Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
- Zechariah 12:5
On the too busy side, my wife just got home from the hospital. She was delayed in getting home due to a drop in calcium. It is coming back up. This often happens when the parathyroid, or in her case portions of it, are removed. Her calcium returned to near normal, and she went home without needing supplements.
Thus, I have been chauffer today. She didn’t need a nurse, as she is feeling much better. She is exhausted, as I am.
But I also needed a break from heavy blog post writing, so I was thinking about my heart “issue” and the words of an old doctor came to mind. So, I’ll tell an old war story instead of anything heavy.
I started a new assignment in the Army in February 1979. It became the best job I would ever have as a military officer or a civilian, until my present job (hobby) of writing these posts. Yet, as I started the job, the release from the stress that had been building to that point, my two previous assignments, suddenly surfaced. I started spitting up blood. The US Army doctors (military) had no clue, but the German doctor that was on contract suggested a diagnosis of what is now known as GERD, Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder.
To confirm his diagnosis, I was sent to the Army hospital in Heidelberg, Germany. It was an old-school test. I was given six tall glasses containing barium milkshakes, not a milkshake at all but about that consistency. When you finished one, you did not want to look at the next, much less five more. I was left in an exam room to drink them. When lunchtime came around, the crew doing tests were bragging about how they finished all their cases in record time. Then their boss asked about the upper GI radiology results. Oops, they had forgotten and left me in the exam room. Military truism: Hurry up and wait. So, I waited. Finally, a medic entered the room with six more barium milkshakes. He explained that I had been forgotten and that the barium that I had consumed hours before was too far down the line. A lower GI study was suggested amidst the laughter. Hey, I was a “promotable” 1LT at the time. Give me a couple of months, and I’d be the same rank as these comedians, laughing at my misfortune.
I thought that I would not finish the first six glasses, now six more? But I did, and I was rushed into radiology.
These days, the radiologist reads the pictures and reports to the doctor who ordered the tests. Radiologists never see the patient, but this was 1979 and this was the US Army. There is always the right way of doing something, the wrong way, and the Army way (another military truism).
The radiologist walked into the room while I was still on the table. He leaned down and smiled and said, “Lieutenant, I just wanted to personally come in and tell you that you will die of a heart attack some day.”
I spluttered a “What?!”
He then explained that the pain that I had at that time would be so much like the early warning signs of a heart attack that I would ignore it. He smiled and said for me to try to not ignore it.
With the recent stress test anomaly, I might have just avoided the “big one.” Whenever I see a new doctor, he always asks if I have chest pain. I reply that I have had GERD since 1979, I ALWAYS have chest pain.
This memory coming back to mind has caused me to think. Some of the recent pains were slightly different from the old pains. Maybe they’ll find something during the heart catheterization next week and fix it while they are in there – not making me wait – again, but it might just be acid reflux – although I have never known acid reflux to cause a shortness of breath.
So, if you have acid reflux, chronic heartburn, or diagnosed with GERD, beware.
But fixing my heart? The heart that matters belongs to Jesus. I feel Him in my heart, and as the Scripture above says, I am mighty, because God is my God.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.