Monday, July 27, 2009


Last Friday I was supposed to have an 11a appointment with my cardiologist. I never made it. Instead I ended up in the hospital ER at 8 in the morning. My blood pressure had gone completely bonkers and eventually reached 240/149 -- at least that was the highest they admitted to me.

It is now Monday night and I am still here. Within the past 48 hours I have already 1) had six high blood pressure "attacks" where the BP numbers were over 200/100 in less than 60 seconds. It feels like a heart attack and so far they've tried four different ways to respond. I think we finally found a three-fold way to respond and so far it's working. 2) I completely blacked out while sitting on the "pot" (sorry if that's TMI). Fortunately there were two nurses standing nearby and I didn't end up on the floor but a few minutes later came to while laying in bed hearing "Ms. Gabrielle, are you okay?" and they had to tell me what had happened because I had no recollection of my latest adventure. 3) I now have a pain patch that delivers a measured amount of morphine over three days. It works so now all the doctor's have to do is figure out how to get me a prescription for me to have at home. Of course, the last thing I want to be is the next Michael Jackson so I'm approaching this one carefully. And 4) the idea of having oxygen available to me at home is finally being discussed openly and could make a big difference in the level of my comfort at home and ability to cope with the chest pains.

Once again I have doctor's scratching their heads and even brainstorming truly crazy ideas to help me more comfortable with a better prospect of a "life" at the same time. The goal this time is pretty basic: Lower my blood pressure and decrease the chest pain. I like that goal. Hopefully I get to go home tomorrow - not my shortest stay but definitely not my longest.

If anything good has come from this it has been a better understanding from my second cardiologist of who I am and what I believe in.

I know it must be hard for doctors when they really like certain patients and they run out of ideas to help that patient feel better let alone actually be cured. I am not one of those patients who quickly responds to meds and gets back on with life. Unfortunately I am a real challenge to the cardiologists. They really don't know why certain things are happening like blood pressure spikes and unusual chest pains on top of the constant angina so they end up brainstorming ideas that are more science fiction than possibility.

But once again I am being forced to consider my life and what is truly important to me. I'm having to make crucial decisions I never thought I would be faced with at my age. I spend some time researching my various physical challenges on the Internet and a majority of the time talking with my roommate who, because of her 25+ years of nursing experience knows what is "comfortable" and what is extreme when it comes to medicine. With her help I'm able to vocalize my concerns about CPR, ventilators, dialysis, etc.

But these things are not simply discussed on a medical level but truly a Hebraic world viewpoint of both life and death. I no longer look at death as a finality but as a simple "crossing over" to the next part of life. I think medical technology has robbed us of the real truth about death and taught us (especially in the US) that death is something to be avoided at all costs.

I wish I had my old copies of CS Lewis' Space Trilogy. I can't recall the characters nor which of the three books (although my guess would be Perelandra) where the happy go lucky characters which I personally pictured as large seals would come to the time of their "death" (a word Lewis did not use) they happily dove into their next life. To me this was the most biblical definition I had read.

I want my "crossing over" to be as picturesque as my life. I want it to be everything GOD has planned for me and not a time of man trying to dictate an event that is as much a part of life as birth itself.

Are these hard words for me to say? Yes and no. Because it is truly my heart that GOD be the one making all the decisions for me - not me, not my family and definitely not my doctors. It is my heart to give God total control not only of my earthly life but also when I enter the next life.

Once again I come away with more peace rather than less, more joy rather than depression and more confidence and less fear. I believe that is how HE wants me to live - now and later.

From the Heart,



betchai said...

kathleen, am so sorry hear all the pain and struggles you are going through right now, as i read your sharing, i can't help but cry despite i haven't met you yet, and I cry for the courage and the strong faith you have. your words and your sharing really opens to us what an open heart is,open to what God has intended and laid out for us. You deal with your pain so positively and faithfully, and I really thank you for that, for allowing us to see the light in you.

Karen said...

It's amazing to me that you are coherent enough to type!

Grandma Fischer said...

You are a gift that I treasure and greatly value. He has gifted you with words which beautifully flow through the life of Him in you. Combine this with your writing coming forth from the sacred place, 'at the threshold', that He has brought you to, makes your words life changing and humbling... we could all use a little more of that, amein? I find myself hoping that He will help me run the race as brilliantly and finish the course with such love and tenderness as you express. Knowing that I will see your smiling face next to His is motivating. We will know and be aware that you are cheering us on. We need you. He reminds me often how much He loves you :) I do too, Constance