Tuesday last I awoke from my nightly slumber with terrific pain in my chest, much like an elephant break-dancing on my chest. It was painful just to breathe, but like the trooper I am, I shrugged it off and set about my daily routine. Rather than improving, the pain intensified.
I went to my office and started the day's work only to find it almost impossible. Fortunately, my one daughter is a paramedic with the fire department and the other is an EMT with the county ambulance service. Sitting at my desk, I saw the vehicles pull into the church office parking lot.
Within a few minutes, my office was filled with EMTs and paramedics. (Someone and I'll mention no name, only to say this person who lives at the same address as I, squealed on me.) Their unified mission was convincing a rather stubborn preacher to go to the hospital. According to their examination, it was possible I was having a heart attack.
Who knew I even had a heart?
Each took turns persuading me that I needed to go to the hospital. Their strategy was to wear me down. To my credit, it took half a dozen to do the job. The ambulance was outside and in a few minutes, so they assured me, they could have me in the emergency room.
"What about it, Reverend," a good- looking paramedic said, "how about going to the hospital?"
"Okay," I finally agreed, "but I'm not going in the ambulance, I've already mortgaged my house."
I was escorted to my paramedic daughter's jeep and away we went to the ER.
When we arrived at the hospital, they rushed me into the emergency room and started working on me.
After a few hours, I came to myself (which is a shock in and of itself) and discovered my chest had been shaven. Now, what I need to know is ,once shaved always shaved? Just a theological ruse.
In examining my chest, I discovered I had 17 nipples of which all but two were hooked up to some monitoring system. When a person, such as I, is in a dazed confused condition, this is enough to create a heart attack.
The medical staff put me through all the tests they had in their diagnostic arsenal. Evidently I had crammed the night before because I passed all the their tests with flying colors. Although I passed the tests the pain in my chest continued.
During my medical odyssey, I discovered three things.
The first has to do with nurses, which are the first line of defense in a medical situation. Sometimes n and I'm not complaining, just grateful n they are the only lines of defense. Certainly, they are the link to everything a person needs.
It is extremely important to keep on good terms with these angels of mercy. For one, they are the ones who wield the needles in the ER.
Nurses have two kinds of needles. One, they have the nice sharp pointy needles that pierce the epidermis with the greatest of ease causing the least amount of discomfort.
The second type is reserved for those certain patients, and you know who you are, that cross them. I'm referring to the square point needles that gouge the flesh. I'm proud to say I experienced the former.
The second has to do with hospital bedpans. What deranged person masterminded this dysfunctional appliance? Some research must be funded by the government to track this person or persons down and have them executed.
Normally I'm not a violent man. My philosophy is "live and let live." However, hospital bedpans are not normal and are deliberately designed to malfunction every time. Don't ask me how I know, I just do. If not executed, then they should be confined to a hospital bed for the rest of their life and I have just the bedpan for them.
The third thing I discovered in the hospital has to do with those x-rated hospital gowns. They come in one-size-fits-all. That's all right if you happen to be 3'6."
Unless a person is dyslexic, it takes no rocket scientist to see I am a bit larger than 3'6." I just happen to be 6'3" and have never been mistaken for a midget. I have no idea what these so-called gowns were designed for but it was not for modesty.
In fact, there is some evidence that patients in the psychiatric ward of the hospital designed the hospital gown as a group therapy project. It has absolutely no practical - or impractical for that matter - purpose in this life. The hospital gown could be classified as the cross-purpose-driven garment.
Several days have passed since leaving my hospital oasis, giving me some time for reflection. The hardest thing for a person like me is to wait. I have my agenda and I dare the person to stand in my way.
God, however, has devised marvelous ways of incorporating into our daily regime opportunities to practice this illusive virtue.
A passage from the Psalms keeps running through the back of my mind. "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah." (Psalms 62:5-8 KJV.)
Nurses, bedpans and X-rated hospital gowns are not the real issues of a hospital stay. Trusting God in adversity is the most important.