In retrospect to just a little more than a month ago I believe I will start off with this song that keeps going through my head:
You do just never know what way your life will turn tomorrow. We actually thought that we were eating fairly well, at least as well as the next person. Who knew that pizza contained enough salt to kill a person? We sure had no clue that when we were given free pizza coupons that we were risking my life in ordering! I love pizza. I knew it was a fattening meal but neither of us had a clue that it would send me to the hospital and even fascilitate a heart attack. And I ate just 4 small square cut pieces that amounted to maybe 1 ½ slices. I was told that my heart and lungs were not strong enough to pump off the water retention that the salt in the pizza created.
We were watching TV with our easy (?) pizza dinner. Within a few minutes I was gasping for air yelling for my husband to call 9-1-1. It was so very scary that it took me more than a month to get the image out of my mind. I’ve been through so much illness in the past yet not being able to breath is the worst. Too much was going on for me to even think about chest pain, and I was having a heart attack in the midst of an attack of Congestive Heart Failure.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart can no longer pump blood as efficiently as it used to. This causes blood and other fluids to back up in the body – particularly in the liver, lungs, hands, and feet.
I was admitted to the hospital with the idea of giving me IV diuretics and soon doing a cardiac catheter (my 4h one this year). This time went by and we were praising God at the outcome of the Cardiac Catheter being that no additional damage had been done. I had no idea that when I was released following this procedure on Thursday that I would be returning just a few days later.
Pizza again? Yep, the same culprit! And, we now knew what was causing the problems. Here it is nearly a month later and I still have no craving for pizza nor anything else high in sodium, which is the nutritional value of most convenience food out there these days. You have to check everything, even frozen vegetables.
I did not let this episode go as far before asking my husband to call 9-1-1. I was scared of waiting too long. The squad came and they put me on the cart in our living room. I wanted to write about this sooner and now I see why I had not. The thought of this entire ordeal still haunts me. Even though I know, now, how God saved me I think this is important enough to share.
Smoking is just awful. If I had that wish that I could do it over again I would’ve never started. The fact is that I was 11 when I first held a cigarette thinking it was cool. At that time in 1971 I did not inhale. I am wondering if that person that I I’ve found again in life on Facebook had any idea what she was doing when she taught me how to inhale at 14, in 1974? I would doubt it. Her mother also smoked more than a chimney. My dad was a smoker. In 1974 it was rarely thought of that this was a disgusting, dirty, stinky habit yet that it was hazardous to your health. So, it kept going…smoking in my parent’s house at 16 and more than 2 packs a day by my 20’s along with the marijuana smoking for years. I managed to quit smoking the marijuana in my late 20’s along with doing all of the other drugs except for those cigarettes. They ended up being the hardest thing to quit. BUT I did it. It wasn’t easy and I now wish I’d have done it much sooner but I’m so thankful that I did. If you’d like to know how I went about it after 33 years check out this post:
By the time the rescue squad got me to the hospital this time (less than 10 min. from us) I was much worse. Even though they had asked me if I’d been previously intubated (only under sedation in surgery) they had not been willing to go there. This time my breathing had been so labored for so long and it was not changing. I remember telling them that I couldn’t keep it up. I was getting so tired! The next thing I remember was opening my eyes, I was breathing on a machine and my husband was holding my hand and looking at me. I TALKED TO JESUS. I have no idea what I would’ve done at this point if I did not know in my heart that He was there, otherwise I would’ve just been alone behind the machine. Yet He was there with me. I spoke to Him, asking Him to take care of my husband. I couldn’t imagine being him. And, I asked Jesus to take me home. This is the worst that I think I have ever felt. But Jesus told me that my husband still needed me.
The following morning I awoke, still intubated, but breathing room air. I was immediately told that they were seeing if I could breath on my own and I had to be awake for a couple of hours and breathing like that and they would extubate me. Jesus sat on the chair in my ICU room. He told me that it was going to be OK.
Two days later I was moved out to a telemetry bed. This was more of a step-down unit. I was still being monitored but I no longer had to have the attention of Intensive Care. I was still on oxygen with a Foley Catheter and they were draining the water off of my lungs and entire body. I was admitted for Congestive Heart Failure yet no heart attack at this time.
I had been taken to Northside Hospital which was less than 10 minutes from us. I was surprised at the difference from Morton Plant. Yes, there were many nice people at Morton Plant but I did not receive the quality of care and attention that the employees at Northside gave me. I was even surprised by the doctors who treated me as an individual, giving me so much individual attention. Questions that I’d had for even years were answered within the time that I was there. I would be there for another week but was released with a new Cardiologist, Dr. Peter Wassmer There were so many employees there that I felt went above and beyond the call that I shared a list with the charge nurse and I want to share some names here (written on scrap paper with colored pencil):
Respiratory: Chris, Gary, And Sarah.
Nurses/CNAs/Techs: Kevin, Sharron, Erin, Maggie, Gina, Becky, Scott, Taylor, Jenn, Christina, Lori, and Colten.
And others that I failed to get the names written down for.
And, as always, I know that things happen for a reason.*Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
*James 1:5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
I learned a major lesson this time. For one, the song that had been going through my mind for all of 3 weeks meant that I was supposed to take notice to the words. God has spoken many times in this way to me.
And, I knew that God was telling me that I needed to surrender even more than I did. Always let go of it all. And a lightbulb went off. If it all was surrendered to Him, I didn’t have to like what was happening BUT He would take care of it all anyway. I’d released it to Him.
It took me a good 10 days after returning home to see that I was mad that I was still here. I am that assured that heaven will be magnificent beyond my wildest dreams that I am ready to go there whenever He wants to take me. BUT all it took was admitting that and I started to feel better. I was swimming just after that and only 2 weeks from going on a cruise for our 27th wedding anniversary.
May God bless you through my writing. If He has especially touched you in any way, please leave a comment below. Your comments are so very encouraging to me to help me to keep writing. Also, click on the “Uptweet” button on the above right and share! I pray you will keep coming back. I fully believe that my writing is by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so if I am writing, there is someone that needs to read it! Maybe it’s you? Also, please be sure to share any questions you might have with me and if you would like to keep them personal (just between you and me) please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at email@example.com. If I don’t know how to answer you, I will may every attempt to refer you to someone for more information. Thanks and may God bless all your days!