As I left for work, John informed me that he thought he’d pulled a muscle in his chest as he slept.
I heard “pulled muscle” and didn’t consider it a problem.
He was concerned enough to not go to the office. He talked with folks at the miniER and his own doctor about what he should do.
Head to the hospital, was the consensus.
Meanwhile, I was at work, meeting with people. My thing. When I do my thing, I leave my phone on silent because I don’t want the interruptions.
Early in the afternoon, my son-in-law showed up in the middle of a meeting. Surprised? Yes. I didn’t expect to see him.
“John’s in the hospital. He had pain in his chest and they’re running tests.”
It wasn’t just a pulled muscle.
Being very feelings focused, the tears came quickly. I jumped to the worst-case scenario.
Was it a heart attack? A stroke? Was he going to be ok?
Ramsay didn’t have any answers, so he drove me to the hospital.
Walking into any hospital leaves me with a sense of dread. The unknown can feel heavy.
Reality looked worse.
John had a port in his arm, bandaged places where they’d drawn blood, and a heart monitor taped to various electrodes on his chest.
He didn’t look fine.
He was in the middle of a battery of tests. The kinds of tests run whenever there’s concern about the health of a heart.
He’d been there most of the day. The hurry-up-to-wait routine. Hurry to get an electrocardiogram or an EKG. Wait for hours to have someone read them.
There was still one test the cardiologist wanted to run. A test that could have been done as an outpatient. John patiently asked if he could check out, I could take him home, and he could come back some other time to take the test.
The doctor said no. If he checked out, he’d be AMA.
Against Medical Advice.
That’s medical terminology for “We can’t let you go because something awful may happen and we don’t want to get sued for malpractice.”
I get it. We’re so quick to shift blame for bad things that happen that people in general–especially hospitals and doctors–feel the need to protect themselves from things over which they have no control.
That’s the beauty of Christmas.
We have no control over other people’s actions or attitudes. Bad things happen to good people all the time because our world is broken. Neither it nor those living here are perfect.
God sent His only Son to pay the price for brokenness. To offer a gift of hope for those hurting. Not “fixing” the bad that happens–that takes away everyone’s free will.
But offering His love and strength now and the promise of life eternal.
It often feels like we’re all in a triage unit on earth. Moving from woundedness to woundedness. Fitting life in between the hard.
Jesus offers His love and forgiveness so hearts and hopes can be healed.
Christmas crisis prevention.
And John? All tests were normal.