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Close call

My hubby Dave was settling back into the old routine before his workday that Thursday, Jan. 2. The holidays were over. The trash can and recycling were set out. As he sat down in the driver’s seat of the Escape, he couldn’t catch his breath.

I thought he had forgotten something when he came back into the house. Did he forget his badge? His wallet? I wanted to call 911. Dave resisted. He didn’t want an $800 ambulance bill if he was having a panic attack. What about the ER? (Huber Heights has an ER.) He was thinking about the $350 he thought was the co-pay for the ER. But he couldn’t catch his breath. We talked about why he thought it might be a panic attack – one reason actually: He turns the big 5-0 this month.

We watched the news. He stood up and said he was going to work. He’d pick up some coffee and go. But he stood with me. It was like he was rooted to the spot.

We’re living in the aftermath of what could have happened if he’d gone to work like he’d planned.

A CT scan revealed two blood clots in Dave’s lungs — pulmonary embolism. Dave was admitted a week ago today to Kettering Medical Center after I took him to the ER. I awoke Saturday to a message from Dave. He was going to have a procedure done. He’d had an echocardiogram and was diagnosed with saddle pulmonary embolism. A large clot was straddling the left and right pulmonary arteries. Dr. Brian Schwartz, an interventional cardiologist, believed EKOS EndoWave Infusion Catheter System was the best way to break up the clot.

God’s timing came to my mind. When I called Dave back, his nurse set the phone down so I could hear Dr. Schwartz. He was telling Dave that he liked to pray with patients before any surgical procedure. I got to hear the cardiologist’s prayer. He placed the catheters in Dave’s groin and a low-dose blood thinner was administered while high-frequency, low-powered ultrasound worked to break up the clot. Dave had to lie down for 6 hours. After EKOS, he would have an IV of heparin and then Eliquis. He remained hospitalized until Sunday.

Dave told me he keeps thinking about how things might have been. We were outside the ER when Dave said he felt stupid. He didn’t want to pay the $350 co-pay for what could be a panic attack. That was money well spent.

The waiting room looks different when you’re not the patient. I was the support. I took on the role of secretary, taking notes on Dave’s treatment and road ahead. It gave me something to focus on. I tried to keep my family informed. I told my praying friends, my women’s Bible study group, and I saw the prayer request fan out as I received new messages back.  

And I was calm. I had to be. Fear was pressing in. Tears collected; I refused to let them slip. I shut down the frantic what-ifs and any story that popped into my head that wasn’t being written right now. I prayed every time those came into my head. The Holy Spirit worked on me to where I was living out 2 Cor. 10:5:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Dave and I were lifted in prayer through a grand network of people.

Looking back, I’m so thankful Dave heeded that early warning.

I feel like I had a spirit check. I turned to God first. I knew that God is sovereign and in control. He orders our days, knows our frame, and works all things for our good and His glory. I didn’t question this. I knew this truth with certainty.

How was I so calm? The Holy Spirit took the wheel. Dave needed me calm. He was already freaked out. And who could blame him?

The road ahead

Dave will be on Eliquis for 6 months to a year. He has two follow-up appointments already with Dr. Hemant Shah, a pumonologist he saw at Kettering Medical Center. Eliquis is the first medication Dave has had to take on a regular basis. This is new territory for him.  *Special thanks to all who prayed for Dave and to all who took care of him while he was a patient at Kettering Medical Center.

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