pastor called to check in--when he should have been on his way to preach. Our associate pastor and Chris' boss showed up, wrongly having been notified that Chris had a heart attack. The relief on their face was obvious when they realized this was misinformation. People trickled through all day long. Friends brought food and they took in our kids so they would have their normal routine while I focused on my husband.

It's been one of those life-changing experiences. I pray that the full impact and lessons will gradually sink in and truly mold me for the future. I pray that my husband recovers quickly from having his gall bladder removed. I pray that the liver biopsy comes back normal. I pray God pours grace on my children to shield them from worry and fear until I can once again divide my attention among ALL members of my sweet little family. And, I thank God for my incredible husband. I thank him for all that Chris is, and all that he will be in our many remaining years together. I thank God that I can once again embrace the idea of growing old together without fear that dream is shattering as I speak. Mostly, I thank God that my Chris has a good heart--a fact I've always known. And, I thank God that we now know Chris also has a STRONG heart--a fact I won't take for granted.

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