I kissed my husband then the nurses wheeled his gurney into the heart cath lab. Two
of Ken’s sisters, our daughter, and I walked into the family waiting room and found
seats around a table, near the large aquarium. We began our anxious vigil.
Two weeks earlier Ken had sat in his recliner all day with pain in his back and lower ribs
on the left side. He wouldn’t let me call his doctor. It was Saturday and he thought it
was his reflux flaring up. I did get an aspirin down his stubborn gullet.
Each day after that he found it increasingly hard to go to his job and work the overtime
expected of him. He was drained, barely able to get out the door, but he went.
And now we waited. I had previously had four heart catherizations and knew they
normally took about an hour to an hour and a half to complete. Two hours passed, I
watched the clock anxiously. Three hours came and went. I kept my eye on the
hallway door watching everytime someone went by, hoping to see Ken’s cardiologist. I
knew something was very seriously wrong when the four hour mark came around.
A few minutes later the doctor came into the waitng room. “He had a 100% blockage to
the left and bottom sides of his heart. His pumping ability is down to 19%. His only
chance to make it was to open that clogged vessle, that’s why it took so long, I just kept
whittling at it. Since the heart attack has been so long ago, there’s not much chance
the stent I put in will hold. I’m sorry. I hate to see this happen to such a young man.”
I refused to believe what he was speaking. “What did you say? What do you mean?”
And he explained it again.
After seeing Ken for just a moment he was whisked off to intensive care. While my
husband of 34 years was in the hands of the ICU nurses, I learned the meaning of
“falling apart.” I had no strength within me to hold all my parts together. I could hardly
remain upright. I cried. I wailed. Ken’s sisters tried to comfort me. My daughter held
me and asked, “Mom, where’s your faith?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know.”
We trudged to the ICU waiting room. I couldn’t stop moving. I paced, I rocked back
and forth. If I tried to stop one part from moving another started. I was like a bowl of
fermenting yeast, bubbling with constant motion. I made phone calls. I paced. I talked
non-stop. Whether I stood or sat I could not keep still.
When I finally got to go in to see Ken, he was writhing in pain. His kidneys had nearly
been destroyed by four hours of dye filtering through them. I’ve never seen anyone in
such pain, and there was nothng I could do. He couldn’t even bare for me to touch his
hand. He couldn’t sleep for the pain. I begged the nurse, “Please give him something
to make him sleep.” It was the only way I could think to ease his pain.
I returned to the waiting room all the while wishing I could make my body stop moving.
Our pastor and his wife arrived. We sat at a table and he began to pray. Words fail to
explain what happened. But as he prayed I began to feel all my disjointed pieces fall
back into place. Just as a computer sometimes needs defragmenting, I did too. God
cemented all my fractured parts and I felt it as each piece came together again. The
excess movements stopped and His stillness came.
God gave me His strength to fight the battle ahead of me. And fight, I did. Everytime I
went into see Ken, I spoke God’s healing scriptures over him. And I didn’t stop. One
month later his heart was pumping at 35%. Another month later it pumped at 50%.
Doctors we didn’t know wanted to see Ken, they didn’t understand how dead heart
tissue could come back after two weeks of no blood flow. How had he lived at all?
God did for Ken what He did for me that day in the hospital. No longer broken and
shattered, but made whole. Now I look at my husband following a long day of hard
work and remember how God’s strength imparted life to both of us.
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