My father in law has been in and out of the hospital many times in his 90+ years. He has endured long stays and yet has sometimes been released on the same day. His common joke during these times is to “never let them take your pants.” He claims that once you have to give up your pants and don a hospital gown you are going to have to stay. Now, after he has a trip to the ER, when we call to check in he will report, “Well, they took my pants” or “I didn’t let them get my pants” which lets us know if he will be staying or not. Although I loved his clever way of reporting his health status, I never realized exactly what it meant until recently when I’ve been having some of my own health issues.
In May during some pre-surgery testing, I had an irregular EKG. I had to have a follow up on that and the repeat EKG was deemed good enough for me to have the minor surgery, however, I now knew there was a blip on my EKG that would cause someone in the medical field to take a second look. In August, I fell and broke my nose and bumped my head while on vacation in Nashville, TN. When I got to the ER, they immediately requested all sorts of testing. When I heard them mention an EKG, I politely refused the test. I knew the “blip” would appear and I would find myself in a hospital in Tennessee while on vacation.
A few weeks ago, while traveling in Denver, CO, my heart started doing a flip-flop every now and then. It has done this before and though not alarming, I have a family history of heart issues, so I became more aware of my heartbeat. (Which is kind of like when someone tells you to be still after you’ve been still and you all of a sudden want to move.) I became hyper-aware of my beating and every now and then pausing heart. This continued and I traveled to North Carolina where the flip-flops increased. I toyed with the idea of going to the hospital, but I was out of state and didn’t want to change my plans.
I returned home and the irregularities seemed to increase and caused me to wonder. Should I go to the hospital? I didn’t want to go the day I got home, I didn’t want to miss K’s School walkathon, the weather was supposed to be nice on Saturday and I didn’t want to miss that, I knew I couldn’t go before I attended an event with my husband on Friday, and the excuses continued. I called doctors who all advised me to go to the ER if I was concerned until my upcoming scheduled cardiology appointment. Still, I didn’t want to go. I knew the monitor would show something and I had plans. My plans did not include a trip to the hospital.
I finally entered the ER on Friday night AFTER attending the event and I sat in the parked car feeling my heart beating to see if I truly needed to go in. With some encouragement from my husband (him refusing to back out of the parking spot and take me home), I went in. I was told to put on a gown….but I could leave my pants on. YAY! The pants stay on, I may not need to stay. The monitor was reporting the variations of my heart rhythm so I knew they could see what I was feeling. There was definitely something going on and it wasn’t all in my head. I was told it was PVCs, a very common affliction that many people have and most don’t even feel. I. feel. each. one. Regardless, I was treated with 3 baby aspirin and told to go home. They never took my pants, I maintained my control. However, does my need for control demonstrate my lack of faith? I really don’t ever have control, do I?
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
In the above scripture, the Roman officer who had control of his army and his decisions realized that he didn’t have control of healing his sick servant, but he knew who did. He knew Jesus was the one who could heal him. Jesus was pleased with him when he said, “Truly, I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” I believe Jesus knows we want to control things, I mean, He made me, right? So he knows I want to control, but I also think he is pleased when I give up control and turn situations over to Him.
So, I have an appointment with a cardiologist in 5 days, I feel the flip-flopping heartbeat and second guess if I have any additional symptoms from time to time. The ER doctor said I am fine and I’m giving this anxious heart over to God. He is in control. I’m going to wear my pants physically, but I’m truly going to let God wear the pants in this relationship.