Sunday, October 12, 2014


Hospital stay, Day 5

I was unplugged today.  The telemetry came off, and Mike walked me down the halls of the hospital with my apprehensive posture.  Babying my heart catheter and coddling my right arm iv line, I was somewhere between Red (from Shawshank Redemption) "institutionalized" even when getting out of jail; Nemo, sad about his tiny fin; and Rapunzel, feeling grass for the first time.  There is a de-conditioning that envelopes you when you get admitted to the hospital, so putting on regular clothes was a step towards regaining humanity and starting to live again, and I was very grateful.  Getting the 5 telemetry stickers off and unplugging, walking away in sneakers, sans the yellow hospital slipper-socks, was a sure bonus to my day and week.

The largest lesson I learned today was that my emotions, anxiety, thoughts, company, and food choices all grossly affect the rate at which my heart beats and my blood pressure.  I got out of bed and brushed my teeth, powdered my nose for the day, and it crawled up to the 90's.  My adorable and supportive friend Stephanie made pumpkin pie bars, and with each bite, my heart rate increased 10-15 bpm, then settled back down again to my normal 80 bpm.   As I was tempted to bitterness and anger, it skyrocketed to 150 bpm!  Nurses came running in and checking on me.  It was such a silent contemplation of anger, that it was as if a microscope was on my thought process, and the LED screens on the unit projected my thoughts.  It was bad enough that I was angry, but come on, "Get out of my head, you people!" 

We are called to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.  We are taught to forgive 7 x 70 times.  The Word of God says that God "will remove our transgressions from us, as far as the east is from the west," and yet we skip along to beats of anger, discontentment, frustration and anxiety as if it will be a feast for our soul, clinging to them.  We hide them in the pockets of our mind as if they don't effect anything.  It not only feeds our soul garbage, but seems to deplete our physical health!  It grates on us and tears us down.  Who would have known that how we think of others and our circumstances is likely to drive us into a situation where, if we had been on telemetry, the bells would sound. 

Well, today proved to me that these situations can negatively effects our whole body.  If our body really is a temple of the Holy Spirit, our helper left to us by the Living God of the universe, and we are ticking along, habitually harboring offense, slander, no matter how silent, our physical heart is affected and could potentially tell all.  Clearly, something that the Lord already knows! And, it makes me pause.  How selfish am I?  My goodness, where did my goodness go? 

I was thoroughly embarrassed that I had to tell the nurses that I was just upset about something and "being emotional." After coming in 3 times for heightened vital signs, machines dinging and binging, and flashing bright lights to alarm everyone in the Neuroscience ICU that I am contemplating things that are not fruits of the Spirit, this opened the door for them to continually ask if I was "okay," and for me to realize how broken I am. 

The tug between the flesh and the spirit are clearer to me now.  I reflexively listened to the book of Ephesians and Philippians, frantically trying to get these thoughts away from me.  I called and texted my best friends and continued down my little paths of thought.  Thankfully, by resting and praying, Mike counseling me, I was guided to put to rest my anger and upset-ness.  Not only because we are called to do it, but with the added long and short term negative effects on the body.  Our only, one body given to us for this short time on earth to steward, care for, and use to the best of our ability.  This baseline makes it a bit easier to tolerate having a heart catheter rubbing against my collarbone, and multiple day hospital stay.  If it would have taken me a lifetime to learn these lessons without a hospital admission, I would much rather the hospital stay and be discharged having learned. 

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Galatians 5:16-17 ESV

~Honey bunch is on his way to me, so I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat.