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Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Ride in the Ambulance

I got to ride in an ambulance yesterday. Always wondered what they looked like on the inside. Now I know.

I had been hanging out with my sister at her home. It was our last visit before Dustin and I leave in two days for Ethiopia to pick up Jonas. We were eating lunch when I began to feel what I can only describe as not-so-well. Something funny was happening to me.

I went into the restroom, and as I was washing my hands at the sink I noticed that they were a funny color. I laughed a bit at how pale they appeared. It was as if I was wearing purple nail polish.

I called my sister to come and take a look at how pale they were. When she walked in I brought my hands up to my face. In that short amount of time my arms had turned the most horrifying purple-blueish color imaginable. They didn't look like they belonged to me. They looked more alien than human. I thought, "Oh, this is what a dead person looks like without that make-up they put on them." That was right about the time I began to feel dizzy and nearly fainted. My heart was racing uncontrollably. I felt that adrenaline rush which happens when your body knows something isn't right and your mind hasn't caught on yet.

I began praying.

In that moment I was pretty sure something terribly wrong was happening. I felt I was in danger of dying.

Valerie, my poor sister, began praying and fighting the panic my condition wanted to draw out of her. She called my hubby who told her to call an ambulance. Unspoken between us was the thought that I was about to die. Right there on her bedroom floor, in front of all our kids.

"No you don't!" my sister yelled and began praying and calling on the sweet name of Jesus.

Questions like, "is this really the way I'm gonna go Lord? Like this?!" volleyed with, "I know this is from the enemy. I have a plane to catch and kids to preach the Gospel to..... MY SON waiting for me. This just can't happen right now."

I have truly never felt that close to death and I was scared. I couldn't be too scared though, because my poor kids were starting to panic.

As the paramedics arrived and then wheeled me out I left my poor sister with 5 crying kids, a wacked out barking dog, and tears welling up in her eyes.

"I get to ride in an ambulance, guys! It's fun! Don't worry kids. Mom's just gotta get to a doctor."

Had I known it was going to be such a public day I probably would have shaved my legs and thrown on some makeup or something. My goodness, it is so humbling to be so weak, so dependant on strangers- all while looking in shambles, at that. It did occur to me, though, that blue extremities don't coordinate with any outfit I own anyhow!

My brain scanned scenarios desperately trying to preclude any need for the EMTs to cut open my shirt.

"As long as this heart is still ticking I shouldn't have to worry," I thought, "I definitely am not in the mood to become that intimate with this group of EMT/Fireman."

The nervous looks on their faces were a bit disconcerting. They were looking at me heads tilted asking things like, " Are you sure you're not it pain?" and "You're not feeling tightness in your chest?"

Now, my sister lives quite near a retirement community so I figured I was in the safest place in the world to have heart issues considering that those are the bulk of cases the medical professionals in the area treat, BUT I was young, and they didn't quite know what to do with me.
I was taken to the sister hospital of the one my mother works at. Did I mention my mom works in QUALITY MANAGEMENT? Yup, Once the ER docs and personnel found that out they were so wonderful to me! I seemed to receive amazingly fast treatment. You know, like is usually unheard of receiving. Tests came back quickly. Results were read immediately. Yea, it's so nice to have someone on the inside.

Of course the down side (which isn't really a down side at all) is that my mom is also a nurse. That means she wanted to nurse me.

I literally felt like I was in the 6th grade again. My dad came down for a visit and I kindly greeted him by having another "episode" where my resting heart rate shot to 155. Bells were ringing and buzzers were going off. Dad looked a tad freaked out. I couldn't comfort him because I was feeling too crumby to do anything. A few other family members came in to visit ( I got a lotta peeps, you guys) and I started to laugh imagining the ER staff must think me a diva. My Big 'ol family had to come down for a little racing pulse. They're my entourage. What can I say? I'm cool like that.

So back to the tests. CT scan for Pulmonary Embolism: Negative. Echo- cardiogram: normal heart structure. Blood tests: normal. Thyroid function: normal. Resting heart rate between 112-155: not normal.

At the end of a very long day I was released and told that it is possible I have electrical conduction issues that will have to be monitored. I have been given a new medication that helps to slow down the heart rate.

I slept well last night, and feel a bit tired today but well. As long as my heart beats at a regular rate I'm fine. And ,the doctors cleared me to travel to Ethiopia with a caution to take it easy.

I ask all of my bloggy friends to pray for us. We need your prayers for protection. How could I be anything other than impressed with how fragile our lives are. How they hang in the balance. How the LORD our God is the Sustainer of our lives and if that Hand ever be removed there's no fighting it. You die.

Praise God for His mercy and for His healing hand over my life. I thank Him for protecting me and having me be in the right place at the right time (if ever there was a good place to be, or a good timing for something undesirable to happen this was it) and for giving me breath for yet another day; to go and live the wonderful life He's blessed me with. It is such a gift.


Renee' said...

CRAZY!!! Praying for you, for a very uneventful trip... at least in the health department!

Julie said...

Goodness girl - you sure know how to do things with style! We had the whole world praying for you. I will be doubly thankful to walk on that plane with you tomorrow.

P.S. Did you ask the docs about the sleeping meds? Are you still allowed to take them?

Steve and Anna said...

PRAYING for you JEN!!!


kangaj1 said...

Wow, Jen, we were so scared. We will pray for you like mad while you're traveling!! Love you!

Audrey said...

Praying for you!! My goodness, what a scare for your family. So glad that you are cleared to travel - do take it easy!!

K.P. said...

Glad your trip was not delayed. Do take it easy as the altitude will really mess with you. Not to scare you, but please be careful. I remember my heart feeling fluttery at times and I didn't have any "issues" prior to going.

You'll be in our prayers. Come home safe and with your little man!!


Danielle said...

Oh Jen! You truly are amazing. No wonder you have so many peeps cheering you on :) As you leave tomorrow and are gone for 2 (?) weeks, I will be praying for you and the kiddos back home. Thank you for the reminder that life is precious.


Rob & Candy said...

Jen, glad you are still with us!

Cindy Foote said...


I can't believe this story.... and now you're flying to ET - we will definitely be praying. I can't even find the words to say right now. Praise God you are well... we will keep praying!


Suz... said...

Yeesh, Jen!! I pray your heart and spirits will be racing on the emotional front ONLY while you are ministering in ET and bringing home Jonas. I am grateful you are traveling w/ close friends. Please keep us updated and keep yourself healthy.

Anonymous said...

I'm a check in blog peeker once in awhile, and today you had me GLUED to the screen! Oh my! I hope the kids are all settled, and I'll pray for your health and your trip! Congrats by the way!

Dietrich & Amy Lusse said...

Holy Cow Jen!!!!!!! Wow!!!!
We will be saying extra prayers for you guys!!! :)
With love,
Amy & Dietrich

Zack and Rebecca Caldwell said...

You know we are praying for you! I hope when we meet you that you are healthy as can be!!

Jaime said...

wow jen!! praying you thru your whole journey to ethiopia and back. i laughed b/c the shaved leg thing would be the first thing i would think of too! you sure will do anything to get the YG talking:)

Anonymous said...

What an awesome God we have!! To think we started praying months ago that we could all travel and do this journey together - and to have so many setbacks and frustrations (humanly speaking) along the way for both of our families. And to now in hindsight see God's hand coordinating our travel together through all these circumstances, teaching us patience and trust in Him, and ultimately seeing His hand of provision and answered prayer.
And to know He did it for us as a loving father gives good gifts to His children!
Can't wait to travel with you and Dustin and see what doors God may open for us along the way.
God is so good.
Thanks for letting us journey with you guys.

Stacey said...

You had us all nervous Jen! Julie would call or text me and then I would call my Mom who would pass it along to my Dad and Sherry. We were all praying for miracles!

Sherry said...

Jen -

We are praying for God's healing hand to be on you. What a crazy scare! But God was not surprised by what happened or even the timing of it with your trip. We cannot wait to hear the fruit of your missions work and see the pictures of you holding your babe!

Blessings - Sherry Semlow